Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Money and Sustainability: The Missing Link" by Bernard Lietaer, Christian Arnsperger, Sally Goerner and Stefan Brunnhuber

Just out from Triarchy Press

Money and Sustainability: The Missing Link
by Bernard Lietaer, Christian Arnsperger, Sally Goerner and Stefan Brunnhuber

A report from the Club of Rome
to Finance Watch and the World Business Academy

Axminster (UK), Triarchy Press, June 2012
216 pages – £24.00 – $30.00
(initial offer price: £16.00)
ISBN 978-1-908009-75-3

See table of contents below


Our money system systematically undermines sustainability initiatives and objectives. It is also the structural cause common to all financial and monetary instability. These systemic problems are first explained – and then elegantly resolved by the practical innovations proposed in this book.

Our money system IS the "Missing Link."

We tend to assume that we must have a single, monopolistic currency, funded through bank debt, enforced by a central bank. But we don't need any such thing!

In fact, the present system is outdated, brittle and unfit for purpose (witness the eurozone crisis). Like any other monoculture, it's profitable at first but ultimately a recipe for economic and environmental disaster. The alternative is a monetary "ecosystem," with complementary currencies alongside the conventional one. This is more flexible, resilient, fair and sustainable. Societies worked like this in the past. So can we.

Pioneering new research from the Club of Rome

In 1972, the famous first Report for the Club of Rome – The Limits to Growth – showed how an economic system that demands infinite growth in a finite world is fundamentally unsustainable. This new Report explains our present monopolistic money system and the flawed thinking that underpins it. It spells out the catastrophic problems – environmental, socio-economic and financial – that we will continue to experience unless we make radical changes. Finally, it sets out nine practical proposals, which can be implemented now, to run alongside the current money system. This book is essential reading for policy makers, business leaders and economists, anyone concerned about sustainability, those working in the field of monetary systems and anyone with an informed interested in the future of the planet.

"We will never create sustainability while immersed in the present financial system ... I used not to think this. Indeed, I did not think about the money system at all. I took it for granted as a neutral and inevitable aspect of human society. But ... I now understand, as proven clearly in this text, that the prevailing financial system is incompatible with sustainability."
– Dennis Meadows, co-author of The Limits to Growth

"... we are witnessing the dismantling of the state as guarantor of public good. Almost everything is for sale in most EU countries. Austerity is imposed at all levels ... We dare hope [the book] will inspire many a decision maker and opinion leader to change course."
– Mark Dubrulle, President, Club of Rome - EU Chapter

"The book contains powerful arguments that need to be listened to, digested and acted upon … it points to new ways of reforming our financial system, to pioneering ideas and to potential solutions. The call for alternative thinking and innovative strategies is timely and necessary."
– Ian Johnson, Secretary General, Club of Rome; formerly Vice President for
Sustainable Development at the World Bank



Foreword by Dennis Meadows (can be read online; click here)

Executive summary (can be read online; click here)

Chapter I: Why This Report, Now?
1. Identifying Structural Issues
2. Offering Pragmatic Solutions
3. The Importance of Timing

Chapter II: Making Economic Paradigms Explicit
1. Dealing with the Natural World
2. Dealing with the Monetary System

Chapter III: Monetary and Banking Instability
1. The Emergence of a "Global Casino"
2. Systemic Crises: Frequency, Types and Geographical Spread
3. The Sovereign Debt Squeeze
4. A Solution: The Privatisation of Everything?
5. Conclusion

Chapter IV: Instabilities Explained – The Physics of Complex Flow Networks
1. The Misclassification of Economics
2. Complexity
3. The Physics of Complex Flow Networks
4. Lessons from Nature
5. Application to Monetary Systems
6. Towards a Structural Solution?
7. Conclusion

Chapter V: The Effects of Today’s Money System on Sustainability
1. The Pro-Cyclical Tendency of Money Creation and Flow: ‘It Never Rains, but it Pours’
2. Short-Termism: Why the Future is Discounted
3. Compulsory Growth Pressures: On Debt and Compound Interest
4. An Unrelenting Concentration of Wealth: the Poor vs. the Super-Rich
5. The Devaluation of Social Capital: Why Competitive Behaviour CAN Overpower Cooperation
6. Money as an Attractor
7. Conclusion

Chapter VI: The Institutional Framework of Power
1. Semantic Traps
2. The "Chicago Plan"
3. The Official Paradigm
4. The Fiat Currency Paradigm
5. Comparing the Two Paradigms
6. Conclusion

Chapter VII: Examples of Private Initiative Solutions
1. Doraland: Creating a "Learning Country"
2. Wellness Tokens: Overcoming Market Failures in the Health Care System
3. Natural Savings
4. C3: "Commercial Credit Circuits" for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises
5. The TRC: an Initiative for Multinational Businesses

Chapter VIII: Examples of Governmental Initiatives
6. Torekes: A City-Initiated System to Encourage Volunteering
7. "Biwa Kippu": Funding a Regional Environmental Project
8. Civics: Funding Social, Cultural or Civic Activities
9. ECOs: Declaring War on Climate Change
Pulling All the Strings Together

Chapter IX: Beyond the Limits to Growth?

Appendices (available online only, click here):
Appendix A: A Primer about Money
Appendix B: Climate Change
Appendix C: Mapping Paradigms
Appendix D: Complex Flow Networks
Appendix E: A Chinese Insight
Appendix F: Wealth Concentration
Appendix G: Kondratieff and the "Long Wave"

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