Breaking Views

G-20 deserves better protesters

With all the world's financial woes, there is room for an alternative view. But the London protesters offer no more than the senseless slogans of a hippie festival.

EMAIL  |   PRINT  |   SHARE  |   RSS
 
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
By Edward Hadas, breakingviews.com

(breakingviews.com) -- A great age of protest should be dawning. The global mismanagement of the financial system has led to a deep recession. Intellectual paralysis has gripped the authorities and their policy response has been risky.

After such failure, the political leaders gathered in London for the G-20 conference deserve a serious challenge. Sadly, all they are getting are the senseless slogans of a hippie festival.

The manifesto of the G-20 Meltdown group, which managed to collect a scraggly band of a few thousand malcontents on Wednesday, borrowed a piece of contemporary rhetorical vacuity from President Barack Obama.

But their "Yes we can" answered questions that were depressingly naïve - "can we guarantee everyone a job, a home, a future?" and "can we make capitalism history?" The audacity of hope was not matched by a discussion of means.

Of course, demonstrations aren't the natural home for intellectual rigor, but this effort is particularly fragmented and foolish. It's a shame, as the world's leaders really do have a big ideological gap to fill.

In the two decades since the fall of Communism, they have mostly been guided by a slogan of their own: "Trust the financial markets". That now sounds almost as simplistic as the protesters' plan to "abolish all borders and be patriots for our planet".

The G-20 doesn't have time to develop big ideas during their meeting. There are too many disasters to be averted, not to mention petty squabbling over hedge-fund regulation and executive pay.

But the next generation of leaders needs to get finance right, to balance the global economy and to keep development on track. That requires a new intellectual framework.

Protesters who look like they just want a street party aren't likely to be up to the challenge. Sadly, the more intellectually sophisticated Left seems to be hardly more capable of helping out.

Any protester who can articulate a coherent alternative to the establishment's tattered notions really could change the world. To top of page

Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 118.90 3.59 3.11%
Bank of America Corp... 15.43 0.23 1.51%
Yahoo! Inc 43.73 -2.73 -5.88%
Microsoft Corp 42.01 0.82 1.99%
Facebook Inc 78.00 1.76 2.31%
Data as of 4:02pm ET
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,416.85 225.48 1.31%
Nasdaq 4,683.41 45.42 0.98%
S&P 500 2,021.25 19.09 0.95%
Treasuries 1.75 0.03 1.57%
Data as of 8:31pm ET
More Galleries
The best TV deals for the Super Bowl Want a new TV for the Super Bowl? Some great deals make now the time to buy. More
Top-paying jobs Orthopedic surgeons take home a median $410,000 in salary and bonus annually. What other great careers from CNNMoney and PayScale.com's list of Best Jobs in America offer hefty paychecks? More
Fastest-growing jobs Demand for IT security consultants are projected to grow a solid 37% between 2012 and 2022. What other careers on CNNMoney and PayScale.com's list of America's best jobs will see big opportunities? More
Worry about the hackers you don't know 
Crime syndicates and government organizations pose a much greater cyber threat than renegade hacker groups like Anonymous. Play
GE CEO: Bringing jobs back to the U.S. 
Jeff Immelt says the U.S. is a cost competitive market for advanced manufacturing and that GE is bringing jobs back from Mexico. Play
Hamster wheel and wedgie-powered transit 
Red Bull Creation challenges hackers and engineers to invent new modes of transportation. Play

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2015 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2015. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2015 and/or its affiliates.