World’s finance leaders face problems they can’t solve

Every April, the world’s finance ministers and other economic policy leaders descend on Washington for the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Things feel different this year — and not just because D.C. has had a stubbornly late-arriving spring.

Why it matters: The world is facing profound economic challenges — global supply shortages caused by pandemic and war — that defy the ability of economic policymakers to solve through clever management of spending or interest rates.

State of play: Through the last 15 years years of financial crises and slow recovery, the world faced serious economic problems, but ones that were largely “endogenous,” linked to the internal workings of their economies.

  • Those sorts of crises are hard, but at least are responsive to the kinds of policy changes that finance ministers and central bankers can enact. Think of the global financial crisis and countless emerging market debt crises.
  • The…

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