Toronto G-20 Protests, Police Car On Fire, And More
Toroto's G-20 meeting is shaping up as the most impotent yet most confrontational of all recent summits so far. As Bloomberg reports, "Group of 20 leaders will agree to targets to tackle deficits in their final statement without prescribing when nations should begin to move to balance their books, according to officials with knowledge of the document." Due to the escalating schism between US and Europe, or Geithner and Merkel (incidentally, for definitive proof Merkel is spot on, Argentina just joined the pro-Keynesian chorus saying Europe's focus on cutting deficits is "absolutely wrong" - and if anyone knows anything about top notch economic policy, it is surely Argentina), it is likely that neither will push their own agenda on others, and with the yuan's recent symbolic depegging, everyone will be able to go home pretending victory was achieved. Yet despite the complete lack of consensus, somehow the leaders have decided to cut deficits in half by 2013, even though this target is beyond ridiculous, coming at a time when the entire world is spending with a profligacy that would make a drunk sailor blush (even one that has access to Bernanke's printer). "The draft of the statement includes targets championed by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to have countries halve deficits by 2013 and start to stabilize their debt-to-output ratios by 2016, the officials said. There is a consensus to maintain stimulus now with the focus on deficits in the “medium- term,” Harper said in a June 21 interview." In other words, nothing will change, and eventually, when the entire world has over 5 times its entire GDP encumbered in real cash debt (as opposed to the $1.2 quadrillion in pseudo-metaphysical debt), and interest payments alone account for well over 30% or more of economic production, the G-20 might, just might, consider debt cutting approaches. In the meantime, initial protests which had been largely peaceful, quickly turned violent as over 30 arrests have been made in Toronto so far, coupled with burning police cars, the use of gas masks, and direct police-protest engagements.
Below is a video from RT showing some of the festivities
And some more:
Courtesy of Reuters, some pictures that capture the antiglobalization mood. If you look closely, you will find the Americans in the crowd, closely following the riots on their iPads.
Those who wish to follow's Reuters live-coverage of the G-20 summit can do so here.