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Final numbers

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Stephanie Flanders | 16:11 UK time, Thursday, 2 April 2009

These are the final numbers now agreed: an extra $500bn for the IMF; $250bn for trade finance; $250bn in new SDRs; $100bn for the multilateral development banks to lend to poor countries; and a$6bn increase in lending for the poorest countries by the IMF.

The support for the poorest countries was the last piece of the puzzle that aid groups were waiting for. So the grand total is indeed just over $1.1 trillion.


  • Comment number 1.

    But the world's poorest countries can't repay borrowings, so what is the point of that ? Africa needs an end to protectionism from Europe which prevents it selling crops to its neighbour, and an end to the dumping of surpuses on them which removes all profit for the local farming communities.

  • Comment number 2.

    That's all fine; but then how do we make sure now that banks will be actually lending, which will only work if they finally define their losses and return their balance sheets to be such of banks following the original bank business model of lending money into economies for them to create real value.

  • Comment number 3.

    Fantastic, very impressed with this on paper. Far more agreement than I ever expected.

  • Comment number 4.

    Does the IMF own the plan to provide a constructive trade program to go with this aid allocation? How does the money get distributed in a way that will be used in an acountable way to full advantage by all.

  • Comment number 5.

    I am concerned that there seems little comment so far on a continuing commitment to prevent the cancer of protectionism spreading. this is a key area that could seriously jeopardise recovery - just as we saw in the US in the 30's.
    there will always be a level of protection but as the economic cycle continues to deteriorate the temptation for certain areas will be inncreased - as shown by EU against Vietnamese recently over footwear.

  • Comment number 6.

    1.1 trillion well well well ,its got a tithe bolted on ,who gets that?

    They wouldn't happen to be a little digitaly short would they?

  • Comment number 7.

    they agree to nothing.. as long as US leader and Chinise leader didnt come out personally and speak out and say that they agree for all the media and public to see, nothing is achieved. Even if something is achieved, still nothing can be done. Throughing money at the problems creates more problems.
    Why China's leader didnot come out and says that he agrees, only then we will believe. China has responsible and credible leaders that dont want to come out and fool the world like Brown does.

    Eat the leaders, not just the bankers.
    They are ruinning the world, they are giving money to people who have money and lost it because they were gambling the money and not creating jobs and products useful for people.

    the only way to fight the system is ignore it.
    all people who work hard, produce a usefull product and sell and consumers should not allow this elites tax their value of work, value of products.
    Tax avoidance is best option left.
    Let our elites run their own personal economy, by taxing themselves to pay for themselves.
    And we will not pay anything for their mistakes.
    As banks go bunkrupt, gov. should go bust too.
    The spent time and money for this g20, only to hear what China really wants. And it wants blood.
    Now China gave them time to another g20 meeting later this year, to see if they will deliver.
    Let see if they go bust before the next g20.
    Even if they will agree, there is no certainty that a revolution will not happen France, EU and the new system will declared void all obligations.
    China does not trust Brown, because China does not trust anymore our system. Brown can give garantees, but the system doesnot give.
    Brown will be gone, and Chinese investments with him.

  • Comment number 8.

    Hey! Father Christmas has come early this year. And where was all that money going to come from again?

    I wonder why they think that creating new money makes the world produce more things and makes us all really wealthier?

    Just like Gordon's UK policy, this is all about making the people who didn't borrow pay for the mistakes of those who did.

  • Comment number 9.

    Thank you for the final scores, Stephanie.

    The vital trivia remain of
    1. who contributes how much and by what date
    2. what policy will be agreed on how money, other than
    IMF cash, is disbursed

  • Comment number 10.



  • Comment number 11.

    Whilst I have not seen a breakdown in the amounts to be received by the IMF, I am quite certain that a lion's share will be coming from China. Since China had been pushing and agitating for the SDRs to replace the US$, I will put my bets on the Chinese increasing their share (buying up) of the SDRs by offering their US$ debts in exchange. They will also "pay" for their share of the $500 billion loan and $250 billion trade funds with US$ debts. This will go some way towards reducing their dependence on the US$ and also not print more money !!

    On the other hand, the US will be stuck with loads of US$ debts floating around and will have to mop them up before producing more debt or the run the risk of a serious devaluation of the US$ !! Poor Obama !! Damned if he does and damned if he doesn't !!

    "But the biggest changes in the IMF will come after 2011, when it has been agreed that there will be a review of the voting structure. That could lead to the US losing its veto power, while China and other emerging countries get a bigger voice.

    It has already been agreed that in future, the convention that the World Bank and IMF must be headed by an American and a European respectively will be abandoned."

    This is the main battle and it looks like the BRIC countries won this round !! Perhaps we are about to see the Decline and Fall of the American Empire !!

  • Comment number 12.

    All fingers crossed. On such a sunny London afternoon one errs on the side of optimism.

    The commodity in short supply is contrition. One could easily be annoyed with the PM's continued lack of it.

    My fear is that the electorates of the world have limited knowledge of the World Bank Group and, in particular, the IMF.

    The Good and Great at the G20 may prattle and produce soundbites at press conferences : but do the majority of the UK's electorate listen with sincere attention or bemused and raw derision ?

  • Comment number 13.

    #8 "I wonder why they think that creating new money makes the world produce more things and makes us all really wealthier?"

    Unless the US or UK are going to devalue their currency by printing more of it, there wouldn't be more new money. All the money pledged will come from national reserves of the cash-rich countries !! I'm sure the Saudis are not exactly short of a few bob !! And neither are a few other countries !! The Canucks and Aussies will be going up the league table even as a few European countries will be going down !!

    The Premier league will have a whole new look - a Darker Shade of Pale, perhaps !! Japan will hang on in here - a bit like Spurs, really !!

  • Comment number 14.

    Hi Stephanie

    Thanks for this and the numbers are hard to get a grip on aren't they?

    Surely though just magicking up money for the IMF doesn't actually do anything in itself. In fact if the world economy begins to recover it has to be highly inflationary. I would be interested in your thoughts as to how they can creat the SDRs for the IMF as there is no world central bank and who backs it in terms of hard cash. If it was so easy why hasnt it been done before.

    Your earlier post on why this may not help Gordon Brown was interesting but his problem is his own track record. As far as one can see in its own terms he will claim this summit as a success. However.

    1. Deals he is involved in have a track record of being quite different from what he announces them as when the full details are checked.

    2. Standing up and claiming he has been pushing for things for 10 years only reminds people that he was in charge when the bubble grew and that his systems/plans were inadequate.

    3. I bet he wished he could avoid talking about the IMF selling gold! His sale of the UK gold reserves was at the bottom of a market which has rallied considerably and left everyone out of pocket.

  • Comment number 15.

    #5 At the risk of being accused of making a terrible pun, the boot is now on the other foot !! Knowing the IMF, the $250 billion to encourage trade will come with ferocious riders against protectionism !! That is going to hurt the protectionists more than they can hurt their victims.

    The costs of their trade credit and trade insurance will be phenomenal especially when premiums are levied against them for being protectionist !!

    These are interesting times, indeed !!

  • Comment number 16.

    I wonder if and how much money the UK government has pledged to these numbers?

    Do we now have loose global definition of protectionism?

    Is anyone at G20 going to admit that the global shadow banking system that has operated out of the various tax havens has also been outside of corporate accounting systems?

    Did the summit achieve an estimate of the number of global mixed currency notes in circulation and the level of borrowings against that currency?

    Sounds to me like some of the worst culprits to the crisis are getting away 'Scot Free' and also being given time to sort out their tax havens before they are regulated.

    Yes - overall some vital and necessary progress but generally a 'fudge'.

  • Comment number 17.

    @ newsjock - just what I was wondering, funny I can't find any answers anywhere...

  • Comment number 18.

    Dear all,

    This is the beginning of a new era. The most important aspect of the G20 summit was the SDR modification of the IMF role. This is not the end of the story and the administrative body and its regulations surrounding these SDRs will evolve rapidly.

    The pain will be felt most by the Chinese, the OPEC members and the USA. For the rest, the SDRs might not even mean much.

    They will try to alleviate this pain by either developing their domestic economies or exporting climate tech depending on if they have a current account surplus or deficit RESPECTIVELY.


  • Comment number 19.

    #5 justinu

    "I am concerned that there seems little comment so far on a continuing commitment to prevent the cancer of protectionism spreading. this is a key area that could seriously jeopardise recovery - just as we saw in the US in the 30's"

    Perhaps because there is no clear evidence that the protectionism of the 1930s did prevent/prolong recovery.

    Protectionism does not mean the end of international trade. It does however give space for national economies to be re-aligned to meet the needs of the state and people. If you look at the UK's totally imbalanced economy then there is a desperate need to create an environment in which more balance and control can be introduced. This can only be achieved with a protected economy.

    There is no law which states that the UK must remain in an economic mess purely for the greater good of some concept of a world economy.

  • Comment number 20.

    #18 Or they could develop trade in previously ignored markets like Africa and Latin America !! The Chinese are way ahead in this game but the Americans have made a start in chatting to countries they had previously deemed too poor to bother with, like Costa Rica !!

    When times are hard, every penny counts !!

  • Comment number 21.


    The US have a major stake in agriculture in Costa Rica and have dominated their markets for years

  • Comment number 22.

    The Grey Cardinals don't like 'protectionism' (nationalism) because most of them are internationalists. Whilst nationalists are accountable to their electorates (or at least have to govern their own countries), internationalists can abrogate that responsibility/duty to somewhere else and say that any problem is a global issue and out of their control because its so complicated, whilst swanning about for photo opportunities, gabbing a lot, and getting well paying 'executive positions'.

    Wake up. They will make nationalism look horrifying by playing the Nazi card so you buy their do nothing i.e anarchistic (Austrian/Chicago School anarcho-capitalist) economics at tax-payers expense game.

    If you can't see this...., try it on just as a hypothesis.

  • Comment number 23.

    Well, looks like the mad dash to get out of US Treasuries won't be far off. The more the Federal Reserve prints to buy bonds the less the dollar is going to be worth. Holders of US debt (e.g. China and Japan) understand this all too well. Sooner or later they (China/Japan/Saudi Arabia) will not only refuse to buy new bonds, they will be looking to offload the ones they already own.

    Once the US dollar gurgles down the toilet bowl, the debt ridden GB pound will surely follow. Anyone bought gold recently?

  • Comment number 24.

    The numbers aren't really the point, I suppose they're presented to obscure the point rather than illuminate anything.

    Looking at the picture it's a bit like a horrible parody of the old Miss world competition where the competitors line up and can't say what they actually they say something to impress the judges..the nicest something; used to be that they'd like to end world poverty and make everyone happy.

    And the G20 line up... would like to end world poverty and make everyone happy!

  • Comment number 25.

    Is Gordon Brown going to go for a June election.

    This summit illustrates that Brown is a shrewd Political Operator ruthlessly using his position of power for self promotion.

    Another clever idea that is not appreciated was the cut in VAT.

    The cut in VAT by 2.5% was nothing to do with a fiscal stimulus, but was a clever trick to reduce inflation to allow very low interest rates.

    Consider that the CPI is now 3%. If the VAT cut was not included on say the vatable 50% of the basket we would have inflation of at least 4%, prompting the BoE to raise interest rates to meet the target of 2%.

    Brown is a lot smarter than his opponents give him credit for. He truly is a master of deviousness.

  • Comment number 26.

    The British economy is like frogs with legs sepparated from the part that croaked ,what Brown has to do is connect them to the national grid and get them to line dance as if they were in a life or death competition with Michael Flatley atleast until Lasbour are through the next election ,by which time they can be sold piping hot to the French

    Then it will be the snails turn .

  • Comment number 27.


    The relationship between the £ and the $ has been severed for quite some time now. Even though the UK is/will be debt ridden I can see the £ fairing far better than you suspect.


    Sarkosy has already opened the door! As this things deepens I'm sure that we will see EU backing for 'special measures' that they will insist to the world are not protectionist in intent but provide clear barriers. For once the UK will have to lean the EU doublespeak :)

  • Comment number 28.

    To paraphrase Senator Dirkson, a trillion here, a trillion there, before you know it, it adds up to real money.

    The word for today is "fudge." That's what this whole absurd farce in London amounted to. Whether it was President Obama negotiating vague wording that France and China who are at swords point (much as the UK and Russia are) over tax havens like Macao both could take home and declare victory over to the pledge that there would be tighter regulation and more transparency of banks just as American bank regulators told US banks they would not have to mark to market the value of their mortgage backed assets, in other words it is okay for them to lie about what they are really worth.

    Unlike parliamentary systems, President Obama does not run the US and his agreements committing America to anything of substance will be subject to hot debate in Congress and among the public and may be in part or in total rejected. I still believe that as things get worse, many governments will resort to protectionism as the only pragmatic way to survive the internal political pressue by their constituents. When push comes to shove, a politician is a politicain anywhere and his number one goal is to acquire and keep power. France and Italy are surely feeling the heat already.


    "Well, looks like the mad dash to get out of US Treasuries won't be far off. The more the Federal Reserve prints to buy bonds the less the dollar is going to be worth. Holders of US debt (e.g. China and Japan) understand this all too well."

    There's an old saying that if you owe a bank a million dollars, you're in trouble. If you own a bank a billion dollars, the bank is in trouble. The US government owes trillions, around 10 to be exact. The problem for nations holding huge quantities of US Treasury bonds trying to sell them is that getting rid of them in any quantity will drive their price down even further, the very thing they fear most. China is about to get a lesson in Americanomics. The US has always done this when it was in deep debt since the end of the great depression. That's the real way it got out of the great depression, huge government spending on the war with money it didn't have. It wasn't the war itself, it was the spending and the inflation. Look for the bond market to collapse, the US dollar to be strongly devalued, and banks involved with Eastern Europe to get their clocks cleaned.

  • Comment number 29.

    Marcus. Yes it was a fudge. What did you expect?

    Obama and/or his advisors is not as stupid as you infer. The figure that he commited the US to was below that which he would have to sek approval for.

    China has the whip hand on you this time. After all they don't really care about money but they do care about power and advantage. The US therefore has to be careful about its inflation growth - with or without quantitative easing. Power within the IMF, WTO and World Bank is changing. It's likely that the reserve curency will change in the next few years. All of this will have a damatic effect upon the value of the $. You no longer have the industrial base to meet your consumer demand - just look at your trade deficits. Times are really going to be tuff!

    For Europe things will not be any easier. They could be if the EU worked as it is supposed to do. However, the dynamic tension between the national economies makes life very difficult.

  • Comment number 30.

    #21 "The US have a major stake in agriculture in Costa Rica and have dominated their markets for years"

    True but much of that had been a one-way street, with the peasants of Costa Rica sweating to provide the Americans with their nice tropical fruit cocktails and they do so for pittance !!

    If they now look at the Costa Ricans as humans deserving of a decent (not necessarily exorbitant European-style) wage, the locals might be able to amass enough money to purchase American goods !! Living on $1 a day rather precludes the idea of buying IPods, don't you think ??

    If you compare the price of Costa Rican Cocoa in Costa Rica and in NYMEX, you will see a very significant chunk of that money go into the pockets of the commodity traders in New York !!

  • Comment number 31.

    #29 "For Europe things will not be any easier. They could be if the EU worked as it is supposed to do. However, the dynamic tension between the national economies makes life very difficult."

    If Europe cannot get its act together, how can any one expect large contiguous empires like Russia or China to act as one ?? Both Russia and China have more different languages and peoples within their borders than all of Europe !! Different peoples, different needs, different wants, different aspirations !! Satisfying all the people all the time is the kind of fun job that give their leaders ulcers !!

    BTW, did any notice Sarkozy did not leave without twisting the knife just a bit !! He mentioned that he did not think that he would have got so much from his "Anglo-Saxon friend" !! Not fellow leader, not fellow European, Anglo-Saxon !! Obviously he considers that that little island off the West coast of Europe has got nothing to do with him and he is distancing himself from its antics !! Besides, it's only three months to Bastille Day and a sharp reminder to all French leaders, especially in light of the current rebukes from the people in the streets, that Dr.Guillotine's invention could make a short French President even shorter !!

  • Comment number 32.

    To all those pondering where the money is coming from, where we you when Gordon Brown was delivering his budget speeches?

    Here we have the same formula - something that is nicely packaged for the press, looks great on the surface, but when you look into the detail you find that nothing has really changed except we're all worse off.

    Much of the IMF "new money" was already in the system, but let's add it in to make the pot look even bigger. (See article in the Spectator for more detailed analysis:

    Actually, not a bad summit for Brown, he may get a boost sufficient enough to risk calling an early election (i.e. before the reality checks set in), and may think he has engineered his globalist escape route for when he leaves the UK political scene in around 18 months.

  • Comment number 33.

    Some say the aim of the USA is to devalue the dollar in order to devalue its debts. This would work if the USA was an exporter, as a weak dollar would boost exports and create jobs.

    However, the USA is an importer; so it risks stagflation if the dollar devalues – i.e. high unemployment and imported price inflation. The price inflation would then drive down wages and employment and tax revenues even further. A weak dollar would not be an advantage in today’s “globalized” markets.

    The USA recovered from the Great Depression of the 1930s by exporting war manufacturers to the British Empire and its commonwealth. Who’s it going to export to now, and what exactly is it going to export?

    The world economy is suffering from over-capacity and over-indebtedness. Only by development of new technologies (hopefully green technologies) will the world find marginal efficiencies which will reduce costs and boost profits, allowing the tax take to increase and the debts to be paid back or written off.

  • Comment number 34.

    #32 "and may think he has engineered his globalist escape route for when he leaves the UK political scene in around 18 months."

    They do say the Outer Hebrides is good this time of year !! I mean, all Emperor Napoleon got was St. Helena; cold, damp, windy and not exactly a nice place !!

  • Comment number 35.

    poopdeckdave, the question of whether or not the US dollar is no longer accepted as the defacto world currency will depend on many things including whose economy shrinks the fastest...or slowest. The IMF predicts that the US economy will shrink by 4.5% this year. Japan's shrunk by 13 percent in the last quarter of 2008. How fast will Europe's shrink? And which nations will remain politically stable? Will Euroland when the loss of its social safety net creates political and social chaos in the streets as we've begun to see already? The point of printing money is to devalue past debt. It's an old trick the US uses about once every generation. It happened during the Carter administration for example. We just need more of it now in a shorter time than in the past due to the size of the problem. For Europeans, it conjures up memories of pre WWII Germany and contemporary Zimbabwe. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about maybe 30 to 50 percent a year for a few years. The US currency needs to deflate by about 80% compared to the debt. Past lenders at fixed rates will be wiped out. They deserve it for taking foolish risks. Future lenders will demand much higher interest rates for their added risk. It's already in the works. Republicans worry for their banker friends but who cares. New banks with no low interest paying and non performing loans can always be created with new money when the old ones Deutchebank, USB, Paribas, and Citgroup.

    Mr. Tweedy, the US is not only an importer, it is a huge exporter, the largest or second largest in the world. Its number one export is food. But it also exports many other things. Not only that, but much of what American corporations earn and repatriate as profit back to the Us comes from their overseas investments in places like China. People forget that while we no longer think about GNP because of globalization, it is still a very important number. Actually, the US had a trade surplus last month for the first time in decades. This is not a sign of its strength but of its weakness and the slowdown of its economy. Exporters to the US will be hurt badly by that slowdown and even moreso if they do not keep in lockstep with the US dollar devaluation. Exports to the US is still the engine that drives the wheel of wealth creation in most of the world outside the US.

  • Comment number 36.

    #34 They do say the Outer Hebrides is good this time of year !! I mean, all Emperor Napoleon got was St. Helena; cold, damp, windy and not exactly a nice place !!

    May I suggest St Kilda? Perhaps together with the combined talents of some ex-bankers they could make it a going concern...

  • Comment number 37.

    ishkandar (#31) "BTW, did any notice Sarkozy did not leave without twisting the knife just a bit !! He mentioned that he did not think that he would have got so much from his "Anglo-Saxon friend" !!

    Classic blame-shifting to patsies. Wall Street investment bankers have not generally been blue-eyed Anglo-Saxons, but they have often been quite short (NCAH, due to a CYP21 polymporphism on C6p21 and estrogenisation?).

    The President of Brazil helped found one of his country's Trotskyite (these days, NeoCon, Third Way?) parties. What a tangled web we conspiracy 'perceivers' weave.

    'Tax-farmers of the people unite, you have nothing to lose but your venture capital risk!.

  • Comment number 38.

    No.35 MarcusAureliusII

    I agree somewhat with what you say, but we must bear in mind the following risks associated with devaulation of the dollar.

    The average wage in the USA is approx USD30,000 whilst in China it's only USD2,000
    The amount of potential bad debts on American balance sheets is in the trillions of dollars.
    The dollar would have to depreciate by a massive extent to make the USA competitive as an exporter against China, Japan and Germany. Also, high inflation (20% or 30% or more per annum) would be needed before all the debts would melt away, and wages would have to increase in line with inflation to allow people to pay off their debts. Therefore, the higher wages would push up the cost of American made goods.

    In the 1970s there was low unemployment and wages kept up with price inflation. Today, by contrast, we have high unemployment.
    High unemployment in an inflationary environment is not good, as average wages will not keep pace with the price rises. The USA still imports on a large scale. In an inflationary environment, the high level of imports would mean that US businesses would try to reduce their input costs to counter the imported inflation caused by currency devaluation - and they will be forced to cut employment and keep wages low, causing more people to default on their loans as the cost of living increases.

    In the 1970s Britain had low unemployment, and wages increased with inflation which was running at 27% per annum. The inflation washed away the debts and mortgages, as wages kept pace with inflation. However, the wage price spiral eventually made British industry uncompetitive against Japan and Germany. British industry then collapsed fully in the 1980s, when the pound became a petro-currency through North Sea oil and sterling appreciated sharply, making British manufactured goods even more expensive.

    Britain's experience may not be 100% applicable to the USA today, but it shows the risks associated with high inflation. Once started, inflation is very hard to control.

  • Comment number 39.

    #34 "May I suggest St Kilda? Perhaps together with the combined talents of some ex-bankers they could make it a going concern..."

    Good idea and they can all get rich selling toxic assets to each other !!

  • Comment number 40.

    No. 37 JadedJean wrote:
    "Wall Street investment bankers have not generally been blue-eyed Anglo-Saxons, but they have often been quite short (NCAH, due to a CYP21 polymporphism on C6p21 and estrogenisation?)."

    Do you happen to know the religion of the people you mention here?

    You mentioned earlier that you believe the male of this particular religious group to be feminised. You also mentioned that you believe females are not generally as intelligent as males. Therefore, why have males of this religion ended up in charge of the investment banks? Does this mean the white anglo-saxon male is indeed a bit of a duffer?

    Just trying to understand your theories.

  • Comment number 41.


    Keep banging on - you may one day convince yourself!

    You keep looking to the past for answers to today's problems. The world is a different place today and America's position within it is changing rapidly. The actions of other nations is clealy demonstrating that they are not buying into the US psychology of 'too big to fail'.

    Mr Tweedy is right when he points to the new circumstances regarding inflation. Travl that road and the USA will find that the inflationary spiral is easy to start, almost impossible to control and very very difficult to squeeze out. We in the UK can point to more recent experience of just how incideous inflation can be.

    You mention US international and multi-national companies. Now here is an area in which i do have some expertise. Fundamentally the psychology within these organisations has shifted. US companies generally looked at overseas subsidiaries as milk cows. When times were tight in the US, the subsidiaries were instructed to maximise profit and remit that to the US - even if that order was contrary to the wellbeing of the subsidiary. British multinats on the other hand felt no such tie to their domestic market. Over the last 10-15 years, US multinats have moved much closer to the British model.

    You keep telling us that Europe is soft and bloated with its social security provisions. Yet it appears that we are no worse off than the US. Your american dream is shattering at your feet. Your own President is telling you how unacceptable your education sysatem is, how unacceptable your health care system is and how America MUST invest public money in them. For the 'home' of the car and truck, how poor your transport systems are, etc. etc. In a land that glorifies money and excess you close your eyes to the level of deprevation that stalks your cities and your rural poor. If I have to be poor or sick then I'd rather be that in Europe than in the USA.

    I doubt that anybody here believes that the US will collapse into a 3rd world state - or even wants that. But we do see that the economic climate is changing. part of that will be the US having to come to terms with its revised role in a new order. That psychological shift will be even more difficult for Americans - we Brits have been there and it still haunts us.

  • Comment number 42.

    foredeckdave (#41) "I doubt that anybody here believes that the US will collapse into a 3rd world state"

    Then you clearly have not been paying attention.

    The demographics indicate that the USA goes first and then Europe. Can you see why? Having said that, Eastern Europe's TFRs are in a very bad way. Take on board that with a TFR of 1.1 a population haves in 30 years. With 1.3 in 60.What is Europe and the USA replacing its numbers with? Where do they come from? How much needs spelling out?

    As an aside, do you know how (and why) Bull-Terriers differ from Labradors? Obedience school does not work on the former you know.

    If riled by this, try seeing it an incipient, benevolent enlightenment, don't fight it.

  • Comment number 43.

    US population keeps increasing through immigration. The projection is around 3 million a year on average over the next 40 years or so. The birth rate is only sufficent to replace those who die. Immigration is one of America's greatest strengths. It attracts the most ambitious, brightest people in the world who find they cannot achieve their potential whatever that is at home. The come from Mexico to pick fruit and their children go to college to become doctors, lawyers, and politicians. Meanwhile the most talented engineers and scientists are attracted by good paying jobs, a good lifestyle, and acceptance without discrimination they might face in other countries. America has been in a process of perpetual self renewal since it was discovered. Europe is in a perpetual state of decline. America surpassed every single European country almost a century ago. Now even in agregate, Europe is falling behind. Numbers alone don't begin to tell the story though.

  • Comment number 44.

    Marcus, you really should either take the blinkers off or stop to think about some of the things that you say - or even both!

    I don't know how you even have the audacity to try and lecture us about discrimination. The chances of an immigrant mexican's child actually making it to the end of your High School is remote. Sure a few (and comapratively very few) will make it to become doctors and lawyers but they would probably have succeeded in any society. You had a civil war ostensibly about slavery in the 19th century yet the majority of black american's are still waiting for full equality to be achieved. So don't try and lecture us.

    Just as Britain lost the race to be the industrial number one at the end of the 19th Century, the USA is loosing the race to be the commercial number one at the start of the 21st Century. If there was ever a nation that has sqaundered so many resources and become fat (literally) and lazy then it is the USA. However, now the price has to be paid.

  • Comment number 45.

    poopdeckdave, you are so wrong you are just out of your league here. Your views are out of the 1960s or 1970s. A lot has happened. Ever hear of Governor Richardson of New Mexico? An American of Mexican ancestry who ran for president last fall.

    And in case it escaped your notice, the current President of the United States just happens to be an African American...who was educated as a lawyer at Harvard University.

    That these people are far more representative of American demographics is a fact you and others in Europe would prefer not to believe because it flies in the face of your preconceived lies about the US you cherish so much.

  • Comment number 46.

    marcrust. you really should look around you at the state of your economy and the society it supports. Then answer me why the lowest wage earners and the poor are over-represented by black and hispanic people? Why, in what proports to be the richest country in the world do you allow such levels of deprevation and homelessness? If your own president admits that children are going to bed hungry in the USA then it speaks badly of a self-interested society that appears to condone that!


  • Comment number 47.


    There is poverty and starvation all over the world. There isn't a country untouched by it. Look at your own country. If you can't find it it's because you haven't looked hard enough, it's there. What makes you think it is condoned? It's a fact of life we try to deal with many ways through food stamps, welfare, and private charities, something relatively unknown in the outside world. The US doesn't just worry about hunger at home. It also gives away more food to starving people around the world than any other nation. For all I know more than the rest combined. The seemingly endless farmland that covers the heartland of America feeds much of the world, not from small inefficient little plots but by vast agribusiness enterprises. Just a slight diversion of some of that grain to alcohol production to supplement gasoline has sent world food prices soaring.

    There are plenty of poor white people in America. Why are poor blacks and Hispanics more visible on your news media? Ask BBC. If they are truthful, they'll tell you it's part of their relentless anti-American propaganda. You should also try to gain an understanding of the historical facts of America as well. It's easy to ridicule what you don't understand. How many Asians who came to Britain illegally and don't speak a word of English are not also impovrished? Today, police in Rome discovered a hundred people including 24 children living in a sewer under a railway station. It's a worldwide problem.

  • Comment number 48.

    According to a Financial Times analysis, if you exclude items announced prior to the G20 and exclude items which have not actually been agreed as yet, then the G20 final figure was approximately $100bn not $1.1 trillion.

    It seems that in their haste to meet publishing deadlines journalists have been misled and in turn mislead their audiences.


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