Sustainable Financial Markets as a Global Commons

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Intervention by Margrit Kennedy and Ludwig Schuster at the Berlin Commons Conference:

"Prof. Dr. Margrit Kennedy and Ludwig Schuster are internationally recognized experts for the transformation of the present monetary and finance system towards sustainability. They support the Ethical Markets Group in their efforts to affirm that finance is a global commons - first recognized at Bretton Woods in 1945 - and that those benefiting from finance and markets assume a responsibility for reforming finance from within.

Not only are the 24-hour global capital markets dependent on satellites, internet and other technologies – largely financed by taxpayers as public infrastructure investments – but they are also founded on the legal infrastructure of nation states and the trust of citizens in these functions. The flaws in the present money system as well as the irresponsible and unethical behavior of many players, including many leading financial institutions has now eroded this foundation. Unbridled greed-driven speculation at the cost of a healthy environment and the means of livelihood for present and future generations, the improper use of public infrastructure technology for activities such as high frequency trading, together with a misguided self-regulatory ideology, has damaged the financial commons and the trust on which we all depend.

Finance as a Commons requires new rules and tools. Modernizing our monetary systems as well as capital markets to serve human societies to manage the global commons means creating new financial instruments and accounting standards – new markets and new currencies – beyond "efficient market" and "rational actor" models. In our presentation we will try to outline which key necessary principles and conditions are crucial, in our opinion, to operate the a sustainable, shared global financial architecture consistent with 21st century realities."