2010 Title » Economics
Renewing Globalization and Economic Growth in a Post-Crisis World
Leaders of the world's twenty most important economies met in Pittsburgh on September 24-25 for the third time in less than a year to evaluate their collective efforts to combat the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Despite their best laid plans, what we have already learned is that economic and political realities shift so quickly that government leaders, more often than not, find themselves playing a game of catch-up. For the moment, having averted the worst, they are breathing a sigh of relief and now can talk about recovery and beyond. Yet before growing too optimistic, they should not forget the famous answer of British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, when asked by a reporter what was most likely to blow governments off course: "Events, dear boy, events."
The initial purpose of the G-20 was to save a storm-struck vessel called the Global Economy from shipwreck and sinking. As water poured over the sides of the ship, governments rapidly improvised to make repairs and to reassure passengers. Thus the G-20 meeting on November 15, 2008, in Washington, D.C., had to focus on attending to the emergency and its immediate causes.
By the time of the second G-20 meeting on April 2 in London, it was clear that theship would go under if it were not quite literally bailed out. So the G-20 leaders turned their attention to priming the pumps by demanding fiscal stimulus packages and financial measures to save the banks and restore confidence in the Global Economy. While celebration of the ship's rescue may be premature, it seems clear that early damage assessment and rapid repairs have kept it afloat, even if it is not yet steady.
Kiron K. Skinner
Kiron K. Skinner is Associate Professor in the Department of Social and Decision Sciences and Director of the International Relations and Politics Program, Carnegie Mellon University, and Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
Alexei Monsarrat is Director of the Global Business and Economics Program at the Atlantic Council of the United States.