Obama, Brown on the Record: G-20 Summit - Page 6 of 16

Obama, Brown on the Record: G-20 Summit

And that includes a number that will be discussed at this summit. I think there’s a lot of convergence between all the parties involved about the need, for example, to focus not on the legal form that a particular financial product takes or the institution that it emerges from, but rather what’s the risk involved; what’s the function of this product and how do we regulate that adequately; much more effective coordination between countries so that we can anticipate some of the risks that are involved; dealing with the problem of derivatives markets and making sure that we’ve set up systems that can reduce some of the risk there.

So I actually think that there’s enormous consensus that has emerged in terms of what we need to do now, and I’m a big believer in looking forward rather than backwards.

PRIME MINISTER BROWN: You know, I was in Brazil last week, and I think President Lula will forgive me for saying this — he said to me, when I was leader of the trade unions, I blamed the government; when I became leader of the opposition, I blamed the government; when I became the government, I blamed Europe and America. (Laughter.)

And he recognizes, as we do, that this is a global problem. It’s a global problem that requires a global solution. What essentially happened is that the speed and the pace and the scope of global financial changes — the mobility of capital around the world — overwhelmed system of national regulation. And if we don’t accept that as the problem that we’ve got to solve, then we will not solve the problems this week.

This is a problem to build cross-border supervision, to actually deal with the rules globally that can govern the financial supervision of banks and markets, and to root out the bad practices that have partly existed because of the scope by which — because of the speed by which financial markets moved and the scope that they had to cross national boundaries.

So we need global solutions to what is a global problem and I think we will agree a number of measures, as President Obama said, that will clean up the global financial system.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: And just one last point I want to make, because it’s relevant to this issue of responsibility versus blame. I had a professor when I was in law school who said some are to blame but all are responsible. And I think that’s the best way for us to approach the problem that we have right now.

I do think that, across borders, there has been a tendency to believe that whatever the global capital markets were doing was ultimately beneficial. I am a big believer in global capital markets and their potential to provide capital to countries that might not otherwise be able to grow, the possibilities of increasing living standards in ways that we have not seen previously in world history. But what we have to understand is, is that that’s going to require some sort of regulatory framework to make sure that it doesn’t jump the rails. And that I think is something that we’re going to be able to put together.