Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Our Global Financial Crisis

Fear, Risk, Reward and Greed – A Global Menace – by Mike Wash

In my simple view of the world it seems to me that fear, risk, reward and greed has been the dominating values in global financial strategy. Combine this with short term political gain and we have a recipe for social and economic meltdown.

The world today is an integrated mesh of complex interdependencies and therefore any global crises must surely be debated on a global scale involving every nation.
The G20 formed after the Asian crises in 1998 is a start but its brief must be inclusive as I believe we need a new set of values to underpin the decision making that affects our global economy.

I am no expert but I understand how to manage my own finances and one thing that you should avoid is taking on future debt to pay off existing debt. Without a plan for generating more wealth and/or cutting back on expenses this becomes a recipe for bankruptcy. This seems to be happening with Greece and other Eurozone countries.
If they default then of course all countries that have loans and investments linked to the Eurozone debts will be devalued and the spiral to melt down gathers pace.

I believe the developing countries of our world have the most potential yet they are the most vulnerable as aid and development budgets will be squeezed. Our developed countries could do worse by sharing best practice building on entrepreneurship. We need innovation and investment in long term success in those countries still struggling to feed their own people. This should be on the agenda of the next G20 summit but I doubt it.

The agenda will be dominated by Greece’s decision to ask the people whether they are prepared to accept the bail out plan which will involve major austerity packages and influence the personal wealth of every citizen.
I hope they accept as this is yet an inevitable short term but essential step to take to allow some breathing space for the global financiers to work out next steps!

In any crises fear will dominate and self protection and self interest will play a part. It is going to take incredible leadership and courageous debate with insightful global empathy to recognise we need a new order of governance and cooperation for all nations.

The looming public sector strikes, and the growing number of tent city protests are understandable blocks of protest yet they also seem to be deflecting away some sense of personal responsibility. We are all in this situation and therefore must play a part and pay our way out of it. I believe tax increases are inevitable – these increases must be world wide and perhaps channelled into a world wide fund. Of course we must create an environment of confidence and belief that our leaders are underpinning their decisions without the dominance of fear, risk, reward and greed but with a new set of values and principles which I propose below – they maybe a useful check list for the G20 to see how they measure up against these right now;

1/ Long term  investment in the development of all nations raising the poverty bar beyond the need for basic food and water to encouraging self sustained innovative and technologically savvy ways for improving standards of living for all.

2/ A global agreement for cooperation and governance in the way markets, exchange rates and major financial bodies work together to ensure the weaker members of our world order do not become the dependant life long poor relative.

3/ A recognition that the current equation of population growth and finite resources will, unless abated, at minimum create further unfair gain or loss at worse result in major conflict or war. We must all take steps to reduce the population and protect our planet therefore financial decisions should do nothing to worsen depletion of resources and should enhance sustainability.

4/ A moral undertaking from all for profit organisations that a proportion of this profit should be ploughed back into improving social infrastructure. This gives recognition that their success has in part being due to the efforts of the people leading and working for the company. These people have been, in part, a result of an educated, trained and healthy upbringing brought about by a society that gives people choices.
It seems right that organisations that benefit from this society should plough a proportion of their profits back to increase the chance of succession planning being a sustainable local story.

5/ The politics of self interest must be made discussable at a global level and a recognition that any one going into a negotiation with a win lose attitude has lost the commitment for a stable world order and must be helped to recognise they have a significant role to minimise death by poverty and war – these are indeed the real risks.

6/ Any loans or bail out package should be accompanied by supportive resources to aid the decision making in how best to use these packages in the short to medium term.

7/ The context of economic decision making needs to take into account the future dominance of India and China and the importance of a working partnership. Also the instability of the middle east and the power and influence of oil – how can we bring these factors into the global family of economic and social well being?

No doubt this last couple of hours writing this will have added little value apart from getting stuff off my chest for the record.

We can but dream!
Mike Wash 1/11/11

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