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‘Onus on developed world to tackle financial crisis’

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Veteran British diplomat Chris Patten.
Veteran British diplomat Chris Patten.

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: Veteran British diplomat and author Chris Patten on Monday emphasised the role of the developed countries in owning up responsibility for the current global financial meltdown and taking the right initiatives to solve the problem.

Delivering the Penguin Annual Lecture-2008 here on “A New Century and the Dark Side of Globalisation”, Mr. Patten spoke on a plethora of issues surrounding globalisation and the role of international institutions, including the United Nations and the European Union, in meeting the challenges associated with globalisation.

The lecture was based on Mr. Patten’s latest book, “What Next? Surviving the 21st Century”, that was also televised and broadcast live to audiences in Chennai and Mumbai.

Also described as the “architect” of John Major’s election in 1992, Mr. Patten is Chancellor of Oxford and New Castle universities as well as Chairman of the International Crisis Group and the United Kingdom co-chair of the UK-India Round Table.

“The world’s only super power is the United States, but just because it is invincible does not mean it is invulnerable, nor does it mean that application of its military force can solve any problem imagined or conceived in reality,” he said. The seasoned author attributed the financial meltdown to the debt build-up in the US owing to the rising gap between stagnant earnings of Americans and their concept of “reasonable sufficiency”.

On the role of the State in dealing with the onslaught and challenges of globalisation, Mr. Patten said: “Though globalisation has no doubt marked a tremendous improvement in the way we live, it does not deal with problems of social inequity for which government policies are needed.”

He also suggested ways to tackle other world problems including terrorism, epidemics, modern slave trade, drug trafficking, climate change among others that have emerged due to the dark side of globalisation. He concluded the lecture by maintaining that there was no reason to be gloomy due to this crisis and that all problems associated with it were solvable and all that was needed was political leadership to put the solutions in place.

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