March 15, 2009
The G20 Finance Ministerial
Posted by David Zaring

To the extent that global governance can help us out of the recession, it is interesting that it has been the G20 that has been the body tasked to do it - no UN (of course), no OECD, some developing participation, but not too much, no treaty framework, giving the group flexibility ... it very much has a Concert of Europe feel.  We told you about their first meeting here - it produced a combination of the somewhat substantive and the diplomatic blatherous.  The second meeting comes in April, which is when something serious is supposed to have happened; this weekend, the G20 finance ministers met for a "how'm I doing?" pre-meeting.

The pre-meeting disappointed, and one problem seems to be that Germany reiterated its opposition to a further Keynesian stimulus.  Simon Johnson, a fantastic crisis blogger, and big supporter of government intervention in the economy, is driven to inarticulateness about it here.  He appears to believe that we are at a high noon, where government breaks the banks or gets broken by them, which is interestingly proto-Marxist, here.  And his recommendation?

The real agenda of the G20 should be helping save Europe from itself, for example by encouraging the creation of a €2-trillion European emergency economic stabilisation fund, funded primarily by richer Eurozone countries, and a major relaxation of Eurozone monetary policy.

Oh, only two trillion for stabilization.  Prior experience suggests to me that much of this gets given to the banks that Johnson thinks government must destroy.  But I may be missing something.

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