1st G20 Summit held
Following the November 2008 meeting in the USA to address the virulent spread of the world financial crisis, the G20 – the leaders of the world’s 20 leading economies – met at the Excel Centre in East London to plan action. Various regional bodies such as the EU and ASEAN also sent delegates. The agenda, set by the British Treasury as hosts, focused on three issues: revival of the global economy by coordinated activity; reform of financial systems to prevent a recurrence of the partly bank-generated fiasco; improved global financial institutions to defend against similar crises.
At the end of the meeting more than $1 trillion was pledged to the fight the crisis, something desired by the Anglo-American faction in G20; perhaps to balance this the USA gave way in principle on the idea of greater regulation and control of financial organisations nationally and internationally, a point deemed vital by France and Germany.
Critics of the meeting pointed to the total lack of environmental consideration in the deal; to the fact that less than 10 per cent of the money pledged was for poorer countries; and that this was in effect a club of the rich.
Outside the meeting protestors faced a huge security operation, somewhat mischievously code-named Operation Glencoe, which highlighted the increasing gap between politicians and public, just as the banking bonus culture partly behind the crisis isolated top bankers from the vast majority. This powerlessness for most was further emphasized with the death of Ian Tomlinson, apparently a mere passer-by during the demonstrations, the immediate reaction to and investigation of his death by the authorities leaving much to be desired.
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