Ethical Markets: Transforming Finance Still Top Priority
Ethical Markets’ new initiative Transforming Economics Into True Wealth invites investment professionals to build a real economy.
By Hazel Henderson
Despite incremental reforms, the Dodd-Frank Act in the USA, Basel III and the 0.1% financial transaction tax now approved by EU finance ministers, the global financial casino is still playing.
Financial lobbying still seeks to block or weaken reforms and floods of money distorting democratic politics, loosed by the Supreme Courts’ 2010 Citizens United decision, are still flowing unchecked. Billions still secretly fund attacks on climate science, social safety nets, teachers and other public employees and their pensions. All these efforts to repeal FDR’s New Deal and a fairer economy continue unabated.
Ethical Markets’ Transforming Finance initiative, launched in 2010 with its first Statement, emphasizing the bigger picture: finance is a part of the global commons, to serve real economies, not dominate them, and its high-frequency traders and all market players use and rely on taxpayer funded infrastructure: the internet, satellite communications, computers, wireless transmission over public airwaves.
Many high-minded financiers who have co-signed this Statement and later ones are former Wall Streeters. They are pioneers of ethical, SRI firms and are also interviewed on our Transforming Finance TV series, including John Fullerton, Amy Domini, Susan Davis, Karl Kleissner, Alisa Gravitz, Terry Mollner, Katherine Collins, Leland Lehrman, Sarah Stranahan, Michaela Walsh, Ben Bingham and author/lawyer Ellen Brown (available at http://www.ethicalmarkets.tv/ and http://www.films.com/).
Our latest Transforming Economics Into True Wealth (November 2012) is an invitation to fully engage in the planetary whole-system shift now under way. These investment professionals recognize our responsibility for the many breakdowns in our societies and ecosystems resulting from our limited consciousness: climate change, hunger, poverty, conflicts, financial crises and ecological destruction.
These systemic breakdowns are accelerating due to global interconnectedness and now driving the breakthroughs worldwide occurring but missed by mass media. The 193 members of the United Nations have recognized human interdependence: no nation acting alone can solve these global systemic crises. They pool their sovereignty, seeking treaties, agreements, protocols and agencies to promote the common good.
Our signers state, “finance has strayed from its stewardship role, and become a global casino, a bubble exacerbating many global problems.” They invest in many creative activities and successful models, yet agree that deeper collaboration and broader engagement are now needed at all political levels, from global to local, to build equitable societies based on Ethics and Life’s Principles that successfully evolved Earth’s 30 million species over 3.8 billion years.
Our ethical, ESG, triple bottom line industry has led the way in directing resources toward solutions-based socio-economies. Yet, social inequality and environmental degradation have reached unsustainable levels in economies still unsustainable, unfair, unstable and undemocratic. The Statement calls on our colleagues to support cross-sector efforts to transform our failing political economic system and support for key system changes:
1. Restoring trust and integrity to currencies and monetary systems.
2. Transforming the global financial services industry from extraction to creating community health by:
- Supporting a financial transaction tax, being implemented in many countries.
- Protecting the commons and public infrastructure from privatization.
3. Building a new financial system that includes:
- Restoring a public banking system.
- Directing investments to undercapitalized communities through Community Development Financial Institutions and microfinance.
- Creating the enabling conditions to support local living economies.
- Investing democratically through crowdfunding.
- Continuing to involve mainstream financial institutions that demonstrably share our goals, values and ethics.
4. Restoring democracy and our collective capacity to regulate, tax and invest in public priorities by limiting money in politics, amending “corporate personhood” and the “money is speech” doctrines, and promoting public financing of elections.
Ethical leadership and collaborative networking can manifest the change we all believe will lead to a more positive future for all life on this planet. Among our latest Transforming Finance co-signers
- Michel Bauwens, P2P Foundation
- Mariana Bozesan, Ph.D., president, AQAL Investing, Germany
- Riane Eisler, JD, president, Center for Partnership Studies
- Mary Houghton, co-founder, Shorebank, IL
- Monika Mitchell, founder/CEO, Good Business, NY
- Robert A. G. Monks, co-founder, The Corporate Library
- Jonathan Porritt, UK
- Tessa Tennant, Green Investment Bank, UK
- Stuart Valentine, CenterPoint Investment Management, IA
- Stephen Viederman, Board, Network for Sustainable Financial Markets
- Gregory Wendt, CFP, Stakeholders Capital, CA
- Anders Wijkman, co-president, Club of Rome, Sweden