Saturday, September 26, 2009

a BRIC through the window...,

NYTimes | President Obama will announce Friday that the once elite club of rich industrial nations known as the Group of 7 will be permanently replaced as a global forum for economic policy by the much broader Group of 20 that includes China, Brazil, India and other fast-growing developing countries, administration officials said Thursday.

The move highlights the growing economic importance of Asia and some Latin American countries, particularly since the United States and many European countries have found their banking systems crippled by an economic crisis originating in excesses in the American mortgage market.

For more than three decades, the main economic group was the Group of 7 — the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. During the Clinton years, Russia was gradually added, not because of the size of its economy, but to help integrate it with the West. Administration officials said the group would still meet twice a year to discuss security issues. But for practical purposes, the smaller group will become more like a dinner club that defers to the broader group on the economic issues that have dominated summit meetings for nearly three decades. The development, as Mr. Obama was hosting a summit meeting here for leaders of the Group of 20 — 19 countries and the European Union — also highlighted the lingering disparity between the elite group of mostly Western powers and the mass of poorer nations. For all of Mr. Obama’s talk about greater inclusiveness for countries like Brazil and China, the meeting in Pittsburgh remains dominated by the financial crisis that began in the United States and has preoccupied the old boys’ club.