The annual conference of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group was recently held in Tokyo, Japan as all the foremost financial players in the world met for yet another so-called significant world summit meeting.
Yes, they all gathered, except for the Chinese.
There still seems to be an issue about some “little island” and China, Inc. doesn’t want to deal with Japan, Inc.
But other than that minor inconvenience, it seems that all the participants were there to reiterate their respective positions.
Christine Lagarde, IMF Managing Director, implored the leaders of Europe to take action. More specifically, she wants the ESM to be deployed.
Reading between the lines, (which is always dangerous), it appears Lagarde is urging the EU to put aside conditionality and simply issue checks.
Apparently, the situation is becoming so dire that she (just think of our great former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson) wants the implementation of the financial bazooka.
Yet, it seems that the twenty-five representatives from the advanced and industrialized world economies focused more on their sushi than on what Lagarde had to say.
Regardless, her desperate plea made for a very nice sound bite and a dramatic headline.
Then there was the performance of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Helicopter Ben was in Tokyo in order to defend QE3, and also to teach the world what they should and shouldn’t accept.
Anyone looking clearly at the impact and unintended (perhaps intended) consequences of the money flows being driven to emerging markets by the Fed would be hard pressed not to understand why the emerging market situation is completely missed.
Driving currencies to higher levels, creating runaway inflation, and promoting double-digit unemployment is not exactly the best way to “win friends and influence people,” and Mr. Carnegie would be the first to agree.
On the other hand, working together in order to solve the world’s financial crisis went out the window a few years ago when the Fed started cranking up the printing presses.
Obviously, Ben’s objective was to remind the world that hot money flows were not his making, nor his concern, and that the emerging markets should just bite the bullet.
After all, his name is Ben Bernanke and he knows what’s best for all of us.
Nevertheless, it’s not three years ago and the magic words of both Christine and Ben are wearing very thin.
Lines are being drawn and the reality is starting to be fully understood.