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George Soros said the crisis was triggered by a "super-bubble" - a culmination of smaller bubbles that had built up over 25 years resulting from easy credit and high leverage and which had never been tackled.
He said President Barack Obama's plan to break up big US banks and impose special taxes on them was premature.
"I am very supportive of it but I don't think it goes far enough," said the 79-year-old. "This development came too soon because the banks are not out of the woods.
"The banking community that is opposing it is tone deaf and is making a big mistake in opposing it. I think this is a very unfortunate reaction," he said.
Mr Soros said the US administration should have taken more time. "It is more important to get the legislation right than to do it in a hurry. It is important to depoliticise it."
The Obama plan to stop commercial banks speculating for their own accounts would lead big banks to spin off their investment arms, he said. "These investment banks will be very substantial and they will be too big to fail."
Mr Soros said a new global regulation of the international financial system is needed. "The old system has broken down."
Atlanta, Georgia - With civil society gearing up for the 2010 World Social Forum, and later this summer, the 2010 U.S. Social Forum in Detroit, Michigan, activists here say new alliances created at the first USSF in 2007 are going strong.
Two of the most notable were the Right to the City (RTTC) and the National Domestic Worker Alliance (NDWA), a grouping of 11 local and regional domestic worker organisations.
"There's been a tremendous amount of progress [since the USSF]. The alliance has expanded to include 10 cities and over 20 groups of domestic workers around the country," Ai-jen Poo, a participant in the founding meeting of the NDWA, told IPS.
"We have started working on an international campaign together with domestic worker organisations around the world to impact the first International Labor Organisation Convention on Domestic Work. That's going to be discussed at the ILO in Geneva in June of this year and next year as well.
"We've also started working with the U.S. Department of Labour to look at potential administrative and regulatory reforms at the DOL that can include enforcement of existing laws for domestic workers at the federal level," Poo said.
She said that the New York chapter has been fighting for statewide legislation to establish labour rights for domestic workers there, while domestic worker groups in California are launching a statewide domestic worker bill of rights campaign.
NICOLA BULLARD, member of the World Social Forum’s international council (bangkok)Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Inter Press Service
Ten years after its founding, the World Social Forum (WSF) has come to represent a rallying point for activists and grassroots groups committed to shaping an alternative world view.
'It is very important that we have this space for all of us to come together and shape a vision that reflects our concerns,' says Nicola Bullard, a senior associate of Focus on the Global South, a Bangkok-based think tank championing issues that matter to people in the developing world. 'We have been able to build our own discourse, our own thinking, our own legitimacy.'
'It is certainly an alternative to the elite, who build their own spaces all the time,' adds the Australian national, who has been a member of the WSF’s international council since its inception. 'The WSF is still relevant today.'
Yet the social movement — as opposed to a political party — has evolved, taking on newer issues that have emerged, including concerns over climate change, which dominates economic justice debates.
As it celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, the WSF will hold a series of events that will kick off on Jan. 22 in Greater Porto Alegre in southern Brazil. A programme of activities dubbed the 'Greater Porto Alegre 10 years Social Forum,' to be held on January 25-29 in Brazil, will be one of the highlights of the celebration.
'Another world is necessary' to deal with the current ecological crisis, observes Bullard, a Melbourne University graduate who has worked on global trade, human rights and women’s issues in Australia, Thailand and Cambodia.
IPS met Bullard at her book-lined office in the Thai capital for an interview ahead of the next gathering of the WSF in Brazil.
World Social Forum and Davos at the Crossroads
As the ninth World Social Forum (WSF) came to a close last week in the Amazon basin, the simultaneous meeting of select business leaders and policymakers at the exclusive ski-resort of Davos, Switzerland, provided a sharp contrast between a spirit of vibrant public engagement and the mood of depression at the World Economic Forum.
In contrast to Davos, the participants at the WSF in Brazil articulated a number of proposals to promote economic and social justice and increase democratic participation in the world economy.
A number of Latin American leaders also preferred to attend the World Social Forum instead of Davos. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Brazil's Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Bolivia's Evo Morales, Ecuador's Rafael Correa, and Paraguay's Fernando Lugo all attended the event on January 29th, and together criticised the economic orthodoxy of free-market policies, deregulation, and market-led growth. Rafael Correa suggested that activists could take inspiration from Latin America as an example of alternative economic systems in practice. In his key-note speech, Correa called for an "economy for the development of the majority of people."
Although widely acknowledging that the Forum has acted as a ‘broad church' for the differing views of progressive civil society groups, many analysts state that the WSF remains limited as a true agent of political change, characterised by disorganisation and a lack of coherence.