Is the G-20 a Good Idea Gone Sour?
In 2008, finance ministers and central bankers from the world’s largest economies had a pretty good idea. Observing that the global economy was nosediving into recession — thanks largely to a massive financial crisis in the United States, though the contagion spared few — they decided to coordinate their efforts to prevent global depression.
These leaders invoked the spirit of past economic chiefs and organized under the Group of 20 banner, a more inclusive and ostensibly more powerful iteration of similar coalitions of economic leaders, such as the Group of Six. The G-20, as it has come to be called, accounts for nearly 90 percent of of global gross domestic product, 80 percent of international trade, and about 66 percent of the world’s population.
United against a common economic enemy, these leaders were able to coordinate actions and help stave off what could have been a crippling global depression. But at the conclusion of its eighth meeting since the peak of the crisis five years ago, the organization appears to have lost its mojo.