November 14, 2008
In the midst of the imploding US and European financial systems and the resultant bankruptcies, nationalizations and bailouts the People’s Daily, China’s official newspaper, called for a new global currency to replace the US dollar. Writing in the People’s Daily edition of 17 September 2008 Professor Shi Jianxun of Shanghai’s Tongji University said that “[t]he world urgently needs to create a diversified currency and financial system and fair and just financial order that is not dependent on the United States.”
This was later followed by a Friday 26 September address by Prime Minister Gordon Brown before the United Nations in which he called for a new “global financial order.” It is to be based on “transparency, not opacity, rewarding success not excess, responsibility, not impunity, and …is [to be] global not national.” Brown went on to say “We must clearly state that the age of irresponsibility must be [at an] end.” As the G20 nations prepare to meet in Washington this week Mr. Brown has again called for a new global financial order, a Bretton Woods II. Mr. Brown wants the Middle East oil producers and China to assist in contributing to the bailouts taking place in the United States and Europe. In calling for such contributions Mr. Brown is effectively admitting the United States and Europe are broke and have exhausted their government (and central bank) resources in an effort to cure this massive market correction (frequently called a recession, deep recession or even depression) which has been underway since August 2007. China has announced its own stimulus program but it is unclear whether included in the 4 trillion Yuan amount are new programs or existing ones or a combination of both (my Chinese friends who are cynical about China’s government leaders laughingly tell me it probably includes the infrastructure projects for China’s 2008 Olympics as well).
Professor Jianxun is right to express concern about the financial leadership of the United States and the United States dollar in light of the events taking place in Washington and in the capitals of Europe. Estimates by financial analysts of the various bailouts of US financial institutions, the US automobile industry and god knows who all are at $2.7 trillion dollars with more bailouts likely to come. In Australia in addition to bailing out the automotive industry the government is assisting in the rescue of childcare operator ABC Learning Centres with a A$22 million dollar injection to keep the company afloat until the end of the year. The administrator appointed to oversee the company has estimated that 40% of the company’s childcare centres are unprofitable. Another example of the management of a company assuming inflation by central banks would continue forever without there being any correction.