Saturday, October 18, 2008

News Analysis: Interests of developing countries need to be taken into account in new global financial system

Facing the most ferocious financial crisis ever, European Union leaders at their two-day summit here called on the United States and emerging economies to revamp the global financial system to prevent a recurrence of the crunch.

But what kind of new financial system do they want to establish? One that only covers the interests of developed countries? Or one that covers the interests of all, including those deep in poverty?

In the initial period of the crisis, EU nations fought it individually but have been forced to join hands very recently as banks collapsed one after another and stock markets plunged at record rates day by day across Europe and the larger world.

EU members have thus rushed to adopt a string of measures to rescue their banking systems and restore confidence.

Germany and France jointly built up a defense against the financial crisis Monday by pledging more than one trillion euros to save troubled banks. Britain injected billions of pounds into three of the country's major banks.

At the EU summit, member countries "unanimously" agreed to take concerted actions to contain the crunch, accepting the principles agreed upon at the Eurogroup summit in Paris Sunday.

While tackling the emergencies, the EU leaders also urged major international players to work together for a revamp of the global financial system as they saw that "Laissez-faire" policy mistakes, loopholes in the financial system and the fragility of the market order were the cause of this financial tsunami.

For this purpose, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, pushed for a global summit by the end of the year.

Sarkozy said he would invite U.S. President George W. Bush to the summit when visiting the United States this weekend and would also bring onboard leaders of the emerging economies, such as China and India.

"We all agree in Europe that we are going to need to refound the international financial system," Sarkozy said after the summit.

"We had the crisis in developing countries; we had the Internet bubble; now we have a massive crisis."

"We are determined to draw conclusions concerning the financial system and the monetary system to revamp capitalism," he said, adding no financial institutions should be exempted from supervision.

The EU, together with the United States, has acted so far for the sake of their own interests, first at national level, then at the EU level.

It would not work if these nations act only with their own interests in mind without taking into consideration those of developing countries, the innocent victims of this crisis, in overhauling the global financial system, analysts here say.

Former EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson said, the world needs a modern and efficient redistribution system.

If all the interests go to the richest one percent, with the middle class hollowed out and the poor completely forgotten, this kind of globalization would not be politically sustainable, he said.

Developing countries have been hit hard as well, even harder, by the crisis because their hard-won achievements in development have been nearly wiped out.

Besides, poor nations would suffer a double blow, developing nations say.

On the one hand, it would be more difficult for developing or poor nations to get financing in global financial markets as a result of capital flow to developed countries due to bailout measures.

On the other hand, the current crunch has undermined demand, thus hurting their exports.

The pressure of the crisis on aid-receiving countries, plus the impact of soaring food and energy prices, may force up to 100 million people worldwide into poverty, according to the World Bank.

International aid agencies have warned that the financial crisis would worsen the life of the poor, leaving them exposed to more serious problems famine, diseases and unemployment.

Dominated by developed economies, the United States and the EU, which are also the biggest beneficiaries of globalization, the existing global economic order lacks rationality and justice to developing and poor countries, analysts say.

Global imbalance in economic development has made the rich richer and better prepared to weather crises, and the poor poorer and more vulnerable to crises, they say.

The effect of the financial crisis on developed nations is nothing more than a dip in living standards, but to the developing and poor ones, which have been dragged into the crisis, it means famine and poverty.

To achieve sustainable globalization and eliminate poverty worldwide, developed countries should responsibly take into account the needs of their developing partners when rebuilding the world financial system, analysts say.

Source: Xinhua

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