New Internationalist

G20: what we want - made simple

The BBC News Channel have asked me to take part in a discussion about the outcome of the G20 tomorrow (Thursday 2 April) at 7.30 BST.

They also asked me to provide some ‘bullet points’ on what I might say.

We thought they might come in handy for you too.

Here they are:

* There can be no turning back to the way things were - mission impossible.

* This is a unique opportunity for positive change. It must not be wasted.

* A sense of equity, sufficiency and the public good is slowly being restored.

* That means putting markets in their proper place - the servant rather than the master of people.

* ‘Regulation’ by governments is not a technical fix, but an expression of democratic will.

* Finance is now demonstrably a public utility.

* The ‘recapitalization’ of the private banks hasn’t worked - and doesn’t look like it will.

* Taxpayers’ cash has gone straight into the pockets of the private banks and stayed there.

* In the UK, potential public liabilities for the private banks now far exceed their net worth.

* The banks must be nationalized.

* Far from the current ‘consolidation’ (which would not have been permitted even by ‘light touch’ regulation), they should be broken up.

* Retail banking must be separated from investment banking once again.

* Credit unions and mutuals, rather than private banks, must be encouraged and backed by government.

* Tax havens must be shut down - their accounts must have no legitimacy in international law.

* Speculation must be taxed at source (the ‘Tobin Tax’).

* Revenues generated must be devoted to the UN Millennium Development Goals (in addition to ‘development assistance’), which otherwise will be missed.

* Public finance must direct resources towards public priorities.

* In particular, and urgently, there must be massive investment in ‘green jobs’ across the board, in agriculture, transport, construction, energy, to tackle climate change.

* The benefits of increased consumption and orthodox ‘economic growth’ are, in affluent societies, now very limited indeed -  and environmentally destructive.

* Currently, 80 per cent of the world’s resources are consumed by just 20 per cent of its people.

* The G20 has no legitimacy.

* The UN has been ignored, though no durable way forward can be found without it.

* The IMF, World Bank and WTO have mimicked the private banks, are part of the problem and must be scrapped.

* They should be replaced by institutions that are accountable to an Economic Council at the UN (as suggested by Germany) and an international currency that replaces the US dollar (as proposed by China).

* All free-market orthodoxy offers us now is the prospect of job losses and homelessness, ever-greater inequalities, rising taxes (collected by a  ‘regressive’ system), public service cuts - and an uninhabitable planet.

* The ‘Put People First’ demonstration in London on Saturday suggests that a very broad alliance of civil-society organizations is beginning to form (not just in the UK but worldwide) around a radical, positive and long-term agenda.

* People have so far been spectators of the meltdown; they now have the chance to become active participants in creating a better future.

* The sooner we get started the better.

Feel free to add, or subtract, your own…

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About the author

David Ransom a New Internationalist contributor

David Ransom joined New Internationalist in 1989 and wrote on a range of issues, from green justice to the current financial crisis, before retiring in 2009. He was a close friend of Blair Peach, once worked as a banker in Uruguay and continued to contribute to New Internationalist as a freelancer until shortly before his death in February 2016. He lived on a barge on the waterways of England’s West Country.

His publications include License to Kill on the death of Blair Peach in 1979 and The No Nonsense Guide to Fair Trade. He also co-edited, with Vanessa Baird, People First Economics.

Read more by David Ransom

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