Skip to main content

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.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/giIiGfL;
  1. sinn88_Sean GallupGetty Images_mario draghi ecb Sean Gallup/Getty Images

    The ECB’s Beggar-thy-Trump Strategy

    Hans-Werner Sinn

    The European Central Bank's decision to cut interest rates still further and launch another round of quantitative easing raises serious concerns about its internal decision-making process. The ECB is pursuing an exchange-rate policy in all but name, thus putting Europe on a collision course with the Trump administration.

    1

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions