The leaders of the group of 20 leading economies first convened almost three years ago to address the financial crisis. As now, there were deep doubts about the financial fundamentals of a major global economy. As now, authorities were struggling to bring Main Street the financial stability it needed, without going too far beyond what it wanted. As now, the immediate challenge was to contain financial panic and the deeper challenge was to lay a foundation for renewed and inclusive prosperity.
The depression that looked possible then has been avoided but the outlook is hardly satisfactory. What can be learned from the last three years as the G20 gathers in Cannes? The world’s leaders, especially the Europeans, will ignore these lessons at their peril.