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Newsletter - 05/2008
Dear Friends! October 6, 2008
The current global financial crisis highlights both the fundamental weaknesses of the ruling economic order and the challenges faced in repairing them. In a world of growing insecurity and injustice, facing climate chaos and peak oil, we need an economy based on cooperation and sharing, not competitive greed. But, as Councillor Stephen Marglin points out in his latest book, “Thinking like an economist destroys community!”

The alternative to building a global community is growing conflicts and wars over scarcer resources. Therefore, the current crisis shows that we can no longer afford to leave the economy to the economists! Financial “experts” who do not understand the products they design and sell are only the most visible part of the problem. Even more dangerous are the economic fundamentalists who have justified pillaging our natural wealth and the health of the planet because of their belief that “the market” will always find a solution.

This is nonsense. Most economists are ideologues in the service of power. “Free markets” do not exist and have never existed. They depend on the state to enforce contracts without which no investor would invest. If the “global players” could not be sure of state-guaranteed “limited liability” (a modern invention), they would be more careful with other people’s money.

Many critics see the problem as ‘de-regulation’. But in fact the globalized market has more rules than before, otherwise it could not function. Just look at the WTO agreement with its detailed regulations filling thousands of pages! So-called tax havens could not function without legal guarantees that contracts and transactions there are enforceable everywhere. Countries without regulations do not attract investors – otherwise Somalia would be thriving! We do not need a world of more rules – we need a world where the rules prioritize people and planet over the profits of the global casino.

The WFC will appoint a Future Finance Commission before the end of the year. As with other WFC commissions, this commission will consist of internal and external experts and work on practical approaches to re-shaping the world’s financial and tax systems. This month, the WFC Expert Commission on Cities and Climate Change will convene in Hamburg for the first time. Last month, a sold-out WFC charity concert in Berlin and the opening of our exhibition “Corridor of Hope” at the Hamburg Planetarium once again highlighted the strong public backing for the WFC’s efforts to help create better policies for a better world. We thank those who attended and those who continue to support us!

With best regards from the Board of Directors, Executive Committee, and Secretariat,

Jakob von Uexküll
WFC-Founder

Content
Commission Briefs >
Notes from the Council >
Upcoming Events >
Recent Events >
Donor Information >
Media >

Introducing...

Kaarin Taipale, Expert Commission on Cities and Climate Change
WFC Councillor Kaarin Taipale from Finland is an expert on sustainable urban development and currently a visiting professor in the Urban Laboratory at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. She is also Chair and Coordinator of the UN-initiated Marrakech Task Force on Sustainable Buildings and Construction. Read more about her current activities here.

     
Commission Briefs
Cities and Climate Change
The primary objective of the new WFC Cities and Climate Change Commission is to create a better understanding of modern cities and their production, consumption, and transport and waste management systems against the background of climate change. There are several technologies and policies available to dramatically reduce the impact of cities on the global environment and the atmosphere. The commission’s main task is to explore these opportunities drawing on best practice examples and policies from around the world and to discuss how to enhance their implementation.
Click here to read more about our Climate and Energy work.
Future Justice
The Future Justice Commission has decided to establish a yearly Future Justice Award. The award will honour individuals or institutions who have successfully implemented policies ranging from climate protection to social justice, in order to secure living conditions for future generations.
In light of the worsening international food situation the first Future Justice Award focuses on policies establishing just and sustainable future food systems on the regional, national and global level. The award will be presented at a charity gala dinner on May 14, 2009 during the World Future Council’s Annual General Meeting.
   
Notes from the Council
Prof. Prabhu Guptara, Switzerland:
The Gods that have Failed

The collapse of the largest insurance company, the two largest mortgage companies, and three out of the five largest investment banks - all within the last few weeks! - means that if we are not in something like the 1929 recession, we are certainly very near it.

Many people (including myself) have for some years now been trying to present solutions for the inherent instability of the global financial system. But there are none as deaf as those who do not want to hear! Regulators were even pressed to avoid implementing the few safeguards that existed! Entirely needlessly, tens of thousands have lost their jobs, and other tens of thousands have lost their homes in the West, while over 100 million people have been thrust into poverty around the world.

Even after such spectacular failure, some people persist in their blind trust in the market - or in regulation - or, now, increased liquidity - which will, even if it works, soon increase inflation.

Why do we not want to look at real solutions? Because a spiritual renewal is needed before we can be released from our addiction to greed and speculation, and turn instead to growth that is safe and steady.
To learn about all current councillor activities, click here.
 
Top upcoming WFC Events
October 17, 2008:
Global UN-STAND-UP Event features WFC Councillors’ video appeals

On October 17, some 50 million people around the globe are expected to stand up to support the eight Millennium Development Goals defined by the United Nations. The goals aim at eradicating poverty and social injustice until 2015. WFC Chair of the Executive Committee Bianca Jagger will take part in a podium discussion at the largest STAND-UP event in Germany in Berlin. Eight other WFC councillors will contribute video appeals. We invite everybody to participate. Read more about it here.
To read about all upcoming WFC-events, click here. To learn more about the WFC and WFC projects, visit our website at www.worldfuturecouncil.org
Top WFC Events in September
In September the World Future Council could successfully raise public awareness and support with a charity concert at the Berlin Philharmonics featuring speeches by Jakob von Uexküll and Bianca Jagger as well as with the KidsCall exhibition “Corridor of Hope” at the Hamburg Planetarium. For a complete list of media coverage of the WFC, please click here.
September 21, 2008:
Charity concert for WFC in Berlin
At the sold out chamber music hall, some 1,400 guests applauded the appeals by WFC Chair of the Executive Committee Bianca Jagger and WFC Founder Jakob von Uexküll and the performance of Berlin Philharmonic top ensembles. In their opening remarks and during the discussion after the concert, Bianca Jagger and Jakob von Uexküll called upon the audience to actively get involved in fighting climate change. Read Bianca Jagger's speech here.
September 22-28, 2008:
WFC EC Chair Bianca Jagger, Honorary Council Member Dr. Michael Otto and City of Hamburg representative State Secretary Christian Maaß celebrate opening of KidsCall “Corridor of Hope” at Hamburg Planetarium
WFC Chair of the Executive Committee (EC) Bianca Jagger, State Secretary Christian Maaß and Director of the Hamburg Planetarium Thomas Kraupe greeted invited guests, decision makers and the media for the opening of the week-long exhibition “Corridor of Hope” at the Hamburg Planetarium. The open-air installation showed invocation flags with representative samples of appeals by some 14,000 children from 47 countries calling for action for a sustainable future. Read more here. Read Bianca Jagger's speech here.


September 12, 2008:
WFC Director of Programmes promotes sustainable cities at Architecture Biennale

WFC Co-Founder Herbert Girardet called for a quick switch to renewable energy in all areas of urban life at the opening of the Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy. The 11th International Architecture Exhibition entitled ‘Out There: Architecture Beyond Building’ is still running until November 23rd 2008. You can read an interview with Herbert Girardet here.
To read about all recent WFC-events, click here. To learn more about the WFC and WFC projects, visit our website at www.worldfuturecouncil.org

How to support us
To successfully continue its work, the World Future Council depends on partners and people willing to support its projects. If you are interested, please contact the WFC’s Director of Donor Relations: lars.knoepke@worldfuturecouncil.org.

We are grateful for donations to:
World Future Council, GLS Bank, Acc. No.: 200 900 4000, Sort Code: 430 609 67
IBAN: DE70 4306 0967 2009 0040 00; BIC (SWIFT-Code): GENODEM1GLS

The World Future Council Newsletter appears monthly.
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For more information about the World Future Council, its goals and activities please see our website:
www.worldfuturecouncil.org

Contact: World Future Council, P.O. Box 11 01 53, D-20401 Hamburg, Germany, Phone: +49 (0)40-30 70 914-0

The WFC gratefully acknowledges funding from the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Dr. Michael Otto/otto GmbH and Co. KG, and our other generous donors.