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The Global Economic Security Equation – Likely Prospects Defined by Worldwide State Intervention in the Markets and Resulting Accumulated Debt

May 11, 2009 3:12 PM EDT

WASHINGTON, DC -- 05/11/09 -- Dr. Alexander Mirtchev, president of Washington, D.C.-based Krull Corporation, discusses the path to recovery from the global downturn on Al-Jazeera's "Riz Khan Show." He emphasizes that the sporadic signs of optimism and "green shoots of recovery" should not be taken as proof positive that a speedy rebound is just around the corner.

"Rather, the recovery is going to be stop-and-go, prolonged and 'patchy,' coalescing in region- and sector-specific outcomes, contiguous with the very nature of the crisis, which was in the making over the course of the last ten or more years," said Mirtchev. "In that regard, this crisis has taken the form of an abrupt global deleveraging and has at its roots deepening macroeconomic imbalances that turned it into a full-fledged recession. The worldwide financial system stumbled and exposed the inadequacies of international institutions, which failed to recognize market realities in a timely manner, let alone respond to them." He also pointed out that it is not realistic to "finger" the U.S. as the main culprit for the crisis -- "It takes 'two to tango,' and in this crisis, the 'whole dance class' was involved."

Stressing that "it is only a matter of how long the crisis will continue," Mirtchev indicated that all talk about multi-polar worlds notwithstanding, U.S. leadership will be crucial for the success of global recovery measures. However, he underlined that "the speed of the recovery would hinge on the developed economies together with the rapidly developing markets, absent political turbulences, upheavals, and other external 'shocks' that have unacceptable socio-political implications. Sudden country-specific deteriorations and systemic upsets, in particular among the rapidly developing economies, could affect markets across-the-board, with the plight of emerging markets, such as Eastern Europe, representing a particular hazard for global recovery."

On the dominant issue of worldwide government intervention measures, Alexander Mirtchev emphasized that "virtually every significant economic crisis gives rise to an expanded role of the state. From a pragmatic point of view, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with the government stepping in to lead the economic recovery. However, even though the situation may call for unprecedented measures by the state, unanticipated consequences are likely to arise." Respectively, he indicated that "there are a number of 'why's' and 'what's' about the effect of government intrusion in the markets on the recovery and sustained growth that do not appear to have come to the fore of public attention as of yet, such as: What effect will state intervention have on competitiveness and productivity, both locally and abroad? What will be the effect of crowding out of private borrowing from the markets by the government? To what extent would government become 'preferred employer' or 'preferred contractor' for all the industries it gets involved in? And looming on the horizon are the twin scourges of the mounting public debt and inflation."

An important recovery factor is the emerging consensus in support of the introduction of a new global financial regulatory system and the provision of improved resources to international financial institutions like the IMF to support global financial stability. In this process, policy-makers will have to address existing international economic imbalances, the impact of global deleveraging and the failure of the financial markets to handle the "stresses" that caused the crisis. Mirtchev's view is that "regulatory initiatives, even though necessary, should be applied cautiously, not least to ensure that new 'regulatory arbitrage' is avoided. Regulating against excessive risk-taking, for example, may impede innovation, competitiveness and entrepreneurship, which lie at the core of economic growth."

That said, intergovernmental efforts to deal with the financial crisis would provide better results if they manage to avoid the temptation to "try and put the genie back in the bottle" and return to the status quo ante in the financial sector. Mirtchev indicated that in the long run, the new financial architecture should align itself with the evolving nature of the global financial sector, acknowledge and even facilitate its emerging realities. "This new system could gradually build the elements of a 'global financial mega-market' of mass participation, based on the technologies and infrastructure that are already in place, that empowers the market players and individual consumers to conduct business activity, incentivizing rather than restricting, establishing clear, consistent and transparent rules of the game, and, respectively, educating about the new realities. However, this would require a truly 'Copernican vision' of the evolving financial sector and strong political will," he noted.