The Asian Perspective
ADBI series on Asian Economic Integration and Cooperation
Edited by Masahiro Kawai, Peter J. Morgan and Pradumna B. Rana
Chapter 3: The Group of Twenty: input and output legitimacy, reforms and agenda
The elevation of the Group of Twenty (G20) to the leaders’ level anticipated a new form of collective action at the apex of the global system. In a break from past situations of economic stress, whether the 1930s or early 1980s, key countries from both the old elite of states and a cluster of emerging powers were able to act together within a multilateral crisis committee process via the G20 and attendant institutions. In terms of form, speed and scope of agenda this process allowed an unprecedented degree of cooperation. Yet shared anxiety about a massive rupture of the system did not translate into an embedded set of shared interests or norms (Rachman 2010). Cooperation even in a concentrated forum via the G20 is not the same as consensus. Hanging together in a sustained fashion still faces enormous obstacles due not only to differences over outputs in terms of policy delivery but some serious gaps in terms of input legitimacy as well. The result is an awkward institutional arrangement, with some important innovative qualities (including an extension of insider status to an enhanced cluster of Asian countries including not only the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and India but also the Republic of Korea and Indonesia) but also some serious gaps in terms of efficiency and representation.
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