Published on World Future Council/Newsletter Archive, by Jakob von Uexküll, October 6, 2008.
Dear Friends, The current global financial crisis highlights both the fundamental weaknesses of the ruling economic order and the challenges faced in repairing them. In a world of growing insecurity and injustice, facing climate chaos and peak oil, we need an economy based on cooperation and sharing, not competitive greed. But, as Councillor Stephen Marglin points out in his latest book, “Thinking like an economist destroys community!”
The alternative to building a global community is growing conflicts and wars over scarcer resources. Therefore, the current crisis shows that we can no longer afford to leave the economy to the economists! Financial “experts” who do not understand the products they design and sell are only the most visible part of the problem. Even more dangerous are the economic fundamentalists who have justified pillaging our natural wealth and the health of the planet because of their belief that “the market” will always find a solution.
This is nonsense. Most economists are ideologues in the service of power. “Free markets” do not exist and have never existed. They depend on the state to enforce contracts without which no investor would invest. If the “global players” could not be sure of state-guaranteed “limited liability” (a modern invention), they would be more careful with other people’s money.
Many critics see the problem as ‘de-regulation’. But in fact the globalized market has more rules than before, otherwise it could not function. Just look at the WTO agreement with its detailed regulations filling thousands of pages! So-called tax havens could not function without legal guarantees that contracts and transactions there are enforceable everywhere. Countries without regulations do not attract investors – otherwise Somalia would be thriving! We do not need a world of more rules – we need a world where the rules prioritize people and planet over the profits of the global casino.
The WFC will appoint a Future Finance Commission before the end of the year. As with other WFC commissions, this commission will consist of internal and external experts and work on practical approaches to re-shaping the world’s financial and tax systems. This month, the WFC Expert Commission on Cities and Climate Change will convene in Hamburg for the first time. Last month, a sold-out WFC charity concert in Berlin and the opening of our exhibition “Corridor of Hope” at the Hamburg Planetarium once again highlighted the strong public backing for the WFC’s efforts to help create better policies for a better world. We thank those who attended and those who continue to support us!
With best regards from the Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and Secretariat, Jakob von Uexküll, WFC-Founder. (on Newsletter Archive).