Now is not the time for countries to abandon open market policies or make changes that would threaten free enterprise, President Bush said Saturday.
Bush used his weekly radio broadcast to address anxiety about the financial meltdown, which Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told Congress last week had left him in a "state of shocked disbelief."
The president, who is hosting a meeting of world economic leaders Nov. 15 in Washington, called for patience and expressed confidence the economy would eventually rebound. He called on the leaders at the summit to recommit themselves to the fundamentals of "long-term economic growth: free markets, free enterprise and free trade."
"And this moment of global economic uncertainty would be precisely the wrong time to reject such proven methods for creating prosperity and hope," he said.
Over the past few weeks, governments have taken unprecedented steps to thaw frozen credit markets and avert what economists predict could be a long recession. Still, stock markets around the world plummeted Friday and oil prices fell to their lowest in more than a year on rising fears that governments, central banks and finance ministers could be powerless to stop a global downturn.
Bush said U.S. actions such as the passage of a $700-billion plan to buy bad assets from banks and other institutions and enhanced federal guarantees of deposits, are beginning to show results.
"It will take time for their full impact to be felt," he said.