IN OTHER WORDS: Laissez-faire

The World Bank predicts that food and fuel crises compounded by the financial crisis will increase the number of malnourished people in the world to almost a billion. Economists have warned that the world’s poor would be the most vulnerable group in the present financial crisis which has eclipsed the emerging humanitarian crisis. The paradox is that the poor who played little or no role in the evolution of the financial crisis are made to suffer the most, whereas those who caused the crisis have been bailed out by tax payers’ money.

For billions of the poor, capitalism had been in crisis unable to deliver life’s basic needs. And now when the crisis hits the capitalist countries as well, the poor are forced to undergo added suffering. The root cause of the financial crisis, according to most economic analysts, is sheer greed and the desire to have more at the expense of others. The irresponsibly managed laissez-faire financial system is truly finished.

An alternative system, with state control over the market, should take over from the present unregulated system. If the rich countries can mobilise over a trillion US dollars within weeks to bail out failing banks why do they wait for 25 years to mobilise much less, about US$100 billion to reduce poverty and hunger by half in their MDG?