IS the party starting again? Not, says the head of the United Nations’ trade and development commission.
UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi said in a statement released Tuesday that rising stock prices and companies' bottomlines don't mean it's time to roll out the barrel of fun again.
Mr. Supachai called such attitude a "casino mentality" as speculation on currencies and commodities continue to grip the global financial system.
The head of the UN Commission on Trade and Development hinted that such money play shouldn't be mistaken for a recovery from the global recession.
Mr. Supachai based his views Ecuadorian Diego Borja Cornejo's take on the crisis: the play on money –spending with and for it– was the cause of the world’s current headache.
“Welfare had been confused with consumerism,” said Mr. Cornejo, Ecuador Minister for Coordination of Economic Policy.
Mr. Cornejo said in the statement that economies belatedly realized they were wrong in thinking that "constant, increasing consumption could be the engine for economic growth."
Cash became a commodity, he said, "a good to be consumed and accumulated."
"Money was no longer a means to an end."
Those who played it as such was motivated to profit effortlessly, Mr. Cornejo said.
He noted that because of such motive, businessmen and women sought to profit on the short term rather than focus energies on "the production of tangible goods."
"Money simply was used to make money."
M. Cyrille Pierre of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs was quoted as saying such unbridled gobbling of goods produced in natural resources-rich developing countries further pushed food and energy prices up.
Thus, the recession that followed became a triple whammy for developing countries.
A year after the United States suffered its third consecutive negative growth, unemployment continues to plague it and the countries relying on trade with the US.
"The countries of the South had become almost exclusively producers of raw materials for the use and exploitation of the North," Mr. Cornejo said.
The Unctad said there could neither be "green shoots" or signs of recovery if unemployment, economic damage, and four million additional people per week suffer from hunger, and "continue to plague developing nations."
Hence, Mr. Supachai said equating "signs of improved performance in the financial sector" with recovery is "certainly worrying."
"It implies that we have not learned from our recent experiences."
Mr. Cornejo advises to drop all pretense that the current financial system can still be fixed.
Nope, he said.
"It has to be transformed, based on an egalitarian approach that [is] truly dedicated to development."

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