How necessary is the G20 summit?

April 1, 2009

From the cosy fireside chats and walks in the woods of 30 years ago, world summitry has expanded beyond all recognition, with this week’s G20 meeting in London being billed in some quarters as the biggest gathering of leaders since 1945.

But the problems now are of course much bigger too. Long gone are the days when a few soothing words about co-operation on currencies would be enough to declare a summit a success.

This one, Gordon Brown hopes, will produce a “grand bargain”  that will lay the foundations for a new global economic order, and in the process improve his own domestic political fortunes.

But the run-up to the summit has revealed fundamental differences in what the participants want to achieve — for a resume of what is actually likely to emerge click on our full coverage page.

What is your opinion on this week’s meeting? Is it just expensive diplomatic grandstanding or are the world’s economic problems now so severe that only a conference of such size is appropriate? And what would you like to see come of it?


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Brown’s last chance to strut his stuff before going into exile in Scotland. And Obama’s chance to play God before the media love affair fizzles out.

As for the other stuff, the markets will tell us the story on Friday.

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive

It’s a huge window dressing and pictures for the photo-album. All smiles but no homework done. The wives will go shopping to Harrods.

Posted by Richard | Report as abusive

What a complete waste of time and money. Haven’t our betters ever heard of teleconferencing? C’mon guys, it’s the 21st century! And from the perspective of a ‘pro’-testor, what a grand place to see yourself on TV. If it wasn’t such a complete waste of time and money, it would be risible. In fact, come to think of it, it IS risible.

P.S. Peter was right on – the markets will cut through all this bafflegab on Friday.

Posted by David Granner | Report as abusive

I believe it is a starting place, not a finished product. It used to be all about the G8, now it is increasingly about the G20. That means it is working. Countries are pulling themselves out of poverty.

Posted by Patrick | Report as abusive

I don’t believe it is necessary at all. When I look at some of the “topics” I see anti-protectionist measures, regulatory reform, tax-havens crack downs, IMF reform, stronger role for emerging economies, and new stimulus proposals. These are all things that should be dealt with by local governments not international organizations. Just because a bunch of corporate international bankers have skewed the world marketplace so much does not mean that everyone has to be a part of this international organization to survive.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

You know what angers me most is the way Obama and Brown has hugged these financial monsters when they should all have actually been kicked out to change the culture at banks and financial institutions and set a strong precedent for others. It’s even more amazing when those protesting in London are dubbed by the media and ministers as hard core anti-capitalists. Really, are these people capitalists or socialists? I guess they are neither. These are people who have lost their jobs and their homes and have seen their near and dear ones suffer. They are angry and helpless. If someone who has been wronged protests for justice then dub him as anti capitalist so as to deprive him of any public sympathy. Even American and British media have become increasingly disgusting and insensitive. What should have been a fight for justice and regulation is now protrayed as a fight between capitalists and anti capitalists to dilute any public opinion in favour of regulations and protect the blessed ones. Kudos to you Mr. Obama and Mr. Brown. As always you have been brilliant in pulling off another sham.

Posted by asterix117 | Report as abusive

Difficult as it always is to to follow Dave Spart, I think the main thing I would like to see come out of this meeting is a clear statement (which we have not had yet) of what this mess is, how they got into it, and how they propose to get out of it.

I suspect that the true answer to the first question is “massive bad personal debt that we encouraged to make people feel they were better off having voted for us”, the answer to the second question is “we are politicians, ask us what time of day it is and we will lie”, and as for the third question, god (if only there was one) knows what the answer to that is.

I do hope Sarko walks out though. No really.

Posted by Matthew | Report as abusive

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