G20 Summit: Sustainable and balanced growth

Plans for “Sustainable and Balanced growth” — the phrase that Derek Hall, Laurier professor of political science, refers to as “the big banner the G20 has settled on waving in order to emphasize the importance of the agenda at the Summit in Seoul, Korea.”

Drawing to a close this past weekend, political leaders from across the globe took a collaborative and proactive approach in moving to stabilize the “post-crisis” economy, preventing any future financial disaster at the G20 Summit in Seoul, South Korea.

World leaders addressed a variety of policies on the agenda this past weekend including the modernization of global financial institutions, the implementation of regulatory safety nets as well as combating the prospects of a currency war among trading nations.

As per usual, the traditional communiqué was created, entitled the Seoul Declaration, which Hall helps explain is based on “a mixture of more focused discussions like currency and banking supervision but also attempting to engage in broader discussion.”
Leaders adopted new guidelines in order for accurate reflection of the state of the international economy.

More specifically, improvements were made to the International Monetary Fund’s loan system, ensuring the use of emergency resources.

There are, however, those who question the success of the Summit at all as the major currency crisis remains unsolved.

An article deemed one of the most important in promoting efficient growth when dealt with was actually postponed for discussion at a later summit, providing room for public criticism of world leaders.

Patricia Goff, also a Laurier professor of political science, notes, however, that “public criticism is inevitable, as these are highly complex, intractable issues being discussed, and at a certain point we have to see the value in frank discussion that public is not privy to — we have to assume that leaders are weighing exchanges and outcomes as they see fit.”

Leaders were unable to move beyond international conflicts regarding the devaluation of currency, to which Goff remarks, “We have to understand that they’re not sitting around holding hands, for the most part there is sufficient argument and disagreement, especially when so much is at stake in terms of domestic politics.”

Nations invests a lot of effort into monetary decision-making and there has been increased argument for pushing the issue to the forefront of the agenda for the summit in Cannes, France next year.

This fact does seem somewhat contradictory to the proposed “post-crisis” role of the Seoul Summit, which promised to employ preventive measure and long-term strategies in order to ensure continued global recovery.

Goff argues that, “We need to learn to see the G20 as conversation at the highest level,” pointing out an intrinsic value in taking slow, careful steps before deciding on the right solution.

“The fact that this conversation is happening to begin with is significant in itself –rushing can cause mistakes,” Goff added.

Professor Derek Hall pointed out that “it was widely predicted before the Seoul summit that they weren’t going to resolve those issues, so the options were to keep discussing it or to give up. No one would have accepted giving up — it would’ve been a disaster for the G20, so the better option was to put it off until the future.”