With the global economy mired in slow growth and right-wing, nationalist populism in the ascendant in many of the advanced industrial countries, one might have hoped that the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China would have come up with a real plan to promote a sustainable, shared recovery.
If so, one would be very disappointed since the final communique consisted mainly of empty rhetoric and evaded the key issues of competitive fiscal austerity and increasing income inequality.
Picture this: it's about midnight, and two black men are walking up the street in their neighbourhood after enjoying a meal out.
Up ahead in the distance, four young white men, guitars on their backs and shoulders, are walking on the street. The two black men notice a Toronto Police Services car coming south towards them. The car passes the young white men, but as it approaches the two black men, it slows down deliberately. The two officers look at the black men, making sure the men see their stare, as they continue to drive slowly down the street.
When the leaders of the world’s most powerful economies meet at the Group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Wednesday and Thursday, they face an economic puzzle only half-solved. Co-ordinated monetary and fiscal stimulus by the G20 in 2008 and 2009 narrowly prevented a repeat of the Great Depression. However, almost five years after the onset of the global financial crisis, the world economy remains mired in slow growth and high unemployment.