New Rules for Finance At Last

PARIS – The World Monetary and Economic Conference took place in London 76 years ago, in June 1933, with 66 countries meeting to put an end to the unfolding monetary disorder and trade wars while trying to draw the lessons of the Great Depression. When it was over, the negotiators admitted failure.

On April 2, 2009, world leaders will head to London again to find a solution to a financial and economic crisis as dire as that of 1929. We cannot let history repeat itself. If collective inaction prevails, we risk a return to the political and economic woes of the 1930’s, which paved the way to a devastating world conflict.

Of course, we must respond to both the weakening economy and financial instability in a virtual state of emergency. This is why stimulus packages and financial rescue plans were for the first time adopted concomitantly in Europe, the United States, and some large Asian countries.

At the G-20 finance ministers meeting on March 14, all of our countries did their best and made massive efforts to repair their economic machinery as fast as possible. The policies chosen are different, but all states favor solutions that seem most appropriate to them. All are daring and realistic regarding the tasks that await us.