As the world holds its breath and hopes that the financial packages brokered by the leading industrial nations can stave off the worst consequences of a global recession, it is the impact on consumers, rather than business that should take centre stage.
Whether it’s safeguarding personal savings, accessing credit, paying a mortgage or protecting a pension, it’s consumers who will end up feeling the true brunt of any downturn in the global economy. And, if some of the bleaker predictions prove true, the crisis may well move beyond consumer savings and investments and affect basic services such as energy provision, healthcare, transport infrastructure and food prices. As a result, many consumers who have never held a bank account or owned a house would then be affected.
This crisis is the failure of an excessively deregulated free market, and governments must now step in to protect the consumer. This should be rapidly followed with effective global measures to restore responsibility, accountability and transparency to financial markets. Consumer protection must be put above short-term corporate profit.
Download the full CI statement on the financial crisis.