U.N Secretary General blasts Financial Markets

UNITED NATIONS – The global financial crisis endangers efforts to reduce world poverty and demands a new approach with less "uncritical faith in the 'magic' of markets," U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday.

The financial turmoil roiling world markets put at risk the achievement of the U.N.-agreed Millennium Development Goals set in 2000 to halve global poverty by 2015, Ban said in his opening address at the United Nations General Assembly.

"The global financial crisis endangers all our work — financing for development, social spending in rich nations and poor, the Millennium Development Goals," he told world leaders gathered in New York for the annual meeting.

Speaking shortly before U.S. President George W. Bush was due to address the assembly, Ban said it was time for global leadership and collaboration rather than confrontation.

"We need a new understanding on business ethics and governance, with more compassion and less uncritical faith in the ‘magic’ of markets," Ban said, calling for collective action and global leadership.

A deepening credit crisis, the collapse of major financial institutions, mergers of others and a U.S. government bailout of three financial giants, led the Bush administration last week to propose an unprecedented $700 billion bailout plan.

Initial exuberance about the plan to buy up toxic mortgage debt has given way to concerns about how the U.S. government would fund it and whether the package would be enough to boost the world’s biggest economy, which is at risk of recession.

Worries about delays as the Bush administration and Congress haggle over details of the package reversed initial market gains last week when the bailout was announced.

"We need to restore order to the international financial markets," Ban said. "We must think about how the world economic system should evolve to more fully reflect the changing realities of our time."

 "We face a global financial crisis. A global energy crisis. A global food crisis," Ban said.