Brazil’s Lula at Paris Global Financing Summit Indicates Why the West Has Failed

Brazilian President Lula da Silva upset more than one Western participant in his speech at the Paris June 22-23 Summit for a New Global Financing Pact (cf. previous item). The following excerpts suffice to give the flavor of it.

“…I came here to speak about how, along with the climate issue, we have to raise the issue of global inequality. It is not possible that in a meeting between presidents of important countries, the word inequality does not appear. Inequality in salary, inequality in race, inequality in gender, inequality in education, inequality in health.

“In other words, we are in an increasingly unequal world, and wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of fewer people, and poverty is concentrated in the hands of more people. If we don’t discuss this issue of inequality, and if we don’t give it as much priority as the climate issue, we can have a very good climate and people will continue to die of hunger in many countries of the world….

“Many times banks lend money and the money lent causes the state to go bankrupt. This is what we are seeing in Argentina today. In the most irresponsible way possible, the IMF lent 44 billion dollars to a gentleman who was president [Mauricio Macri]. Nobody knows what he did with the money, and Argentina today is in a very difficult economic situation, because it doesn’t even have dollars to pay the IMF. …

“I learned of a plan drawn up by the African Union, called [the International Fund for Agricultural Development] IFAD. It was a plan that anticipated 360 billion dollars in investment for infrastructure throughout the African continent. If the developed world had decided to finance companies to build the infrastructure needs of that plan, Africa would have already made a leap in the quality of its infrastructure.

“Yesterday we heard the President of Congo talking about the Congo River. As far as I know, the Congo River is sufficient for building at least three Itaipus, our [Brazil’s] largest hydroelectric plant, but there aren’t any, because there is no money and no financing. We need to stop, at the international level, proselytizing with resources. ‘Ah, I will help this little thing here, this little thing there,’ when in fact we need to make a leap in quality. And make investments in structural things which change the life of countries. This is why I am optimistic about the creation of the BRICS Bank. This is why I am optimistic about the possibility of creating the Bank of the South. This is why I am optimistic that we will discuss trade currencies….

“There are people who get scared when I say that it is necessary to create new currencies for trade. I don’t know why Brazil and Argentina have to trade in dollars. Why can’t we do that in our own currencies? I don’t know why Brazil and China can’t trade in our currencies. Why do I have to buy dollars?”

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