Lotsa pressure on world leaders to save the world when they meet at the G20 next week.
Given the lack of consensus about how to fix the economy, and the fact that various countries have different priorities, it seems like a long shot that they’ll agree on anything — or that if they do agree on something, that it’ll happen to be the silver bullet.
Already, there are signs that no consensus will be reached. Germany’s Angel Merkel, for one, is sounding particularly strident in her opposition to a “global New Deal”, which is what the US and the UK would like to see.
But George Soros says it’s the last chance to save the world, and that if they don’t the world could face a depression worse than the 30s:
Times of London: The G20 summit in London next week is, he says, the last chance to avert disaster. “The odds would favour that it fails because there are such differences of opinion. It’s difficult enough to get it right in your own country let alone with 20 governments coming together, but if it’s a failure I think then the global financial and trading system falls apart.”
If the G20 is nothing but a talking shop then he thinks we are heading for meltdown. “That could push the world into depression. It’s really a make-or-break occasion. That’s why it’s so important.” The chances of a depression are, he says, “quite high” – even if that is averted, the recession will last a long time. “Look, we are not going back to where we came from. In that sense it’s going to last for ever.“
On a somewhat more amusing note, we liked his explanation for how he knew when the market was about to turn:
He tells us that he has psycho-somatic illnesses – backaches and pains – that tip him off to changes in the market. “It’s as if you’re a jungle animal, and you see another animal facing you. You have to make a decision: fight or flight? Your hair stands up and you growl and you decide, ‘Am I going to attack because I’m stronger or am I going to run away because otherwise he’s going to eat me?’ You are very tense. And that’s the tension that gives you the backache.”