Punch in the streets, not in the suites

Published on Online Journal, by Laura Flanders, Oct 1, 2009.

The G20 summit wrapped up in Pittsburgh Friday with pledges but little punch. Except in the streets.

On climate change, world leaders vowed “strong action” and on the economy, “balanced economic growth.” The summit endorsed granting more voting rights at the IMF and World Bank to ‘underrepresented’ countries like China. With a billion people and the world’s second largest economy — China may budge up from having 3.6 percent of all votes.

Underrepresented booming countries may get a bigger voice in global finance. Nice. But underrepresented people? Well there’s the rub. 

Around 200 people were arrested during the two-day Pittsburgh summit. Heavy policing seems to be the only plan world leaders have come up with for shutting reality out.

Reality, for those in the streets, not the suites, of the world, is a whole new economy — way more than a downturn — and the prospect of long-term, possibly permanent, unemployment.

Read the papers, and the stats are all there. In the US, job seekers now outnumber job openings six to one. Official unemployment stands at 9.7 percent, its highest level in 26 years. If you’re a teenager, it’s over 25 percent. No reason there to shun protest for fear of ruining your job prospects, they’re grim and only getting grimmer. That’s if radicals like Paul Craig Roberts, a former officer of the Reagan administration, are to be believed.

If measured according to the methodology used when he was assistant secretary of the Treasury, Roberts says ”the unemployment rate today in the US is above 20 percent. Moreover, there is no obvious way of reducing it” … (full text).

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