Tim Brinton

The Global Trust Deficit

Preoccupied with fiscal deficits, developed-country policymakers are neglecting another, equally critical, shortfall: the trust deficit between advanced and emerging economies when it comes to global governance. Only by giving emerging markets more influence in international institutions can the world economy reach its potential.

NEW YORK – In their preoccupation with fiscal deficits, developed-country policymakers continue to neglect a different, yet equally critical, shortfall: the trust deficit between advanced and emerging economies when it comes to global governance.

For decades, developed-country shareholders at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank used loan conditionality to spur economic reforms – often including contentious fiscal-austerity measures – in the so-called Third World. Through pragmatic, sustained reform efforts, countries like Brazil, China, and India turned their economies around to achieve stunning increases in GDP growth – from an average annual rate of 3.5% in 1980-1994 to 5.5% since then.

But, although developing countries now account for more than half of global GDP growth, advanced countries have yet to admit them to leadership roles that reflect their growing influence in the world economy.

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