Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
George Alogoskoufis is a hardly a household name outside Greece and EU financial circles. But the newly sacked Greek finance minister could yet become a poster child for politicans struggling to fight off economic decline and banking industry collapse. His demise was in large part due to a public perception that he was helping out the banks but ignoring rising joblessness.
Greece, of course, is a special case at the moment, still recovering from riots over the police shooting of a teenager. But finance ministers, central bankers and other responsibles are probably not immune from Alogoskoufis Syndrome. Balancing the need to bail out the finance industry with rising economic misery among everyday people is not easy. Fat cats are not exactly in favour at the moment.
This could, indeed, come to a head later in the year. Investment cycles tend to recover before economic ones. So what happens when Wall Street, the City and the like start bringing in the money again just as unemployment lines start getting even longer?
Today’s European edition of the International Herald Tribune is fronted by a photo montage of the presidents of Senegal, Afghanistan, Bolivia, Argentina, France and Brazil.
They have two things in common – all are attending this week’s United Nations General Assembly in New York and all see a global threat from the financial crisis that began on Wall Street and, in the words of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the Philippines, has moved “like a terrible tsunami around the globe”.
Depending on where you stand, the financial crisis has been catastrophic or brought a much needed shake out in the financial sector; it has been disastrous for home owners or proved the folly of lending to people with poor credit histories; it has rightly rolled back the clock on naked capitalism or undermined a system that, in essence, functions perfectly well; it has punished bankers’ hubris or thrown many talented individuals out of work.
What you see depends on where you stand.
According to Italy’s economy minister, Giulio Tremonti, the current economic crisis was the inevitable consequence of policies championed by former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan.