Memo for the G20

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EDITORIAL

From: The people
To: World leaders
Re: Work assignments

As you, the leaders of the G20, the world's "wealthy" nations, gather in Pittsburgh, some of you still debate whether to call the world economic crisis a "recession" or a "depression," and, whatever it is, whether it is ending.

We don't care about that debate. After all, even the ominous-sounding term "depression" was a word that other world leaders tacked onto what happened in 1929 because it sounded milder than "world panic" or "economic collapse."

What we do care about is lifting billions of people on this planet, who are beyond recession or depression, out of the misery of poverty that is killing them and hurting those of us who live and work in the "wealthy" nations.

One year into this latest crisis, most of the countries you lead have taken some bold steps to rescue big investors. Some of you have done a little, but far from enough, to ease the pain of ordinary people with economic stimulus. Most of you, however, have done little to regulate the speculation and corporate greed that created this world disaster.

You have heard the warnings of the big-name economists: despite recent market upticks the world economy is far from a true recovery. You will hear the union and other activists in the streets of Pittsburgh remind you that the neoliberal policies that plunged the world into this mess will not get us out of it.

You must make the first moves this week to devise entirely new systems of economic governance in each of your countries and globally.

The critical first step you must take is to trash the World Trade Organization's 1999 Financial Service Agreement.

That agreement essentially launched the wild finance deregulation party in the United States and exported it all over the world. Good times for the rich became economic disaster for ordinary people everywhere.

Beyond just capping outrageous CEO salaries, you must write and enforce strict new regulations for the entire finance industry. Along with this you must push for massive new economic stimulus programs, devise plans for sustainable development, address poverty and take on global warming. That means you will have to challenge corporate power and greed.

The job of a leader is to solve problems. Please get to work on them and report back as soon as possible.

 

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