I am not one of your constituents, or a UK citizen. I live in Jamaica, one of your fellow member states of the Commonwealth.
If I may say so, I have been truly heartened by your actions in this crisis so far. If we were in some kind of "World Cup", you would be the "Man of the Match". Why?
- After a somewhat rocky start, you led the nationalizations - the strong and decisive action in the UK to try to tangibly restore confidence and trust in the banking system for the general public primarily, and the banks themselves so that they could function to serve the real economy
- You sound quite convincing these days when you speak about the Government's obligation to the British people. I am in no position to debate your record. Honestly, this is the closest I have ever followed your day by day statements. But thanks for reminding World Governments of their jobs
- You have shown that you recognize that this financial and economic problem indeed poses massive cross-border systemic risks, and you presented a similar nationalization and government intervention plan of action to the Eurozone - of which they then quickly adopted parts as suitable for individual nations.
- And you continue to call for something I take every opportunity to lobby for - A New Financial Architecture for the Global Age (see video here)
But today, something really extraordinary happened. The news was buzzing about the G8 willing to meet (good), and meet to discuss reform of the global financial system (great), and then I watch the video in this article in the BBC online and you mentioned "trade talks" and I thought - fantastic.
You see, I am in no way anti-globalization. I am anti-globalization that is unfair and unsustainable. Globalization has many benefits; but many of those benefits are not shared. Globalization is not perfect and there are those who need, yes need, protection without protectionism. Globalization CAN work better; and now finally globalization MUST work better.
In a time like this when some countries will have excess supply and others will have excess demand, then let us have those trade talks with fair terms and conditions to effect some immediate redistribution to keep people alive and economies going. Absolutely brilliant, Prime Minister, if that is the intention.
So when I read this same article in the BBC online, I note: "Speaking to reporters on Wednesday ahead of the EU summit in Brussels, Mr Brown made an impassioned plea for a global summit to reform the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to help regulate the world's financial systems."
"An impassioned plea."
Prime Minister, honestly I did not know quite how to take that. Yes, please please please reform the IMF. But please tell me that by "reform" you mean that there is more equity for ALL countries, including your fellow members of the Commonwealth - you know, especially the developing countries. Because, I watched the interview clip and I did not hear you make reference to the developing world. So did I miss it?
In earlier posts in the blog, I have talked about learning German. Do you know why? Because I truly believe that regardless of what happens, Chancellor Angela Merkel will not let her people go through this again. She will not allow a lax, opaque and absent regulatory system to persist. She just will not. So if Germany makes change unilaterally, the rest of the world will have to react. So far, everybody is coordinating and have said they are committed to that coordination. But I note, Prime Minister that in supporting your calls for global financial reform, Chancellor Merkel has specifically referenced the inclusion of developing countries in the discussions. I quote from this interesting article: 'A G8 summit will be held again this year, with the participation of developing countries,' the German leader said. Was she just speaking on your behalf too?
The Commonwealth has 53 independent states . Many of us are small open economies, developing economies. Although India and China are our dear friends (at least Jamaica's), we do not have the populations of India and China. Our needs are different. Some of us are weak, others of us are strong. Some of us are islands, some of us live in hurricane zones, some of us live in war torn areas, some of us just cannot afford the basic necessities of life - food, water, oil.
So here's my "plea", Prime Minister. Please remember us. Please remember that this new global financial architecture has to work for all of us too. Please do lead the charge to reform the IMF because if it has to stay, let it do better than it has done in the past. I, for one, would love to see institutions that can better serve the realities of today.
In closing, let me leave you with the words of one of the most famous men in history - Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father, Diplomat, Inventor, Author, Printer, Satirist, Political Theorist, Policitican, Scientist, Civic Activist, Statesman and founder of my alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania: "Well done is better than well said".
Please get it DONE.
Keep making your pleas, convince your colleagues and counterparts just as you did to stem the hemorrhaging in the global banking system. Convince the powers that be that there is a better way and talk to the experts and those of us who live with the impacts of the current dysfunctional globalization model so we can help you with understanding what does not work. And then after you convince people of the merits of a new system that is more equitable, convince them to ACT and ACT quickly.
And if you do achieve that "new day" I keep talking about: a stronger, more stable, more equitable and more sustainable global financial and economic system, I would not know how to thank you. But if you wish, I will happily try to convince my British friends to vote for you since I cannot.
Yours most sincerely,