Friday, April 03, 2009

The Protests & the G20 Summit

“Storm the Banks”, “Hang the Bankers”, “Claim the city back”… I hear these slogans being shouted while on my way to work. As a banker who works in the city (London), I had a potential threat to my life for the past two days – a threat of not just booed while walking down the streets, but a threat of a violent attack by the angry mob.

The world has not seen anything positive in the recent past. People have lost jobs, companies have fallen like deck of cards, poor have become poorer and rich have lost their wealth, the backbone of any financial system – the banks have collapsed, Governments are busy in bail-outs as a result increasing inflation and deteriorating the value of their currency. The economy which was thriving on a bubble suddenly decided to burst. We wonder why it happened and when it would end.

As a student who transitioned into an employee in this critical phase with lots of other class fellows, the diving economy has hit me hard. I felt the heat of the downturn as a job-seeker and I continue to feel the heat as an employee thriving to retain it. In the past six months, I have seen some very bright international students go back to their home countries after giving up the fight to secure themselves a job in the city. They could have been assets to this economy, but in the long run I must say. I can understand that, in the short run, this government has to create jobs for its own people, has to ensure that it can provide jobs to the 2 millions rendered jobless as a result of this crisis.

The G-20 Summit held in London on 1st and 2nd April was a platform for thousands like me to show their anguish to people who can make a difference by their collective effort. The 20 biggest economies of the world came down to a negotiating table, keeping aside their personal animosity, to discuss a collective plan which can help save the system from any further damage. The idea was clear - we all are in a mess so let’s all dirty our hands and clean it up.

How successful the summit has been, only time will tell. But yes, I can confidently say that it is a significant step in the right direction. We need more such collaborative action plans. We have globalised ourselves so much that no more is a problem at one corner of the world not going to have some impact on other parts. For example, since decades India has been crying to have a collaborative action on terrorism but nobody paid any heed until they themselves faced it. Now the world is united in its effort to curb terrorism.

We need such combined action plans for every other problem we see in any other country which could have even slightest of impact globally. The poverty in Africa should be a matter of concern to the entire world, coz if we can address it then we only end up increasing markets for our goods, we end up boosting our own economy. I am in favour of having a motive even in social work. At least it gives some people some reason to do some good to the society.