The Great Debate

An unstable global economic system that is being ignored

By Daniel Alpert
October 8, 2013

Today, the International Monetary Fund announced yet another a reduction in its global growth projections for 2014, with its estimate of U.S. growth also reduced (citing reduced government spending, but not the present U.S. government shutdown — or the heretofore unthinkable notion of the U.S. government defaulting on its obligations). Despite the seeming urgency of global economic slowdown, when world leaders attended their annual fall confabulation at the United Nations in New York last month, they focused on the diplomacy of physical security (Syria, Iran, etc.). Thus another year has passed in which global economic security issues were on no one’s reported agenda.

Forging ahead with free trade

By Harold McGraw III
September 30, 2013

The recent focus on what divides world leaders, from Syria to the euro zone, has obscured the significant agreements reached at the Group of 20 meeting in St. Petersburg earlier this month. One of the most important was support for free trade and opposition to protectionism.

Common ground for Obama and Putin is offshore

By William E. Pomeranz
September 3, 2013

Low expectations surround the G20 meeting in St. Petersburg on September 5-6.

President Barack Obama’s decision to cancel the pre-G20 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin means the big photo op will likely be the two leaders awkwardly trying to avoid each other. The other headline-making issues in U.S.-Russian relations — Syria, nuclear weapons reduction, missile defense — also appear off the table now. There is one timely matter, however, that resonates with Washington, Moscow, and the entire G20 — the continuing fight against offshore tax havens.

Stubborn national politics drag down the global economy

By Gordon Brown
January 18, 2013

Four years ago world leaders, meeting in the G20 crisis session, agreed they would all work to move from recession to growth and prosperity.  They agreed to a global growth compact to be delivered by combining national growth targets with coordinated global interventions. It didn’t happen. After the $1 trillion stimulus of 2009, fiscal consolidation became the established order of the day, and so year after year millions have continued to endure unemployment and lower living standards.

Does the G20 matter?

By Terra Lawson-Remer
February 24, 2012

G20 finance ministers are gathering in Mexico City this weekend to prepare for the fourth G20 Leaders’ Summit since the Group of 20 declared itself the premier forum for international economic cooperation at its 2009 Pittsburgh summit. Birthed to coordinate a response to the global financial crisis, the informal body of the world’s richest countries has seen its agenda balloon over the past four years to encompass everything from green growth (Mexico’s pet initiative) to commodity price volatility (the agenda of the French, who hosted last year) to anti-corruption.

The G20 needs to embrace growth

By William Rhodes
February 24, 2012

This week’s Group of 20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers in Mexico City needs to take concrete actions to support global growth and job creation, revive credit growth by the private financial sector, guard against a rise in trade protectionism and reduce financial market uncertainties.

The perils of protectionism

By Gordon Brown
October 27, 2011

By Gordon Brown
The views expressed are his own.

Next week’s 2011 G20 meeting has the power to write a new chapter in the response to the economic downturn. But every day, as nations announce currency controls, capital controls, new tariffs and other protectionist measures, the G2O’s room for maneuver is being significantly narrowed. Already the cumulative impact of a wave of mercantilist measures is threatening to turn decades of globalization into reverse, returning us to the economic history of the 1930s, and condemning at least the western parts of the world to a decade of low growth and high unemployment.

How Europe can stave off a crisis

By Gordon Brown
October 21, 2011

By Gordon Brown
The views expressed are his own.

It was said of European monarchs of a century ago that they learned nothing and forgot nothing.  For three years, as a Greek debt problem has morphed into a full blown euro area crisis, European leaders  have been behind the curve, consistently repeating the same mistake of doing too little too late. But when they meet on Sunday, the time for small measures is over. As the G20 found when it met in London at the height of the  2009 crisis, only a demonstration of policy intent that shows irresistible force will persuade the markets that leaders will do what it takes. An announcement on a new Greek package will not be enough. Nor will it be sufficient to recapitalize the banks. European leaders will have to announce a comprehensive — around 2 trillion euro — finance facility; set out a plan to fundamentally reform the euro; and work with the G20 to agree on a coordinated plan for growth.

The great global rebalancing and its implications

By Guest Contributor
March 29, 2011

Manoj Pradhan

Alan M. TaylorManoj Pradhan, left, a global EM economist, is an executive director at Morgan Stanley. Alan M. Taylor, right, a senior advisor at Morgan Stanley, is a professor of economics at the University of California, Davis. The opinions expressed are their own.

G20 recipe for deflation, protectionism

June 8, 2010

It may be folly or it may be prudence, but the move to fiscal austerity and restraint will be deflationary, will be bad for risky asset prices and will raise further the threat of protectionism.