Friday, March 27, 2009

5 days to G20: the debate gets dirty

The undercurrents at G20 just got public and the London Summit just got racist. Standing next to UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the Brazilian President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva brought the black-brown-white frustrations on the global finance table.
“This crisis was caused by no black man or woman or by no indigenous person or by no poor person,” Lula said after talks with the prime minister in Brasilia to discuss next week’s G20 summit in London, Guardian reported.
“This crisis was fostered and boosted by irrational behaviour of some people that are white, blue-eyed. Before the crisis they looked like they knew everything about economics, and they have demonstrated they know nothing about economics.”
Lula’s irritation with bankers is understandable and justified. What’s not acceptable is for the leader of the world’s 10th largest economy, someone who seeks to drive the global finance agenda through greater vote share in institutions like the IMF to turn the London Summit into something so small, so trite, so disgusting.
Lula said he did not know a single black banker. Well, I know several who are brown — and all of them are their by the sheer power of merit (you can condemn the direction of that merit, the use it’s been put to and so on). Using probability theory, I am confident that there will be several black. Some of them may even be part of the bonus-maximising herd that ignored risk and brought global finance and through it the real economies of many economies, including Lula’s Brazil, to its knees.
Whatever else Lula maybe, I would fear to put something as sensitive and as powerful as global finance into his hands. I’m glad he’s not driving the agenda and a black man is.

Blog post on Cutting the Edge

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