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The G20 Summit begins

April 1, 2009

The Economist has the story of the G20 meeting about to take place in London. According to this particularly pessimistic article

World leaders are descending on London, just as anti-capitalist protesters prepare to unfurl their banners. Barack Obama, who remains widely popular at home and abroad, met Gordon Brown, the British prime minister, on Wednesday April 1st. Mr Obama conceded that “We’re not going to agree on every point”. On the eve of the G20 summit the two men should be concerned that too little is being done to respond to the worst economic slump since the 1930s. This week the OECD, for example, concluded that global output will shrink by 2.7% in 2009, sharply down on previous estimates.

As worrying, the various leaders gathering in London are not agreed on how to sort out the economic mess. One risk is that the group, if it seeks consensus, will produce an anodyne statement that adds little or nothing to the existing efforts to respond to the global slump. A greater risk is that the summit is so badly divided, and the outcome is so feeble, that dashed expectations actually worsen confidence.

One thing, however, is certain. The protests are going to be massive. According to one account, the British government is preparing the largest security force they’ve ever assembled, at a cost of over $11 million.

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