Saturday, November 15, 2008

What is this obsession with global growth?

From the BBC online news November 15, 2008

(George Bush) Summit pledge to 'restore growth'

Global leaders at the G20 financial summit in Washington have pledged to work together to restore global growth.

President George Bush said that finance minsters would now work on detailed reform proposals and report back.

The actions countries were taking were "beginning to work" in dealing with the financial crisis, said the president.

In their communique, the leaders said they were determined to work together to achieve "needed reforms" in the world's financial systems.

"We are adapting our financial systems to the realities of the 21st century," said Mr Bush in his address at the end of the summit.

At the meeting in Washington, leaders pledged to "lay the foundation for reform to help to ensure that a global crisis, such as this one, does not happen again".

The report above is much as expected from today's 20 country summit on the world's so called financial crisis. And in the heat of this particular international debate not a single commentator, economic pundit, politician or observer has questioned the the need for growth or even growth's worth.

In the natural world we have come to accept growth as something beyond our control - well almost beyond our control - and that tinkering with growth is generally frowned on.

In the world of finance and commerce however we have devised these many national and international systems which governments at a whim can use to slow growth or accelerate growth, but rarely if ever ignore growth. Thanks to the Internet and an electronic media that spans our global community almost every citizen on the planet understands the fundamental mechanisms of money supply and interest rates. Though I think we lost them on the Credit Default Swaps and the Asset Backed Commercial Paper. Sub-prime? Well it speaks for itself; now louder than ever.

So finding ourselves stuck between Iraq and the 1929 depression we find ourselves scratching our global heads and wondering how we may, as a planet, extricate ourselves from what many see as a problem, to wit, the slowing (nay shrinking) world economy. Given that we are all flying the same space ship (earth) it would seem that the ratio of country to country and person to person remains the same. The rich are still rich and the poor (unhappily) still poor. The fed and housed (notwithstanding the mortgage defaults) remain fed and housed. Nothing has changed other than the price we pay at the pump and elsewhere. All that has changed effectively is the rate of growth. The disadvantaged remain disadvantaged, the privileged remain privileged. It seems odd therefore that such immense effort and great expense is being poured into saving one financial institution or the other or one business or the other. The truth is that we have too many banks, hedge funds, mutual funds and private equity groups. The truth is that we have too many business. The truth is that every consumer has too much as a result of consuming almost everything put in front of them. The truth is they consumed themselves (and consequently the world's economy) to a standstill. What then, is wrong with a little fiscal growth rest. Perhaps it is time the economy hit the couch, opened a bag of chips and popped a can of beer - both bought in the good times - and sat back to watch the game on the  LCD flat screen.

It is clear that even the brightest minds are struggling with this. The same minds and thinking that got us into this mess. 'Another fine mess you got us into.' The less summits we have the better. The more summits we have, the messier things will get. Nature will take over and the economy will eventually correct itself - no hurry. The economists and world leaders will pat each on the back for a job well done. Hooray!!

Take you happy....don't worry......enjoy the bad times while you can, they may be the best times you'll ever have.

Nature Boy


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