THE CLAIRE FOSS JOURNAL

~ Wolfensohn in sheep's clothing ~

.....usury, the creation of money out of debt, and the mindset of continual growth are the root causes of the global economic crisis."

The recent speech on "The Other Crisis" by James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, is reminiscent of a wolf dressed up in sheep's clothing trying to talk his dinner into climbing into the pot.

The global elite are evidently learning to speak the right language, and Wolfensohn's fine words could hardly have been more skilfully designed to lull the unsuspecting flock into trusting their dubious intentions.

Consider them carefully.

Wolfensohn's call for a "new approach to development partnership...led by governments and parliaments of the countries, influenced by the civil society of those countries" amounts to no more than cosmetic adjustment of a system that is fundamentally flawed. As long as the people and nations of the world are subjected to a debt-based monetary system, we will remain enslaved to the power elite who control the system.

We, civil society, must cry "Wolf" and demand AUTHENTIC monetary reform and a GENUINELY new global financial architecture that eradicates the parasitic elite and their corrupt institutions. The bankers, corporations and toady politicians must be set to work IN SERVICE TO the people and the planet, before it's too late.

In one respect Wolfensohn is certainly right: "in a global economy, it is the totality of change in a country that matters".

It is time to re-think the basic assumptions on which our societies are based. Corporate globalization and neoliberal "free" market capitalism are not working for the benefit of all people, but only for a few. The deregulated financial market ~ the global casino ~ is not working for the benefit of all people, but only for a few. The debt-based monetary system is not working for the benefit of all people, but only for a few. The mantra of economic-growth-at-all-costs is not working for the benefit of all people, but only for a few. Neither are our so-called "democratic" political systems working for the benefit of all people, but only for a few.

Yes, a systemic "totality of change" is called for in our nations, but not of the kind that Wolfensohn envisages. Beyond the rhetoric and hubris, his solutions are no more than a set of re-vamped rules for more of the same old game:~ lining the pockets of the elite at everyone else's expense.

Wolfensohn is again right in saying:

"What we can do here and now is this: We can identify what needs to be done. We can recognize the problems. We can clarify our objectives. We can work to reach consensus. The problems are too big, their consequences too important, to be guided by the pat answers of the past, or the fads or ideologies of the day. We must make a collective commitment to join together to build something better. "

Indeed we must. But are Wolfensohn and his ilk genuinely prepared to put "the benefit of all people" at the head of the agenda instead of the benefit of the few? Are they prepared to make respect for the Earth a priority of our national and global economic policies? Not on the evidence of the programme set out in this speech.

Clearly there are no easy answers to the complex mess that we've got ourselves into. With a few notable exceptions, economists and other self-styled "experts" are blind to the root causes of the looming global financial crisis. As Wolfensohn says, "we have focused too much on the economics, without a sufficient understanding of the social, the political, the environmental, and the cultural aspects of society." To that list of missing considerations may be added the psychological, the spiritual, and the moral aspects of living in a truly civilised society.

Yes, a "holistic framework" for a new financial architecture is needed. And those best qualified to supply such a framework are those who have educated themselves to think holistically ~ ordinary people for the most part, men and women who have learnt to combine their intuitive sense with a penetrating analysis of what's wrong with the world. These are the people who should be designing the new economic and political systems, not the tired old men in grey suits who have failed us so badly for so long.

Genuine repentance among the ranks of the de facto leadership of our global economy is to be welcomed. But fine words are cheap and the sincerity and intent of Wolfensohn's declaration must be demonstrated in practical action.

The first step is to acknowledge that usury, the creation of money out of debt, and the mindset of continual growth are the root causes of the global economic crisis.

Nothing less will suffice.

Paul Swann
London Human Rights Forum