George Graham

The Economic Crisis is a Symptom of a Sick Global Society

lemondeI am indebted to a service called “Truthout” for alerting me to an article in Le Monde by Pierre Calame (photo at right), president of the Charles Leopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind. Calame makes a compelling case for a suspicion I have harbored for some time. I suspect that the current financial, economic and social crisis can be resolved only by societal reform, not by dumping trillions of dollars into the maw of a greedy elite.

“Some pretend to believe that the present crisis is a passing incident – just more serious than previous such incidents – which an injection of public money will allow us to overcome,” Calame writes.  But he points out that with the progressive exhaustion of natural resources, climate change and public indebtedness, the problem goes far deeper. His solution:

We’re going to have to enter a great transition to a sustainable society. It will lead us to cut our energy and raw materials consumption back to the biosphere’s reproductive capacities and to rebalance the access different regions of the world enjoy to those resources….

There’s no solution to the aberrations of finance without the recreation of a global monetary order; no monetary order without an energy order; no energy order without evolution of the system of production and trade; no evolution of that system without new global governance.

To many Americans this is heresy. I am sure you have read and heard conspiracy nuts warning that a devious plot is afoot to create a world government, depriving the United States of its sovereignty. But this fear is based on mindless jingoism. Americans have no more right to the world’s resources than anyone else. For the people living in some countries to consume more than their fair share of the world’s resources is unjustifiable – and now it is proving unsustainable.

World leaders will address the current crisis at the G20 conference in London, England, on April 2. According to the conference web site, they will be asked to commit their governments to:

  1. Take the necessary steps to stabilize financial markets and enable families and businesses to weather the storms of the current recession;
  2. Reform the global financial and economic system to restore confidence and trust;
  3. Set the global economy on a path of sustainable growth.

This will mean a commitment to global cooperation, with regulations and provisions designed to help all the people of the world, not any one country. There will undoubtedly be special interests and individuals who regard this kind of approach as un-American. But to set the world on the path to recovery, President Obama must ignore their voices – regardless of the political cost.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for