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The G20 to the rescue
Will the global economic summit help end the financial crisis?

“It is tempting to dismiss Saturday’s summit of 20 of the world’s leading economies,” said The New York Times in an editorial. Hosted by a “discredited” lame-duck President Bush and opted out of by President-elect Obama, the G20 conference won’t fix the “sagging world economy” or rewrite the rules that govern global finance. But the assembled leaders can, and must, “begin a serious discussion" about how to reshape the post-crisis global economy.

There are several “very do-able” steps for the G20 leaders, though, said Diane Francis in Canada’s National Post. They “must promise to resist protectionism,” commit to “huge fiscal stimulus packages,” coordinate their rescue efforts daily, and—though this will take more time—create “a new world order involving global white collar police to monitor and regulate financial markets.”

They should coordinate monetary policy, but global regulators have “contributed to the current mess,” said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. Besides, given the “dominant American role in global finance,” new regulations would be just “one more way for the Lilliputians to tie down Gulliver.” If this “poorly timed” summit is at all helpful, it will commit to further liberalizing trade.

Whatever progress the meeting makes, said James Wolfensohn in The Washington Post, will be because the G7 “old boys’ club” welcomed the equal participation of the other 13 emerging-market nations. Between 1965 and 2002, the G7 economies produced about 65 percent of the world’s GDP; now it’s 52 percent, and by 2050 it will be 25 percent. We can’t solve this crisis, or others, without non-G7 members China, India, and Brazil.

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