Outlook: Blair's remedies

WHEN EVERYONE else is out for the count - Clinton Monica Lewinskied, Kohl facing electoral defeat and Japan in its usual state of political stupor, etherised upon a table - that is the time for a world leader of true stature, moral integrity and vision to come forward. Whether Tony Blair quite fits that bill is open to debate, but he certainly seemed willing and determined to take a stab at it in his speech to the New York stock exchange yesterday.

What he offered up was a reasonably articulate precis of mainstream thinking on the nature of the crisis afflicting the international economy and the sort of institutional reform that might be necessary to prevent it happening again. What he didn't do was offer any kind of short term solution, for unfortunately, much as Mr Blair might like to think he is capable of curing the world of all known ailments, he can't.

As this column has repeatedly stressed over the last month, there is only one way in which the developed world can head off the now very real threat of the crisis in emerging markets spreading to its own economies, and that is by cutting interest rates. More importantly, it requires action by the Federal Reserve in the US, an aggressively reflationary policy stance in Japan, and perhaps some action in Germany too. Of the three, only the first appears likely to happen in the immediate future.

Mr Blair made a valiant attempt in his speech to instruct central bankers to do the right thing - without in any way interfering with their independence, you understand - but in the end he's as impotent in these matters as Clinton, Kohl and Obuchi, and as head of a smallish offshore economy, possibly more so. If it is still possible to rescue the situation, it is Alan Greenspan at the Federal Reserve who holds all the cards.

As for Mr Blair's remedies, he's as entitled to pontificate as the next man and much of what he says makes sense. New institutions and better policing are all urgently required to deal with the often frightening world of free capital flows we now live in. But ultimately it will be the US that decides, with or without Mr Clinton, not Mr Blair.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager / Financial Services

£30000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established in 1999, a highly r...

Jemma Gent: Year End Accountant

£250-£300 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you a qualified accountant with strong exp...

Jemma Gent: Management Accountant

£230 - £260 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Do you want to stamp your footprint in histo...

Beverley James: Accounts Payable

£22,000 - £23,000: Beverley James: Are you looking for the opportunity to work...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower