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With a little distance from the hype of the two important global events of April—the G-20 London Summit and the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank—it is perhaps easier to judge how effective these jamborees have been in addressing the key challenges of the current financial and economic crisis. Our assessment is that a “global deal” has been struck and that it is one which deserves to be taken seriously.
Moving from the clearly obsolete G-7 to a broader group that reflects the reality of today’s world makes eminent sense. Doing it on the basis of a grouping improvised during the crisis-before-last (and making sure that it included the then-favorite finance ministers of the U.S. and Canadian sponsors) is squandering the opportunity to move up to a credible, transparent, global governance platform.
Whether future historians remember last week’s G-20 Summit in Cannes will depend on what happens in the weeks and months ahead. If the eurozone problems spiral out of control, Cannes will be to the coming crash as the 1933 London Economic Conference was to the Great Depression: a lost chance to avert calamity. If Europe muddles through, the brief association of Cannes with the G-20 will be soon forgotten and the resort will again be famous for its film festival.