Money and Sustainability The Missing Link

People concerned with sustainability in general – with issues like climate change, environmental degradation, food and water shortages, population growth and energy use – tend not to worry about the money system. Nor do they tend to look for solutions that involve monetary innovations. Even those economists who are also concerned about sustainability in principle are seldom aware that our money system systematically encourages unsustainable behaviour patterns that may end up threatening human survival on this planet. In fact, this Report shows that the current money system is both a crucial part of the overall sustainability ‘problem’ and a vital part of any solution. It makes clear that awareness of this ‘Missing Link’ is an absolute imperative for economists, environmentalists and anyone else trying to address sustainability at a , national, regional or global level. Aiming for sustainability without restructuring our money system is a naïve approach, doomed to failure.

A report from the club of Rome EU Chapter to Finance Watch and the World Business Academy

Bernard Lietaer

Christian Arnsperger Sally Goerner Stefan Brunnhuber

So the money system is bad for social and environmental sustainability. But this
Report also proves – perhaps more surprisingly – that the money system is bad for
the money system itself. Unless we fundamentally restructure it, we cannot achieve
monetary stability. Indeed, this Report also demonstrates that monetary stability
itself is possible if, and only if, we apply systemic biomimicry – that is to say, if
we complement the prevailing monetary monopoly with what we call a ‘monetary
Finally, the good news is that the information and communication revolution
which we are living today is already pushing us in precisely the right direction.

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This Report has three objectives :

  • • To provide evidence that the fi nancial and monetary instabilities plaguing Europe and the rest of the world have a structural cause that has been largely overlooked. Addressing this structural cause is a necessary (but not a suffi cient) condition for dealing with today’s challenges.
  • • To place the monetary problem, and solutions to it, in the context of two
    global issues : climate change and population ageing. Indeed it makes
    clear that, in order to avoid the worst scenarios of climate change, massive
    investment is needed now : investment that will require governmental
    leadership and funding. Concurrently, the retirement of baby boomers reduces
    government revenues while adding pressure to already severely strained social
    programmes. Both issues will reach their peak during this decade, and neither
    is compatible with austerity measures. Continuing to follow the current
    monetary paradigm will render governments powerless to address these social
    and environmental challenges.
  • • To propose pragmatic solutions that can be implemented cost-effectively
    by citizens, non-profi ts, businesses or governments : solutions which would
    resolve at a structural level several critical sustainability issues currently
    facing many countries.

The Club of Rome EU Chapter

The Club of Rome EU Chapter (CoR-EU), located in Brussels, aims to build bridges between the institutions of the European Union, their constituencies and the international Club of Rome, which has been a leading think-tank at world level for more than 40 years. The CoR-EU is acting as a catalyst of reflection on sustainable development in Europe. Its strategic aims for the next few years focus on the issues of money and governance. This includes initiating and facilitating cutting-edge research on ground-breaking concepts in these domains.

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Posté le mardi 18 septembre 2012
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