By Rosalinda Sanquiche
As part of the Green Economy series
On September 13, 2010, the Transforming Finance group released a unique statement boldly insisting that international financial markets be viewed, and therefore treated, as a Global Commons. Organized by futurist and evolutionary economist Hazel Henderson, president of Ethical Markets Media, the multinational gathering of career market participants included such premier scholars as Graciela Chichilnisky, Columbia University, and Prof. Zhouying Jin, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and responsible investors including John Fullerton, former managing director of JP Morgan, and Karl Kleissner of the KL Felicitas Foundation.
The Transforming Finance group, as beneficiaries of global capital markets, accepted responsibility to reform finance consistent with the reality that 24-hour global capital markets are dependent on public infrastructure technology and bailouts financed by taxpayers around the world. Their statement is gaining traction in the financial community with over 50 international signatories representing investors, asset managers, business executives, philanthropists, academics and financial authors, such as, among them Rebecca Adamson, President, First Peoples Worldwide; Trustee of Calvert Group, USA; Paul E. Metz, PhD, Co-founder, European Business Council for Sustainable Energy; Robert A. G. Monks, Founder, ISS, The Corporate Library and The Lens Fund, USA; and Woody Tasch, Founder, Slow Money; board member Investors Circle, USA.
Today, market abuses such as high-frequency trading, together with a misguided self-regulatory ideology, have damaged the trust on which all markets depend. The global financial commons can rebuild trust by establishing a reliable global currency regime beyond recent competitive devaluations; channeling savings into productive and sustainable investments; managing transparent payment and settlement systems; and providing appropriate, dependable, tools for managing financial risks. The global financial system needs to incorporate commons’ principles such as stakeholder co-governance; access for all participants without sudden, cyclical capital market disruptions; acknowledgment of the intrinsic value and assignment of rights to the environment; decision-making at the most local level possible; and commitment to environmental sustainability and social justice globally.
Current reforms, including Dodd-Frank and the Basel III capital rules, still fall short, and future crises require fundamental restructuring. The statement on Transforming Finance is being widely circulated by such notable publications as Cadmus, a journal of the World Academy of Art and Science. It was chosen to support the WorldShift 20 Declaration of the WorldShift Council on the G-20; was posted by the US chapter of the British Royal Society for Arts; and has been widely reported in the CSR press.
About Rosalinda Sanquiche
Rosalinda Sanquiche is Executive Director of Ethical Markets Media. Rosalinda was on the drafting committee for the Transforming Finance initiative. She has written on and taught environmental policy and was a George Washington Fellow at George Washington University in D.C. where she worked for the American Wind Energy Association.
Readers: Join the Commons conversation! What does the Global Commons mean to you, and should the international finance markets be seen as part of it?