Since the world’s credit markets seized up in the summer of 2007, the financial crisis has generated a long list of superlatives: deepest, worst, costliest. Some of these descriptions have proved accurate, while others have been commentators’ exaggerations. It is fair to say, however, that the G-20 London Summit was the most eagerly anticipated meeting of its kind for decades. The leaders of the world’s largest economies set themselves a challenging agenda: agree how to stabilize markets, strengthen the global economic and financial system and put the economy back on track. Leading up to the Summit, the list of questions was long. Could transatlantic disagreements over stimulus packages be solved? Would decisions be influenced by the need for global cooperation or driven by national politics? Did the global economic engine need more oil, or did the world need a new and better engine?
In the end, the Summit achieved what many thought was its most important, if unstated, goal – to present a unified front among governments and boost confidence in the global economy. The details – more than US$1 trillion for the International Monetary Fund, or the creation of the Financial Stability Board – were, in this view, less important than the pledge to work together to tackle shared problems.
While it will take time to fully understand the Summit’s impact, the analysis can now start. As part of our attempts to understand the unfolding crisis, Ernst & Young has asked three leading thinkers on the global economy – Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Kishore Mahbubani and Ethan Kapstein – to discuss the outcomes of the G-20 Summit. Based in Switzerland, the United States and Singapore, these respected economists bring their different regional perspectives to bear in a series of essays starting on page four. These essays were written in the first days after the summit and represent opinions, not answers.
Read the Perspectives on the London G-20 Summit - April 2009