Money and Sustainability: The Missing Link

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After nationalization of the banks in India, a major proportion of lending was earmarked for agriculture, small industry and weaker sections of the population. This policy had immense benefits for development. Now that banking is becoming more commercialized, the stress on sectorial targeting is being lost. No wonder income and wealth inequalities are rising rapidly. The defects in the present system are not limited to the fact that banks control money creation. The problem extends far deeper, into the incestuous relationship between money and politics.

Supply Chain Finance: The Missing Link to Sustainability?

The nexus between banks and government creates an effective plutocracy in which both money creation and law heavily favor the wealthy at the expense of the common man. A monetary system explicitly designed to support optimal growth and economic equality would operate very differently. Its impact would be much more like that of complementary money systems. The concentration of economic and political power resulting from the present system is a subset of the broader issue of how power is distributed in society.

Emerging during a period of intensive nationalism and concentration of power in centralized institutions, this means that the monopolistic approach to money creation can easily become a means to monopolize political and social power. Power belongs to society and is intended for the benefit of society.

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So, systems need to be evaluated in terms of how they distribute power. In retrospect, that is how we evaluate monarchy, military dictatorship, fascism and state communism. All these systems concentrate power whether military, political, religious, administrative or industrial in the hands of an elite. The current system concentrates money power in a similar manner. The impact of excessive concentration of power in any form is well-documented. It inevitably leads to crises and revolutions. When power is truly directed for the benefit of the entire society, it loses its destructive edge. This too is powerfully influenced by the monetary and banking system. The present system, which has led to high levels of government indebtedness, fails to take into account or monetarize the enormous value of social capital being created. In a paper for Cadmus , we argued that rising levels of education constitute an investment in future welfare and well-being.

This would offset the tendency to reduce expenditure on education as a first resort to balancing budgets. The same would apply to public health. The enormous waste of human resources — human capital — as a result of massive unemployment and underemployment is clear proof of a failed system. Economist Randall Wray estimated that the real economic and social costs to society of high levels of unemployment and underemployment in the USA equal or exceed the cost of directly employing them.

These costs are the result of a system that focuses on and rewards the efficiency of money, rather than the efficiency of all social resources. Of course, the same argument applies with equal force to the wasteful and destructive impact on the environment. In sum, the report successfully highlights the potential of complementary currencies, which are one of a dozen ways in which the untapped social potential can be monetized and converted into wealth. The report would have even greater value had it fully applied the principles on which it is based to offer a solution to the present financial crisis.

Full exploitation of this single mechanism can certainly release great wealth and extend the viability of capitalism, but it does not address the root issue of economic inequality which underpins the present system and thus cannot constitute a permanent solution.

  1. Nuova storia della filosofia occidentale. Vol.III: Filosofia moderna (Piccola biblioteca Einaudi. Mappe Vol. 45) (Italian Edition).
  2. Book review — Money and Sustainability: The Missing Link | Cadmus Journal?
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For this, the conscience of the world must awaken to embrace higher human values. Email - garryj29 gmail.

'Money and Sustainability: The Missing Link'

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  • Publisher: Triarchy Press Ltd , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. The Report acknowledges that money has ignited an explosion of entrepreneurial and scientific innovation, but says it is structurally unstable and that current problems cannot be solved by simply tinkering with the system.

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    • The Report describes how between and , there were banking crises, monetary crises, and 72 sovereign debt crises — in other words a total of systemic crises — an average of more than ten each year. The current Greek crisis is simply the last in a long line. Austerity is imposed at all levels… We hope the book will inspire many a decision maker and opinion leader to change course. It outlines eight examples of cooperative currency systems that can address issues such as healthcare, education, climate change, and employment. Let there be no doubt that our financial system is in urgent need of major overhaul.

      We tamper with it at the margins at our own peril. At the lecture, the Club of Rome EU-Chapter presented copies of the Report to Finance Watch, a European public interest association focusing on finance, and the World Business Academy, a non-profit network of business leaders which promotes responsible leadership.

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      For a summary of the book, please click here. Bernard Lietaer is an international expert in the design and implementation of currency systems. He has worked as a central banker, fund manager, university professor and consultant to governments, multinational corporations and community organisations. This event is part of the Club of Rome campaign: shaping our future to stimulate ideas on shaping the world in a sustainable way. The Club of Rome is a global think-tank, composed of individual members and over 30 National Associations. For more information: www.

      For more information, please contact Caroline Milner: caroline triarchypress.