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The tombstone of Davos
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-02-02 10:04:22
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German Chancellor Ms. Angela Merkel, in a speech to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, proposed a very …unique idea, the creation of a UN Economic Council similar to the UN Security Council! And I have to admit that I found the idea fascinating because my mind went straight away to a BBC television series from back in '80s called "Yes, Minister". The minister character of the series faces a very serious problem that he’s not ready to deal with so he takes the advice of his assistant and creates a committee to study the problem and come up with solutions.

This classic TV series emphasizes in a very funny way the bureaucracy inside government and why it is so difficult to make things really work using this bureaucracy. The weird thing is that Ms. Merkel found support in the French government, especially with Nicolas Sarkozy. Ms. Merkel's proposition actually in Davos proves how deep the international financial is and in what a deadlock the world’s leaders are in.

The World Economic Forum in Davos was, and please emphasize the word ‘was’, an important forum for the financial decision makers back in the '80s and perhaps early-90s. The forum has been there since 1971 which means that it has over 35 years of history and in its beginning it was a closed club or better a chance for the people in the industry and banking business to meet leaders or representatives of the states and propose, make deals or simply make business. During the '80s the club opened its door to less important participants and gave the chance to smaller countries to present their growth and attract investors.

On the side of all that it gave the chance for political meetings and negotiations, most importantly it gave the chance to the west to meet the east on neutral ground and put aside political agendas to make business. The bitter truth is that decisions taken in those meeting often affected countries and economies without wanting to exaggerate the role of the forum. But in the mid-80s the role of the forum started to fade to obviously prove today that the king is naked because that’s the only way you can explain Ms. Markel’s proposition.

From the period of the Turkish invasion in Cyprus and all happening in Middle East until the invasion of Iraq, the UN Security Council has been proved a dinosaur victim of geopolitical interests and vetoes, especially the last ten years have proved so cumbrous that it has cost lives like it happened in Lebanon just a couple of years ago and what happens in Palestine, Zimbabwe and Sudan nowadays. It doesn’t matter if there is a decision, if there is a proposal that makes sense it will be either the Americans or the Russians who will veto it because it doesn’t work with their geopolitical agendas.

And if it is not America or Russia, it will be the UK or China; final line the Security Council has problems and it could never work as a model for another model especially with finance where the interests are not just geopolitical and states’ politics but private with these private involving money sometimes bigger than any state in this world. The Economic Forum in Davos has ended and Mr. Merkel put its tombstone with this proposition, after all, the whole thing had become the place where countries like Turkey feel important and nothing more. The important thing is that Ms. Merkel with this proposition told us that the states have failed in finding a solution to come out of this recession and that the politicians have suddenly realizes that the whole economic system was based on glass legs that broke and nobody has any idea on how to fix them.

The bankers and the industrialists became victims of their own creation and greed and they created the Frankenstein monster that nobody can control, the amazing thing is that this monster is virtual, is invisible is the enemy within and that makes every single defence nearly impossible. I used the word nearly intentionally because even though not an expert in finance and economics out of the things I have read I feel that it is time to return to basics where important is not the gambler investor but the worker who actually brings the money, the prosperity and the growth.

Creating a UN Economic Council similar modelled and based to the UN Security Council will be a mistake or better as in that televised comedy from back in '80s it will be a committee to cover the inability of the state to find solutions but as I said Ms. Merkel’s proposition shown a series of other things we need to look better and perhaps it was the first time an official admits in public even this way that the states have failed.

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Emanuel Paparella2009-02-02 19:03:27
Let's hope that the new formula of a genuine Economic Council will include "greed" in its equation, will eliminate the demiurge and idol called "market" which somewhow with its laissez fare philosophy is supposed to take care of itself as a fix all, and will include all nations of the earth around its table not just the developed rich countries of the Western World. Utopia? Perhaps, but if we don't hope and have a vision we die as a civilization. Ultimately, it seems to me we will need true visionaries, of the caliber of of Shuman, De Casperi, Eidenauer. As it is, se are being led by half blind intellectual and spiritual pigmies.

Emanuel Paparella2009-02-02 19:04:31
Errata: De Gasperi.

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