Kairos logo Kairos Hearing 1994.

Opening by the moderator

Bob Goudzwaard:
So, if you, please, want to take your seat! Just some brief words, an introduction of the theme of this afternoon's session.
When we speak about social coherence within the European Community itself, then it sounds like a typical inner-European matter. And so, already in the beginning of this session, the question could arise: What by heaven is the use or the benefit of relating this issue to the role of the Bretton Woods Institutions? Is it not mixing-up internal and external factors in the Community? I can imagine this question, but I hope at the same time that this afternoon will make it very clear that it is based on a very risky way of reasoning. And the reasons can be given almost immediately.
The first is that the institutions of Bretton Woods do play their role in the very heart of today's world of international money. That is a world which has increasingly become a world on its own, driven by its own laws and fueled by its own, sometimes, hectic expectations. But at the same time it is more and more this world, the world of money, which rules to a high extent the course of nations, selecting them and rejecting them in terms of risks and in terms of aversion of financial risks. So, what steers the world of money is itself becoming more and more steerless. And what will then be left of stability and coherence, not only outside but also inside the communities and nations? In such a disoriented money-empowered world all weak social groups, regions and nations can suffer harm. Social developments are then defined by external monetary factors just from the beginning.
But there is a second reason as well, and this is the coherence of Europe's own responsibilities. Europe is on its way towards a monetary union, and that will include an increase of its responsibility for the correct ordering of our monetary system. But different options are at stake here, parallel to the different options which exist for the global financial system. The first is the option for a monetary structure in which richness is still more easily accumulated than ever before, where capital streams flow freely, especially from the poor to the rich, and where speculative efforts earn the highest income. Or it may be the option for a monetary order in which the poor in Europe and the world have also the access to financial resources, in which the path of money creation is tuned to the fulfillment of real basic needs, and in which powers of social erosion and growing unemployment meet monetary countervailing powers.
The order of this afternoon will be indicated by that. It will be to a high extent similar to the order of this morning. We will begin by listening to the witnesses. You can see them here sitting behind the table. They will to some extent introduce themselves.

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