BBC BLOGS - Newsnight: Paul Mason
« Previous | Main | Next »

Twittering the G20. History beckons.

Post categories:

Paul Mason | 08:28 UK time, Tuesday, 31 March 2009

After yesterday's leak of the summit communique draft there was a lively discussion of the pros and cons of fiscal stimulus on Newsnight last night. Have a look on the iPlayer. I also ended up filming a series of links at the ExCel centre in docklands, which is a great reminder of what happens if you get economic policy wrong.

The Royal Victoria and Albert Docks, which form the placid waterway that will serve as a moat to keep anti-capitalists at bay, were once part of a maritime complex that was the centre of the economic world. Now as you will see if you go, they are a quiet backwater of waterside housing, conference centres and a few spectacular 1930s era abandoned warehouses related to the sugar industry just south of the site. Metaphors will be inspired, believe me.

Anyway I am not looking forward to covering the summit. I covered the November G20 - there will be thousands of journalists: imagine 3x TV channels, 5 newspapers and loads of specialists from each of 20 countries. Last time, in Washington, they put us all in a giant room in the State Department 2 miles from the summit to watch it on TV. But it was not on TV: a forest fire was on TV. The biggest waste of human effort was the result.

This time the UK authorities have deluged "civil society" with ways of participating. However what delights await once inside the cordon I can only guess at.

Because I can't guarantee to blog, I will also be twittering from my mobile phone. There will be a major flurry of news and reactions around the end of Thursday's proceedings. Will they save the world? Will Sarkozy walk out? Will the in-summit salad be as unhealthy as it was at the State Dept?

Find me on Twitter or follow the updates on my Facebook page.

And watch my film from last night's programme here.


  • Comment number 1.

    Good piece last night, Paul. Liam Halligan knows how to warm things up - I wonder if they'll let him through the cordon....your bar chart was most illuminating - contrasting stimulii v. national deficits - keep it going!!

  • Comment number 2.


    No matter how high you elevate the immature, they will always play games with juvenile goals. They will of course, both individually and collectively, mask the fact of their immaturity, with grand display, rhetoric and oratory, such that the gullible majority will be taken in.

    Daily, the understanding of how the mind 'works' is being laid bare. We trick ourselves, and others, far more often than we ever face a single reality. On this 'foundation' the least able-to-lead gain high office, and the easily-led reap unsustainable chaos. Look around.

    The G 20 'Plummet' should have been held in The Damnation Dome; our symbol of the triumph Despair over Hope.

  • Comment number 3.

    Unfortunately, the "powers that be" confuse the creation of money with the creation of wealth. They try to create liquidity, but unfortunately all they do is destroy wealth.

    CPI is 3% but interest on savings is only 1%.

    CPI is 3% but wages are falling, and unemployment is increasing.

    The cost of living increases but household incomes are falling and corporate profits are falling......

    The US and UK governments hope that cheap borrowing will boost their economies. However, they forget that the marginal productivity of debt is currently less than one. (You should only increase debt if it directly leads to an increase in productivity, which allows you to repay the debt plus the interest and still have money left over. For example if you borrow GBP100 for a year at 5% and this allows you to increase productivity and earn GBP200 as a result, you will be left with GBP95 net profit. Therefore, the marginal impact of the debt in this example is more than one. If it falls below one then the debts are a cost and not a benefit. Eventually, over a period of time, the debts could cause the business or the government to eventually go bankrupt.)

    The UK government has no reserves. Therefore, it must borrow in order to fund any fiscal stimulus. As it borrows it will run into the problem of the marginal productivity of debt being less than one. The government will have to increase taxation in order to repay its borrowings, and thus private enterpise and consumers will be stifled and punished by the increased tax burden.

    Therefore, don't bet on the fiscal stimulus solving the economic problems.

  • Comment number 4.

    What is the capital of Ireland?

    20 euros.

  • Comment number 5.

    monday's blog is coming up page not found so i'll stick it here.

    1. liam is right. we need to sandbox or firewall the investment banks so that any risks they take is contained and does not lead to contagion.

    all the stuff about bonuses etc are just politician red herrings. if the investment banks are sandboxed then they can run how they like.

    having firms that are 'too big to fail' in effect makes them govt backed. privatising the profit and socialising the loss. no firm should be 'to big to fail'.

    2. as not everyone agrees with more debt gordon should not bankrupt the uk without a mandate from the people. we need an election.

    3. a minister of honour would have resigned?

  • Comment number 6.

    Just wanted to say how much I appreciate your objective reporting and thorough non-hysterical or party-biased analysis. A rare commodity in the MSM at the moment. Keep it up Paul.

  • Comment number 7.

    Yeah Liam switched on the after burners. Now I wanna see NN drop out of warp, arm the quantum torpedoes and lock on to all the lying thieving low life bankers and politicians who controlled the regulation and ruined, and I really mean ruined, the ordinary person in the street. Captain Paxman fire !

  • Comment number 8.

    i'm a recent refugee from the mess that pesto's blog has become. it really has become a joke over there but i do nips over every now and then for a larf esp after a couple of toots.

    toot toot.

    the analysis is better here. thanx maso

    the banter is raj barrie gadgie so keep it here fellow blogites.


More from this blog...

Latest contributors

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.