The economic leadership award
They won't be giving out awards at the G20 summit this Thursday, but what if they did...?
The week's first award is for Most Promising Display of Global Economic Leadership and it goes to the Chinese.
Take the issue of fiscal stimulus, now jokingly referred to by officials as the "story that will not die". While America and Europe have been publicly squabbling over who will stimulate when and at what cost, China has quietly accepted that it needs to do more than its fair share.
According to the IMF, China's active measures to stimulate its economy come to 3.2% of GDP this year, by far the most of any major G20 economy. The average is just under 2%. And China is already planning stimulus of 2.7% of GDP next year, compared to a G20 average of 1.3%.
In many ways, that is as it should be. After all, the Chinese are the ones with all the money these days. Their foreign exchange reserves alone are close to $2 trillion.
You might also say that China's actions are down to self-interest rather than global statesmanship. After all, they need to keep their economy going just as much as everyone else does, probably more.
If you look at history, an economic slowdown after a period of rising expectations and dramatic growth is a prime recipe for revolution.
But by actively pushing up domestic demand, the Chinese are at least looking to participate in the re-balancing of global demand that most economists would say is the only sustainable path out of this mess. And they are not (so far) looking to devalue their way to recovery.
As I've noted before, this crisis has pointed up the costs of an imbalanced global economy for savers and spenders alike. Borrower countries like Britain and America are suffering, but so are those that sold to them: the big exporter, saver, nations like Japan, China and Germany.
One of the many reasons the Americans are focused on getting other countries to do their part at the G20 is that they know a recovery built on the US consumer (and taxpayer) isn't going to stand the global economy in very good stead in the future.
Every government needs to prop up domestic demand, but saver countries need to do the most. Germany has done more here than you might think: it has stimulus plans worth 2% of GDP next year.
But, buried in the German chancellor's interview with the FT on Saturday was an astonishing rebuff to the re-balancing scenario outlined above.
Angela Merkel told the paper: "the German economy is very reliant on exports, and this isn't something you can change in two years." So far, so unexceptional. But note the rejoinder: "and it is not something we even want to change".
Charles Dumas, of Lombard Street Research, has pointed out that more than 80% of Germany's growth since 2001 has been accounted for by exports (and much of the rest was export-related spending and investment).
That is a tribute to the imbalances in the global economy that helped create this crisis, and which are leading Germany to have one of the steepest economic declines of any European economy. Yet, amazingly, it is not something the German government would like to change.
Contrast that with China, which not only takes dramatic steps to boost domestic demand but openly debates how to create a better system in future.
At the recent meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bankers in Horsham, Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of the Chinese Central Bank, talked about creating a system more similar to Keynes' original scheme in 1944, where it's not just deficit countries that face pressure to rebalance their economies.
Last week Governor Zhou made those views public, in a short paper laying out the case for a new international reserve currency based on the IMF's internal unit of account, the Special Drawing Right.
I'll say more about the ins and outs of this proposal in another post. Let me just say here that while the markets have understandably focused on the short-term impact on the dollar, the long-term implications for China of such a system would be no less challenging.
In the lead-up to the summit, many G20 officials, including Mervyn King, have been talking about the need for a better mechanism to prevent global imbalances building up in the future, not just in banking but at the level of global trade and capital flows.
Here is a senior Chinese official promoting an ambitious long-term solution that would have made it quite difficult for economies like China to exist. If there had been a Keynes-style global currency system, China would have had to rein in exports and cut domestic saving a long time ago. There would have been no wall of cash looking for safe, or pseudo-safe, assets in countries like the US. And we wouldn't be where we are today.
Maybe Governor Zhou is making mischief at America's expense. Maybe he hasn't gone back to the Keynesian roots of his idea to see where, exactly it would lead (though I would find that very surprising).
Regardless, set against the rather unstatesmanlike behaviour of many of those coming to London this week, in my book it still counts as a reason to give China the prize.
Tomorrow I'll be awarding the prize for the G20 Economy Best Prepared for the Global Crisis. Watch this space. Clue: it isn't the UK.