The G20 summit: weak, meaningless and self-serving

For Immediate Release

When you read the fine print of the G20 agreement, it shouts 'heroic hypocrisy, unreliable sums, weak promises, meaningless language and self-serving commitments' according to the City financial analyst Miles Saltiel in a briefing paper for the Adam Smith Institute.

According to the paper:

  • The headline $1.1 trillion of financial stimulus amounts to just $25 billion of new money.
  • The IMF's '$500 billion' and the '$250 billion' in Special Drawing Rights are just an underwriting commitment, with no new cash.
  • The '$100 billion' fund for the world's poorest had largely been announced already, and will come from private rather than government sources.
  • The extra '$250 billion' for trade finance is mostly a re-hash of old commitments, with less than $25 billion of new money to subsidize trade finance.
  • The '$6 billion' to be raised by selling the IMF's gold reserves boils down to a $2 billion trickle over three years.
  • The G20's promises to the poorest countries, and commitments to free trade, look extremely weak when the Doha trade round lies derelict.

Saltiel concludes:

"The G20 leaders are more concerned about their domestic problems than their international responsibilities. They turned up in London for a photo opportunity. Their talks convey a sense that there is little they can do to change events. And they are right. Eventually, the world economy will trade its own way out of the current confusion, as it always does."


G20 – Less Than Meets the Eye is published by the Adam Smith Institute, 23 Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3BL. It can be downloaded for free at

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