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Time & Temperature in Doha

GulfTimes/ Emir warns on moral and cultural crisis
The figures coming from the US and Europe on the intensity of damage on account of the financial turmoil have been shocking to the whole world, says HH the Emir
By Ramesh Mathew
Staff Reporter

HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani with former French president Jacques Chirac and HE the Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Industry Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah at the opening session of the forum. PICTURE: Noushad Thekkayil

HH The Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani yesterday cautioned world leaders against the consequences of the ongoing financial crisis.
Addressing the opening session of the ninth Doha Forum on Democracy, Development and Free Trade at Doha Sheraton Hotel, HH the Emir said the economic crisis “has exceeded the limits of what is usually foreseen and expected of the market activity, from expansion to deflation. It has gone out of control and has turned into a dangerous hurricane….”
He said: “What is more dangerous than the economic turmoil is the cultural and moral crisis….
“The culture of consumption and getting-rich quickly without production has spread out, turning speculation into a norm and custom in the same developed countries in which the extent of the financial catastrophe was suddenly revealed. The way to address what happened is to acknowledge and correct the error and not to hold others responsible for it.”
He said the solution to the crisis was not to abandon the market laws and free trade nor to resort to selective protectionist measures or to reject planning entirely.
“The solution lies in balancing between responsibility and freedom, between market laws and public social responsibility represented by the modern state.”
He said: “What happened in the last few months and still happening is not a natural catastrophe like a hurricane or an earthquake, but a result of human miscalculations, poor planning, excessive self-confidence and over-enthusiasm to get rich quickly.
“It was the outcome of some ill-planned investments in stock markets as also the result of a turning away from the fundamentals of a sound economy based on labour, production, market and of course profits.”
HH the Emir said the figures coming from the US and Europe on the intensity of damage on account of the financial turmoil were shocking to the whole world. The US had to spend until now more than $11.6tn as part of its bail-out operations. “This is apart from the cost incurred by other parties, including nations, markets and sovereign funds which reportedly shelled out close to $20tn.”
Calling upon the world leaders to formulate rules with which economies could be saved to a large extent, the Emir said the forum had a mission to get engaged in the international movement and put forward some useful ideas to counter what happened and what had been happening over the last several months.
Earlier, HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani said the meeting had come at a time when the entire world was passing through an unprecedented financial turmoil.
Former French president Jacques Chirac and Finland Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen also addressed the gathering.
About 500 delegates from about 50 countries are attending the three-day conference.

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