Kairos logo Kairos Europa


Responding to the Fifty Years
of the Dominant Financial Systems Established at Bretton Woods

Ulrich Duchrow and Martin Gueck


Contact Address of Kairos Programme:
Ulrich Duchrow and Martin Gueck
Hegenichstr, 22 / D-69124 Heidelberg, Germany
Tel: 49-6221-72610, fax: -781183

Translated from the German version (Wirtschaften für das Leben im Wahljahr 1994) by Elaine Griffiths

Copies of this English version can be obtained at the following addresses:

Gyula Simonyi, H-8003 Székesfehérvár, Pf. 7. Hungary.
Jo Bock, Kairos Europe, 3, avenue du Parc Royal, B-1020 Bruxelles, Belgium.
Ulrich Duchrow and Martin Gück, Hegenichstr. 22., D-69124 Heidelberg,
Germany. (Here also the German version.)


13 introductory propositions

How the present fatal situation arose - biblical approaches life-enhancing alternatives
	I. The situation and the reasons why: pauperisation and financial dominance on the world market
	II. Biblical reminders of the future of life
	III. Alternative economic systems today

Proposals, and examples of economic alternatives at the local, national, European and global levels
  1. UN proposals with comments: Alternatives to the present global economic and financial (dis)order in the UN framework and transitional strategies for the Bretton Woods institutions (IMF, World Bank, GATT)
  2. European Parliament: Resolution on international monetary cooperation within the framework of the easing of restrictions on capital markets of 15.12.93
  3. Small-scale alternatives: „La Poudriere" in Brussels
  4. Political intervention at the local level: „Social policy offensive" in Mannheim and other cities
  5. Proposals for the national level: Wolfgang Kessler and initiatives for economic literacy
  6. Proposals for the regional level:
    6.1 Electoral Checklist drafted by Kairos Europe
    6.2 Electoral initiative „Building a Europe in Solidarity"


List of materials


Invitation to take part in the Campaign against global impoverishment and debt through enrichment mechanisms — for alternative financial systems (middle sheet).



How the present fatal situation arose — biblical approaches — life-enhancing alternatives (The ideas put forward are developed in greater detail: Ulrich Duchrow, Alternatives zur kapitalistischen Weltwirtschaft. Biblische Erinnerung und politische Ansätze zur Überwindung einer lebensbedrohenden Ökonomie, Gütersloh - Alternatives to the Capitalist Global Economy. Biblical Reminders and Political Approaches to Overcoming a Life-threatening Economy, English version in preparation)

Economics, and particularly finance, is a mystery to many people. We seem to be at the mercy of so-called experts in this regard. At the same time, we sense that our personal and public life, indeed the very survival of our planet and future generations are being crucially determined by current economic processes. We also sense that these processes threaten life. Yet if we gain insight into the crucial importance of economics, and also get a feeling of apparently inevitable dependence on experts, this only heightens our sense of powerlessness.
The Kairos Europa campaign — „Towards a Europe for Justice" — is meant to help to overcome this feeling that we can do nothing. Kairos Europa takes the following approach. Since groups have so far been working more or less in isolation on certain issues, e.g. the North-South problem, social justice in our countries, and the environment, Kairos Europa is asking what common economic and financial mechanisms lie behind these different fields of experience. Our belief is that impoverishment, indebtedness and environmental degradation in the South, East and West all have the same roots: an economic and financial system based on the accumulation of money for those with capital assets. The political, military and ideological institutions and instruments are increasingly being put at the service of the winners in this game of global monopoly. The answer must be coalition-building by the victims and social movements at all levels — local, national, European and global. We need a global economic civil rights movement.

I. The situation and the reasons why: pauperisation and financial dominance on the world market

1st Proposition
Looking at the origin, structures and development of the market economy, we find that it is not as old as humankind. Many early societies managed without a market at all. Where a local market arose it was assigned to household economics, and embedded in social relations. Where a marketplace for long-distance trade arose it was not essential for supplying the population's basic needs, but concentrated on luxury goods and the necessities of waging war. Such a market was located outside of normal social relations. Until the Middle Ages and later, local economies were even expressly shielded from foreign trade.
Aristotle warned against substituting an economy of money accumulation for a household economy and subsistence-related (local) bartering markets. Industrial capitalism reversed this approach with drastic social consequences. The economic motive of subsistence was replaced by the profit motive. All transactions were expressed in monetary terms through prices. Labour and raw materials, i.e. human beings and nature, became commodities (as did money).
This points to the fundamental problem of the capitalist market economy — it is extremely abstract, not starting from real life, but pushing real life into the iron mould of money accumulation. Work is only measured in monetary terms, with the workers being separated from the means of production, which make them dependent on their employers. Nor can they decide on what happens to the fruits of their labour, since prices can be manipulated by a capitalist monopoly or oligopoly. The soil, and natural resources, are only interesting to a capitalistic market economy in terms of their monetary value — or, more exactly, their potential for accumulating money. This is precisely what destroys them. The mercantilism of the 16th to 18th centuries entailed a reassessment of values regarding the positive assessment of the accumulation of money for its own sake, and developed a farreaching change in the monetary system. It was now enabled to boost economic growth for the purpose of accumulating money. In mercantilism important elements were made available for the revolution of industrial capitalism. John Locke provided a theological and philosophical legitimation for the accumulation of money and property, while John Law invented a new system of paper money, thus supplying the economic basis for extending the monetary economy. The transformation of working people, the soil and money as a means of exchange into the fiction of being commodities meant abandoning society to the market, dividing it, destroying nature and allowing money to become a fetish, as Karl Marx showed.
The political conditions of a capitalist market economy are chiefly characterised by the fact that the main purpose of the bourgeois state consists in protecting property through the „unlimited right to use and dispose of things" (Code Napoléon, Art. 544). John Locke and Adam Smith make it clear that this constitutionally cements a fundamental power distinction between people: some only have themselves to take to market, i.e. they own only their own labour, while others control the means of production and thus the product of (joint) activity. Further, through the central importance of money, the political and economic power moves from the political to the economic institutions and actors.
At the same time, the ideology of market-minded people (homo oeconomicus) leads to the economic view of people as money accumulators and consumers:
2nd Proposition
The resistance of victims and whole societies has taken different forms and has not always been successful. Resistance outside Europe can be perceived in all three phases of European global conquest until World War I. These were (1) the plundering, murderous imperialism of the 16th century, (2) the subtle, mercantilist triangular trade in the 17th and 18th centuries and (3) the liberal global system under English control until the hey-day of colonialism in the 19th century. The result was the underdevelopment and subordination of the countries we today call the „Third World". And yet this does not mean that the history of resistance was pointless. It is the potential we have to draw on today (see below). However, none of the counter-strategies of non-European peoples have been able to really resist or tame the killing power of the European and, later, North American market economy — apart from Japan, which copied the West and now operates with the same methods.
The resistance within Europe was marked by the struggle of the labour movement for their rights, and social reforms of the state to prevent an outbreak of socialism. In order to better define possibilities for intervention vis-a-vis, and inside, the capitalist system it is useful to distinguish two aspects: ways of accumulating capital, and ways of regulating it, including state controls (J. Hirsch).

3rd Proposition
The present situation of the so-called neo-liberal capitalist global system is dominated by the transnationalisation and deregulation of the capital markets and their actors. It should be noted here that financial, industrial and trading capital are completely interwoven. Finance capital has taken the lead and expanded widely. Since the end of the competition between the blocs, and the weakening of the countervailing force of the workforce due to new, labour-saving technologies, mobile capital has spread worldwide and it has been able to play (regionally located) people and states off against each other.
The largely unhindered capital investment has had crucial consequences for societies in the South, East and North — all the more so, the weaker the opposition. It is driving a wedge between poor and rich in different countries, and between the countries themselves. The basic fact is that those in debt or unemployed are the main losers. The workers see their pay rising less than real economic growth would suggest, the profits of the owners lie more or less over the growth line, while those of the financing bodies are exponentially above it (due to the mechanism of compound interest).
So it is that since the 70s and 80s there has been an extreme redistribution from below, from South to North and from East to West. The result looks like this, according to a UNDP table (Human Development Report 1992):
The tip of the iceberg is the debt crisis in the South (and East). It is used by the industrialised countries to squeeze US $ 50 billion in net capital transfer from the debtor countries each year through „structural adjustment programmes" (social spending cuts etc.), and to restructure their economies to fit with the interests of the world market. In the North similar structural adjustments are being felt increasingly (social cuts, joblessness, social division), while those with capital assets make astronomic profits. Speculation and risky financial deals are the name of the game („casino capitalism"). Also, due to the possibilities of capital flight on the transnational markets, the states lose gigantic sums in inland revenue, which in turn contributes to the public debt and more social spending cuts. This is also a sign of the helplessness of nation states vis-a-vis transnational capital.
At the same time there is a global acceleration of the destruction of life support systems for all present and future life through the money-accumulating economy. Here it is not just a matter of logic to level ecological criticism at the capitalist market economy. Nature presents the bill almost every day for the deadly character of this kind of economic activity. Anyone who does not (want to) hear the cries of the hungry and starving people will themselves, or through their children, witness the death of natural living conditions. Even more clearly than with the social question, we cannot ignore the inability of nation states to get a grip on the monetary mechanism and its global consequences for nature. So the next question has to be which international or global political institutions are available to protect the lives of people and nature from the mechanism of money accumulation.

4th Proposition
The existing international political institutions strengthen the mechanisms of global finance domination, to a greater or lesser degree, since they are controlled almost without exception by the rich industrialised countries. The scene was set at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944. The English economist John Keynes presented a proposal for a world monetary and economic order, aiming at an international equilibrium: a world central bank, a „neutral" international currency (bancor), taxes on trade surpluses of stronger economic powers, and a development fund for weaker countries. Instead, the United States pushed through the White Plan, a system giving the stronger countries all the chances, and imposing the adjustment unilaterally onto the less advantaged ones. Admittedly, at first there was some form of regulation: the dollar became the world currency but was still bound to the gold standard and firm exchange rates. In the International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, the United States ensured the maintenance of a veto right bound to the proportion of funds paid in. In this way the IMF was dominated by the richest countries from the start. The development fund became a world bank. And taxes on trade surpluses were not introduced at all. In 1971-73 the few regulatory mechanisms in the system broke down and the neo-liberal phase began. From 1979 interest rates were driven up by a monetarist policy. With the consequent outbreak of the debt crisis the IMF took over the role of financial policeman, acting for the rich against the debtor countries. A world trade order was also brought down by the United States (through its non-ratification of the Havana Charter). It was replaced by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). In a nutshell, as applied by GATT at present, free trade means: freedom for the strong to enter the economies of the weak — protectionism of the strong against competitive products of the weak (the best example being the EU's Common Agricultural Policy).
When transnationalisation and deregulation seemed to be getting out of control in the 70s, the group of the seven biggest industrial nations (G 7) was formed and since then has staged an annual „world economic summit" — the ultimate in arrogance on the part of the rich, in that they take decisions for everyone without having been elected to do so. Regarding the political regulation of the market in the neo-liberal monetarist phase of the capitalist world economy it can be concluded that the Keynesian regulation of the market has only partly succeeded, in the context of nationally regulated economies and under the pressure of a workers' movement embodying real power in the accumulation process. Through the transnationalisation of the markets, above all the finance markets, the interest rates were decisively influenced externally and tax flight and price manipulation favoured. The automation of production has meant a loss of leverage for the workers. So both — national economies and regulations, and the trade unions — have begun to play a secondary role, with world market conditions being imposed on them. The capitalist market economy has become a truly global market economy. Keynesian internationalisation has — so far — failed to become a model for regulation, quite apart from the fact that it was based on maximum economic growth and restricted to the workforces in the industrialised centres. The vision of Keynes after World War II — an international economic order based on equalisation — has become a disorder supported by the political institutions of the wealthy and socially and ecologically destructive to the majority of world population. What remains of this order is now having to be protected with an increasing use of force by the handful of winner nations.
The demise of the East-West conflict revealed that the military security systems of the West had moved increasingly southwards. The medium intensity conflict (MIC) developed since 1988, the first crass example being the Gulf War, was aimed expressly at the countries of the South which could put pressure on the global economy through resources (like Iraqi oil) and western weapons technology (after the West had already made a fat profit!). The changing of the German defence army into an anticonstitutional intervention troop (on behalf of explicitly economic interests) and the analogous development of the Western European Union (WEU) and NATO reflect this trend. New enemy stereotypes are developing at the same time, e.g. of „Islam", or „economic refugees". Ideological warfare was known previously as low intensity conflict (LIC), the aim being to spread disinformation in order to win people's „hearts and minds". It also endeavoured to destabilise countries of the Two Thirds World that wanted to try out an alternative to the western economic and social model (e.g. Cuba, Nicaragua).
Incidentally, the ideological integration of people into the market system happens worldwide via media, schools, universities and churches. Cells of resistance to a totalitarian global market system have, however, been formed by biblically oriented liberation theologians and churches.

II. Biblical reminders of the future of life

5th Proposition
Economic ethics are in fashion at present. This approach arouses the impression that the capitalist market economy can be guided by the behaviour of individuals or groups, and put onto a life-enhancing course, instead of heading for destruction. This is a fallacy. Max Weber has clearly shown that the absoluteness of competition on the labour, financial and commodity market annihilate any actor who does not „serve" this „practical purpose", which is a law unto itself. Capitalist economics is not „ethical or unethical", but in principle excludes ethics altogether. It can only be discussed ethically as an institution, i.e. one can accept it ethically as a whole, or not at all (1972, 708f.). Naturally one can also fight for (relative) regulatory mechanisms in the field of political power (and countervailing power). At any rate, the nature of society as a whole is up for discussion.
So if we seek orientation with the aid of biblical traditions we will have to study societies and their constitutions, past and present, and relate them to one other. That is the God question (Ton Veerkamp). What power ultimately determines the whole of a society today, and primarily the global society? When it comes to political and economic systems this is <the> theological question, and ethics can at most follow from it.
The history of the faith of Israel unfolded in direct confrontation with the economies, politics and ideologies of the ancient oriental empires and city kingdoms. They were characterised internally by class structures and externally by a desire for conquest (producing added value through slave labour, land accumulation and tribute). Ideologically speaking, the power elite of society was legitimated by gods. From Egypt to the Roman Empire this history may be divided into four political constellations reaching into the early Christian period. They provided the context in which Israel, Jesus and the early Christians could develop.

6th Proposition In this constellation Yahweh's alternative society was an attempt through prophecy and law to „tame" the tributary king system in Israel and Judah. All the prophets — from Elijah, Amos and Hosea to Isaiah and Jeremiah — criticised and called for a departure from the following structural abuses: accumulation of landed property (1 Kings 21; Amos 8:4; Isaiah 5:8; Micah 2:9f.); exploitation of lending and pledging rights to the point of enslaving or even killing debtors (Amos 5:11 and 8:6; Isaiah 3:14; Micah 2:2); the accumulation of treasures and luxury by the rich (Amos 3:10; 6:1ff.; 8:4ff.); the growing influence of the political and military elite (Hosea 9:15; 13:10); the ideological adaptation of cult and belief to the unjust power system by court priests and prophets (Amos 7:13; Micah 3:1-12); the imperial foreign policy of conquest and warfare (1 Kings 22).
Only once did the prophetic, peasant and reforming forces manage to achieve any success: in the Josian, i.e. „deuteronomic" reforms in the late 7th century. With the help of the old Israelite traditions of free (freed) rural population, updated by the prophets, in particular Hosea and Jeremiah, they succeeded in thoroughly reforming the king system (Deuteronomy 17). It was then fully integrated into the social system of solidarity and participation and lost its instruments of economic exploitation and political oppression. The king system was tamed, without being abolished. Yet it could have disappeared altogether. Then society would have been transformed, and without a State, as before the year 1000 B.C. This would have been the new beginning from the „remnant", the „root", should the prophecies be fulfilled that the southern kingdom would be annihilated as well. This did indeed happen in 586 B.C., at the hands of the Babylonians. This example shows that it was possible, in a transformed society under Yahweh's guidance, to include elements of solidarity even when the imperial conditions themselves were tributary, i.e. plundering in character. This was possible because the Persian empire allowed space for it. While this can still be interpreted as being consistent with the ancient oriental royal act of mercy (although such acts were not known to all the upper-classes) the codified law arising in Judea, the Torah, clearly goes beyond such singularity and raises the question of system. Judea during the Persian period was a transformed society, upheld by the peasant farmers (popular assembly) and their allies in the council of elders and the college of priests. It was under the kingly rule of God, existing in a niche of the tributary Persian kingdom. It was transformed in that it was not organised around paying tribute to the king and temple; it was reminiscent of the autonomous and egalitarian society of the pre-state era. Since it was only half autonomous, however, being subject to the tributary system of the Persian empire, it had to use elements of „taming" vis-a-vis the mechanisms of the monarchic systems, as shown by the example of Nehemiah. It was a semi-autonomous, alternative society. When its political, economic and priestly upper classes acted disloyally, however, they were contributing to the later decline of the „Torah Republic". Daniel 3, for example, describes the absoluteness of the political and economic power in the form of a golden statue, which all subject peoples had to worship. Only three Jewish men refused. Daniel 2 and 7 showed the foreseeable collapse of the empires, depicted as beasts of prey, and God's rule as the coming of a kingdom with a human face. However, that means that the kingdom of God, which will overcome the murderous empires, is a kingdom that is organised by people in freedom and solidarity with one another. That is why there is constant reference to everlasting life. How did Israel react then to an economically, politically, ideologically totalitarian realm? Different groups reacted in different ways. Let us disregard the conformist priestly aristocracy (later the Sadducees) and the land-owners and moneyed elite, who simply espoused Hellenism. Among the loyal groups, the Maccabees ruled by revolution, while adapting subsequently to the normality of the power system, becoming absolutist priest-kings themselves. In the opposition of those loyal to the Torah there remained two groups: the Pharisees as partial objectors, who wanted to stay in the daily business of politics, and the Chassidim, who went into the wilderness as total objectors and strove to practise human community as an alternative — in a small way, true, but in anticipation of the Kingdom of God (the later Essenes). Finally, there were the Messianic fringe groups, which awaited the advent of the kingdom of God in intensive, pious poverty. Rejection and small-scale alternatives while living in hope of the Kingdom — that was the way of Yahweh's faithful followers, as encountered by Jesus of Nazareth.
The Jesus movement and the early Christian Messianic communities and groups saw themselves as the salt, light and leaven of the Kingdom of God in Israel and among the peoples. The texts from the Jesus movement and the early Christian communities show a clear continuity with Israel. They wanted an alternative society of God among the peoples, which was intended to attract them and draw them into the righteousness of mutual solidarity. Even in the totalitarian context there was, -besides rejection, the impulse to live alternatively in small communities — to network!
After the rejection of Jesus by some groups in society, and his death at the hands of the Romans, this approach extended into a „missionary movement" so that attractive Messianic communities should spring up among all peoples. In this context it is interesting to consider the word chosen by Paul for the new community of Jesus the Messiah: ekklesia. It is the same word as used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament for the „popular assembly" of the free representatives of the families of equal rank before and after the monarchy (Hebrew q hal Yahweh). The Jewish approach is taken even further here, in that the new communities show mutual solidarity in including all peoples, slaves and women on an equal footing. Galatians 3:28 says: „There is no such thing as Jew and Greek, slave and freeman, male and female; for you are all one person in Christ Jesus." That is the church: a dominance-free, egalitarian and thus attractive, „missionary"-minded, alternative society. It is to be found amongst all people and bears witness to the God of liberation and solidarity.

7th Proposition
We can derive from this five biblical rules to guide us today.
(1) The decisive starting-point is the place from which we inquire whether we remember biblical texts for the sake of our own present and future. God reveals himself not at a neutral place (e.g. in the mind of an intellectual, then called „wise"), nor at the court or temple of Pharaoh, but among the slaves (Exodus 3), in solidarity with the poor small farmers (Amos). He does this at the side of those who are at the bottom of the heap (Leviticus 25) and in those whose basic needs have not been satisfied (Matthew 25:31ff.). That is the leitmotif of the Bible — God's righteousness (justice), the raising up of the weak and the judging of the strong (Magnificat, Luke 1:46ff.).
(2) In Yahweh's people there are still traditions of personal piety. The clear emphasis on faith in God lies, however, in the common celebration of God and in corporate efforts to bear witness to God's liberating action. Social structures are to be developed to this end, and for the purpose of practical solidarity. The primary protagonist in remembering biblical tradition is thus always a community, which endeavours to implement the biblical impulses for liberation and solidarity in the presentday context. Only in this connection can personal Bible reading today preserve us from the trap of bourgeois individualism which ideologises and blocks understanding of the biblical message. This type of interpretation is instrumentalised by dominant groups with strong interests in the capitalist system, as opium of the people.
(3) There is no remembering the biblical God of liberation and solidarity without conflict with the economic, political and ideological systems and structures which enslave and destroy solidarity. That has been clear since the liberation from Egypt, since the criticism and suffering of the prophets, since Jesus and his early Messianic groups and congregations suffered persecution and the cross, and also since the evidence of its truth through God's action which creates life in and through their deaths.
(4) In each of these conflicts it is not just individual questions of structures that are up for debate, but also the whole system. That is the God question, whether it is uttered or not. So regarding economic and political structures of a system, even of our presentday, „secularised" one, we always have to ask what actually „functions" as God (Veerkamp).
(5) Finally, the fundamental hermeneutical question arises as to how the Christian community can relate to the traditions of Israel, and how non-Jewish and non-Christian people, groups, communities and peoples can relate to both Israel and the church, and vice versa. Always keeping in mind the rules for remembering (1-4 above), the question between Israel and the (Messianic) Christian congregations was: who should put into practice the liberated alternative society of solidarity? That, after all, is the point of the election of the people of God: being a witnessing people among the nations to God's saving alternative, creating justice and peace in a world of exploitation, oppression and exclusion. Whether this saving alternative is really lived or not is also a criterion in our encounters with other religions and worldviews. It helps to say „yes, yes" and „no, no" — even to theological approaches.

8th Proposition
According to the rules of biblical remembering there are two mistaken and three legitimate approaches to life-enhancing economic activity in the people of God:
The first mistaken approach is that of „state theology". Remnants of this can be found e.g. in the texts of the Old Testament which attempt to legitimise the monarchy. They try to get the people to adapt to an unjust power system. In modern times that means legitimising the power of money as well as the political system („capitalism theology").
The second mistaken approach is named in the South African Kairos document: church theology. It preaches „peace", cheap „reconciliation" and „accommodation" in a situation characterised by injustice and the powerful using force in dealing with the weak, thereby reinforcing unjust power.
Three legitimate approaches can be seen in biblical tradition:
  1. The taming of political and economic power structures by prophecy and law („established church" approach);
  2. An exemplary society in a niche of the empire (the „alternative society" existing within a larger society);
  3. Rejection of totalitarian systems and networked alternatives on a small scale („alternative society" approach in Messianic groups and communities among all peoples).
I believe that at least two of these approaches can guide and stimulate us in our present global political and economic situation and in the different social constellations in the South, East and West. We can also learn from them when considering the role and responsibility of the churches.

III. Alternative economic systems today

9th Proposition
How can we compare the social constellations of the ancient empires and the capitalist global systems? In the modern capitalist economy the economic actors do not need to bear the political costs of their profits themselves as in the Ancient Orient. They can, however, use state facilities to improve their market chances. There is one feature common to both the political economy of the empires and the capitalist global economy: they are both forms of surplus acquisition by those in possession of the means of production at the expense of the majority of producers and the excluded.
There is a much harder question though. Have the churches the right to speak up at all, in view of their 2000-year history and despite the relevance of biblical traditions? In principle, after the conversion of Emperor Constantine to Christianity in 312 B. C. two biblically legitimate approaches should have been available: the transformation, or at least the (established church) taming of the Roman empire on the basis of freedom and solidarity. Instead, western church history has been mainly characterised by the „state theological" or „church theological" adaptation to imperial systems — the worst examples are the crusades and European colonial conquests. The churches and communities struggling for transformation or alternatives on a small scale have been marginalised or even persecuted.
Yet attempts have been made to tame power. In the Middle Ages there was the enforced bipolarity of „secular and spiritual power", i.e. the emperor was deprived of priestly dignity. Monastic orders practised solidarity with the poor and gave remarkable impetus to alternative economic systems. Clear criteria for organising economic and political institutions were developed and, at least in some cases, called for with prophetic force.
The Reformers oriented themselves to the Bible and accepted only restricted elements of a capitalist-type economy with many qualifications. The money accumulation market was not simply accepted but subject to the strictest terms. Judgement took account of the basic needs of the weakest. Appeals were made to the state to oppose the growing autonomy of money accumulation mechanisms; the church as a body was urged to reject, resist and set a good example. The prophetic approach was so radically maintained, in some cases, that it turned into a Messianic way of being the church. But the net result was negative. In the 20th century the ecumenical movement introduced an epoch-making new approach to the Constantinian age, a process which is by no means over („Ökumene im Übergang", Konrad Raiser). Biblical approaches have become central again particularly since the conference of „Church and Society" in Geneva in 1966, thanks to liberation theologians from Latin America. Although the mainline churches of the North still have problems with it, a fermentation process can be noted in the ecumenical movement. On the other hand, the Vatican is ambiguous, to say the least, if not regressive. Fundamentalist and some evangelical groups allow themselves to be instrumentalised as (opium-smokers and even) battalions for capitalism.
Considering the biblical approach in terms of its importance for today, I see no possibility for one nation to constitute a positive alternative to the totalitarian world market. But since there are a few feasible political points of entry in this context, two of the approaches can be linked to become a double strategy: first rejection and small-scale alternatives; secondly, political interventions for the relative taming of power.

10th Proposition
With respect to rejection of totalitarian structures of the global economy the question arises: exactly what is it that has to be rejected on principle in the present global system, and to which we have to find alternatives for life's sake? It is the mechanisms which, uncontrolled and unimpeded, gear economic activity to the accumulation of money by those who already have it, with the aid of the absolute principle of competition in the global market. Nature and people are, accordingly, subordinated to this end, as far as possible.
Competitiveness for unlimited money accumulation is the objective and subjective basic structure, the „god" of our market society, which determines the whole. Accordingly, the core of what we must reject is the absolutisation of competition and limitlessness for the sake of the cancerous growth of capital. Mechanisms and structures which only serve to accumulate money, and harm the majority of people, nature and future generations, are to be rejected on principle. In practical terms, this means that they are to be delegitimised and influenced through using the power of consumers and savers in the form of boycotts. Here the churches have not only an untapped power for life, but an opportunity to be the church in the biblically legitimate form of „alternative society".
There are already a host of small-scale alternatives. They spring from a new vision: theologically speaking, the hope of the seeds of the kingdom of God, or in general terms, a new economic paradigm. It relates to the lives of present-day people (satisfaction of basic needs in freedom and participation), the life of fellow creatures and future generations („sustainability"). It does not begin with the market-minded individual, but with the „person in community". It grows upwards from below. Economic success is measured by other than monetary indicators, i.e. by social, ecological and democratic standards. In this paradigm the political institutions serve these goals and not market forces.
In this context, communities and base communities with alternative economic systems (see „La Poudriere" below) take on special importance. But local authorities and small regions can make themselves less dependent on the world market in providing for their basic needs, e.g. through producer-consumer cooperatives. The informal economy and self-reliant economy (grow-your-own) although in danger of being instrumentalised by the world market — can be experimental fields for alternative economic activities.
In addition, there are competitive micro-economic alternatives. Companies which divide up the work themselves, alternative technologies, „sustainable" agriculture, alternative banking (there are 35 in Europe, organised in INAISE), and other models for distribution and consumption. Wolfgang Kessler (1990) put together a number of examples for Germany. He links the question of small-scale alternatives with the second part of the dual strategy (political intervention), stating, „Grassroots initiatives are seeds of a new economic policy at the micro-level but they (can) change general economic conditions only if they can spark off change at the macro-level." The bridge between rejection of unjust global mechanisms and small-scale alternatives, on the one hand, and the necessary political strategies, on the other, is the networking of initiatives among themselves, and between themselves and institutions which in principle could be independent of capital forces — e.g. trade unions and churches. If we could practise rejection and new departures on a small scale together the foundation would be laid for political action at a higher level — in what is ultimately a totalitarian system.

11th Proposition
Are there political chances at all in a totalitarian system? Despite justified scepticism we also have to fight for relative alternatives. This can only happen through coalition-building between all groups negatively affected by the global capitalist economy (and perhaps enlightened minorities in the more privileged classes). The goal would be the formation of countervailing power at all levels and so to give democratic guidance to the transnational economic and financial systems. In this context there are also secondary goals.
It could be that we are in for a major global disaster. Then the rejection and small-scale alternatives will be the seed of something new. However, should prophetic intervention bring about (partial) success, then the interplay of both — alternatives in resistance and political involvement (the double strategy) will have been worth it for people and creation. Hope lies in the first case, otherwise political strategy would be pointless; no-one can say whether, in view of the power situation and collective delusions and obsessions, it will succeed. What can such a political strategy aim at? What are the absolute and relative goals of political and economic alternatives? The general goal is aptly put by Wolfgang Kessler: to move from capitalism to socio-ecological, economic democracy.

12th Proposition
Politically speaking, any attempt to reorganise the present economy will have to start at the global level. Conditions for free activity of nations, regions and municipalities are determined by the world market. Gearing them democratically to social and ecological goals is only possible by means of a new global economic and financial order. The most important task here is the regulation of deregulated financial markets. This is perceived even by finance experts like the former president of the central bank W. Nölling (DIE ZEIT, 5.11.93): „Protecting the world of finance from itself.") The European Parliament adopted a farreaching resolution on this on 14.2.93 (see Documentation 2 and 6.1). The key thing here is to prevent flight of tax income. This can only be achieved through a complete restructuring of the Bretton Woods institutions. Here, too, it is remarkable that official bodies like the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, Human Development Report 1992) and the European Commission (S. Holland, 1993 regarding the FAST Programme) call for and propose alternatives to the IMF and World Bank (see Documentation 1 below). They all take up Keynes' original proposals and envisage mechanisms enabling a balanced global economic development. Before this can come about there has to be an end to the sheer bondage of the over-indebted countries in the South and East. There are concrete proposals on this (cf. Electoral Checklist 1, Documentation 6.1). Likewise, GATT should be turned into a world trade organisation which is not just beneficial to the rich but contains possible sanctions against them. Above all, the basic paradigm of a global economy must be redirected from absolute competition to absolute cooperation (see the Group of Lisbon, 1994). During the transition phase the Bretton Woods institutions need to be made more democratic.

13th Proposition
At the same time as working towards a new world economic order all levels of political action have to be rediscovered in order to enable life-enhancing economic activity.
At the municipal level the victims of present global economic wars waged by the rich against the poor are rallying — in the South, East and increasingly in the West. Instead of letting themselves be played off against one another, they need to form local alliances or coalitions (cf. Documentation 4).
At the national level the struggle is for social- ecological economic democracy. The key point here is a new economic and finance policy: „Surplus capital from productivity gains, income from interest and spending on luxury goods must be distributed for social tasks" (Wolfgang Kessler, cf. Documentation 5).
In addition, the national level is of crucial importance for the international level, and vice versa. To put it plainly: the national governments we elect in the industrialised countries are acting dictatorially at present at the international level. Only when national politicians are voted out by the majority of their populations if they do not develop democratic capital controls will it be possible to organise and guide national social, ecological and democratic structures and economic processes. That means, however, that the national level is of crucial importance not just for its own sake but for the global conditions for the future of life on this planet. Here the nature of financial systems becomes a central issue.
At the Western European level the key question is whether the deregulated single market and its devastating economic, social and ecological consequences (cf. Ulrich Duchrow 1991) will be subjected to strong, democratic regulation. In view of the economic integration that has now been introduced we need more, rather than less, political union than Maastricht. Three things are crucial here: 1) overcoming the shortfall of democracy through a system of clear parliamentary controls in conjunction with the European Parliament (with increased powers) and national parliaments; 2) a common socio-ecological economic and fiscal policy; 3) a monetary system that does not favour the hard currency countries but — in keeping with Keynes' proposals for the international level — will allow the ECU to remain an artificial parallel currency (cf. W. Hankel).
All this needs to be linked to the development of socio-ecological, economic democracy in Central and Eastern Europe. In order to achieve a democratic, socio-ecological economic and financial policy in the institutions at all levels, we need a democratic civil rights movement. In the 1994 election year it could start moving in Europe. The campaign of Kairos Europe wants to assist with this process.


Proposals, and examples of economic alternatives at the local, national, European and global levels

1. UN Proposals with comments

Alternatives to the present economic and financial (dis)order in the UN framework and transitional strategies for the Bretton Woods institutions (IMF, World Bank, GATT)
The decisive issue at the global level now is the assignment of tasks and division of labour between the United Nations and the Bretton Woods (BW) institutions. (cf. South Centre, 1992) The strategy of the North is clear and extremely dangerous: in development issues the UN is only to be responsible for peace and social policy. Finance and economic policy will be decided globally by the BW institutions. The reason is clear. They are plutocratically controlled by the rich industrialised countries alone, while in the UN context the latter would be accountable and have to bow to common decisions. The practical tactics of the North are aimed at strengthening the powers of the BW institutions and also weakening or undermining and instrumentalising the UN institutions, particularly the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). By contrast, the strategy of the South, admittedly flagging in face of the brutal approach of the North, aims at integrating the BW institutions into a more democratic system and campaigning meanwhile for democracy, pluralism and universality in the BW institutions. All social movements, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) including the churches, and all responsible people in the North are called upon to join in this campaign. What are the actual goals and demands?
In its 1992 Human Development Report, the UNDP put forward a comprehensive plan for a new international economic and financial order.
    It is based on the observation that the present international economic order is undemocratic, against the interest of the majority of the world population, and thus extremely dangerous. (78)
This observation is of vital importance. Any political strategy in the present situation must first start from the rejection and delegitimation of the existing undemocratic disorder and plutocracy. This is an important step. The withdrawal of legitimation can only be achieved by the movements and UN development agencies, which do not have much power anyway, when recognised social institutions like churches and unions widen their political base in the population. The reason for these principles is clear. In the present disorder the strong countries have the power to govern the economies of the indebted and weak countries directly, by means of the BW institutions. They do not have to undertake structural adjustments themselves and can escape the decisions of UN organisations by different tricks. The United States has simply refused to accept a number of adverse decisions by the International Court of Justice, e.g. that it should pay $3 billion in compensation to Nicaragua because of the undeclared war it waged on this country. When UNESCO wanted to adopt a New International Information Order the US stopped paying its dues until a new director general was installed and the plan was dropped. So it is plain why the UNDP report lays down these principles. Its plan distinguishes between a longterm goal and an overarching transitional strategy. This proposal is basically a revival of Keynes' ideas as expressed at Bretton Woods in 1944, which were rejected under pressure of the United States and replaced by the present system of the IMF and World Bank, with the dollar as world currency. This revolutionary proposal of a global progressive tax goes further than Keynes, but is in line with his theory: the international community would have to take on functions of the nation state, i.e. introducing taxation to redistribute the profits accumulated unequally from mutual trade. This proposal also corresponds to the ideas of Keynes, likewise dropped when the US refused to ratify the Havanna Charta drafted to this effect, and the industrialised countries had achieved what they wanted with the setting up of GATT, originally conceived of as provisional. The UNDP proposal would be an important instrument to counteract the constant deterioration of the terms of trade. This proposal is also new, compared with the original Bretton Woods proposals. It takes account of the fact that since the end of the East-West conflict the actual security problem has lain in the destruction of social and ecological resources by the present global economic system. (Cf. the call of the 1993 UNDP Report to extend the concept of human security to cover the security of people as well as that of nations) The transitional strategy aims to reform the existing institutions until longterm proposals can be put into practice. First, let us look at the IMF. This proposal of Keynes would be a powerful corrective to the growing gap between poor and rich countries and should be strongly supported by solidarity groups in the industrialised countries. Another key issue is the development of alternative models for structural adjustment.
The lack of regulation of transnational capital markets is the cancer of the present system. This is something that even the President of the European Commission, Jacques Delors, and Members of the European Parliament seem to feel, when they repeatedly consider imposing controls on capital movement in Europe in order to counteract the mobility of speculative finance. There is a deep contradiction here between ideology and the reality of the transnational „free market". Genuinely free movement would only be possible with the aid of international regulation. The deregulated market is so destructive that even strong industrial regions like Western Europe need to consider introducing restrictions. Admittedly, it is also clear that this cannot be solved at the national or regional levels alone.
The World Bank is the second Bretton Woods organisation. Actually, Keynes would have preferred a global structural fund, offering international settlements instead of loans. According to the UNDP proposal, „the World Bank must rediscover its original mandate of mediating between the capital markets and the developing countries." (80) In addition, the NGOs also call for a reform of the undemocratic character of the World Bank and its lack of accountability and transparency. The NGOs have different possible models in mind when calling for an independent appeals authority, with access to all bank information and with the right to express criticism and be heard by the Bank.
The call for democratisation, transparency and participation by those involved is central to both the IMF and World Bank. Moreover, the UNDP report rightly calls for them to be fundamentally reorientated away from purely financial and economic growth to a policy of human development and the preservation of their natural resources.
The world trade system, currently controlled and manipulated by the industrialised countries through GATT, is in urgent need of reform, according to the UNDP report. In the ecological field, the UNDP report proposes the strengthening of existing environmental facilities, and the development of new ones. The Global Environmental Facility administered by the UNDP, UNEP and World Bank must be supplemented by international environmental taxation.
At the same time, the report urges the creation of a global security system, a radical disarmament policy and the channelling of proceeds to development and environmental policy as a peace dividend. Finally, the report appraises the importance of the people involved and NGOs in developing this international order, which includes an appropriate reform of the UN. The question of participation in the structures and decision-making is the emphasis of the 1993 UNDP report. It must be seen that the UNDP reports are divided in themselves and ambiguous, since their proposals stem from a traditional growth policy and a liberal free trade context. Yet the UNDP research team has shown courage in telling these unpleasant truths directly to the plutocratic major powers of the global economic system. They will fall by the wayside if the social institutions and the general public in the industrialised countries do not wake up and urge their own governments to accept these proposals.

2. The European Parliament
Resolution on international monetary cooperation within the framework of the easing of restrictions on capital markets (Document A3-0392/93 / PV 48 II v. 15. 12. 1993 / PE 177.122)

The European Parliament,

A.whereas the factors which largely determine capital mobility are:
(a) deregulation of financial and capital markets,
(b) progress in information systems and communications technology,
(c) financial innovation,
(d) accumulation of financial assets,
(e) the emerging role of institutional investors,
(f) elimination of restrictions on the establishment of banks and financial institutions,
and whereas these factors have contributed to the globalisation of markets,
B. whereas „globalisation" is taken to mean expanding international trade, the growth of multinational business and the increasing interdependence through capital flows; whereas, however, the principal force behind global markets and processes has been the phenomenal growth of global finance and the increasing role of institutional investors,
C. whereas the monetary authorities of the Member States are faced with the consequences of speculation on investment and trade, creating uncertainty as regards exchange-rate fluctuations,
D. acknowledging that since the mid-1980s the phenomenon of globalised markets for finance, capital and investment and that of deregulation of markets have restricted the scope for capital controls, have influenced the determination of exchange rates and have in some cases fed speculation,
E. aware of the influence which globalisation consequently has on macroeconomic policies and their traditional instruments with regard to the four objectives: boosting investment, controlling inflation, stabilising exchange rates and increasing private savings,
F. expressing its disquiet at the implications for national policies since the trend of globalisation gained momentum, and for the stability of the financial system; as to the latter, the payment and financial system has become more fragile, highly risky and has caused volatility in asset prices,
G. aware of the ease with which the foreign exchange markets can be used for „money laundering",
H. whereas the relative strengthening of the private sector and corresponding weakening of the public sector in the conduct of monetary policy constitute a redistribution of control over monetary policy, due to unregulated financial innovations and the deregulation of the capital markets,
I. aware of the huge volume of trading on the world's foreign exchange markets which in April 1992 was estimated by the Bank of England at US $ 1.01 billion per day,
J. expressly rejecting the simplistic theory that the turbulence in the ERM is entirely due to „speculators",
K. pointing out that „speculation" is often „prudence" in international transactions by governments, banks, multinational companies, pension funds and private individuals,
L. recognising the difficulty of distinguishing clearly between speculative transactions and those that are the result of prudential hedging by normal traders,

as regards financial risk
    1. Is of the opinion that the scale of globalisation, the high interdependence and the level of unregulated activities demand a global approach to tackling systemic, financial and institutional risk, and that by such an approach it would be possible to stabilise financial markets and help solve the world economic crisis;
    2. Is equally concerned with the rapid growth of the derivatives market, i.e. off-official-balance-sheet activities which tend to be unregulated, with the resulting increased risk to the stability of the financial pyramid;
as regards monetary policy
    3. Is worried by the resulting consquences of globalisation for monetary policy in a system of fixed exchange rates, and noting in particular:
    (a) that the traditional mechanism for conveying monetary policy via interest rates is not so effective because of financial innovations;
    (b) that the money supply cannot be assumed to be a stable variable since all of its components are affected by the behaviour of the private sector, which is inherently volatile;
    (c) the increased difficulty in using money aggregates for the conduct of monetary policy targets and of monetary coordination,
    (d) the extension of the instrument of minimum reserves to countries where there is no obligation to maintain minimum reserves, thereby increasing its potency,
    (e) the failure to regulate certain financial innovations, increasing competition between official assets which define the money supply;
as regards exchange rate policy
    4. Is worried that globalisation has led to the loss of yet another policy instrument, that of exchange rates, because:
    (a) the traditional methods and measures, such as capital controls, taxation and reserves have lost their relative influence over exchange rates,
    (b) the powerful role of the private sector and foreign exchange market, whose daily turnover is nearly double the official reserves of the G 10 countries, can have substantial effects on economic figures through speculative capital movements,
    (c) globally unregulated markets, as the September 1992 and July 1993 crises have shown, may generate expectations that feed speculation,
    5. Points out that the Bretton Woods system of international monetary cooperation can no longer cope with the new monetary situation experienced since the mid-1980s when the phenomenon of globalisation emerged and restricted international cooperation; hence, international monetary cooperation could be enhanced if the causes of the ineffectiveness of national monetary and exchange rate policies are tackled at international level;
    6. Notes that post-Bretton Woods the turnover in the world's main financial centres has outgrown the total of the OECD's central banks' reserves and hence their ability to influence exchange rates;
as regards policy options
    7. Recognises that globalisation has reduced the role of the official sector and enhanced that of the private sector and has thus cut down the number of options:
    (a) the European Community may have recourse to measures restricting the liberalisation of the movement of capital to or from third countries which will be consistent with Article 73 c (2) of the EC Treaty, but such measures will have to be of limited duration, not exceeding six months, in order to be compatible with Article 73f of the EC Treaty,
    (b) the European Community may, alternatively, consider a tax on speculative currency transactions; if possible at international level, and in any event between the Community and the rest of the world, so as to curb the current monetary disorder and to restore money's essential role,
    (c) Member States might require non-interest-bearing deposits at central banks, in domestic currency, equal to foreign exchange purchases, though this might have a damaging effect on investment flows and could in any case be evaded through the currency swap markets,
    (d) the European Community, the USA and Japan may conclude a trilateral monetary agreement with a view to harmonising taxation systems in respect of currency transactions and regulation of financial capital; however, this would also require convergence of long-term economic policy objectives and a new institutional arrangement to oversee the application of such a formal agreement, to be concluded under the provisions of Article 228 of the EC Treaty,
    (e) the European Community may take the initiative to follow the principle that „global finance should have global rules and global supervision" and thus use its powerful position in both the IMF and World Bank with a view to reforming international institutions;
    (f) policy options which would prejudice the foreign exchange turnover of the European Community's financial centres;
    (g) the Community could press for greater transparency on the capital markets as a means of appraising the objectives and efficiency of any measures;
    (h) consideration could be given to extending the minimum capital requirements to market risks, in particular in the case of advances in foreign currencies;
    (j) consideration could be given to the extent to which a minimum cover rate introduced world-wide could restrict credit creation by and between banks;
    (k) consideration could be given to the effect of obliging foreign currency dealers to keep with the central banks a non-interest-bearing deposit as a percentage of each currency purchase; the advantage of this would be that the implicit interest load would be proportional to the relevant interest level, which would rise with speculative attacks;
    (l) the Community could introduce a code of conduct for the supervisory bodies, the banks and institutional investors with the aim of reducing speculation against EMS currencies;
    8. Calls on the Commission to consider what measures might maximise the advantages and minimise the disadvantages to all parties of these options, and what possible forms of supervision will have to be undertaken at international level;
    9. Calls on the Commission to submit detailed proposals for a tax on foreign exchange transactions, together with proposals needed to make this tax effective; (—)

3. Small-scale alternatives: „La Poudriere" in Brussels

„La Poudriere" consists of five communities which have developed out of the original community over the last 35 years. They were inspired by Abbé Pierre and the Emmaus movement. Homeless and unemployed people got together to work on all kinds of waste from our affluent society, selling repaired goods to other poor people. They have taken the initiative and can support themselves with this ecological recycling activity. They needed a van to collect bulky waste, which they also use to do removals, another source of income. They now have over 100 members in all and over 40 vehicles. They have renovated an old brewery and factory for their recycling activities, vehicle repairs and all kinds of manual jobs. Parts of the works premises have been renovated for accommodation, as have derelict houses. Most of their food comes from a farm.
The group of five communities, present in the city and the country, is an autonomous cell of poor people for the poor in a totalitarian global economic system — and so richer and fitter than those deriving their wealth from the „whore of Babylon" (Revelations 18), who will meet their doom when disaster strikes her. The main thing is that people are living a life in community which is impressive in its wholeness, and marked by joy and healing, as can be seen from the many people at risk who have made a new beginning there. In front of the large kitchen there is a big terrace on the garage roof, so that children can play there in sight of their parents. Meals take place around one or two large tables, made from timber from the farm. In the house of the first community there are five artistic stained glass windows over the tables in the dining room. They depict the five goals of the community: presence, friendship, justice, utopia and hope, and self-denial. Here is a short explanation taken from the community's newsletter (May 1993): The argument about whether the community should be a lived example of an alternative, or means to the end of political struggle, is central in the strategy discussion within the social movements. Do we want all or nothing, politically, or to live our lives differently where we are?

4. Political intervention at the local level: „Social Policy Offensive" in Mannheim and other cities

For three years the Mannheim church district has been trying to involve congregations in the project on „Poverty, Wealth, Justice". A facilitator tries to bring about coalitions between the parishes and marginalised groups in their suburbs. They include unemployed people, refugees, social welfare recipients, single parents, victims of rent speculation etc. The project is assisted by a qualified committee. It includes the Diakonische Werk (protestant social services), the church youth department, the industrial and social chaplaincy, the regional office for mission and ecumenics, providing international reference points, and a representative of the city of Mannheim responsible for its „social atlas". Only seven parishes have agreed to participate but the process initiated is an intense one. At „plenaries" the different groups hear about one another, there are workshops to shed light on the economic and financial grounds for impoverishment and enrichment processes, and the church district is kept regularly informed.
The next step is a planned municipal poverty conference. There is already a National Poverty Conference to which the different agencies belong. Now a larger alliance is forming at the local level. It includes the self-help groups, the association of relief agencies and social welfare organisations in Mannheim, the trade unions and the churches. In 1994 there is to be a „Social Initiative Day" to protest against social cutbacks. Yet this is intended to be a lasting initiative for applying pressure on governmental and capitalist institutions.
In other cities similar initiatives are forming, e.g. in Chemnitz and LiÕge in Belgium („Anti-exclusion Day", 28.5.94). In conjunction with the network of municipal social planners and the National Poverty Conference in Germany, Kairos Europa plans to organise an exchange between these different European initiatives. Local „ecumenical assemblies for justice, peace and the integrity of creation" (as in Heidelberg from 1991 to 1993) could constitute a link between church and society at the local level.

5. Proposals for the national level: Wolfgang Kessler and economic literacy initiatives

In his book „Aufbruch zu neuen Ufern" (setting off for new shores) Wolfgang Kessler gives an excellent survey of goals and measures on the way towards a socio-ecological economic democracy in a national context. First he indicates two clear restrictions: Nevertheless, it is possible to govern in such a system and have a policy aiming at bringing about socio-ecological economic democracy, if this policy ensures He names the following individual goals and measures: Here Kessler puts his finger on the crucial point when he contradicts the prima facie argument that none of this would work due to shortage of finance.
So there should not be just a lower limit to ensure people's livelihood, but also an upper limit for wealth. Concretely Kessler means a profit levy on companies, an effective tax on interest with a clear and practicable obligation on the banks to give appropriate information to the inland revenue authorities, and a doubling of VAT on luxury goods. Only if the giant profits are redistributed for social and ecological purposes will it be possible to solve future problems. Of course, the international ground-rules will have to be changed for this, with the national governments of the big industrialised countries having to take the lead.
The rich countries will only make the urgent changes in economic, financial and social policy if more and more citizens understand what is happening. It is thus significant that more and more initiatives are offering economic literacy programmes. The oldest of them in Germany is that of „Werkstatt Ökonomie", which runs economics workshops (Contact: Obere Seegasse 18, D-69124 Heidelberg). Women's organisations have also begun to offer materials and courses, e.g. the protestant women's movement in Germany (Contact: Ulla Mikota, Lindenstrasse 34, D-60325 Frankfurt) and the women's branch of industrial mission (European contact: Christa Springe, Am Gonsenheimer Spiess 6, D-55122 Mainz).

6. Proposals for the regional level


6.1 Election Checklists

Election checklist 1

A yardstick for testing the candidates in the 1994 European elections
50 years after the establishment of the present World Economic System in Bretton Woods

Stop public over-indebtedness and the dismantling of social welfare systems
Stop the accumulation of financial assets

		in the South			in the East		in the North
Deterioration of life for people and degradation of nature worldwide and at the same time exorbitant profits for finance capital through:
Transnationalisation and deregulation of the finance markets and
Structural adjustment and austerity policies dismantling the social welfare systems worldwide
Root causes:
Through the transnationalisation and deregulation of the markets mobile capital can escape taxation and regulations for the common good inter alia causing a higher public debt

Through public debt the state becomes a hostage of the capital markets ditto ditto
Capital and tax flight: the rich move their capital on the transnational off-shore markets through legal loop-holes and economic crime and so rob the state of taxes in gigantic measure ditto ditto
(in Germany in 1992 tax flight on financial assets only: at least 60 billion DM)
Profits on speculation are tax-free ditto ditto
The banks drive up the interest rates for many over-indebted countries through rescheduling the debts, with interest rates being far above the rates of real economic growth ditto In the North the profits of those who control financial assets are higher than the profits of income through dependent work or from productive firms
A special form of redistribution from South to North is operated through the IMF and its structural adjustment programmes — the IMF which is completely controlled by the rich countries (annual net capital transfer from poor South to rich North: US $ 50 billion according to UNDP) Additional redistribution from East to West also through IMF Only owners of financial capital profit from the normal monetarist policies with a one-sided emphasis on monetary stability = structural adjustment in the North

We demand globally:
International Institutions and Regulations to Control the Deregulated Capital Markets which now Operate against Social and Ecological Interests
In the present system, national and even European political instruments are relatively powerless vis-a-vis transnational capital. We call upon West-European governments and the European Union, with all other countries — especially the USA and Japan — to develop new political instruments to control capital (some of which are already mentioned in the resolution of the European Parliament of December 14, 1993 on „International monetary cooperation": Doc. A3-0392/93; PV 48 II, 15.12.93; PE 177.122). We demand such new instruments and the re-inforcement of old ones, i.e.: With a view to creating a New International Financial Order eventually replacing the in-effective and undemocratic Bretton Woods Institutions, we demand in line with the original proposals of Keynes in Bretton Woods and with the Human Development Report 1992 of the UNDP: Meanwhile democratise the IMF and the World Bank with a common EU voice and have the EU countries pay 0,7% of gross national product (GNP) for development aid

We demand for the regions:

in the South
in the East
in the North
End debt slavery through: ditto Strengthen the public tax authorities so that they can effectively combat tax flight (in Germany a single official drive brought in 11.5 billion DM in additional tax)
acknowledging the illegality of the debt contracted with conspiring elites in the indebted countries
acknowledging the debt of the North through 500 years of exploitation to this day, by means of compensation Put much higher taxes on financial assets and gains, and on real estate
developing an insolvency law for indebted states (according to the proposals of K. Raffer) Allow tax deductions on unpayable debt only to those bands which cancel it (instead of nominally maintaining the debt as receivables)
help return the capital/flight money of corrupt elites to the indebted countries through measures of bank control (see above)
Change the terms of trade between the industrial countries and those producing raw materials ditto Change the monetary system and policy. Stop orienting it one-sidedly towards stability of capital accumulation and strong currencies. Balance stability with social and ecological interests through the change of structural adjustment policies towards a new paradigm
Develop structural adjustment programmes according to a socio-ecological, not a neo-liberal, paradigm of economy ditto

Give the money recaptured from finance capital back to the people to satisfy their social, economic and ecological basic needs!

Questions to the candidates (of the European and national elections):
What are the responses of your party to these demands and what concrete legislative measures are you proposing in your party programme?

Election checklist 2

A yardstick for testing the candidates in the 1994 European elections
50 years after the establishment of the present World Economic System in Bretton Woods

Stop structural unemployment and forced migration — stop the accumulation of financial assets
in the South — in the East — in the North

Structural unemployment and ecological dumping through TNCs in the deregulated transnational capital markets and „free trade" worldwide
Root causes:
Through the transnationalisation and deregulation of the markets for mobile capital TNCs can play the workers with limited mobility and states against each other:
We demand:

Thus fulfil your political responsibility to secure people the right to work and to live an economically secure life wherever they want to live

Questions to the candidates (of European and national elections):
What are the responses of your party to these demands and what concrete legislative measures are you proposing in your party programme?

Election checklist 3

A yardstick for testing the candidates in the 1994 European elections
50 years after the establishment of the present World Economic System in Bretton Woods

Stop the growth of private debt — stop the accumulation of financial assets
in the South — in the East — in the North

More and more people worldwide are getting deeper into debt.
Root causes:
Impoverishment and structural unemployment (cf. Election Checklist 1 and 2) and also the one-sided support for agro-business create the presupposition for the rapid growth of private debt. But also the bands and business reinforce this development through their money and credit policies (artificial money, advertising and the hire purchase system encourage people to go into debt; exorbitant interest rates in re-scheduling debt only reinforce it: the bands enrich themselves through the high difference between debit and credit interest rates and through exorbitant increases in their charges etc.). In 1993 the banks increased their profits by about 20 % in the midst of recession.

We demand:
Thus people can be protected from life-endangering debt

Questions to the candidates (of European and national elections):
What are the responses of your party to these demands and what concrete legislative measures are you proposing in your party programme?

Election checklist 4

A yardstick for testing the candidates in the 1994 European elections
50 years after the establishment of the present World Economic System in Bretton Woods

Stop cultural destruction — stop the accumulation of financial assets
in the South — in the East — in the North

People's cultural diversity is threatened by current patterns of world trade as sanctioned by the 1994 multilateral trade agreement under GATT. The global commercial production of culture and information increasingly disempowers people by disinforming them, by withholding essential information and by creating a dependent consumerist environment.
Root causes: We demand:
Restore the right of cultural self-determination.

Questions to the candidates (of European and national elections):
What are the responses of your party to these demands and what concrete legislative measures are you proposing in your party programme?

6.2 Electoral initiative „Building a Europe in Solidarity"
This initiative is sponsored by the following coalition:
ATD Quart-monde International, European Anti-poverty Network, Confederation Europeenne Des Syndicats, COFACE, Coordination Paysanne Europeenne, Reseau Europeen de l'Economie Alternative et Solidaire, European Ecumenical Organisation for Development (EECOD), IRENE, GRESEA, Emmaus International
Coordinator: Jean Pierre Dardaud, c/o Institut Belleville
4, boulevard de la Villette
F-75019 Paris

Austerity policy: „Extremely strict government spending", which generally means measures taken within restrictive national budget and wage policies to limit price increases. The IMF structural adjustment conditions mostly include a strong austerity element.
Bretton Woods system: Founded at United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, meeting at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire (July 1-22, 1944). The conference was attended by experts noncommittally representing 44 states or governments. It drew up a project for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), better known as the World Bank, to make longterm capital available to states urgently needing such foreign aid, and a project for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to finance shortterm imbalances in international payments in order to stabilise exchange rates. Although the conference recognised that exchange control and discriminatory tariffs would probably be necessary for some time after the war, it prescribed that such measures should be ended as soon as possible. After governmental ratifications the IBRD was constituted late in 1945 and the IMF in 1946, to become operative, respectively in the two following years.
Derivatives: Financial instruments (e.g. swaps, futures and options) developed by internationally operating private finance institutions. These are designed to help prevent exchange rate, currency and interest rate risks related to foreign exchange transactions. However, they are risky in themselves and could easily lead to a destabilisation of the international financial system in the event of a stock exchange crash.
External debt: Money owed to foreign banks or other countries by a government, of by its citizens, provided that their private debt is subject to state guarantees.
GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade): An agreement prohibiting barriers for imports and exports, albeit with a broad range of special regulations. Tariffs related to the „most-favoured-nation" clause are supposed to be the only forms of protectionism. It was replaced in April 1994 by the World Trade Organisation (WTO), on conclusion of the Uruguay Round.
Group of 7 (G 7): The seven richest industrialised nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom, United States), organising regular economic summits since 1975.
International Monetary Fund (IMF): An institution founded in 1945 following the Bretton Woods conference. It was designed to found a new order of stable international economic relations on the basis of fixed parities. It provides financial resources to assist member states with their balance-of-payments difficulties. The IMF is an independent organisation within the UN system. Comprising 150 member states, its main organ is the board of governors, in which each state is represented by a minister or a president of an issuing bank. IMF funds are raised through deposits by members, the amount depending on a country's economic and political importance. This contribution also determines the country's voting rights. The IMF has become a crucial instrument for control of international monetary and financial policy, reflecting the interests of the industrialised countries with the most capital.
Keynesianism: An economic programme (or paradigm) based on the fundamental work written by John Maynard Keynes in 1936, „A General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money". Keynes supports the hypothesis that full employment could be created by state-led „deficit spending" in investment and consumer spending. The starting point of anticyclical measures is „effective demand". In a broader sense, Keynesianism also involves a „class compromise": the state has to pursue a policy of full employment, while refraining from intervening in investment decisions taken by the management of companies in the private sector. Keynesianism dominated national international economic policy in the Western industrialised nations in the post-war period until the early 70s.
Monetarism: Economic theory propagating economic growth through liberalisation of market forces. the state should limit itself to the role of a „night-watchman". At the same time, the unbridled market forces — with a restricted money supply — nearly automatically allow maximum profit for all parties with practically no inflation. The stronghold of monetarism is the University of Chicago, where it is represented by Nobel laureate Milton Friedman. The „Chicago boys" played a key part in the late 70s. The Thatcher and Reagan governments were also strongly monetaristic.
Net capital transfer: A term denoting net capital flows between industrialised and developing countries.
Offshore financial centres: International branches of traditional banking centres in Europe and North America, set up in the 70s and 80s. Operations are limited to foreign exchange transactions, i.e. foreign borrowers. The monetary system of the financial centre remains unaffected. Important sites are : Luxembourg, the Bahamas and Hong Kong. These centres play an important part in converting petrodollars into loans (Euromoney market). The above-mentioned countries are attactive for banks because they do not demand high equity levels. It is easy to establish a branch, and taxes and duties are low.
Special drawing rights (SDRs): Created in 1969 by the IMF as an additional reserves (equivalent to gold and foreign exchange), they are increasingly taking over the functions of traditional currency reserves (gold and the US dollar). SDRs are an artificial international currency exclusively used in transactions between central banks. Their value is calculated through a „basket" of the five most important currencies (US dollar, deutschmark, French franc, pound sterling and yen). SDRs are issued to IMF members as a function of their economic importance. SDR-holders are entitled to purchase convertible currencies for a limited period and are used for borrowing and repayment transactions.
Structural adjustment programme (SAP): A set of economic policy measures as formulated by IMF-borrowers in a „letter of intent", which is usually based on IMF proposals. This is a prerequisite for standby loans or fresh money from private banks, so that indebted countries have no choice regarding economic policy measures contained in stabilisation programmes. The measures are designed to improve the foreign trade relations of a country in order to settle international balances. The focus is on fighting inflation, which the IMF believes is mainly created by disproportionately high real incomes. Structural imbalances in North-South relations are hardly ever discussed, e.g. deterioration in the terms of trade and the consequent greater need for funds. The instruments with which it seeks to settle imbalances can be divided into foreign trade measures and domestic trade measures. The former include: devaluation, in order to boost exports and reduce imports; putting a ceiling on foreign loans and new debts; limiting imports, e.g. via a scale of priorities; raising interest rates in order to combat capital flight and stimulate capital imports. Domestic trade measures include monetary regulations, e.g. keeping to upper limits when increasing the money supply: limiting state spending in order to reduce the public deficit; financial conditions — e.g. cuts in grants and social benefits; an increase in the cost of public services and the lifting of price controls (e.g. abolishing food subsidies). Usually wage conditions are imposed as well, in order to reduce the cost of labour. In a number of countries there has been political resistance to SAPs, even „IMF riots".
Terms of trade: Denote the ratio of export to import prices. In the case of developing countries, this usually means prices for commodity exports as compared to imports of finished products. Since 1970 imports have become more expensive for the majority of non-oil developing countries, while their exports have not risen in value (sometimes even dropping considerably). This means that the terms of trade have deteriorated for developing countries and improved for industrialised countries.
Transfer price manipulation: This means that prides for goods and services traded within an international company are not based on real costs. Companies use this ploy when they have an interest in shifting profits from one country to another for tax reasons.
UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development): A permanent organ of the UN General Assembly, designed to promote world trade and economic development. Unlike GATT (WTO), UNCTAD calls for dirigistic intervention in world trade and market structures in order to stabilise export profits, e.g. by fixing commodity prices.
World Bank (Group): Comprises three international organisations: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, founded in 1945), the International Development Association (IDA, 1960) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC, 1956). The most important share-holders are the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan. These countries together hold more than 40% of shares and thus 40% of voting rights. The World Bank is a specialised agency of the United Nations, and so UN authorities cannot just impose directives. Members of the IMF. This is to ensure that a borrowing country even if it has balance-of-payments problems, pursues a monetary, financial and foreign trade policy guaranteeing a smooth integration into the world market. The World Bank finances longterm development projects and programme assistance via loans, investment aid and securities. This assistance only goes to governments or requires governmental guarantees. As a rule, interest rates correspond to borrowing on the international capital markets. The World Bank's annual net profit has amounted to over US $ 1 billion in the last few years. The IDA has the same objectives as the bank, but it grants credits mainly to the poorest countries and on better terms. It is financed by voluntary contributions from member countries, payable every three to four years. The IFC is designed to stimulate private investment in developing countries by investments and loans to companies. It also provides additional domestic and foreign capital. The IFC grants its loans without repayment guaranteed by governments. It is financed by member contributions, World Bank loans and operating profits.

List of Materials
ANDERSON, V., 1991, Alternative Economic Indicators, London/New York
BARNET, R. J. / CAVANAGH, J., 1994, Global Dreams. Imperial Corporations and the New World Order, New York/London/Toronto/Sydney/Tokyo/Singapore
BUDHOO, D. L., 1990, Enough is Enough. Dear Mr. Camdessus— Open Letter of Resignation to the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, New York/Goa
DALY, H. E. / COBB, J. B., 1989, For the Common Good. Redirecting the Economy toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future, Boston
DUCHROW, U., 1992, Europe in the World System 1492-1992. Is Justice Possible?, Geneva
DUCHROW, U., 1994, Alternativen zur kapitalistischen Weltwirtschaft. Biblische Erinnerung und politische Ansätze zur Überwindung einer lebensbedrohenden Ökonomie, Gütersloh (Creating Economics for Life; will be published in English late 1994 probably with Orbis Press, Maryknoll/USA and S. P. C. K. London)
EG-COMISSION, 1993, Towards a New Bretton Woods: Alternatives for the Global Economy. A Report for the FAST Programme by St. Holland, Document FOP 325, Brussels
EKINS, P. / MAX-NEEF, M. (ed.), 1992, Real-Life Economics Understanding Wealth Creation, London/New York
GEORGE, S., 1992, The Debt Boomerang. How Third World Debt Harms Us All, London
GROUP OF LISBON, The, 1993, Limits to Competition, Lisbon
KESSLER, W., 1990, Aufbruch zu neuen Ufern. Ein Manifest für eine sozial-ökologische Wirtschaftsdemokratie, (Publik-Forum-Dokumentation) Oberursel
MOYER, B., 1987, The Movement Action Plan. A Strategic Framework describing the Eight Stages of Successful Social Movements, Cambridge/MA (USA)
RAFFER, K., 1990, Applying Chapter 9 Insolvency to International Debts: An Economically Efficient Solution with a Human Face, in: World Development 18/2
RICH, B., 1994, Mortgaging the Earth. The World Bank, Environmental Impoverishment, and the Crisis of Development, Boston
ROBERTSON, J., 1990, Future Wealth. A New Economics for the 21st Century, New York
UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), 1992 and 1993, Human Development Report 1992 and 1993, New York/Oxford

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