G-20 Is Now G-Zero: Roubini & Bremmer

The Group of 20 industrialized nations is on its way to obsolescence and the world is at a point where neither a single country nor a bloc of countries will be able to drive an international agenda, according to Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group, and Nouriel Roubini, chairman of Roubini Global Economics.

"Over the past several months, the expanded group of leading economies has gone from a would-be concert of nations to a cacophony of competing voices as the urgency of the financial crisis has waned and the diversity of political and economic values within the group has asserted itself," Bremmer and Roubini wrote in the March/April edition of "Foreign Affairs."

A G-2 of the United State and China is off the table, because "Beijing has no interest in accepting the burdens that come with international leadership," while a G-3 of the United States, Europe and Japan is not a viable alternative, they wrote.

The "United States lacks the resources to continue as the primary provider of global public goods," Bremmer and Roubini said. "Europe is fully occupied for the moment with saving the euro zone. Japan is likewise tied down with complex political and economic problems at home."

The results of a world where developed and emerging countries are all pitted against each other will be "intensified conflict on the international stage over vitally important issues, such as international macroeconomic coordination, financial regulatory reform, trade policy, and climate change," they said.

That, in turn, will hamper the global economy as companies sit on stockpiles of cash waiting for the era of uncertainly to end — likely an extended wait, they added.

“The G-Zero isn't aspirational, it's analytic," Bremmer said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last month. "Unfortunately, it's also where we are.”