The November 2011 Group of Twenty (G-20) meeting in Cannes has unfortunately acquired a sense of drama similar to that of the first two G-20 meetings: the Washington November 2008 meeting and the London April 2009 meeting. At that time, the world economy and the global financial sector were facing a real emergency. For the next meetings, the sense of urgency had diminished, as the massive Keynesian support policies prevented a global depression and allowed the beginnings of a recovery. It is that recovery that now is in danger by the mounting sovereign debt worries in the advanced economies, the persistent high unemployment, and the threatening dimensions assumed by the debt crisis in Europe. As has become tradition, the Brookings Global Economy and Development Program has asked some of our scholars to provide their thoughts on the challenges faced by world leaders as they gather in Cannes on November 3–4.
As usual, the essays are brief and tackle different aspects of the overall challenge facing the G-20. I hope they will provide useful input into the debate that will take place and on what the summit can achieve.