G8: Facing both ways means facing the wrong way
The G8 summit in Camp David is over, and the statement agreed on the global economy is one of the most two-faced compromises imaginable. Yet again, world leaders have shown a colossal inability to lead, facing both ways rather than take the decisions necessary to tackle the continuing economic crisis. Just as EU leaders have kicked the can of the Eurozone debt crisis down the road time and time again, refusing to choose between two unpalatable directions, the leaders of the G8 nations have done exactly the same, backing both growth and austerity, despite the fact that all of them know they are incompatible. It’s a shabby compromise between those (Obama and Hollande) who favour growth, and those like Cameron and Merkel who favour austerity. And it will continue like this until electorates force their leaders to do what’s needed.
Once again the G8 have committed to promoting growth and jobs as their “imperative”, but they also commit “to implement fiscal consolidation” which is precisely what has plunged at least 9 EU countries (and maybe more) into recession. They commit to keeping Greece in the Eurozone while demanding it implement policies which its recent election suggests are the main impulse for Greece to leave. Such contradictions abound in such a short statement, which is also remarkably long on non-specifics like “structural reforms”, usually code for taking workers’ rights away – but strangely that’s not what they ever admit to.
So the slow puncture of the global economy will continue, and electorates will continue to be told that more and more cuts are the answer even as those cuts produce fewer job opportunities, more unemployment and lower wages. European electorates are beginning to show a courage that their leaders lack, however, and eventually, the leaders will have to follow their lead.