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The G20 deal: power bends to protest

Shirley Williams
29 March 2009

At last, the demonstrators have got the correct target in their sights. The anti-globalisation movement has always been too sweeping in its choices of enemies, lumping the excesses of big global finance in the same dark place as free and open trade, the handmaiden of growth and prosperity.

No more. This week's protests in the run-up to the G20 meeting on 2 April 2009 chime with a growing mood across Europe and the United States. The world has been brought to its knees by the behaviour of western financiers, who even now do not recognise the magnitude of their mistakes or the rank unfairness of the bargain that has been struck with civil society. They have had licence to make billions - Wall Street paid itself $39 billion in bonuses in 2007 - while ordinary taxpayers are then left to foot the multi-trillion dollar bill in bailouts, capital injections and loan guarantees.

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Will Hutton is chief executive of the Work Foundation. He writes a weekly column in the Observer.  His books include The World We’re In (Little, Brown, 2002), A Declaration of Interdependence: Why America Should Join the World (WW Norton, 2003), and The Writing on the Wall: China and the West in the 21st Century (Little, Brown, 2008)

Also by Will Hutton in openDemocracy:

"The right to be different" (30 July 2004)

"Wanted: a fairer capitalism" (6 October 2008)

"The choice: leadership or collapse" (12 October 2008) 

"The China fix" (25 October 2008)

 

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