“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”
– Karl Marx
The world’s leaders gathered in Washington last weekend to try to address the global imbalances that continue to weight on the economies of the world. It didn’t go well.
The IMF meeting, meant to lay the foundation for some greater co-operation on the co-ordination of national economic policies, instead ended in mutual recrimination. And that has made it harder to reach agreement at the gathering in Seoul next month of the Group of 20 industrialised and developing nations.
The heart of the disagreement is the “international currency war”, as Guido Mantega, the Brazilian finance minister, called it three weeks ago. The media has focused on the verbal spat between America and China, but the beggar thy neighbor policies are being waged by dozens of nations around the world.
What I find surprising is that so far the media has failed to recognize how familiar this scenario is.