May 29, 2020
The Path Forward: The Global Economy
The dramatic spread of COVID-19 has disrupted business and the economy worldwide. The Washington Post Live brought together former British prime minister Gordon Brown and former U.S. treasury secretary Lawrence H. Summers to discuss the impact of this pandemic on the global economy.
Highlights
Former British prime minister Gordon Brown says he understands why some people in the United States and the United Kingdom are hostile toward globalization, but he says individual nationalism will not help when addressing a global pandemic. ‘President Trump’s America first nationalism cannot deal with a pandemic because it’s a global problem.’
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Former British prime minister Gordon Brown says China has taken on the role of calling for international cooperation during the coronavirus pandemic, but he thinks the world will continue to look to the United States to lead global cooperation efforts for the foreseeable future. “I don’t think China has the answers either. I think we’re in danger on moving toward one world, two systems if we don’t watch.”
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Former U.S. treasury secretary Lawrence Summers says a country focusing its coronavirus response only at home is a moral issue and national security error. ‘This is not a moral, primarily or only, a moral issue of doing right by poor people in poor countries. This is forward defense of our national security interests. In terms of health where second waves will inevitably make their way to our shores, and affect our citizens. And, forward defense of our security interests in terms of avoiding the kind of populist, authoritarian political wave that history shows can do so much damage.”
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Former British prime minister Gordon Brown and former U.S. treasury secretary Lawrence Summers say they believe that the coronavirus pandemic make countries realize the importance of international community and cooperation. ‘I think we will understand that our security depends more on our ability to cooperate with other countries to solve common problems than it does, as it has for the last 1,000 years, on maintaining a balance of power...We’re going to move from a just in time world to a just in case world,’ Summers said.
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Former British prime minister Gordon Brown says international collaboration is necessary to address both the economic and medical emergencies caused by the coronavirus pandemic. ‘History will judge us...The country has led in the past in responding to international crises is the United States, and we have rejected the very idea of an international community and that will prove to be a grave mistake,’ former U.S. treasury secretary Lawrence Summers added.
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Gordon Brown
Former British Prime Minister
Gordon Brown is the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2007 to 2010 and is widely credited with preventing a second Great Depression through his stewardship of the 2009 London G20 summit. He was one of the first leaders during the global crisis to initiate calls for global financial action, while introducing a range of rescue measures in the UK. In April 2009, he hosted the G20 Summit in London where world leaders committed to make an additional $1.1 trillion available to help the world economy through the crisis and restore credit, growth and jobs. They also pledged to strengthen financial supervision and regulation. Gordon has a PhD in History from the University of Edinburgh and spent his early career working as a lecturer. He is married to Sarah Brown, the President of Theirworld and Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education, and the couple live in Fife, Scotland with their two sons, John and Fraser.
Lawrence H. Summers
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary
Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers is one of America’s leading economists. In addition to serving as 71st Secretary of the Treasury in the Clinton Administration, Dr. Summers served as Director of the White House National Economic Council in the Obama Administration, as President of Harvard University, and as the Chief Economist of the World Bank. Dr. Summers’ tenure at the U.S. Treasury coincided with the longest period of sustained economic growth in U.S. history. He is the only Treasury Secretary in the last half century to have left office with the national budget in surplus. Dr. Summers has played a key role in addressing every major financial crisis for the last two decades. Currently, Dr. Summers is the President Emeritus and the Charles W. Eliot University Professor at Harvard University, where he became a full professor at age 28, one of the youngest in Harvard’s recent history.
Interviewed by David Ignatius
Columnist, The Washington Post
About Washington Post Live
Washington Post Live is the newsroom’s live journalism platform. Top-level government and business leaders, emerging voices and newsmakers discuss the most pressing national and global issues of the day.