Paul Lachine

Big Reform in Small Packages

The French presidency of the G-20 has selected reform of the international monetary system as its main priority for the Cannes summit in November. But the effort is bound to be a long march, so the appropriateness of small steps should be assessed from a perspective covering at least the next 10-15 years.

BRUSSELS – France, which now holds the presidency of the G-20, has chosen reform of the international monetary system as its main priority for the Cannes summit in November. But is the issue worth the time and energy officials will devote to it? And where can such discussions lead?

When French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced his G-20 agenda a year ago, most expected that at end-2011 the world economy would be cruising at a comfortable speed. At the same time, burgeoning concerns about “currency wars” suggested that Sarkozy’s priorities were correct.

Unfortunately, other matters now call for more urgent attention: with the flagging global recovery and the mounting debt crisis on everybody’s mind, focusing on longer-term monetary reform might look like a distraction.

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