Friday, March 06, 2009

How Indian rice farmers ruined the world

Or would have done so according to Gordon Brown in 2006. The current context being Brown's repeated claim that his main regret about the financial crisis is that for years, he couldn't convince other countries of the need for international financial regulation. But what did he actually see as the biggest threat to the world economy a few years ago? --

MR. BROWN: Thank you very much, and thank you for being so patient. We met today as an International Monetary and Finance Committee at a time of global economic challenge, with world growth strong not least because of continued expansion here in Asia. It is a time of opportunity, but there are also heightened global risks. Global economic imbalances persist and the threat of their unwinding remains. Global inflation is rising, with upward revisions to over half of all country forecasts in the World Economic Outlook. Further sustained rises in oil and energy prices since our Spring Meetings have created risks to world growth. Perhaps the most worrying for the long term, worrying for growth in all areas of the world, is the stalling of the Doha Round of world trade talks.

A Doha deal never did get done, partly due to objections from India. But that's not what brought the roof down.

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