The idea of "rebalancing" the world economy is simple. Before the financial crisis, some advanced countries (led by the United States) were overspending, and some poorer countries (led by China) were oversaving. The two offset each other. The big spenders ran large trade deficits, and the big savers ran large trade surpluses. Now, the financial crisis has dampened the overspending. If the big savers don't increase their spending, the world economy faces prolonged slow growth. Countries may battle each other for shares of that weak demand by managing exchange rates, subsidies or tariffs.
This is a formula for economic strife, whether called "currency wars," protectionism or economic nationalism. As wealthy countries wrestle with stubborn unemployment (9.6 percent in the United States, 10.1 percent in France, 20.5 percent in Spain), it will become harder to resist policies that favor local businesses and workers, especially if other countries are doing the same. Avoiding this future is the central issue facing leaders of the Group of 20 economies when they meet this week in Seoul.\
Read more at The Washington Post