Obama News Conference at Conclusion of G-20 Summit - Page 9 of 13

Obama News Conference at Conclusion of G-20 Summit

So I guess maybe just to use an analogy that was used several times in this meeting, an analogy that I’ve used in the past: You got a sick patient; I think we applied the right medicine; I think the patient is stabilized; there’s still wounds that have to heal and there’s still emergencies that could arise, but I think that you’ve got some pretty good care being applied.

You had a second, follow-up question?

Q Prime Minister Brown saying —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Oh, the Washington consensus. Well, the Washington consensus, as I’m sure you’re aware, Jake, is sort of a term of art about a certain set of policies surrounding globalization and the application of a cookie-cutter model to economic growth, trade liberalization, deregulation that was popular and did help globalize and grow the economy, and was led by some of our leading economists and policymakers in Washington.

I think that there’s always been a spectrum of opinion about how unfettered the free market is. And along that spectrum, I think there have been some who believe in very fierce regulation and are very suspicious of globalization, and there are others who think that it’s always — that the market is always king. And I think what we’ve learned here, but if anybody had been studying history they would have understood earlier, is that the market is the most effective mechanism for creating wealth and distributing resources to produce goods and services that history has ever known, but that it goes off the rail sometimes; that if it’s completely unregulated, that if there are no thoughtful frameworks to channel the creative energy of the market, that it can end up in a very bad place.

And so, in that sense, I think that we just went through a couple of decades where there was an artificial complacency about the dangers of markets going off the rails. And a crisis like this reminds us that we just have to put in some common-sense rules of the road, without throwing out the enormous benefits that globalization have brought in terms of improving living standards, reducing the cost of goods, and bringing the world closer together.

All right, I’ve got time for just a couple more questions. I’m going to find a journalist here —

Q — (inaudible) — (Laughter.)

Q How about me?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: All right, I’m going to call on this gentleman right here. He’s been very persistent.

Q Excuse me. China Central Television. Since the world leaders have been talking about increasing the voice and voting rights of developing countries, I would like to ask two questions instead of just one. First of all, on behalf of China —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I may choose which one I want to answer. (Laughter.)

Q Of course.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: That’s always the danger of asking two questions. (Laughter.)