Rich Miller and Simon Kennedy
Friday, April 3, 2009
Global leaders took their biggest steps yet toward a new world order that’s less U.S.-centric with a more heavily regulated financial industry and a greater role for international institutions and emerging markets.
At the end of a summit in London, policy makers from the Group of 20 yesterday delivered a regulatory blueprint that French President Nicholas Sarkozy said turned the page on the Anglo-Saxon model of free markets by placing stricter limits on hedge funds and other financiers. The leaders also pledged to triple the resources of the International Monetary Fund and to hand China and other developing economies a greater say in the management of the world economy.
“It’s the passing of an era,” said Robert Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman Sachs International, who helped prepare summits for presidents Gerald R. Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. “The U.S. is becoming less dominant while other nations are gaining influence.”
A lot was at stake. If the leaders had failed to forge a consensus — Sarkozy this week threatened to quit the talks if they didn’t back much tighter regulation — it might have set back the world’s economy and markets just as they’re showing signs of shaking off the worst financial crisis in six decades.
That’s what happened in 1933, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt torpedoed a similar conference in London by rejecting its plan to stabilize currency rates and in the process scotched international efforts to lift the world out of a depression.
Seeking to avoid a repeat of that historic flop, President Barack Obama junked the at-times go-it-alone approach of his predecessor, George W. Bush, and adopted a more conciliatory stance toward his fellow leaders.
“In a world that is as complex as it is, it is very important for us to be able to forge partnerships as opposed to simply dictating solutions,” Obama told a press conference at the conclusion of the summit.
Stock markets rose in response to the steps taken by the G-20 leaders. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 2.9 percent to 834.38. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 216.48 points, or 2.8 percent, to 7,978.08. Both closed at their highest levels since the second week of February.