Financiers Failed — Act Now

Hi —

The failures of global finance are really getting bad now – from collapses and bailouts to pensions, jobs and the threat of recession. I just signed an urgent petition to fix the basic causes of this crisis at the link below. It’s about to be delivered to European leaders, but to make an impact we need a massive global outcry to fix these flaws and loopholes and make sure the public interest is protected in future – please take a look and consider signing too:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/global_finance_action/98.php
——————

On Monday Lehman Brothers, one of the world’s biggest investment banks, went bust with debts of $613 billion, and other institutions and markets are plunging. Many are calling this the worst moment since the Crash of 1929 — the global financial crisis is at the tipping point, and citizens everywhere must raise our voice for action in the public interest.[1] Our jobs, savings, pensions and public services are in danger because of the financiers’ folly — now the snowballing crisis risks triggering a global recession, hurting the poor most and drowning out all the other issues we care about.

Trillions of public money are being staked to stop a global meltdown, but no-one’s addressed the basic causes yet — so we’re launching an urgent campaign for regulation to stop the financiers’ risky practices, which have saddled the world with unsustainable levels of debt and risk.[2] A former prime minister has promised to help deliver our call to European leaders next week, we’ll bring it to US Congress and the next president too — but we need a massive outcry to get them moving — so please follow the link below now to sign the petition, then forward it widely to friends and family:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/global_finance_action

Global financial markets sometimes seem untameable — but the rules that govern them are full of simple flaws and loopholes, and if we seize this moment and act together we can fix them. Cut free by deregulation and driven by greed, the financiers built up huge debts and risks without proper oversight, seeking short-term returns from tax dodges and engineering spaghetti-like financial complexity. Left without decent rules, they thought they could make up their own, and the profits rolled in for a wealthy few — then it all came tumbling down, with the rest of us left to pay the price. Even champions of the free market are now calling for better regulation.[3]

We’re finding powerful allies flocking to the cause, like former Danish Prime Minister Poul Rasmussen who’s pledged to take our campaign to fellow European politicians next Tuesday — and in the weeks to come, we’ll deliver it to the US Congress, the next US president and other global leaders too as they grapple with this crisis.[4] So sign the emergency campaign today at this link, and forward this message to family and friends who might be affected too:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/global_finance_action

With hope and determination,

Paul, Graziela, Ricken, Ben, Iain, Veronique, Brett, Pascal, Milena and the whole Avaaz team

Sources:

1. Reuters: “Lehman fallout threatens global recession”
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1550153420080915

2. For a detailed and authoritative explanation of the debt explosion and the dangers of complexity, see the Annual Report of the Bank for International Settlements (30 June 2008), particularly the introduction and conclusion:
http://www.bis.org/publ/arpdf/ar2008e.htm

3. Financial Times: “The end of lightly regulated finance”, Martin Wolf, 6 May 2008.
http://blogs.ft.com/wolfforum/2008/09/the-end-of-lightly-regulated-finance-has-come-far-closer/

“Seven habits finance regulators must acquire”, 6 May 2008.
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/52bf0f4a-1b8b-11dd-9e58-0000779fd2ac.html

“Six principles for a new regulatory order”, Lawrence Summers (former US Treasury Secretary), 2 June 2008
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/52bf0f4a-1b8b-11dd-9e58-0000779fd2ac.html

4. Avaaz met with Poul Rasmussen and other European and American progressives yesterday to coordinate our efforts. Among the key proposals are “capital requirements” (holding sufficient funds to back loans or debts) and “transparency” (telling regulators, investors and the public what you own and what you owe). For more background, see this interview:
http://www.euractiv.com/en/financial-services/interview-real-step-regulate-hedge-funds/article-175450

To follow the latest news on the crisis, we suggest http://ftalphaville.ft.com/

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