G20 in context

Want to know about the G8 and G20?  Look here for longer contextual articles and key sources of analysis surrounding the issues, etc…

A. Overview

Quick summary of the G8 and G20 Summits

A brief and useful WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY of the two summits, from Oxfam Canada

B. Finance and Banking

Understanding the U.S. Bailout: Meet the Hazards

The authors walk the reader through the financial bailout by imagining that the banks were a typical family teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. It’s a novel approach to helping readers understand the basic mechanisms of the banking system and how completely the banks have relied on the government to keep them alive.   A bailout must read!

1. Structural Financial Crisis – Too Big to Fail

A Guide through the economic crisis by Robin Hahnel

This guide is based on an interview with Hahnel, an economics professor at American University who has been warning about impending financial crisis for the past 15 years.  It is long, but well worth a read, as he touches on how corporate power  created inequality – leading to a decrease in the purchasing power needed to sustain capitalism. He also analyzes corporate-backed financial deregulation as another  underlying reason for the meltdown of 2008.

Susan Watkins,‘Shifting Sands’

“[Despite] the torrent of literature on the crisis, its historical meaning remains obscure. What ended, and what did not, in September 2008?” This is a fantastic, in-depth overview of the economic crisis, using the past 50 years of capitalist globalization to illuminate.

Watkins compares the current crisis to past crashes, looks at how the rescue played out, and discusses what she sees as the new, emerging consensus of ‘regulated liberalism’, based the idea that the economy was sound before the crash, it was just that the financial sector needed a bit more regulation.  This certainly how Stephen Harper, Barack Obama, et al are proceeding.Watkins also describes why she thinks this confidence in the system is misplaced, to say the least.

Can G20 avert the crisis?
Leo Panitch: G20 trying to patch up the ‘old world order’

Panitch talks about the ‘new age’ of global co-operation that is being touted in the wake of the economic crisis.  He argues that it is really just an attempt to keep the old order from falling apart, and ensuring continued dominance of capitalism.

2. Global Bank Tax

G20 shuns bank tax : Jim Flaherty’s “victory” leaves taxpayers holding the tab.

C. Climate Change

Mike Davis,‘Who Will Build the Ark?’

Davis argues brilliantly with himself, evenly splitting time between hopelessness and hope in one short essay. In the first section, ‘Pessimism of the Intellect’, he  argues that we have already lost the first stage of the battle against global warming, leading us to likely catastrophy.

The second part of the essay, discusses how urbanization, a key cause of climate change, is also the place where solutions can be found.

Since most of history’s giant trees have already been cut down, a new Ark will have to be constructed out of the materials that a desperate humanity finds at hand in insurgent communities, pirate technologies, bootlegged media, rebel science and forgotten utopias.

D. Protests

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    [...] amaze me with their myopia and single-minded focus on sensationalism. Goddessforbid we talk about some issues. It really does get [...]

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