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Vladimir Kvint: It's Time for a G-25

The leaders of major countries are in agreement on the need to respond quickly and cohesively to the current global economic crisis. But while developed nations are experiencing tremendous slowdowns, emerging market countries are still expected to achieve gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates of 2.5 percent to 3 percent, on average. In this global downturn, can emerging market economies can be the locomotives of the world’s marketplace? Perhaps. But only if the global community substantially changes the current organizational structure of the global economic order to allow these new and dynamic economies to assume greater responsibilities commensurate with their greater roles. Today, there are only three major multilateral Bretton Woods institutions still in existence: the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO). This is not enough. In 1944, these organizations were created as multilateral bodies, bringing together the biggest economies of the time. But, with the birth of emerging markets, the economy is now global. New rules and practices are needed. The global marketplace needs new global ratings agencies, global crisis monitors, and monetary and financial instruments for global regulators.

Shaun Rein: Give the People What They Want

With the world's elite in Davos as the backdrop, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has reiterated the government's stance that it can hit 8 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2009—despite exports dropping 2.8 percent in December and fourth quarter GDP growth falling to 6.8 percent. An 8 percent GDP growth rate is the magic number many analysts believe China must reach in order to absorb the 6 million university graduates joining the workforce every year and maintain social stability. Premier Wen says 2009 will be a hard year but that government spending in health care, environmental protection, and other large-scale projects will make up for foreign investment shortfalls. With China's debt levels at only 17 percent of GDP (versus well over 50 percent in countries like the United Kingdom) and deflation emerging as a bigger concern than inflation, China also has the option to push banks to loan more money. However, China's planned $586 billion stimulus package is far too focused on large infrastructure and state-owned enterprise projects, leaving the country's ability to hit that growth rate in jeopardy.

David A. Andelman: WCBS TV Interview

Davis Andelman, EditorOn the eve



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