Sunday, November 16, 2008

G20 Flop

Having now read the G-20 Summit statement, I pronounce the meeting a failure. It reiterated some tired platitudes about an open global economy and not retreating into protectionism, as though this were really the danger facing the world. It called for some mild regulatory reforms of the financial system that caused this mess, with no specific proposals. The big omissions were the following:
  1. construction of an integrated system of standards, what Martin Wolf at the FT has called a "new Bretton Woods."
  2. call for stimulus packages to help populations in the global North and South alike. The world's population is almost entirely absent from this document. The American and European middle-classes are also absent.
  3. any vision of social development. The UN's Millennial Goals are there unexpressed and articulated - for poor people.
Many others will argue this is a major step in an important process. I doubt it.

I now think it was a prophetic moment when the French finance minister, Christine Lagarde, pulled out her Coolpix (a not very recent model) to take a snapshot of her neighbor at the big round table. These world leaders are acting like a bunch of tourists.

The public is going to have to do this on its own.

1 comment:

freakpowertix said...

And they wore ponchos! Neat!

At least Dubya got the cold shoulder. Some consolation, huh?