A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
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THE G20



The Group of Twenty (G20) is the premier forum for its members’ international economic cooperation and decision-making processes. Its membership comprises 19 countries plus the European Union. Each G20 president invites several guest countries each year.

The G20 leaders meet annually and in addition, Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meet regularly during the year to discuss ways to strengthen the global economy, reform international financial institutions, improve financial regulation and implement the key economic reforms that are needed in each member economy. Underpinning these meetings is a year-long program of meetings among senior officials and of working groups coordinating policy on specific issues.

The G20 started in 1999 as a meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis. In 2008, the first G20 Leaders' Summit was held, and the group played a key role in responding to the global financial crisis. Its decisive and coordinated actions boosted consumer and business confidence and supported the first stages of economic recovery. G20 leaders have met eight times since 2008.

Apparently the G20 is an apt model for global cooperation in today’s world. Its response to the global financial crisis is a testament to the impact G20 members can make when working together. The G20 introduced trillions of dollars in fiscal stimulus packages (at a cost no doubt)  worldwide, which saved or created millions of jobs that would otherwise have been destroyed. It also put in place measures to limit the collapse of financial markets and helped maintain consumer and business confidence.

How very noble of them I say, but are they really as good as the blurb suggests? Yes they averted a financial crisis, but did we see any of the benefits? The banks did. They were bailed out at the expense of the tax payers and while some of the more dubious of the banking practices were shut down, very little has changed regarding the status quo for the man in the street. He’s the guy that has borne the brunt of any changes made while the banks have been left to carry on regardless in their pursuit of making huge profits by any means possible. But what do I know?

The official line reflects that over the past five years, the G20 has framed the world’s efforts to restore growth and build the resilience of financial institutions and national economies. It led the world out of an economic crisis and through the initial stages of the recovery. And with the world now free from immediate economic crisis, the G20 can increasingly shift its attention to driving practical actions that will lead to sustained global growth. Oh goody, let’s create a war, that’s always good for business no doubt.

The challenges that now confront the global economy are less pressing and urgent than those faced at the height of the global financial crisis but they are no less important. But never mind eh? We are all after all; eternally grateful for the opportunity to endure higher taxes and a lot less value for our money in as far as public services go.

In 2014, the global economy continues to produce far less than it would have if the crisis had not occurred; there are tens of millions fewer jobs and global trade growth is still too slow. While always remaining vigilant to risks and vulnerabilities, the G20 is now more focused on improving the future of the global economy, without any foreseeable changes to the lowering of living standards for the man in the street.

Let’s face it guys, The G20 is supported by international organisations, including the Financial Stability Board, the International Labour Organisation, the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization. All the key players in the pursuit of profit for their investors with very little thought for the people their policies will ultimately affect. These and several other organisations are invited to attend key G20 meetings. The G20 committed in its Fifth Anniversary Vision Statement to listen carefully to institutions and countries (yes institutions and countries, not the people left struggling to make ends meet) which are not in the group. Accordingly, Australia continues to work with non-members to develop international understanding of the G20’s 2014 agenda, to promote the agenda's benefits to the global economy and to seek views and input.

So much so that all the common man in Australia gets to hear about is all about the anti-terrorism measures we have put in place. Really? Mr, Prime Minister, Abbott? If the G20 were as good as you would have us all believe, shouldn’t you be preparing street parties instead? Something really isn’t adding up here? Are you so insecure about your electorate (a usually happy go lucky kind of people by all accounts), that we have to be subjected to daily displays of war planes and military helicopters flying in formation over the skies of Brisbane?

I mean, in a world where a meagre $30 billion would be sufficient to feed, clothe and house a (much happier because of it) global population of 8 billion, why does the need still exist for defence budgets running into the $400 billions? Why hasn’t the G20 pledged their efforts towards the more obvious savings to be made in this direction rather than looking into future methods of driving the populace into further hardship and therefore reluctant servitude? Why were the instigators of the last GFC not taken to task and still allowed to retire on pensions and bonuses higher than the GDP of some of our present third world neighbouring countries?

Amid the 1980s, the word quango was repeatedly bandied around as the UK press went to town on the wasteful, non productive and highly expensive foreign excursions of government officials that were exposed and shut down on a near daily basis. Isn’t the current G20 just another instance of the same old, same old happening again? World leaders having a right old jolly up while giving very little if anything back in return? Isn’t it just a collection of the largest of financial institutions, set up to further the political agendas of their corporate backers, bullying the small guy (or countries) into policies that nobody really needs or wants? I for one think that it is and I’m sure I’m not alone in the way I'm thinking.

We’ve seen it all before Mr Abbott. Before the G20, it was the annual meetings of the (relevant to my last post about name changes) Bilderburgers. They wore pretty much the same political hats back in their day and where did they ever get us? So, isn’t it time to actually start doing your doing for the people who count for human rather than stock-market values? 

You don’t have to answer that Mr Abbott; I already know what the outcome of this shambolic gathering will bring us. Your only job now, is to prove me wrong. But I won’t be holding my breath.



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