The International Monetary Fund’s $30bn rescue package for Brazil was larger than expected, and should have brought relief to the markets. But it did not. After an initial rally, bond interest rates have settled at levels incompatible with long-term solvency.
The country’s benchmark C bonds yield about 22 percent in dollar terms.
We live at a transformational moment in history. The survival of open societies is endangered and we face an even greater crisis: climate change. It is threatening the survival of our civilization. These twin challenges have inspired me to announce the most important project of my life here tonight.
Thank you for the generous introduction.
It gives me great pleasure to accept this prize.
I feel very honored to join the distinguished ranks of past recipients.
What is most gratifying to me today is your timing.
You make this award at a time when the values of the Open Society are under attack around the world, including the United States.
As many as 400,000 people will make dangerous journeys to reach Europe this year, about half of them fleeing the civil war in Syria or brutal government repression in Eritrea. By the time they reach the west, they will have had to risk their lives twice: once in fleeing their countries, and again in entering ours.
The campaign to ensure that companies engaged in extractive activities disclose all of their payments in their host countries is gaining momentum – and France is leading the effort. President Nicolas Sarkozy should be applauded for supporting a new initiative promoting strict transparency standards for petroleum, gas, and mining companies listed on European stock exchanges.
Our marijuana laws are clearly doing more harm than good. The criminalization of marijuana did not prevent marijuana from becoming the most widely used illegal substance in the United States and many other countries. But it did result in extensive costs and negative consequences.
I share the growing concern about the misalignment of currencies. Brazil’s finance minister speaks of a latent currency war, and he is not far off the mark. It is in the currency markets where different economic policies and different economic and political systems interact and clash.
The global financial system as it is currently constituted is characterised by a pernicious asymmetry. The financial authorities of the developed countries are in charge and they will do whatever it takes to prevent the system from collapsing.