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The G20 Summit in Pittsburgh

The recent G20 Summit (How many nations?  Gee, 20!) has concluded, and being that I'm right here in Pittsburgh where it all took place, one might suppose that a blog entry would be in order to discuss what it all meant to ordinary people who are just trying to Budget, Save, and Eliminate Debt.

Not, of course, that being here meant that I personally witnessed or sat in on any of the G20 discussions or that I have any special insight.  To the contrary, with all the road closings, traffic restrictions, security checkpoints, and demonstrations, violent and peaceful, with and without legal permit, I opted to stay in the safety of my home, where the only protestors with whom I had to deal were in my own family.  Turned out to be a good move on my part, as I viewed the violent anti-banking and anti-capitalism demonstrations by anarchists on TV, one resulting in a broken window at the bank where I opened up my very first checking account so many years ago.  I couldn't help but note that so many protestors had fancy professionally-made banners & T-shirts.  I had to wonder whether the protestors believed that the companies who sold them that stuff wanted anarchy.

Unfortunately and predictably, the protests and resulting police actions occupied more space in the media than the actual substance of the G20 Summit.  On a side note, the most amusing story that I heard around here was that one hotel had only one Presidential Suite to offer, and that went not to any world leaders, but to Dodgers manager Joe Torre, whose team was in town to play the Pirates.  Isn't it nice to know who the real important people are when you get right down to it?

At any rate, the increase from the former G8 (Gee, eight!) to the present G20 recognizes changing economic realities in that it allowed six more Asian members to participate, the biggest players of which are China and India, with the result that 85% of global income, give or take, is now represented.  By agreeing that the G20 would be at the center of all efforts toward global economic recovery, it is thought that for the first time, we'll see complete global cooperation in resolving world economic issues. 

So what exactly was decided?  Not much on trade or climate change.  Worldwide limits were placed on banks' debt/equity ratios, and speaking of banks, while no outright limit was imposed on bonuses to banking executives, at least there were guidelines established requiring a hefty portion thereof to be paid in deferred compensation.  It seems clear that the Gee, 20 nations are looking toward preventing a global banking crisis.

Any further research I did on this subject resulted in rather vague conclusions, and I'm not sure whether to attribute this to the media's obsession with the protests, the participants' reluctance to divulge any specific information, or the lack of any specific information to divulge.  All I can tell you is that the Gee, 20 nations agreed to continue to work toward economic recovery, which I suppose was better than agreeing to work toward further recession.  I'm sure this is a comfort to those of you looking to Budget, Save, and Eliminate Debt.

So there you have it.  Or not.