A debate opens up

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Peer Steinbrück, the German finance minister, has joined the growing list of politicians with a view on the current economic crisis.

His analysis differs markedly from that expressed by President Bush on Wednesday. ‘The financial market crisis is above all an American problem’, Steinbrück told the Bundestag (German Parliament) yesterday.

He added that ‘the current turmoil was allowed to develop because of a reckless pursuit of short-term profit and huge bonuses’. Policy makers had lacked the ‘political backbone’ to stand up to ‘bankers’ greed’. And Steinbrück expects the results of the current crisis to be far-reaching. ‘The U.S. will lose its status as the superpower of the world financial system, and the world’s financial system will become multi-polar’.

As a result, he sees a bigger role for European banks and sovereign wealth funds from the Middle East and Asia. He also expects greater regulation of the financial system, as proposed earlier this week by Nicolas Sarkozy, French President. Separately, Sarkozy again warned that ‘the crisis isn’t over, and the consequences will be serious’.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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