The Europeans are the New Spartans. They head to the G20 in Toronto in their hair-shirts, newly frugal and stern in their attitude towards debt.
The G20, which includes the developing countries, has become the body to co-ordinate the global economy. When the banks were collapsing in 2008/9 it was the G20 that embraced stimulus programmes.
Now, as heads of government arrive in Ontario, there is no masking the divisions. In one corner are the Americans. They believe that economic recovery must take precedence over budget cuts. Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers (US treasury secretary and presidential economic adviser) wrote “we must demonstrate a commitment to reducing long-term deficits, but not at the price of short-term growth”.