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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

September 28, 2009 at 10:10 AM

The G-20 takes on a bold new role, but consensus won’t be easy

Top of the News: Maybe something profound did happen at last week’s G-20 summit. Something historians may look back on as a major turning point in world history. The leaders agreed the Group of 20 — not the G-7 — would be the globe’s premier economic coordinating body.

This represents a fundamental move to the east — especially to China and India — and somewhat to the south, with the inclusion of Brazil. It is a recognition of the reality that these fast-growing economies must have seats at the table. The G-20 accounts for 80 percent of global output. If the U.S. can’t get its house in order, it may be a marker of a decisive shift of power. In any case, it’s the clearest sign yet that the U.S., Canada, Japan and Europe are no longer the world’s only major economic engines.

Pittsburgh may signal a willingness of these 20 nations to take on tougher financial regulation and coordinate more sustainable growth. But the G-20’s ascension to power will definitely see these nations’ divergent interests played out, and not always for the better. Simon Johnson on the Baseline Scenario has a provocative piece that the summit has immediately made things more dangerous in the financial sector.

The Back Story: If you missed the Greater Seattle Chamber luncheon last Friday, here’s a clip of the clever “It’s Time for Business” campaign rolled out. Count the number of celeb appearances. The larger project is about promoting businesses as the economy tries to begin a recovery.

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Is this market real?

Best quarter since ninety eight.

For jobs, not so much

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