Roosevelt 2012

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School for Well-Being and Research:

"Stéphane Hessel and Edgar Morin launched the ‘Roosevelt 2012’ campaign, supported by some 60 well-known French opinion leaders. Among them Patrick Viveret, philosopher, who inspired FAIR (Forum pour d' Autres Indicateurs de Richesse), Geneviève Ancel, Dialogues en Humanité, and Gaël Giraud, Ecole d’Economy de Paris. They played important roles at the “50-years’” colloquium of CCFD-Terre Solidaire, December 2011 in Paris , and/or at the CRID Summer University/Dialogue en Humanité held in Lyon, July 2012 (CRID is the coordinating body of NGO’s in France, and the national network supporting the World Social Forum).

The ‘Roosevelt 2012’ campaign offers an inspiring, albeit radical, example of emerging movements in Europe questioning the existing global financial and economic paradigm and its implications for social security, environmental sustainability and cultural integrity. In the perspective of the present economic crisis it would be appropriate to match these initiatives, within Europe, with the growing interest in “happiness” and wellbeing as exemplified by the books of Sir Richard Layard in England that evolved in the Action for Happiness campaign; and Matthieu Ricard’s Playdoyer pour le Bonheur in France . Stéphane Hessel is the author of the recent, deeply disruptive, Indignez-vous! (Time for Outrage!) essay; and a retired top-diplomat who represented France at the United Nations . In his ‘Roosevelt 2012’ appeal the former resistance leader proposes a new Bretton Woods conference. The Bretton Woods conference was held in the USA in 1944 and world leaders agreed to the “Washington Consensus”. The “consensus” shaped the financial architecture still dominating our world economics today, albeit that in 1971 the ‘golden standard’ – currencies pegged to real value of gold – was abandoned (under pressure of excessive spending on the Vietnam War). This left the world economy with no common currency standard and with no universal indicator for progress but ‘Gross Domestic Product’, which was not designed for it. “GDP”, both as economic index and as indicator of progress, has been criticized repeatedly, but no consistent alternative system and adequate index has been generally adopted .

The economies of ‘the North’ moved from surplus wealth creation based on colonialism, exploitation of cheap labour and non-renewable natural resources, to the ultimate creation of virtual money systems as an escape from scarcity. With the result that the ‘North’ is caught in a serious debt-trap, as revealed by the financial melt-down in 2008. By now it is clear that the world faces a multiple crisis, a serious threat to Human Security, prompted by the impacts of growing inequalities.

The French ‘Roosevelt 2012’ campaign is inspired by the resoluteness of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s response to the crisis in the USA, in 1933. A similar resoluteness is needed in our time, according to the ‘collective’ of 60 French leaders. In the first place by adopting a reform programme of 15 steps in France itself. However, action should also imply a fundamental re-design of the “Washington Consensus” and the policies of its major institutions: the World Bank and IMF. The ‘Roosevelt 2012’ group promotes global restructuring of the economic architecture based on local action."