The Fallen Heroes of the Financial Crisis

PARIS – Oscar Wilde said that experience is the name we give to our mistakes. Last year, we tried to analyze the errors that led the world into economic crisis. Now it is time to analyze the mistakes we made when trying to get out of it.

When the scale of the crisis became clear last year, many were certain that it would be managed badly. But perhaps we should be grateful that it was managed at all. Unlike in the 1930’s, decision-makers acted quickly, ignoring dogmas that warned against rapid intervention.

Moreover, they knew that, in contrast to the inter-war period, close international coordination would be needed. In 2008-2009, the influence of the G-20 grew, at the expense of the G-8. People became aware of the need for truly global governance. And, at long last, a number of proposals emerged aimed at making such governance a reality.

Experience, it turns out, is not just the name we give to our mistakes. As the financial crisis has shown, it is also the process that enables us to increase our understanding and ultimately to envisage a new world.