London’s famous Ritz Hotel boarded its windows, construction sites were cleared of rubble and bankers were warned to stay home. The event was the April 2009 meeting of the Group of 20, and no effort was spared to protect the visiting dignitaries — and financial district — from demonstrations by anti- globalization protesters determined to get their message across to a global audience.

While protesters stormed the barricades, some smashing bank windows and attacking police, the world leaders worked to devise a trillion-dollar stimulus package for the battered global economy. But for American international activist Laurence J. Brahm, the best action they could have taken would have been to pull the plug on the whole system.

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