Europe Is Right about a Global Summit
Posted by jonathanfryer on Sunday, 5th October, 2008
Coming to the defence of the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is not something I do instinctively, but he, Nicolas Sarkozy, Angela Merkel and the dreaded Silvio Berlusconi are right to have come up this weekend with a call for a global summit on the financial crisis, bringing in not just the G8 countries but also India, China, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. One positive thing that might emerge from the credit crunch and related woes is that the long-overdue new world order, in which the emerging economies gain their rightful voice, may be ushered in.
Talking about this to a Pakistani friend the other day, I was taken aback when he lamented, ‘but there is not a single Muslim nation among this enlarged group of big-hitters!’ My first reaction was to wonder, ‘what has religion got to do with it?’ But after due reflection, I sort of saw his point. The Islamic world does have a different attitude to credit, interest and other instruments of Wesern capitalism, so perhaps it might have an interesting take on matters. More important, though, Arabian Gulf States such as Saudi Arabia have huge financial assets and share portfolios, as well as oil reserves, so maybe it would be useful if at least one Arab country was invited on board. The question then would be, should it be Saudi Arabia or Egypt? That is guaranteed to have them squabbling for a while!