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The world Is revolting against the US economic and business model: a call to action

25 November 2011

The study of business and economics remains largely disconnected from moral, social and spiritual considerations. Alongside leading thinkers from civil society, STWR has endorsed a statement calling for a new economy based on shared ethics and values.

The world is riveting toward a possible turning point and we hope that you are able to stand with us in this call to action.

We, the undersigned, co-authored the document noted below - A Call to Action - and sought the support of interested parties, by asking them to consider endorsing it. As the current global crises have clearly shown, the whole world is waking up to the value of co-creation and the harnessing of knowledge from diverse sources, disciplines, experience and expertise.

We are gratified by the level of enthusiastic support for the Call. We also received wise arguments and sincere suggestions on how to make this more inclusive, so that many more can join and sign the petition. We have acknowledged these suggestions and have incorporated them into the Call to Action.

The final document and the list of our endorsees are noted below. It goes without saying that we are most grateful for all your ongoing support. It is only when we work together that we may change the world for the better.

Kamran Mofid PhD (ECON), Founder, Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (UK)
Jamshid Damooei PhD (ECON), Co-director, Centre for Leadership and Values, School of Management, California Lutheran University, USA
Steve Szeghi PhD (ECON), Dept of Economics, Wilmington College, Ohio, USA

The World Is Revolting Against the neo-liberal Economic and Business Model: A Call to Action

Hundreds of thousands of people, young and old, employed and unemployed, black and white, men and women, have come together in a continuing and lasting global unity, partaking in a dialogue of civilisations, faiths, cultures and peoples in consideration for the common good.  This global movement has risen in a thousand cities on six continents: from Tahrir Square to Alexandria and Tunisia; Rio de Janerio to Bogota; Santiago, Chile to Barcelona; Zuccotti Park to Oakland; Wall Street to St. Paul's; Frankfurt to Brussels: Rome to Athens; Toronto to Vancouver, Chicago to Philadelphia, Sydney to Brisbane and more, rejecting neo-liberalism and its prevailing economic and business models, demanding a better, kinder and more humane world.

The crises of ecological devastation and glaring social and economic inequality are pushing the planet to the brink of catastrophe. Acrosss the globe there is an unquestioning, deeply justified sense that governments have capitulated to big business and big finance at the expense of the people and the environment. Both centralised states and free markets are separated and divorced from society, and society in turn is thus subjugated by a global market-state, dominated by corporate elites and the self-serving lobbyists.

The line between corporate power and responsible government has steadily blurred, undermining our democracies and our economy, as well as our way of life. Politicians take money from corporations for their campaigns, make policies that reward them when in office, and then take high-paid jobs with them after they leave. This, in a nutshell, is corruption, plain and simple.

The collusion between big business and politicians, in the eyes of the people, generates a system that privatises profit, nationalises losses and socialises risk. From the very outset, the global economic turmoil was merely a symptom of a much larger moral, spiritual and ethical crisis. In short, the world is facing a crisis of values.

Time is Now for Radical Change: What is to be done?

At a time during the American Revolution, when things looked very dire and impossible, Tom Paine wrote:

"These are the times that try men's soul's. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and women. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. . . "

As many round the world are saying loud and clear, "This is another of those times. Our souls are being tried. This is our opportunity to stand firm, to show our perseverance and fortitude. This is a time our children and grandchildren will sing about. Their ballads will praise us for bringing them the world we all deserve."

Thus, it is time to question the functionality of the existing economic system that has created a massive and widening gap between a few super rich and the many in abject poverty. We need to examine the soundness of extracting growing profit from a highly leveraged and unsustainable real sector in the face of massive numbers of disenfranchised people who are deprived of a potentially prosperous economic life. We need to question the ability of mother earth to support the extravagance of our blind and ignorant consumerism.  We also need to put self interest in perspective, and balance it with concern for the common good and for other species and the earth.

We should recall the wisdom of Adam Smith, "father of modern economics", who was a great moral philosopher first and foremost. In 1759, sixteen years before his famous Wealth of Nations, he published The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which explored the self-interested nature of man and his ability nevertheless to make moral decisions based on factors other than selfishness. In The Wealth of Nations, Smith laid the early groundwork for economic analysis, but he embedded it in a broader discussion of social justice and the role of government. Today we mainly know only of his analogy of the ‘invisible hand' and refer to him as defending free markets; whilst ignoring his insight that the pursuit of wealth should not take precedence over social and moral obligations.

We are taught that the free market as a ‘way of life' appealed to Adam Smith but not that he thought the morality of the market could not be a substitute for the morality for society at large. He neither envisioned nor prescribed a capitalist society, but rather a ‘capitalist economy within society, a society held together by communities of non-capitalist and non-market morality'. As it has been noted, morality for Smith included neighbourly love, an obligation to practice justice, a norm of financial support for the government ‘in proportion to [one's] revenue', and a tendency in human nature to derive pleasure from the good fortune and happiness of other people.

Building a new economics system will demand challenging and novel ways of thinking, perspectives that encompass the broad swath of human experience and wisdom, from the natural sciences and all the social sciences, to the philosophical and spiritual values of the world's major religions and of indigenous peoples as well.  The task before us is a daunting one, and wisdom in how to proceed will come from a multiple of sources, and must embrace the panorama of cultural and disciplinary perspectives.  Practical steps are of the essence and we therefore propose some for you to consider.  We also ask for your suggestions in expanding this list of practical steps, so that we can begin a dialogue on where we go from here in building a better world for ourselves and for future generations.

A few practical steps

1, the right to a meaningful job and a minimum income to all individuals, guaranteed by society and/or government, and a "Special Fair Deal" for youth employment& a vigorous job creation programme with increased public works spending

2, a tax on financial transactions

3, access by the poor to credit markets

4, limits on executive pay and compensation

5, taxing capital gains and dividends at the same rate as wages and salaries

6, elimination of too big to fail

7, massive use of usury free lending to provide basic human needs, and expand the quality of human life in ways that are environmentally friendly

8, a resurgence of financial regulations to reduce moral hazard, adverse selection, and to improve the flow of information to consumers

9, increased investment in green technology, with a serious global commitment to dramatically reduce carbon emissions,  preserve habitat for endangered species, and to price goods and services with environmental costs in mind

10, an increase in funds for education at all levels, with education as a right

11, the grounding of Business and Economics education in social, moral, and ethical values and principles

12, a dramatic reduction in global military budgets

13, creation of an International Fund for Peace, recognizing that true peace must spring from the access of all to the means of life and the ability to be fully functioning members of the global community

14, the development of new international standards, institutions, and structures, where all countries and all peoples have an equal voice in holding, heads of state, executives of corporations, and policymakers accountable for their actions and policies according to the standards of insuring basic human needs to all, greater equality, and ecological balance; ensuring institutional integrity and full transparency; and the gradual elimination of the right of veto by major countries at the UN.

Endorsed by:

*Hans Christof Graf von Sponeck, Germany, former UN Assistant Secretary-General and UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, New York, USA

*Prof. Johan Galtung, Founder, TRANSEND, France and the European University Centre for Peace Studies (EPU), Austria 

*Luk Bouckaert, Emeritus Prof. Centre for Economy and Ethics, Catholic University Leuven,http://www.econ.kuleuven.be/eng/fetew/medewerker/userpage.aspx?PID=952, and President, European SPES-Forum http://www.eurospes.be/ , Belgium

*Paul Shrivastava, David O'Brien Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Enterprise, and Director, David O'Brien Center for Sustainable Enterprise, John Molson School of Business, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada and The 50+20 Steering Committee (A project to transform management education worldwide) 

*Fred Dallmayr - Packey J. Dee Professor in the Departments of Philosophy and Political Science at the University of Notre Dame, USA and Co-Chairman, World Public Forum, Dialogue of Civilizations, Russia and Austria 


*Prof. Hans Kochler, Chair, Political Philosophy, University of Innsbruck, Austria, and President, International Progress Organisation (I.P.O), Vienna, Austria 

*Nancy Roof, Founder, Kosmos Journal, Co-Founder Values Caucus at United Nations, Co-Founder Spiritual Caucus at United Nations, USA 

*Dr. Farhang Jahanpour, teaches Modern History for Oxford University Department for Continuing Education and is an Associate Fellow at the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Oxford University, UK

*Major General (Retd) Vinod Saighal (http://www.vinodsaighal.com/), India

*Robley E. George, Founder (1969) and Director, Center for the Study of Democratic Societies (http://www.CenterSDS.com) and Coordinator, Nonkilling Economics and Business Research Committee (http://www.nonkilling.org/node/7) USA

*Yahya R. Kamalipour, Professor and Head, Department of Communication, Purdue University, USA; and  Founder &Chair, Global Communication Association, USA

*Professor Peter Rolf Lutzeier, Principal& Chief Executive, Newman University College, Birmingham, UK


*Prof. Gerald Grudzen, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religion, San Jose City College, San Jose, CA and President, Global Ministries University, Temecula, CA, USA

*James B. Quilligan, Director, Centre for Global Negotiations, Philadelphia, USA

*Uli Spalthoff, Germany; and from the leadership team of the Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies network

*Tom Tresser, Creating solutions for breakthrough insight, economic development & civic engagement, USA

*Erik Devreede, International Association for Intercultural Education (IAIE) The Netherlands

* Christopher A. Kosovich, Kosovich Media Group, USA

*Ann Hallock, former Prof. Of behavioural medicine, Michigan State University, USA

*Dr. Bahman Dadgostar, Director, Hope Consulting Institute, USA

*Sesto Giovanni Castagnoli, President, World Spirit Forum, Switzerland and Chair Core Team, World Transforming Initiatives (WTI)

*Rev. Dr. Alan Race, Editor-in- Chief, Interreligious Insight, UK&USA

*Father William J. McIntire MM, Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers, USA and Mymensingh, Bangladesh

*Hari Bansh Jha, Ph.D, Visiting Scholar, German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA), Hamburg, Germany

*Simon Barrow, Co-Director, Ekklesia , London, UK http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/

*Share the World’s Resources (http://www.sharing.org/), London, UK

*Ken Rose, Kows Radio, Occidental, California, (http://www.pantedmonkey.org/) USA

*One Child's Village: A Global Orphans’ Foundation, Kenya& Canada

*Dr. Terry Nolan, Newman University College, Birmingham, UK

*Ed Nagelhout, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Writing, University of Nevada, USA

*Mr. Brando Crespi, Co-Founder and Director of Strategy, Pro-Natura International (http://www.pronatura.org/ ), France& Brazil

*Canon Peter Challen, MA, FRSA, Christian Council for Monetary Justice, and Sloan Fellow of the London Business School, London, UK

*Mr. Come Carpentier De Gourdon, Convener-Editorial Advisory Board, World Affairs Journal, New Delhi, India http://www.worldaffairsjournal.com/

*Dr. Michael Britton, Director, "Global Appreciative Culturing", USA; and Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies

*Luis T. Gutiérrez, The Pelican Web of Solidarity and Sustainability, Mother Pelican: A Journal of Sustainable Human Development, USA http://pelicanweb.org/

*Maureen Dolan, PhD. Chicago, IL USA

*Michael Forsyth, Lacombe, Alberta Canada http://www.solardomehome.blogspot.com/

*Gabriella Bellegarde, Smithsonian Institution/Housing Initiative Partnership Family Literacy Program, Washington D.C., USA

*Grant L. Campbell, M.D., Ph.D. Physician (Retired), Laporte, Colorado USA

*Jacqueline R. Voss, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist, Laporte, Colorado USA

*Jerome Irwin, author of The Wild Gentle Ones; A Turtle Island Odyssey, Vancouver, B.C. Canada http://turtle-island-odyssey.com/

*Kelly G. Ramer, M.P.P. Organizational Development Facilitator, Peace Corps Corozal, Belize

*Elisabeth Harper, Director, Skagit Business & Staffing, USA http://www.skagitbusiness.com/

*(Rev Canon Dr) Peter Dominy PhD thesis (2011) at Exeter University on "De-Coding Mammon : Money in Need of Redemption", UK

*Elizabeth O'Halloran, healthcare professional, USA

*Blythe Butler, President, Blythespirit Consulting and Leadership Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

*John Hauf, (We are the 99%) Oakland, USA

*Monica Perez Nevarez, Graduate student, Columbia University, New York, USA

*Gilles Leclair, Ecovillage Developer, Canada

*Michèle Renée Gervais, Antiguo Cuscatlán, El Salvador, Central America

*Ken S Green, Independent, Alaska, USA

*Norman Keegel, Occupy Seattle, Agate Passage Friends (Quakers), Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action, Buddhist Peace Fellowship, USA

*Pastor Michael Alfson, Trinity Lutheran College, Australia

*Ronald C Andersen - substitute teacher in Anchorage School District, Seasonal Fisheries Technician for State of Alaska, Member American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees - AFL-CIO, Anchorage, Alaska, USA

*Dr. Bob Ross, MajorityVoteRules.Org, USA

*Brent Eichler, Vancouver Canada

*James MacDonald, Alumnus UPEI, Canada

*Ken Bonetti, Boulder, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

*Donna Bonetti, unemployed, USA

*Jeff Snyder, Charlottesville, VA, USA

*Geri Rhodes, Tomé, NM, USA

*Donald B. Clark on behalf of Cumberland Countians for Peace & Justice and Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility of United Church of Christ, Pleasant Hill, TN, USA

*David R. Montague, Bonner, MT, USA. “In Greed We Trust:  Secrets of a Dead Billionaire,” a satire that deconstructs greed, plutocracy and the American Dream.

*Daniel L. Givens, US National Park System, USA

*Melissa Montgomery, Phoenix Arizona, USA

*John Bish, military veteran, Las Vegas, USA 

*Jean-Marie PARDIGON, France

*Sonja Scherndl, Homeopath Iridologist Naturopath Herbalist, UK

*Don Wescher, South Milwaukee, USA (Author of: The Links between Peace, Justice, Democracy & Environmental Sustainability)

*Susan Rose, Cedar Key, Florida, USA

*Peter Anderson, Veterans For Peace, Fairfax, Calif, USA

*Duane Fleming, President, Livelihood Systems Institute, USA

*THOMAS R. JOHNSON, (last employment) Field Staff, Minnesota State College Faculty, Education Minnesota, USA

*John O'Neill, Austin, Texas, USA

*Matthew Hauck, San Diego, Ca, USA

*Benjamin Harack, Master of Science Candidate in Physics at McGill University, Founder and leader of www.visionofearth.org, Canada

*N.M. DuPlanti, USA

*Nick (Klaus) Veltjens, Author: “World without war, made possible by empowered individuals”, Australia

*Tam Beeler, Mountain Stream, Michigan, USA

*Jane McCloskey, Blue Hill, Maine, USA

*Dan Heuer, Connecticut, USA