Monday, February 11, 2008
Well, the big event of the weekend has come and gone, and lo and behold not much has changed. Yes, the G7 group of finance ministers and central bankers gathered for a spot of sushi and karaoke in Tokyo over the weekend, a confabulation that appeared to generate little of interest other than perhaps a few sore heads among the attendees.
Sure, they issued a statement, and golly, wasn't it swell. Here's a brief summary in the rhetorical style of Boris Johnson:
"Blimey, things are going a bit wobbly, aren't they? It's a jolly good thing each of us is doing...his...er...part. 'Tis a pity that a few bad eggs are spoiling the party for everyone. Do let's have a chat and see if we can't put things right. That quango we set up in October has been frightfully busy quangoing. It'll be brilliant when they can tell us all about their adventure.
Those pesky exchange rates really oughtn't to move around too much. China's been a real trooper, and if they could do even more, we'd all be chuffed to bits. Crikey, a tank of petrol's a bit dear nowadays, isn't it? Someone really ought to have a look into that and see what can be done. But really, everyone should just be a good chap and not be so selfish.
Oh, have you seen that the daffs have started blooming already? Perhaps there's something to this global warming mularkey after all. Sadly, those lucky folk who live where it's warm all year seem to be in a spot of bother. We really must do something about that one of those days. Unless we get blown up first."
Meanwhile, in a sign of the deep regard in which 20th century institutions are held by the world's emerging economic powerhouses, CIC's Lou Jiwei flicked a rhetorical V-sign at the IMF recently. Blimey!
All of this posturing, with the attendant issuance of pompous, self-referential communiques by grandees unable to meaningfully impact the environment they inhabit, led Macro Man to wonder over the weekend: is there anything more irrelevant in today's world than the G7?
He thought about it over the weekend, and came up with the following brief list of entities whose irrelevance, if not eclipsing that of the G7, nevertheless gives it a run for its money:
* Organizing Committee for the New England Patriots 2008 Super Bowl Parade
* Voting Panel for 2007-08 "Best Screenplay" award
* Broker Joe
* The Bank of Japan (OK, maybe this is double-counting them)
* The IMF (As Brad Setser has noted, SWFs are organizing bigger bailouts than the IMF ever did)
* Quant funds?
* The US Congress (it's good to know that investigating steroids in baseball and secret taping in the NFL is more important than investigating WTF is going on in Iraq and Guantanamo.)
UK Border and Immigration Agency. On second thought, they are fine, upstanding people who are dedicated to securing the borders of this wonderful country. Now, please can I have indefinite leave to remain?
Reader suggestions to add to this list are welcome; answers on a postcard, or failing that, the comments section.