The G20 was a pretty listless affair (unlike the concurrent Bloomfontein debacle), with world leaders opting to go their own way, the deficit hawks in the ascendant, and no significant change agreed at all. International settlement of the world’s most pressing problems is becoming ever weaker – nothing relevant decided at Copenhagen on climate change, nor on the Doha round of trade talks, nor at Basel III on capital reserves for the banks. Now Toronto adds to the vacuous list of politicos’ photo opportunities.
The obvious reason of course is self-interest. The US where recovery is stalling is cautious about belt-tightening, Europe and especially UK and Germany emphasise the risk of sovereign debt crisis more than a double-dip recession, while Asia whose banks were more resilient carp at paying any bank levy because other countries’ banks were reckless. But there is another aspect to this too which is more disturbing. (more…)