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Culture & Religion

Is Gordon Brown’s ‘Global New Deal’ Just a Bailout of Britain?

Gordon Brown is in America this week meeting with Barack Obama and the L.A. Times says the embattled British Prime Minister is using the trip to “present a united front on the economy — and maybe protect his job.” The bank rescue plan Brown unveiled last fall hasn’t worked and his critics are vocal and many. But will the “global new deal” Brown is promoting in the colonies really save the world from financial cataclysm?

In an editorial published in The Nation today, Brown writes that “historians will look back and say this was no ordinary time but a defining moment: an unprecedented period of global change, and a time when one chapter ended and another began.”

Fair enough. But historians will also look back and say this was a time of unprecedented disaster. But fear not. Brown is quite sure that the close partnership between the U.S. and Britain provides a pretty good model for the global collaboration required to get us out of this mess. After all, he says, how could two countries so passionately devoted to liberty, democracy, “and an unshakeable belief in the power of enterprise and opportunity” — as well as defeating terrorism—not endure?

The way Brown sees it, “Our task in working together is to secure a high-growth, low-carbon recovery by taking seriously the global challenge of climate change. And our efforts must be to work for a more stable world where we defeat not only global terrorism but global poverty, hunger and disease.”

This is all part of the Brown-Obama “global new deal,” which Brown says, will stretch from “the villages of Africa to reforming the financial institutions of London and New York — and giving security to hard-working families in every country.”

Here are its five pillars:

First, universal action to prevent the crisis spreading, to stimulate the global economy and to help reduce the severity and length of the global recession. Second, action to kick-start lending so that families and businesses can borrow again. Third, all countries renouncing protectionism, with a transparent mechanism to monitor commitments. Fourth, reform of international regulations to close regulatory gaps so that shadow banking systems have nowhere to hide. Fifth, reform of our international financial institutions and the creation of an international early warning system. And last, coordinated international action to build tomorrow today – putting the world economy on an economically, environmentally and socially sustainable path towards future growth and recovery.

Brown finishes his Nation editorial with these words: “I have always been an Atlanticist and a great admirer of the American spirit of enterprise and national purpose. I have visited America many times and have many friends there, and as prime minister I want to do more to strengthen even further our relationship with America.”

America loves you too, Gordon. May this glorious global society you’re calling for truly reinvent the world for the better. Either that, or America will leave your for other, more seductive economies farther east.


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