HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.

Frank and Denie Weil Director of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government
Charles W. Eliot University Professor


Leaders of the Group of 20 big industrial and developing countries first convened almost three years ago to address the financial crisis. As now, there were deep doubts about the financial fundamentals of a major economy. As now, authorities were struggling to bring Main Street the financial stability it needed, without going too far beyond what it wanted. As now, the immediate task was to contain financial panic and the deeper challenge was to lay a foundation for renewed and inclusive prosperity. The depression that looked possible then has been avoided but the outlook is hardly satisfactory. What can be learnt from the past three years as the G20 gathers in Cannes? The world’s leaders, especially the Europeans, will ignore the following lessons at their peril. First, programme announcements that are vague and try to purchase stability on the cheap are more likely to exacerbate problems than to resolve them.


Summers, Lawrence H. "Five Grim and Essential Lessons for World Leaders." Financial Times, November 3, 2011.