Your Rorschach test for global economic governance

Annie Lowrey ably summarizes the outcomes of spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank for the New York Times. Here are her first two paragraphs: Meetings of finance ministers and central bankers here over the weekend started with a pledge by wealthy nations to significantly increase the lending capacity of the International Monetary Fund to ...

By , a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Annie Lowrey ably summarizes the outcomes of spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank for the New York Times. Here are her first two paragraphs:

Meetings of finance ministers and central bankers here over the weekend started with a pledge by wealthy nations to significantly increase the lending capacity of the International Monetary Fund to defend against the possibility of worsening economic conditions in the debt-laden euro zone.

But they ended on Sunday without a consensus on just how to speed up the economic recovery, stamp out the European debt crisis or lower unemployment around the world, officials said.

Annie Lowrey ably summarizes the outcomes of spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank for the New York Times. Here are her first two paragraphs:

Meetings of finance ministers and central bankers here over the weekend started with a pledge by wealthy nations to significantly increase the lending capacity of the International Monetary Fund to defend against the possibility of worsening economic conditions in the debt-laden euro zone.

But they ended on Sunday without a consensus on just how to speed up the economic recovery, stamp out the European debt crisis or lower unemployment around the world, officials said.

Now, I would say how you interpret this outcome is an excellent indicator of your overall opinion of post-crisis global economic governance. On the one hand, if you’re Alan Beattie, Edward Luce, Ian Bremmer, Charles Kupchan, or Ted Truman, well, this outcome is a sign of chronic dysfunction. If the world’s great powers can’t agree on what to do with the specter of a double-dip global recession looming over them, there’s little reason to hope. The glass is half-empty.

On the other hand, if you’re John Ikenberry, Robert Kagan, Bruce Jones, or Alan Alexandroff, the glass looks half-full. Boosting the IMF’s reserves by more than $400 billion ain’t nothing, and it’s faintly absurd to believe that any global governance structure will ever be able to "speed up the economic recovery, stamp out the European debt crisis or lower unemployment around the world."

I’ll be tipping my hand as to which way I’m leaning in the coming months, but for now, I’m curious about my readers. What do you think? Is global economic governance a mess or doing reasonably well in trying circumstances?

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, where he is the co-director of the Russia and Eurasia Program. Twitter: @dandrezner

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