Tag Archives: g20

Was The G20 Summit Actually Dangerous?

It is easy to dismiss the G20 communique and all the associated spin as empty waffle.  Ask people in a month what was accomplished in Pittsburgh and you’ll get the same blank stare that follows when you now ask: What was achieved at the G8 summit in Italy this year?

Perhaps just having emerging markets at the table will bring the world closer to stability and more inclined towards inclusive growth, but that seems unlikely.  Should we just move on – back to our respective domestic policy struggles?

That’s tempting, but consider for a moment the key way in which the G20 summit has worsened our predicament. Continue reading

The G20 Summit in Pittsburgh: Should You Care?

On Thursday evening and all day Friday, heads of government from countries belonging to the G20 will meet in Pittsburgh.  On paper, this looks important – 90 percent of world economic output and 67 percent of world population will be at the table: the G7 (US, Canada, Japan, UK, Germany, France, and Italy), plus the European Union, the largest emerging market countries (including China, India, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa) and a few others.  And unlike the G7, which is really a club for rich industrialized countries, every continent and almost all income levels are represented in the G20. Continue reading

G20 Thinking: “In The Medium Run We Are All Retired”

It looks like the G20 on Friday will emphasize its new “framework” for curing macroeconomic imbalances, rather than any substantive measures to regulate banks, derivatives, or any other primary cause of the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

This is appealing to the G20 leaders because their call to “rebalance” global growth will involve no immediate action and no changes in policy – other than in the “medium run” (watch for this phrase in the communiqué).

When exactly is the medium run? Continue reading

G20 Summit, IMF Meeting: What To Expect?

As we wade through a long line of international economic meetings – G20 ministers of finance last week, G20 heads of government in Pittsburgh coming up, IMF-World Bank governors meeting in Istanbul early October (and all the associated “deputies” meetings, where the real work goes on) – it seems fair to ask: where is regulatory reform of our financial system heading?

Long documents have been produced and official websites have become more organized.  Statements of principle have been made.  And the melodrama of rival reform proposals has reared its head: continental Europeans for controlling pay vs. the US for raising capital vs. the UK not really wanting to do anything.  But what does all of this add up to, and what should we expect from the forthcoming summit sequence?

Nothing meaningful. Continue reading

Obama Wins At G20: Europeans Lose Control of IMF

The big news at the G20 was obviously about the IMF, with the Americans pulling out an impressive deal on funding (compare with our predictions…). But the money is not the biggest achivement. The big move was in terms of who will run the IMF in the near future – as I explain my NYT.com column this morning, there is an implicit and almost immediate shift towards emerging markets.

President Obama had just the right tone yesterday.  Admittedly, he was helped by the fact that we no longer have anything to be arrogant about, but still the way he reached out to other countries – while also pointing out that they made big mistakes and are currently in trouble – conveyed exactly the right message.  The US will do much better if it lets emerging markets and developing countries have a serious and permanent place at the big table. 

Among other things, this will fundamentally change the way the IMF operates.  As a symbol and for its potential impact on the international economy moving forward, yesterday’s final loss of European control over the IMF really matters.

By Simon Johnson

Obama Takes The Lead: G20 Viewer’s Guide

With our myriad banking problems, rapidly rising unemployment, looming political battles over the budget and much more on the pressing domestic agenda, is the G20 summit in London (dinner Wednesday and meeting Thursday) really worth all the time and effort that the President and his team have devoted to it?  And, granted that President Obama has to attend this heads of government meeting for protocol reasons, is there much that this summit can realistically achieve – i.e., are there actions that will be taken as a result of the summit that would not otherwise have happened and that can really make a difference to the parlous state of our economy?

These are all reasonable questions.  And the answer is simple: in terms of the obvious major issues of the day, this summit is unlikely to achieve much.

But every global economic recovery has to start somewhere and it probably has to begin small.  And there are some slight glimmers of hope because (a) President Obama is taking a global leadership role, (b) he is doing this in a creative way that might seem surprising, but which should reduce the chance of a further global meltdown. Continue reading

Is The G20 Summit Worth Holding?

We know already much of what the G20 will produce: a communique that looks very much like the last one (dubious reassurances about the great progress being made along vague dimensions), no progress on fiscal stimulus (as we have been projecting for some time), and promises to clamp down on regulation for hedge funds and the like (fine, but how relevant is this to either what caused the crisis or what can sustain a recovery?)

Almost all the important issues are kept off the table by anachronistic diplomatic niceties: monetary policy around the world, Europe’s impending crisis, and how to escape the overweening power of major banks in almost all industrial countries.  The G20 summit has substantially failed even before it begins. Continue reading