Each country has until November to come up with its own "concrete" plans, but there is nothing to enforce their implementation except the moral suasion of other members. The
The target is also a moving one, as it is based on beating an estimate for growth which itself is a best guess. Forecasting is by its nature an imprecise art and the IMF is forever revising its forecasts. Predicting growth for the next quarter is tough enough, no matter over five years.
"We're not even sure where we are on growth. How will we be able to judge if these targets are being met?" said
Indeed, the Germans were reluctant to sign up to any hard target at the G20, but accepted the growth goal because it was not binding. Others also stressed it was an aspiration, not a locked-in promise. "The results of this process cannot be guaranteed from politicians," German Finance Minister
The IMF does have a list of reforms that it says will boost growth. It includes everything from liberalising domestic service industries, to spending more on infrastructure, to attracting more women into the workforce.
Some are country specific, such as boosting private savings in the US to improving health care and the social safety net in
One theme running through many of the proposals was making it harder for workers to retire early. Australian Treasurer
There has been scant progress on breaking the divide between well-protected regular workers and a growing army of temporary staff, while immigration remains a social taboo.
"In short, if there is a nice free lunch with plus-2 percent growth out there, why haven't policymakers found it?" wondered
Most Popular Stories
- Top Hispanic Tech Companies Push for the Top
- 5 Notable Hispanic Technology Executives
- Taco Bell Rings Up Breakfast Menu
- Russia, Crimea Discuss Referendum
- California Establishes Center for Coffee Study
- 'Holy grail of guitars' OM-45 Deluxe Available in in NY Auction
- China Urges Malaysia Flight Emergency Response
- Justin Bieber Loses Cool Over Selena Gomez
- For Obama, a Last Stab at Improving Ties with Capitol Hill
- Maya Angelou Cancels Milagro Gala Appearance Due to Illness