Sunday, November 23, 2008

APEC Whistles Past The Graveyard

The APEC Conference produced lots of unfounded optimism:

Pacific Rim nations assured the world Sunday that the global financial crisis can be quelled in 18 months, but provided few details of how they expect that to happen — or how their governments can help.

The 18-month timeline fits with a calculation by the International Monetary Fund, which forecast developed economies would grow barely 0.1 percent in 2009, and that the world would emerge from the crisis the following year.

But some delegates and analysts were skeptical that the timetable was much more than wishful thinking, and some leaders distanced themselves from the language.

Unfortunately, these countries' leaders could do no better than crib from the IMF's own estimates. It's fair to say that these countries' leaders were ill-served by their ministerial staffs, the ones who do the real leg-work in preparing for a conference like this one. Solving global economic problems isn't really in APEC's portfolio anyway, although they definitely have a stake in keeping trans-Pacific trade going.

It's good to know that some of the heads of state were realistic enough to downplay the official language.