Our organisation does not tolerate failure?

Re my earlier post, in case you were wondering if there were any actual cases of politicians making ambiguous calls for market reassurance, well, here’s a nice example from the G20 Toronto Summit Declaration:

There is a risk that synchronized fiscal adjustment across several major economies could adversely impact the recovery. There is also a risk that the failure to implement consolidation where necessary would undermine confidence and hamper growth. Reflecting this balance, advanced economies have committed to fiscal plans that will at least halve deficits by 2013 and stabilize or reduce government debt-to-GDP ratios by 2016.

Whose confidence? And (fiscal) consolidation is necessary where? Halving deficits by 2013 is no small aim. It’s also a highly political aim – affecting many people in many constituencies – and so it seems to me that explicit justification is needed; not hand waving and vague talk of ‘confidence’.

Incidentally, the G20 organisation seems to talk quite a bit about ‘taking steps’ and ‘delivering concrete outcomes’. What, if anything, gives them legitimacy to even attempt to ‘take steps’? Many national constitutions require governments to ratify international treaties as and when they’re negotiated. Shouldn’t the G20 ‘steps’ count as treaties? My question here is only partly facetious. Shouldn’t they?

3 thoughts on “Our organisation does not tolerate failure?

  1. If politicians take this as seriously as they took a much more formalised process – the Maastricht criteria – I think there’s no need for tin hats, just yet (though no-one’s told Naomi Klein, whose in full nonsense-paranoia mode about this).

  2. There are other commentators who’ve noted the apparent groupthinkery, though. I’m thinking of the David Leonhardt piece in the NYT. Here in the UK, I can see a grim situation developing where the Tory leadership justifies its fiscal policy by talking of ‘G20 commitments’ or some such (not to mention market reassurance) and where they have an additional and unvoiced motive given by the five year window until the next election. I don’t see any way of getting from where we are to a more moderate policy.

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