Sunday, 5 April 2009

G20 - after the dust has settled

What to make of the G20?

It would be easy to rant about 'too much talk, too little action'; or about the agreed package being balanced in the wrong way; or about any number of other things depending on your own particular hobby-horse.

On Thursday morning, David Arnott was talking on Good Morning Scotland's Thought for the Day, and he posed the question:

"Does anyone believe that our leaders can set aside their differences and prejudices and actually find a global solution to this recession?"

He wasn't being unduly cyncial. I think he was highlighting the difficulty that the leaders faced - with a range of competing issues to address and desires to be met.

One of the interesting facets of the G20 summit (at least the bits of it that I saw/read) was the efforts that were being made to work collaboratively. There was Gordon Brown's world tour trying to establish a workable framework for the summit, and also Barack Obama's string of meetings to work out issues and to establish relationships for the future.

I think that this is one of the hardest dimensions to leadership in our complicated, inter-dependent world - to establish a collaborative, partnership approach which avoids the loss of anyone's principles but doesn't allow for brinksmanship and 'rule by veto'.

In November 2008, Dawn Spalding wrote in Human Resources magazine:

"Barack Obama has been described as a leader with vision, who ignites passion, brings people together and wins hearts and minds."

These qualities seemed to be in evidence during his time at the G20.


If this is the high point of achievement for the G20 - and therefore for the world's economy - it will be a failure.

If it marks a new way of doing business on the global stage AND it materialises in concrete action to make our economic activities just, sustainable and legitimate, then it will have been a success.

Thomas Merton wrote:
"The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little."

Let's hope that our leaders aren't victims of this temptation.

1 comment:

His Girl Friday said...

I've mixed emotions about that whole thing...I can't help but be reminded of the movie Star Wars... Darth Vader, the Federation and the Galactic Alliance... ;)

TB will like the quote:
'Thomas Merton wrote:
"The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little."'