G20 leaders celebrate success of … what exactly?

Posted on April 2, 2009

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g20-summit-leaders

(Photo credit: AFP)

President Barack Obama called the G20 summit a recovery “turning point” and the world leaders in attendance were celebrating its success. So what exactly is all the joy about? For the life of me, I can’t figure it out.

The big story from the summit is the pledge to give $500 billion to the International Monetary Fund for loans to developing countries. That’s good for them, but I don’t see how that helps American workers in the short to mid-term. And more interestingly, $250 billion is being set aside for the IMF to develop its Special Drawing Rights, or its own hybrid currency made up of dollars, euros, yen, and sterling. Conspiracy theorists will once again have a field day with the implication that we’re starting down the road to a one-world currency and a one-world government. I’m more than a tad hesitant to make those claims, but it does pique my interest.

Other than that, there were commitments to increase financial regulation and curb overseas tax havens, and Gordon Brown, in another conspiracy-inducing moment, referred to a “new world order” emerging from the summit as he unveiled a supposed $1.1 trillion spending package addressing the world’ financial difficulties, although many provisions appeared to be previously mentioned of not fully worked out.

World markets rose sharply in response to the summit’s optimism and the fact that leaders didn’t leave bickering, but was anything groundbreaking really accomplished here? If the measure of success is simply having a sunny outlook on the future, then nothing more taxing than smiles and handshakes were required.

I usually expect very little of substance from gatherings of world leaders but it’s odd how many looked toward the G20 summit as some sort of salvation. The fact is that our leaders haven’t really done anything, and it is only the hard work and will of the people that will eventually turn things around. It’s yet another reminder that we should not look to government and its leaders for deliverance, but to ourselves and our own abilities and ambitions. We are our own best resource – not Wall Street, not the banks, and not the governments of the world – ourselves.

Update: Via Rainbow Warrior, take a quick glance at a review of last year’s G20 summit, titled the do-nothing summit. It’s a scathing rebuke of how little happened when the summit was in Washington under Bush’s watch. This year, it’s more of the same “toothless proposals” as last year, but since we have a “Hope’n’Change” President now, it’s all smiles and giggles! More proof that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

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