G20 Meeting Outcomes

It is gratifying to live in a time where we can witness a gathering of world leaders, sitting down together to speak rationally, listening with maturity to the ideas of others about the situation the world now faces and seeking to come to consensus through consultation. 

Each speaker recognized the contribution of their own nation and the others. Each recognized the need for reaching a united outcome for restoring global confidence. Each acknowledged the complexity and interconnectedness of the economies and the need to use the best ideas regardless of their source.

Mr. Obama’s comments following the meeting demostrated a sense of humility and honor toward the other world powers. Upon being asked what he didn’t get, he declined to name any particular point, rather yeilding to what was agreed upon. He indicated that it would have been an easy discussion if it were only two world powers to make all decisions but recognized that although having 20 nations was more complex, it was “good” that the other world powers had re-built themselves so that they could also contribute to the discussion with legitamacy as co-owners of the world economy. 

Humility is the true sign of leadership and Mr. Obama, in his comments to the press after the conference, demonstrated his humility each time he listened to a press member, thoughtfully reflected on his answer and responded accordingly. Each time, he indicated that the much of the value in the decision was not so much that any of them knew exactly the right solutions, but rather that in agreement they had set the stage to try something out and then learning from their actions. And then if the current actions didn’t work, they would try something else.

Mr Obama was complementary to all the other leaders but his comments towards the Prime Mister of India were particularly gracious.

Prime Mister Brown of the UK likewise commented on the historic achievements of the meeting. And in answer to a question about the potential for introduction of a global currency he was positive in the sense that that he accepted it as a valid idea, but indicated that a detailed proposal for implementing a global currency had not been presented and therefore it was not pursued at this time. 

With the exception of a few minor glitches, such as the photo op missed by Prime Minister Harper, each of the member demostrated respect for the other nations and their respective leaders.

Regardless of whether or not they accomplished as much as would have been desired it was an excellent display of consultative decision making. It had positive outcomes for agreements on banking regulation, IMF funding, agreement on the need to revise IMF approvals, assistance for poor nations, and agreement in principle on supporting green technology.

No doubt there will be naysayers who find fault with the outcome of the G20 meeting, some indicating that the global agreements on regulation have “no teeth” and others that not enough was accomplished and still others that it lacked detail for implementation of some of these conceptual agreements. But from my perspective, it was a true demonstration of statesmanship and a sign of hope for an ailing world.

Do I think the agreements made will turn the economy around? Probably not! The challenges are still immense. Do I think it will contribute to long term stability of the economy? I believe it was a very positive step if for no other reason than it helped to increase understanding between nations.

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