March 18, 2009 / 12:30 PM / in 9 years

State control only tool to beat crisis: Gorbachev

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Government intervention is the only way to restore the world economy after 30 years of shrinking state influence over national economies, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev wrote in the International Herald Tribune on Wednesday.

Gorbachev addressed his remarks to leaders of the group of 20 leading developed and developing nations who will meet at a financial summit in London on April 2.

“The task is equal in magnitude to the challenge of warding off the threat of nuclear catastrophe that we faced in the late 1980s,” said Gorbachev, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in signing arms treaties with the United States.

Gorbachev said the retreat of the state from economic life set in train by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher created a vast financial bubble which had now burst.

“Even so, we keep hearing from those who still believe in the magic curative powers of unregulated markets. But today, people are no longer looking to them for solutions,” Gorbachev said in the opinion piece.

“They expect their elected leaders to act. Those leaders must use the tools of government intervention; no other tools are available,” he said.

“I want to hope that government leaders -- like those in the G20 who will meet in London in April to discuss the financial crisis -- will solve the pressing issues while also laying the groundwork that could stand for decades to come.”

Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Louise Ireland

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