At the G20, nothing is free
Keith Hennessey, a former top economic adviser to President George W. Bush, saw this one coming. He rightly predicted that the Group of 20 would drop a key word from its communique at the conclusion of the London Summit: Free.
Take a look at how the wording changed between the November G20 Summit in Washington and April’s gathering in London.
November: “We recognize that these reforms will only be successful if grounded in a commitment to free market principles, including the rule of law, respect for private property, open trade and investment, competitive markets, and efficient, effectively regulated financial systems.”
April: “We believe that the only sure foundation for sustainable globalisation and rising prosperity for all is an open world economy based on market principles, effective regulation, and strong global institutions.”
Hennessey’s take, as expressed on his new blog: “Losing ‘free’ would be an enormous step backward. All G20 nations agreed to the above statement last November, so there is no good reason to change it if the U.S. objects. In the short run, it is easy to see how a negotiator might give this up for a more concrete immediate objective. In the long run, few things are as important.”
What’s your view? Should the G20 have kept the word “free”?
(Reuters photo by Jason Reed. Hennessey is standing behind Bush, on the far right)