October 11, 2008

Welcome to the simultaneous age

It seems our leaders are learning the importance of simultaneous action to address global problems. As the Guardian reports today on an emergency meeting by leaders of the group of 7 leading industrialized nations, whose financial systems are collapsing with global implications:

---extract begins
With little sign that country-by-country plans have helped to kick-start lending, the G7 believes immediate action is vital to avoid a major slump. The past four weeks have seen the biggest cut in growth forecasts in living memory, and the IMF has warned that the world economy is "on the cusp" of recession.

The chancellor, Alistair Darling, said: "If international cooperation is to mean anything, it means governments have to move on from simply agreeing a general approach, and doing something to resolve the problems we are facing today."

---extract ends

It is interesting to see how the rescue plan has been summarised as neatly as policy suggestions put forward for discussion amongst Simultaneous Policy Adopters:

---quote from Guardian begins

The five-point plan

· Pledge to save key banks from collapse

· Action to free-up credit and money markets by providing ample amounts of liquidity from central banks

· Support for the part-nationalisation of banks and other institutions by the taxpayer purchase of shares

· Stronger deposit protection schemes to reassure savers their money is safe

· Force banks to disclose the true state of their losses

---quotes ends

The Simultaneous Policy aims to address problems that require a global approach, either because of their scale, or because governments feat that taking unilateral action will put them at a financial disadvantage.

Unlike the G7 meetings, policy discussions take place openly and transparently and everybody has the right to participate and put forward their own solutions. At the present state of development of the democratic process, annual voting rounds amongst those who have registered with the campaign - which is free to do and can be done when voting - are held to guage levels of support. Those without support drop out of the process (though they can be resubmitted in the same or revised form) and those with significant support are given space in Simpol's publications and policy fora for further development of the ideas.

Politicians are called on to pledge to implement the Simultaneous Policy alongside other governments, which an increasing number are doing. As the number of government pledges nears the stage when implementation can be triggered, the package of policies will be finalised and put out to all citizens around the world.

Commenting yesterday on a coordinated move by central banks to cut interest rates simultaneously, John Bunzl, founder of the Simultaneous Policy campaign, noted in an email 'Welcome to the simultaneous age' to Simpol's email discussion group that, aside from the discussion of the value of this approach: "the Financial Times today reports, such action was "unprecedented" and a "historic piece of co-ordination". Interestingly, although they weren't in on the plan, the FT reports that The People's Bank of China "moved almost simultaneously" when it also cut its rate.... This kind of coordination is indeed unprecendented and I hope it marks the beginning of people and governments properly waking up to the fact that in a globalised world, global and simultaneous action is the way forward. So folks, welcome to the simultaneous age!"

Voting on policies submitted for inclusion in the Simultaneous Policy is currently open and runs till the beginning of November. See:


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