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A start for a new economic order

The G-20 summit reflect each nation's stake in quick, joint reforms.

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An overhaul of the world economic order can't be done in a day. Still, a one-day summit of 20 leading economies Saturday showed big ambitions to correct the global system. How to fix all the problems matters less than the fact that so many countries came together to seek solutions.

This quick response to a financial meltdown and the threat of global recession stands in historic contrast to a lack of coordinated action after the Great Depression. Even the simple act of putting up a united front of promised reforms sends forth some measure of hope.

And in another sign of how humanity has learned from the past, this meeting of the "G-20" nations – which represent 85 percent of the world economy – was more inclusive than the G-8 grouping of advanced economies that began convening during the economic crises of the 1970s.

Many more countries that now rely heavily on the global flows of goods and money, such as China and India, deserve a seat at the table, reflecting a new balance of power and the spread of wealth through capitalism.

The summit only set out principles on how to fix the global economy. Difficult negotiations over details will culminate in a meeting planned for April 30, the 101st day of the new Obama administration. The timing allows the new president to fine-tune a response to the summit's calls to enhance oversight of financial institutions.

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