World leaders are due to start meeting in mid-November in Washington to assess the world financial crisis. The sessions are designed to ease what economists say could be a long and deep downturn. There will be other summits extending into next year and the next president's term.
The badly needed gatherings will feature leaders of Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and the United States, the European Union, China, Brazil, India, Russia, South Korea and some other major economies. The goal is to hash out what has happened and how to fix it. The new U.S. president will not take office until Jan. 20, but there is speculation that the winner of the Nov. 4 election will be invited to participate in talks before his inauguration. The Bush White House needs to generate thrust for solutions even if Bush is a lame duck.
In recent discussions of the meltdown, several American and international leaders have been asked what they believe is most important at this stage. In almost every case, the two C's that have dominated the suggestions have been "coordination and confidence."
The United States and the world need hefty servings of both. First, the numerous nations that will be represented at the November summit must brush aside personal desires and aspirations for the "good of the order," the world economy which is so vital to everyone. We cannot have narrow-minded and selfish participants, America included, focusing on personal preferences.
The term "coordination" means just that - various parties working as unselfishly as possible for an overall solution that will benefit everyone. The goal is to make the international financial system stronger and more secure. That will demand give and take in many categories by all the nations.
Then there is the element of "confidence." Regardless of the mechanical actions selected to right the troubled financial ship, leaders must create an atmosphere that gives non-participants confidence that repairs can be made and that a return to some semblance of normalcy is possible.
Free markets, free enterprise and free trade, key items in what president Bush calls democratic capitalism, are important. But there may be some short-term regulatory actions that are needed and should not be blindly tossed aside.
Coordination and confidence are needed everywhere. If there are sufficient amounts of both coming out of the sessions, there is good reason to hope for a brighter future for everyone.