Saturday, October 23, 2010 / Comment / Analysis - International economy: A display of disunity

By Alan Beattie
Published: October 22 2010 23:24 | Last updated: October 22 2010 23:24
G20 leaders
Different directions: Tim Geithner of the US (above centre), with Christine Lagarde of France (left) and the European Central Bank’s Jean-Claude Trichet (behind) line up with fellow G20 central bankers and finance ministers in Gyeongiu, South Korea
Suppose they gave a summit and nobody came? When the first heads of government meeting of the Group of 20 nations was held in Washington in November 2008, there was a fierce fight for invitations. Spain, not quite big enough to join the gang, resorted to ringing round former Latin American colonies to lobby for inclusion.
But in the run-up to this week’s meeting in South Korea of finance ministers and central bankers from the 20 leading nations, it was revealed that senior representatives from Brazil, one of the biggest beasts of the emerging market world, would not be turning up. In a savage irony, given the G20’s aim to head off a global currency war and strengthen the global economy, finance minister Guido Mantega was too busy working on his country’s own exchange rate problems to attend. Even more poignantly, a month ago he was the first G20 minister to warn of a currency war.
More worrying than a single act of truancy – from a minister whose country is, to be fair, in the throes of an election campaign – is the disillusionment apparently creeping through the very emerging market governments the G20 was meant to empower.
Is it all falling apart... the developed world vs. the developing world?
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