The Snowden Time Bomb

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, world leaders repeated the soothing mantra that there could be no repeat of the Great Depression, partly because international cooperation was better institutionalized. And yet one man, Edward Snowden, has shown how far removed from reality that claim remains.

PRINCETON – In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, world leaders repeated a soothing mantra. There could be no repeat of the Great Depression, not only because monetary policy was much better (it was), but also because international cooperation was better institutionalized. And yet one man, the American former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, has shown how far removed from reality that claim remains.

Prolonged periods of strain tend to weaken the fabric of institutional cooperation. The two institutions that seemed most dynamic and effective in 2008-2009 were the International Monetary Fund and the G-20; the credibility of both has been steadily eroded over the long course of the crisis.

Because the major industrial economies seem to be on the path to recovery – albeit a feeble one – no one seems to care very much that the mechanisms of cooperation are worn out. They should. There are likely to be many more financial fires in various locations, and the world needs a fire brigade to put them out.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To continue reading, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you are agreeing to our Terms and Conditions.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/giIiGfL;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.