Words, words, marvellous words, have the power to create new ideas, to make you think, to imagine vast new possibilities and dreams, to argue, to persuade, to make you laugh or cry - or in the case of the communique of the Group of 20 in Washington to make you weep at the lack of understanding of the so-called leaders of the financial world. Talk about the wonders of being oversold, the communiqu? offers a happy-ever-after children's fairytale, but it reaches its happy ending without explaining how our heroes plan to create a road through the high mountains, dense jungles and arid deserts confronting the global economy, let alone slay monsters of debts, budget deficits, unemployment, slow growth and recession lurking on the rocky path to the wonderland of sunshine, high growth and prosperity for all the world ever after. The G20, just like the key IMF committee afterwards, vows to take 'all necessary action' and commits 'to supporting growth, implementing credible fiscal consolidation plans, and ensuring strong, sustainable and balanced growth'. Of course, it adds: 'This will require a collective and bold action plan, with everyone doing their part.' But any sketch of any such a global plan is missing, and the individual paragraphs contributed by the various countries show they are already in dreamland. The US, for example, according to the communique, 'has put forward a significant package to strengthen growth and employment through public investments, tax incentives and targeted job measures, combined with fiscal reforms designed to restore fiscal sustainability over the medium term'. Too many of the endless meetings and speeches in Washington over the past five days - at the G20, the G7, the IMF and World Bank - were given to finger-pointing and claims that someone else must do something urgently. China demanded the developed countries clean up their debts, and said the other BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa) must work to increase co-operation in trade, investment and finance. US treasury secretary Timothy Geithner sternly told the Europeans to make sweeping changes to their financial system or there would be 'cascading default, bank runs and catastrophic risk' that would put the whole world in danger. George Osborne, the UK chancellor of the exchequer, wagged his finger telling his Euroland neighbours that they had six weeks - until the next G20 summit in Cannes - to get their act together. He was being optimistic. It might be six days or even fewer if markets sense - correctly, surely - that the world, and particularly the Europeans, do not understand the forces confronting them or when the crunch comes haven't got the political guts to stand together, or the popular support to persuade their electorates to back them. Fear not: European officials say they have a big plan. It would cover all bases and solve the problems comprehensively with three major thrusts: to recapitalise European banks that are at risk; to boost the euro zone bailout fund so that it has enough firepower to withstand any crisis; and to allow Greece to default, but remain within the euro zone. Officials, depending on whom you talk to, imagine a bailout fund as big as Euro3 trillion (HK$31.48 trillion). The rescue plan will be in place for the Cannes meeting. That would be a happy ending for everyone. But it requires huge leaps of imagination to assume everything would fall into place so easily or that political agreement, so far lamentably lacking, will be achieved. It may be going too far to claim the talk of a masterly master-plan is all a con trick to fool and calm the markets. Markets have been easily fooled recently, soaring on hopeful rumours and then slumping when it became clear that the rumours were vain. Just now the mood is so jittery that six days may be a luxury for European politicians. To get some sense of the numbers, the IMF has US$386 billion at its disposal for rescues or Euro280 billion, about 15 per cent of Italy's debts. Politics still stands in the way of the achievement of any grand plan, especially one with ambitious reach, yet euro officials have been belatedly forced to the conclusion that only an ambitious plan will fit the economic needs of the moment. Only a few weeks ago politicians were arguing that a doubling of the bailout fund was unnecessary. More practically, it is still not clear that there is popular will to back any grand plan. The task is trickier because some measures would require ratifying by parliaments and others might require constitutional amendments. Allowing Greece to default while remaining in the euro zone might prevent a messy breakdown of the currency, but it would do nothing to make Greek products competitive against German ones. The tragedy for Europe and the world is that economies have become global while politics remain staunchly national or even regional. It was good to see China making pertinent comments about what other countries should do, but it would have been better to hear Beijing's suggestions as to how it could contribute to a solution. After all, China is now part of the global economy with its own lopsided international accounts that played their part in a systematic system of imbalances. The other worrying tendency is that not everyone is suffering economic woes, and so can't understand the urgency. Walking on the streets of Georgetown, just a few blocks from where the IMF and World Bank meetings were taking place, one is swamped by dining crowds spilling happily onto the pavements, clearly with money to spend on the good life.