I so much wanted to be able to write that the G20 was a total success; I so much wanted to be able, like almost all the commentators, to unabashedly hail many the various tremendous efforts, so that no one will slam the door.

The efforts of the French president, so that we take regulation seriously, which have been done by pledging a list of tax havens, by having better control over credit-rating agencies, hedge funds and bonuses for CEOs and traders, by creating a committee for economic stability (rather than the existing French forum of the same name, CSF).

The efforts of the American president, so that we are reminded of the immense recovery programs, which have been done.

Those of the Chinese president, so that we reform the IMF and create Special Drawing Rights, which have been done. Those of the presidents of the global South so that we increase the resources allocated to them from the IMF by $0.75 trillion, which has been done, bringing the recovery total to $5 trillion.

But I can’t help but worry that all this heralds many new clouds gathering on the horizon too, because we are using the same weapons to resolve the crisis that created it. A few examples:

$5 Trillion in recovery? It’s the sum of sums that have already  been freed up; a mix of loans, monetary flotation, which represents 10% of worldwide GDP, but that begs the simple question: who is paying? I don’t see any money coming in, except perhaps the sale of a little bit of IMF gold; and yet putting it on the market will make the price plummet even lower. How can we hope to resolve a debt crisis by increasing debt? Ultimately, with taxpayer money.

Cleaner bank statements? By no longer requiring banks and insurers to value their assets at prices close to their market value, bank statements are improved in appearance only. Yet inversely, they are not encouraged to get rid of their toxic assets.  Under this new arrangement, their auditors will find themselves obligated to validate the valuation of these assets even if they aren’t convinced of the underlying hypotheses. When the truth rolls around – in a few months or years – these institutions will have to recapitalize. With taxpayer money. (twice)

Reduced speculation? On the outside, yes. But what happens in practice? Nothing has been said regarding CDS – the Sword of Damocles hovering over the system – nor the Anglo-Saxon tax havens, the big winners of the G20, nor the reality of securitization and leveraging. In fact, it seems as though everything is continuing like before: the day before yesterday the Financial Services Authority (English regulator) authorized Barclays to give up one of their subsidiaries by allowing it to finance the buyer. Like before. New authorized valuation is going to artificially improve capital stock and allow a growth of leveraging. Like before. The Geithner plan is going to let American banks sell their toxic assets with leveraging worthy of the worst speculation before the crisis (9 to 1). How can the Financial Stability Committee (in French: CSF) authorize practices so opposed to those it is supposed to defend? How can it authorize speculative funds making immense profits with taxpayer money (thrice)?

And finally, since nothing has really been created to strengthen bank capital, upon which a lasting financial recovery depends, the G20 seems to be expecting the failure of numerous financial institutions and wanting to arm itself against its own failure, in this statement equally terrifying and seemingly reassuring: “We will put in place credible strategies from the measures that need to be taken…” In other words, if none of this works, we will do even more. More, but what? More debt. And ultimately, more taxation (fourth time).

In total, everything unfortunately is happening as if, right beside very useful and courageous measures, which I very much hope will succeed, an immense blind recovery package is being put into place, not directed at saving banks or sectors of the future, and not financed which could end, in two months or two years, by bankruptcies, hyperinflation and the prospect of severe austerity.

Everything is happening as if the members of Alcoholics Anonymous, quite happy with their new resolutions, had decided, in leaving their meeting, to have one last drink. For the road.