Who said these words?
Although these words were spoken about two months ago, recent developments have made them seem even more relevant. Here's a multiple choice question: Who said the words below? A) Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of Russia B) Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France C) Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Bank D) Larry Kudlow, economist, with luck the next Senator from Connecticut E) Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric
This is why I would first like to mention specific measures which should be avoided... We must not revert to isolationism and unrestrained economic egotism. The leaders of the world's largest economies agreed during the November 2008 G20 summit not to create barriers hindering global trade and capital flows... Although additional protectionism will prove inevitable during the crisis, (we) must display a sense of proportion. Excessive intervention in economic activity and blind faith in the state's omnipotence is another possible mistake. True, the state's increased role in times of crisis is a natural reaction to market setbacks. Instead of streamlining market mechanisms, some are tempted to expand state economic intervention to the greatest possible extent. The concentration of surplus assets in the hands of the state is a negative aspect of anti-crisis measures in virtually every nation. In the 20th century, the Soviet Union made the state's role absolute. In the long run, this made the Soviet economy totally uncompetitive. This lesson cost (the Soviets) dearly. I am sure nobody wants to see it repeated. Nor should we turn a blind eye to the fact that the spirit of free enterprise, including the principle of personal responsibility of businesspeople, investors and shareholders for their decisions, is being eroded in the last few months. There is no reason to believe that we can achieve better results by shifting responsibility onto the state. And one more point: anti-crisis measures should not escalate into financial populism and a refusal to implement responsible macroeconomic policies. The unjustified swelling of the budgetary deficit and the accumulation of public debts are just as destructive as adventurous stock-jobbing.For the answer to the multiple choice question, scroll down... . . . . . . . . . . . . And the wise man is... Vladimir Putin, speaking in Davos, Switzerland, in January, 2009 (Please don't e-mail me stuff about what a bad guy Putin is. I know already. But that doesn't mean he's wrong on this topic.)
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