The G7 was originally conceived as a form of steering committee for the world economy (antecedents). Existing formal governance mechanisms, around the IMF and the UN, seemed too cumbersome (and too inclusive) during the 1970s, with the breakdown of fixed exchange rates, assorted oil shocks, and the broader shift of economic initiative towards Western Europe and Japan.
And the G7 had some significant moments, particularly with regard to moving exchange rates in the 1980s. More broadly, behind the scenes, it served as a communication mechanism between the world’s largest economies (“coordination” is a dirty word in G7 policymaking circles). And it was probably a good thing in the 1990s that Russia wanted to join the G7 – hence the G8 once a year, although many of the most important technical meetings are just the G7.
But today, honestly, what’s the point? Continue reading “The G7/G8: Why Bother? (A Viewer’s Guide)”