On Friday, the G-20 meeting in Seoul – the summit bringing together the world’s 20 most important economies – concluded. The gathering, the fifth since former President George Bush revived the grouping in 2008, was the place where the world was supposed to come together to rebalance the teetering global economy. Instead of doing so, presidents and prime ministers deferred solutions to the most intractable problems to the indefinite future. Worse, they did so when global commerce is especially vulnerable. Countries are already erecting barriers to trade and engaging in predatory policies that are sure to set back growth. The central obstacle to a global solution? Despite wishful thinking to the contrary, the world’s two largest economies – the U.S. and China – have interests that are diametrically opposed. President Obama’s visit did little constructive to confront or bridge that divide, and as a result the global consensus supporting trade could dissolve, just as it did in the 1930s. The worst policies unresolved by the summit involve currency. In September, Brazil’s finance minister said an “international currency war” had already broken out. He was right: In recent months, 18 countries have intervened to cheapen their money, among them Japan, South… Read full this story
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