Economy and Sustainable Development
Since the times when man bartered, each person has participated through his work, his ingenuity, his labour, in the production of social necessities. He has transformed shapeless matter into more organized matter. Exploiting its potential, he has contributed to transforming what the Planner had intentionally left in a raw state into something useful for himself, the things He had left to be the place and the object of man’s deifying experience.
“On Earth, things are given to us solely as materials with which to exercise in order to train our minds and our hearts from the start. We are on a training ground which allows God to see whether we are able to be transported to heaven, to his presence”. (Teilhard De Chardin P.).
In ancient times bartering represented the common capacity of exchanging “transformed works”. In modern times, this is represented through money. Money is not therefore just a metal or the power of purchase, but a return and a capability to transform tangible matter into ever more evolved forms which permit man to grow, to attain his most important growth: his spiritual growth. Money therefore exudes the spiritualising capacity of matter which the Creator has put at our disposal so that, through man, it can be used for human deification.
Every policy which aims to manage money must be a policy which puts man in the condition to draw from that shared and common good which the whole of humanity has received as a mutually redeeming mandate.
Thus there can not be, nor exist in principal, any economic policy beyond this vision, a vision which must see the elaboration of matter as something to be done for man. Man does not serve money, but money serves man. Man does not serve financial policies, rather they serve him.
Not the financial sovereignty of politics, but rather the political sovereignty of finance.
This is a simple concept, just as the vibrations of creation are simple and uncomplicated. It is a principal which is so incontrovertible that even the most basic doctrine of the simplest school could explain it. A principal which should constitute one of the fundamental articles of the constitution of any state.
Therefore, if finance (understood as laws which in principle lead to the only valid project for man, that is, to lift him to the rank of Person) is used following this logic, we should have witnessed over the last twenty years a bettering of mankind’s general condition. That is to say, better conditions for the availability of food, services, social structures, of every aspect linked to the growth of man.
Mathematics is not a law which is removed from the spirit but a detail of its principals.
We should therefore expect that the years of great fiscal pressure in favour of designating enormous flows of money for socioeconomic policies in every industrialized nation and consumer society in these last twenty years should have led to a comprehensive bettering of the conditions of every single man, not only in a financial sense, but in every component which makes him a man.
It seems superficial to say that criminality has risen exponentially, that the difference between the rich and the poor has widened, that the conditions of life in areas where there are “unproductive” human resources have worsened.
But the wise men of finance feel the weight of those economic analyses which are rarely divulged, which are shamefully hidden in the drawers of editorial offices and “information” centres.
The most recent analyses on the effects of the economy on civilised Europe denote this phenomenon; single initiatives and single presences on the territory are increasingly diminishing in favour of great complexes, with a concentration of great riches in the hands of the few.
Without depressing the reader too much, we must say that this tendency in socioeconomic development must be inverted quickly. It is based on the great management of finances, and on the grave and disgracefully misguided idea that everything (considering even man as a thing) can be valued only exclusively in terms of economic and monetary productivity. There should be carefully implemented a policy which, functioning within models based on life, on their potential, on natural thermodynamic systems, tends to valuate through their potential and thus valuate man’s vocation, territory and things, not in economic terms, but through the comprehension of their utility within the organizational system of life. M.K Ghandi said in this regard: “an economy which ignores or neglects moral values is fallacious.”
Parliaments have largely lost a great part of their influence on the daily agenda of our societies. This power has been increasingly delegated to private economic agents whose priorities and objectives are solely determined in function of the logic of the financial market.
In our European Union this means that the political authorities (the council of ministers, the commission and the European Parliament) must supply themselves with rules and means to guide and control the ECB (European central bank).
The rules, the power and the means remain to be defined, but the founding principal is known: the ECB can not perform its function in absolute independence from politics; above all, in the present-day context in which capital is invested world-wide, the independence of central banks is an illusion: they are strongly governed by the way the financial markets go.
A diametrically opposite concept is that finance is the principal tool of development.
First man, all of man, must be developed, and then what is natural will follow.
Developing man, his evolutionary tendency, in the Great Plan, means understanding the potential of every single inhabitant on this planet. It means supplying that which is good for him. It means supplying him with the capacity to become the strongest link of the entire chain.
“In this sense we can rightly speak about a fight against the economic system, of possession of tools of production and of land with respect to the free subjectivity of man’s labour. We do not place the socialist model as an alternative in the fight against this system, for in reality it turns out to be a capitalism of the state. Instead a society is proposed where people work freely, a society of enterprise and participation. This is not against the markets, but asks that they be controlled by social forces and the state so as to guarantee the satisfaction of the fundamental needs of all of society”. We must recognise “the right function that profit has as an indicator of the good performance of a company: when a company produces profit, this means that the productive factors have been adequately employed and the corresponding human needs have been properly satisfied.
All the same, profit is not the only indicator of the state of a company. It may happen that the accounts of a company are in order and that the people who constitute the firm’s most precious patrimony are humiliated and offended in their dignity.” (Centesimus Annus, ch.35)
Promoting socioeconomic development means supplying each member of this global village with the cultural means to decide his own path autonomously, selecting which path to place a series of indicators (road signs) which lead him to the destination he has chosen. Everyone must have the possibility to accede to this, not by resorting to limited and exclusive financial resources, but by promoting incentives of a non-strictly financial nature.
And yet this civilised Europe which boasts its treaties, such as Maastricht, has still to find the courage to admit to its inhabitants that, for the first time in human history, a union between people has been reached not through ideological values, but for monetary ones.
These are values which impose rhythms, laws, rules and impulses on politics and on man that are not synchronous with the category of Person. The god, Money, dominates the minds and conscience of the men who participate in politics like a grey cloud hanging over an industrial town.
The loss of this power at a national level means a loss of power in the European Parliament. Thus in the era of the full globalization of the economy, we are all invited, or better still, pushed or obliged, to intensify and accelerate the procedures in this sense, in every sector, and the watchwords are liberalisation, deregulation, privatisation. Nobody, however, is inviting politics to be modernised, to enact a planetary system of political and democratic representative governance, to multiply the areas in which to meet and form parliaments at international, continental and worldwide levels.
In confirmation of what has been said and sensed in recent decades, the Maastricht treaty has introduced important limitations in the exercise of the rights of a representative democracy. This has affirmed that the European Central Bank be independent from every national and European political power.
The ECB has been given the responsibility of defining and following, in complete sovereignty, Europe’s monetary policy, the fundamental function of which is to promote and assure the stability of prices.
The treaty of Maastricht has consecrated the complete autonomy of monetary policy in respect to every other policy. Monetary policy can not be modified by any other political, economical or social objective. Only the contrary is possible: every economic or social or cultural objective must be subject and subordinate to the “direction” and objectives of monetary policy. Man has been placed below the fruit of his capacity to transform matter and is dominated by it.
This monetary autonomy and sovereignty bestow on the European Central Bank the utmost independence.
At present, the attitude that prevails at the heart of the European parliament is the following: there is agreement that the ECB should be independent, but there is also agreement on the fact that there should be a European economic government able to define and execute a macro-economic policy and a social policy at a European level. These should pursue at the same time both the objective of keeping prices stable and that of a sustainable and durable economic growth, the creation of work places and the defence of an elevated level of social security.
This position, which is apparently solid because it is “politically correct and realistic”, falls into the pragmatism of the policy of what is possible. But it can not be enough, for it does not resolve the basic problem: there are no possible or acceptable justifications for the sovereign independence of monetary policy. Furthermore, this position does not take into account the problem of the liberalisation of the movement of capital and the privatisation of the banking system.
This policy is unfortunately an expression of the last residue, which is spent and without energy, of a superseded materialistic Enlightenment culture. The expressions it uses faithfully mirror a logic which is no longer in line with that of the singular Logic which has led to Creation and to man. To borrow an environmental term, all of this is no longer sustainable.
We must change course, as M.K. Ghandi said: “if we want to progress, we must not repeat history, but make new history. We must enrich what we have inherited from our forefathers. If it is possible for us to make new discoveries and inventions in the material world, should we then declare bankruptcy in the spiritual one? Is it impossible to multiply the exceptions so that they become the rule? Must man always be a brute, or, at most, a man?”
In conclusion, a new culture should be developed whose origin lies in principles conducive to the subsistence of things in the universe.
There can not be new social justice, equal rights for men, new developments, new industrialisation, in short, any renewed socioeconomic system, without the creation of a new ideology which has its origin in the same principals of creation. Decoding this means recreating a culture where Faith, Science, and Technology are one and the same.
Man does not grow because he is the object of financial allocations but as the object of attention which helps him to reach his ultimate and unique dignity.