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Scoring the G-20 summit
The big winners and losers in the global economic summit’s plan of action
 

What happened
The leaders of the Group of 20 nations agreed to a series of measures to address the global economic crisis. These included a pledge of $1.1 trillion for the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and regional development banks; a Financial Stability Board to monitor the world’s “systemically important” financial firms; and plans to clamp down on tax havens, tighten financial regulations, and combat protectionism. (The New York Times)

What the commentators said
The G-20 summit didn’t fulfill all the hopes of its organizers, said Kerry Capell and Stanley Reed in BusinessWeek online, “but it was not without substance.” Everyone got a little of what they wanted, but the “big winner” was clearly the IMF. Not only were its financial resources tripled, it was also made “the pillar in a new world financial system.”

This new system gives much greater influence to emerging economies like China, Brazil, and India, said Doug Saunders in Canada’s The Globe and Mail, which means a big loss of power for the U.S. Since the “similarly momentous” Bretton Woods summit in 1944, the U.S. has controlled the global economic agenda. Not any more.

China, India, and Brazil will get the “authority they now deserve,” said Steven Pearlstein in The Washington Post, but “if any countries are likely to lose out in the restructuring, they are those of ‘old Europe,’” which wield far more power than they merit. So despite declaring “victory over unfettered Anglo-American capitalism,” France and Germany may be among the biggest losers.

For most of these big changes to become reality, they have to be implemented by 20 or more sovereign nations, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial, “not by a single unit called the G-20.” In other words, “don’t hold your breath.”

 

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