U.S. pitches free markets ahead of G20 summit

Business Materials 14 November 2008 09:41 (UTC +04:00)

As world leaders headed to Washington for a weekend summit on the global financial crisis, the United States made a pitch for modest reforms instead of the stiffer regulation that some European countries favor, Reuters reported.

"The crisis was not a failure of the free market system," President George W. Bush told a New York audience on Thursday ahead of a Friday night dinner and meeting on Saturday of the heads of the Group of 20 developed and emerging nations.

The greater threat to prosperity is "not too little government involvement, it is too much government involvement in the market," Bush said.

The message may ring hollow with some G20 countries that say under-regulated U.S. financial industries effectively exported to the global economy a crisis that originated in reckless U.S. mortgage lending.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said last weekend in Sao Paulo, where G20 finance ministers met, that the world economic order "collapsed like a house of cards" because of a "dogmatic faith in non-intervention in markets."

Brazil, which holds this year's G20 chairmanship, is one of the key emerging-market nations joining leaders from the old-line Group of Seven rich nations for talks that implicitly acknowledge the rapidly growing emerging powers now deserve a bigger say in how global finance operates.

Others include China, India, South Africa and South Korea.