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Gordon Brown, UK prime minister and chairman of the meeting, set out a six-point plan to save the world. [...]
Mr Brown cast the G20 meeting as part of a co-ordinated “fight back against the global recession” and said the “global crisis requires a global solution”. We may doubt aspects of the solution, but the crisis is undeniable. World growth is expected to decline this year for the first time since the second world war. The World Trade Organisation expects that trade will fall by 9 per cent – a worrying prospect.
It has also become clear that this crisis will not soon burn itself out. An important part of John Maynard Keynes’ works was his explanation of how economies could be caught in low growth traps. The longer the recession, the greater the destruction of happiness. An extended downturn will also increase the risk of the crisis expanding and deepening far beyond its current spread. In new democracies, whether in Africa or central and eastern Europe, this is a moment of genuine peril. In some poorer countries, it could even lead to war and famine.