The World Speaks Out on America’s financial crisis

From the November 2008 Trumpet Print Edition

United Kingdom

The Telegraph’s Edmund Conway writes: “This may prove to be the dollar’s epochal moment—the moment historians look back at as its major turning point. … The U.S. taxpayer bailout of America’s banking sector is an event whose significance will reverberate for many years.”

Prime Minister Gordon Brown blames America for the UK’s problems: “People were taking risks that were excessive—and that was mainly in my view in America and we are paying a price for what has come out of America” (BBC News, September 21).

China

State newspaper People’s Daily writes that the collapse of Lehman Brothers “may augur an even larger impending global ‘financial tsunami’” and that “The world urgently needs to cerate a diversified currency and financial system and fair and just financial order that is not dependent on the United States.”

Belgium

Former Belgian Prime Minister Mark Eyskens says the world needs a new monetary agreement similar in scope to the 1944 Bretton Woods agreement that made the U.S. the world’s reserve currency. The world can no longer stick to just the U.S. and European systems, he says. A “worldwide control mechanism” is needed (NPR, September 22).

Thailand

Thailand’s Central Bank Governor Tarisa Watanagase told a symposium of senior central bank officials, “Looking at the overall picture, what is now going on in Wall Street may remind us of what happened in our region 11 years ago [during the Asian currency meltdown]. At a glance, the root causes of both events are strikingly similar” (VOA News, September 20).

Japan

“Japan learned its lesson in the 1990s,” says Akio Makabe, a Shinshu University economics professor.

“It was wise when Wall Street was foolish” (International Herald Tribune, September 21).

Germany

Left-leaning Frankfurter Rundschau writes: “The Americans are exposing the world to a highly dangerous experiment. … Who would voluntarily lend an American bank money these days?”

Center-left Suddeutsche Zeitung writes: “The downfall of the investment banks has hit America at its core. It shows that the country’s boom was to a large extent founded on self-delusion.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel slams the U.S. for its failure to foresee the current banking crisis and for obstructing Germany’s efforts in the first half of 2007 to bring greater transparency to the markets. “On top of national rules, we need more international agreements to stem irresponsible financial speculation. Europe must see to it that we get more transparency on financial markets, clear rules and that crises such as the current one aren’t repeated,” she says (Deutsche Welle, September 21).