How to take care of your mental health after the Christchurch attacks

The world was saddened and distressed to learn of the shocking Christchurch mosque attacks on Friday, which claimed the lives of 50 people and injured nearly as many. Since then we’ve heard hear...

Richard Bryant, Professor & Director of Traumatic Stress Clinic, UNSW - avatar Richard Bryant, Professor & Director of Traumatic Stress Clinic, UNSW

Christchurch attacks provide a new ethics lesson for professional media

The difference in the Christchurch attacks is that propaganda supplied by the perpetrator was available to the professional media, even as the story was breaking.Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-N...

Denis Muller, Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne - avatar Denis Muller, Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne

Autonomous transport will shape our cities' future – best get on the right path early

Cities have a choice of autonomous vehicle futures: cars or mass transit vehicles. Which one we adopt is likely to determine how people-friendly our cities are.SueBeDoo888/ShutterstockA unique opport...

Peter Newman, Professor of Sustainability, Curtin University - avatar Peter Newman, Professor of Sustainability, Curtin University

What parents need to know about the signs of child sexual abuse

Significant changes in your child's behaviour could signal they are being sexually abused.from shutterstock.comRecent events, including the conviction and sentencing of George Pell for sexually abusin...

Larissa Christensen, Lecturer in Criminology & Justice  |  Co-leader of the Sexual Violence and Research Prevention Unit (SVRPU), University of the Sunshine Coast - avatar Larissa Christensen, Lecturer in Criminology & Justice | Co-leader of the Sexual Violence and Research Prevention Unit (SVRPU), University of the Sunshine Coast

Curious Kids: what makes an echo?

Do you think you could make an echo at Echo Point in Katoomba?Flickr/Amanda Slater, CC BYCurious Kids is a series for children. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to ...

Noel Hanna, Leading Education Professional (Physics), UNSW - avatar Noel Hanna, Leading Education Professional (Physics), UNSW

Super power: why the future of Australian capitalism is now in Greg Combet's hands

Greg Combet wants to use his super power to free business from being hostage to short-term share-price and profit measures.ShutterstockRight now Greg Combet is arguably the most powerful man in Austra...

Danny Davis, Executive Director, Australian Institute of Performance Sciences, and researcher at, La Trobe University - avatar Danny Davis, Executive Director, Australian Institute of Performance Sciences, and researcher at, La Trobe University

Slimmed-down migration program has regional focus

The government has announced a reduced annual cap on migration of 160,000 for each of the next four years, as well as measures to stream a greater proportion of migrants to regional areas and boost th...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Anxieties over livestreams can help us design better Facebook and YouTube content moderation

Livestream on Facebook isn't just a tool for sharing violence – it has many popular social and political uses. glen carrie / unsplash, CC BYAs families in Christchurch bury their loved ones foll...

Andrew Quodling, PhD candidate researching governance of social media platforms, Queensland University of Technology - avatar Andrew Quodling, PhD candidate researching governance of social media platforms, Queensland University of Technology

We did a breakthrough 'speed test' in quantum tunnelling, and here's why that's exciting

Future technologies will exploit today's advances in our understanding of the quantum world.Shutterstock/PopTika When you deal with things at the quantum scale, where things are very small, the world ...

U. Satya Sainadh, Postdoctoral researcher, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology - avatar U. Satya Sainadh, Postdoctoral researcher, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

Politicians suing for defamation is usually a bad idea: here's why

There are better ways for politicians to address defamation concerns than through the courts.AAP/Ellen SmithWhen The Project host Waleed Aly began his editorial in the wake of the Christchurch massacr...

Michael Douglas, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Western Australia - avatar Michael Douglas, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Western Australia

Births, deaths and rituals: a revamped Ten Days on the Island explores Tasmania's past and present

Youth dance troupe Stompin performed their thought-provoking work Nowhere as part of this year's Ten Days on the Island.Jacob Collings, Lusy ProductionsThis year marks the tenth biennial Tasmanian Art...

Asher Warren, Lecturer, University of Tasmania - avatar Asher Warren, Lecturer, University of Tasmania

A guide for parents and teachers: what to do if your teenager watches violent footage

The world is reeling in the aftermath of the horrific shootings in Christchurch. The attack has also raised a number of side issues, including the ethics of broadcasting the live stream of the attack...

Rachael Sharman, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of the Sunshine Coast - avatar Rachael Sharman, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of the Sunshine Coast

As home care packages become big business, older people are not getting the personalised support they need

Many older Australians prefer to stay at home than enter residential aged care – but the process of securing home care is riddled with complexities.From shutterstock.comThe Royal Commission into...

Lyn Phillipson, NHMRC-ARC Dementia Development Fellow, University of Wollongong - avatar Lyn Phillipson, NHMRC-ARC Dementia Development Fellow, University of Wollongong

Two ways to fund NSW election promises as property prices crash

Previous NSW election promises were easily funded. Not so this time.ShutterstockState elections are always about spending promises, but this time not much is being said about how they will be funded.L...

Gareth Bryant, Lecturer in Political Economy, University of Sydney - avatar Gareth Bryant, Lecturer in Political Economy, University of Sydney

‘Rape Day’: A new video game glorifying sexual assault raises questions about regulation

nhungboon/ShutterstockA graphic new video game called Rape Day, set to launch in April, triggered a swift and widespread public outcry.Created by an independent developer, Rape Day is a set in a zombi...

Dr Marika Guggisberg, Research and Teaching Academic in Domestic and Family Violence, CQUniversity Australia - avatar Dr Marika Guggisberg, Research and Teaching Academic in Domestic and Family Violence, CQUniversity Australia

Curious Kids: why do we have two kidneys when we can live with only one?

Right now, your kidneys are getting rid of all things your body does not need. They do this by 'cleaning' your blood. ShutterstockCurious Kids is a series for children. If you have a question you&rsqu...

Brooke Huuskes, Lecturer in Human Anatomy, Physiology Anatomy & Microbiology, La Trobe University - avatar Brooke Huuskes, Lecturer in Human Anatomy, Physiology Anatomy & Microbiology, La Trobe University

Would you like to grow old at home? Why we’re struggling to meet demand for subsidised home care

In December, more than 127,000 Australians were waiting for a home care package.From shutterstock.comThe Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is this week turning its focus to aged care ...

Michael Woods, Professor of Health Economics, University of Technology Sydney - avatar Michael Woods, Professor of Health Economics, University of Technology Sydney

We need a legally binding treaty to make plastic pollution history

The world urgently needs to move past plastic. Veronika MedunaA powerful marriage between the fossil fuel and plastic industries threatens to exacerbate the global plastic pollution crisis. The Center...

Trisia Farrelly, Senior Lecturer, Massey University - avatar Trisia Farrelly, Senior Lecturer, Massey University

White nationalism, born in the USA, is now a global terror threat

The recent massacre of 50 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand is the latest confirmation that white supremacy is a danger to democratic societies across the globe.Despite Pr...

Art Jipson, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Dayton - avatar Art Jipson, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Dayton

Super power: why the future of Australian capitalism is now in Greg Combet's hands

Greg Combet wants to use his super power to free business from being hostage to short-term share-price and profit measures.ShutterstockRight now Greg Combet is arguably the most powerful man in Austra...

The Conversation - avatar The Conversation

Does most of your paycheck go to rent? That may be hurting your health

Families that spend more on housing may have less to spend on their health.Tero Vesalainen/shutterstock.comNew data on health across the U.S. shows that high housing costs are harming Americans’...

Jessica Owens-Young, Assistant Professor of Health Studies, American University - avatar Jessica Owens-Young, Assistant Professor of Health Studies, American University

The politics of fear: How it manipulates us to tribalism

The cruel murder of 50 people in New Zealand was another tragic reminder of how humans are capable of heartlessly killing their own kind just based on what they believe, how they worship, and what rac...

Arash Javanbakht, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Wayne State University - avatar Arash Javanbakht, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Wayne State University

What is the significance of Friday prayers in Islam?

Muslims praying in a Chicago mosque following the shooting in New Zealand, on Friday, March 15.AP Photo/Noreen NasirFollowing the terror attack on two New Zealand mosques last week, many Muslim commun...

Rose S. Aslan, Assistant Professor of Religion, California Lutheran University - avatar Rose S. Aslan, Assistant Professor of Religion, California Lutheran University

“The secret to success is sincerity. Learn to fake that, and you’ve got it made.”

So goes an old gag. Many might be wondering something similar about this weekend’s G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

Each year the leaders of 20 of the world’s largest economies get together and make a lot of promises about working together to make the world a better place.

Are those promises kept? Are they just committing to do things they would have done anyway?

In short, does the G20 summit really make any difference?

Read more: What on earth is the G20 and why should I care?

To find out, I interviewed dozens of politicians and officials from every G20 country about the influence and importance of the annual gathering since its first meeting in 2008.

My analysis shows most G20 promises are kept, and the forum really does exert a positive influence on its member nations.

Cooperation or coincidence?

Before I started my research I had reasons to be sceptical.

For example, at the G20’s second meeting, in London in 2009, the assembled leaders committed to fiscal stimulus packages worth a combined US$5 trillion in response to the 2008 global financial crisis. Central banks, like the Reserve Bank of Australia, also committed to aggressively cut interest rates.

US president Barack Obama at the G20 Summit in London, England 2 April 2009. Shawn Thew/EPA

The data shows they did what they promised. But didn’t countries have an incentive to do what they did anyway? What role did the G20 play?

Similarly in 2010, at the G20 meeting in Toronto, spooked by the European debt crisis, leaders promised to halve deficits by 2013 and stabilise debt-to-GDP ratios by 2016.

Many countries achieved this. But weren’t many countries, such as Australia, already on the “back to surplus” bandwagon? Did the G20 have any influence?

More than just a talkfest

Was the G20 a real influence, or were countries just promising to do what they would have done anyway?

To find out, I interviewed a total of 63 senior politicians and officials from every G20 country.

They included former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd, former Australian treasurers Wayne Swan and Joe Hockey, US Federal Reserve chairperson Janet Yellen and her predecessor Ben Bernanke, former US Treasury secretary Jack Lew, Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda, and Bank of England governer Mark Carney.

I asked them whether they believed the G20 had influenced their and other countries’ policies.

The answer was yes – sometimes.

It depended on the country, the policy area and other things, like whether there was an international economic crisis. But the influence was definitely there.

According to Kevin Rudd, who oversaw the Australian government’s successful response to the global financial crisis:

The G20 played a positive role in the quantum of Australia’s fiscal stimulus.

Politicians from ten other countries said the same thing – verified with data, where possible.

Read more: FactCheck: did Kevin Rudd help create the G20?

Sharing experiences, shaping thinking

What about the G20’s influence on central banks?

These banks have domestic mandates. The Reserve Bank of Australia can’t refuse to change interest rates because it annoys New Zealand, for example. It must do what is best for the nation. What room is therefore left for G20 co-operation?

My research suggests the G20 does influence the thinking of central bankers and, through them, central bank policies.

“There is a lot of exchange of views in the G20 which I think is influential,” Ben Bernanke, who chaired the US Federal Reserve from 2006 to 2014, told me.

Mark Carney, who was governor of the Bank of Canada before heading the Bank of England, said the G20 was “a useful forum in which central banks can explain the reasons for their policy decisions”.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney at the meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank heads in Buenos Aires in July, 2018. G20/EPA

What about those 1,000 structural reforms?

According to Joe Hockey, Australia’s treasurer from 2013 to 2015:

The G20 growth strategy process absolutely resulted in countries doing things differently, particularly by learning from one another.

US officials agreed, confirming they got the idea of an asset-recycling initiative - where governments lease existing infrastructure assets to private companies and invest the proceeds in new infrastructure projects - from Australia through the G20.

A place to learn

German officials said because of G20 commitments their government developed a financial literacy and education program to better equip Germany’s citizens, particularly young people, in their engagement with the financial system.

Russian officials said Vladimir Putin embraced their 2017-2020 reform agenda on female economic participation after learning about the benefits through the G20.

The G20 has also prevented nations embracing “beggar-thy-neighbour” policies that improve the country’s relative economic position by harming others. It has pressured members not to devalue their currencies in pursuit of competitive trade advantage. It has helped countries resist resorting to trade protectionism. It has defused tensions around controversial policies such as quantitative easing, and improved the communication of central banks on future policy changes.

Read more: The G20’s economic leadership deficit

Janet Yellen, former chair of the US Federal Reserve, said she “genuinely took to heart” concerns expressed at the G20 about aspects of US policy.

There are exceptions

The G20’s influence is not universal. Large countries are less influenced than smaller ones. Said a former senior US official:

Most Americans, and many in Congress, are proudly indifferent to what the rest of the world thinks.

Jacob Lew, US Treasury Secretary from 2013 to 2017, agreed:

There can be a backlash in the United States if you make the argument that you are doing something to comply with international rules.

The full results have been published by the Brookings Institution (available here).

So if commentators complain about the G20 being a pointless talkfest, just remember there is evidence to the contrary. It might not grab the headlines but the G20 plays an important role behind the scenes. We will be relying on it now, more than ever, to calm global tensions.

Authors: The Conversation

Read more http://theconversation.com/does-the-g20-summit-really-make-a-difference-world-leaders-reckon-it-does-107505