Until the European Commission shows it has learnt the lessons of the 2008 financial crisis and demonstrates the political will to re-regulate the financial sector, it will be unable to resolve the crises in Greece, Ireland and Portugal
Three years since the outbreak of the global financial crisis, the banks are back making mega-profits while the burden has clearly shifted to citizens and workers. However civil society action at European level could still make a difference in reining in the financial sector.
Behind the currency wars and the worsening global economic crisis lies a largely unquestioned free trade model that both contributed to the crisis and, without radical reform, is a major obstacle to overcoming it.
Myriam vander Stichele, Thijs Kerckhoffs, Roos van Os
27 April 2010
Financing Food focuses on how derivative markets work and on speculation in food and agricultural products. This study demonstrates how the futures market for agricultural products, in particular, has changed and is being disrupted by new speculators, growing index funds and commodities funds.
The financial crisis should be recognized as a very clear example of how the free trade and free market theory has failed, why the WTO should turn around away from this neo-liberal model and allow for all services and trade to be at the service of people and the planet, not of corporate profits.
The WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services (the "GATS") has very much underpinned expansion without regulation and supervision, so the financial corporations had the guarantee that their expansion would be underpinned. But financial services are not the same as other services – they need special supervisory structures.
Talk of the dangers of trade protectionism is used by European politicians to obscure the need for protection from transnational corporations whose control of European trade policy continues to cause negative social and environment impacts. Susan George and Myriam Vander Stichele debate MEP Ignasi Guardans and Chief Economist DG Trade, Gaspar Frontini, in TNI's Debating Europe series.
Since the current financial crisis started, none of the governments, experts or media who have called for new regulations for the financial industry have taken into account rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) which actually impose extreme financial service deregulation on many WTO member countries.
Howard Wachtel, Myriam vander Stichele, Susan George, Barry Gills
27 November 2008
Does the greatest financial crisis since the Wall Street crash of 1929 mean that the 'capitalism as we know it' has reached its end? TNI panelists analyse the causes and consequences of the on-going global financial crisis and discuss its profound implications for a changed world order.