BERLIN – November 15, 2008, is a date to remember, because on that day history was made. For the first time, the G-20, the world’s 20 leading economies, came together in Washington, D.C., to find an answer to the global financial and economic crisis. While this first meeting resulted in nothing more than declarations of intent, it still marks a historic turning point.
Faced with the gravest financial and economic crisis worldwide since the 1930’s, the Western industrial nations (including Russia) that previously dominated the world economy are no longer capable of coming up with an effective response. Moreover, hopes for mitigating or, indeed, overcoming the global economic crisis rest exclusively with the emerging economic powers, first and foremost China.
As a result, the G-8, which excludes the most important emerging-market countries, has lost its significance for good. Globalization has resulted in a lasting change in the distribution of power and opportunities, laying the groundwork for a new world order for the twenty-first century.
Once the current global crisis is over, nothing will ever be the same again. The West – the United States and Europe – are in relative decline, while the emerging Asian and Latin American powers will be among the winners.