Do Markets Negate Democracy?

At the end of last week and for part of the weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Biennale Firenze in Florence, Italy. The event was being hosted by EESC, the European Economic and Social Committee. With a title of “Education To Combat Social Exclusion”, it is not a natural event for a blog about finance and investment…

However, much of the content of the conference was dominated by the role of markets and the financial crisis. Many of the speakers had the financial pitfalls in mind when they spoke about the problems being faced by poorer members of society. (For a definition, please click here – social exclusion .)

There was one speaker though, Josep Borrell, that addressed the issue much more concretely. Mr Borrell is former President of the European Parliament, so I think it is safe to presume he has some knowledge and insight to be applied.

He described the influence of the markets and how they are able to dictate policy to governments – albeit indirectly. This power to influence, by devaluing a currency when the financial policies of a government are not liked, is something that he called the “negation of democracy”.

He also highlighted the terrible inconsistency of large financial organisations and their market behaviour. The ability to punish governments in the financial markets by selling currencies down, having just needed a bailout, and using the bailout money to do it, shows the problems we have with markets currently.

If you would like to hear more, get it from the man himself. I asked him to elaborate:

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