G20 failed to meet the challenge

Humans have surpassed themselves. With its originality, this tribal ape has created a world that its tribalism cannot manage. Intellectually, we know this: this is why we created institutions such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the G20. But we don’t know it in our bones. In our bones, we know that every tribe fights for itself, and the devil is at the end. In our bones, we believe that people with different views are “globalists”, which are synonymous with “traitors”.

We met, failed, and promised to do better next time. But then we failed again. We will not fail completely. But we failed in major events. This is not good enough. we know. But knowledge is not enough.

This is the story of the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting held in Venice last weekend, the glorious city of Venice is sinking under rising sea levels. The G20 owns 63% of the world’s population and 87% of output (at market prices). It contains the most powerful countries in the world and countries from all continents. This is our best opportunity for global economic governance. (See chart.)

In addition, the restoration of a sane government in the United States has also made a big difference. Under the leadership of an incompetent and narcissistic government like Trump, it is impossible to make any progress on global challenges. The intermission may be short. But the fact that a decent and smart person like Janet Yellen represented the United States at the Venice Conference is heartening.

It also allows progress. indeed, G20 press release Provides a long list of achievements.In her GeneralizeIMF President Kristalina Georgieva praised the G20 for reaching a “historic agreement” on a minimum corporate tax rate. She emphasized that the G20 recognizes the role of carbon pricing in combating climate change.

She also took note of the excellent report of the committee High-level independent group Regarding “Pandemic Preparedness and Response” and the G20 recognizes the need to strengthen the global capacity to respond to health threats.She especially emphasized that she is “supporting the new SDR (Special Drawing Rights) allocated 650 billion US dollars — The largest scale in the history of the IMF is also a boost to the world.” If the new special drawing rights are guided in the right way, they can bring change to the poorest and most affected countries.

The chart shows that some countries are better at coping with the economic impact of Covid than others

In addition, mainly because of the success of scientists, the vaccine turned the economic tide of the Covid-19 disaster faster than expected. The International Monetary Fund predicts that, driven by the two superpowers of China and the United States, global economic growth will reach 6% this year. However, Georgieva pointed out that “the differences between economies are increasing. Essentially, the world is facing a dual-track recovery.” Worse, the richest-among and within countries-have the fastest economic recovery. . Not the first time, for those who have it.

However, with real achievements, why am I so picky? The answer is that mankind faces two global challenges: escape from this epidemic (and future epidemics); and climate change. In addition, although corporate taxation and even special drawing rights agreements are popular, they are not that important. The question is whether we can cooperate where necessary.

The chart shows that even in the G20, there are huge differences in vaccination

In a pandemic, the task is to vaccinate the world and continue to vaccinate when necessary. This is the only way to gain security control over Covid-19 and its many variants. As Georgieva pointed out, the goal should be at least to cover 40% of each country’s population by the end of 2021 and 60% by mid-2022. Vaccination of high-risk groups can save more than 500,000 lives this year. By 2025, the return to normal activities around the world could add 9 trillion dollars to the global economy—compared to the $50 billion cost of this pandemic plan is insignificant. “

It is true. However, so far, it is a pale action.Shortage of funding for access to the Covid-19 Tool Accelerator (a global partnership that provides treatment and vaccines) USD 16.8 billion in late June 2021. This is 0.1% of the public resources used to combat the results of Covid-19. Shamefully, the G20 failed to solve this problem. It now appears that children in high-income countries will be vaccinated before most of the rest of the world. This is crime and error.

Chart shows that early vaccine sharing will save many lives

Even in the face of this self-evident global threat, the cost is huge and direct, and we seem unable to act urgently. The inability to cooperate in this emergency situation raises the question of whether the high-priority needs that greatly enhance the global ability to identify and respond to health threats will be realized.

Given this signal failure, we cannot imagine that we would do more than just fiddling when the earth is burning. In terms of climate, the challenges are more distant, the behavior changes required are much greater, and cooperation is more difficult.I will be happy if COP26The November meeting in Glasgow proved me wrong. I will also be surprised. Yellen pointed out By 2024, the United States will provide developing countries with US$5.7 billion in climate financing each year. However, this is a wrong term in terms of demand and domestic spending.

The chart shows that only the global economic disaster interrupted the rise in emissions

Whether we like it or not—obviously, we don’t like it—we have created a global civilization. We border each other and influence each other. We may want to continue our tribal way. In fact, looking at the emerging relationship between the United States and China, it is clear that we have done this. But it will not work. We live in a globalized world on a shared planet. Are we capable of acting on impact? This is the biggest problem of the 21st century. I am worried, the answer is no.

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