Sep 29th, 2009
The readjustment of the social economic is of the greatest importance inasmuch as it insures the stability of the world of humanity; and until it is effected, happiness and prosperity are impossible. Bahai writings
I have just returned from the EBBF’s excellent conference in the Netherlands, entitled `Window of Opportunity’. I was pleased to be elected the new Secretary General, with Mahmud Samandari the new chairman and George Starcher the treasurer. Daniel Truran was appointed Director General. The Governing Board issued an important statement to coincide with the meeting of the G20 in Pittsburgh. Here it is (and here we are writing it – Arthur Dahl, me, Mahmud Samandari):
On the Occasion of the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh
An Ethical Perspective on the Economic Recovery
A Statement Issued by EBBF (The European Baha’i Business Forum)
Nijmegen, The Netherlands
28 September 2009
EBBF (www.ebbf.org) the European Baha’i Business Forum, an international NGO representing businesspeople across 70 countries and dedicated to inspiring responsible business practices has issued an ethical perspective on the economic recovery:
The unprecedented crisis that shook the world a year ago was a clarion call to review the values and the structures on which the world system and its economy are based. Twelve months later have we made a significant progress towards
• adopting measures to reduce extremes of wealth and poverty?
• closing the gap between the least developed countries and the advanced economies before it becomes an abyss?
• assuring that the poorest of the world be the main beneficiaries of the recovery measures that have cost taxpayers the world over more than US$ 10 trillion?
• tackling the climate issue in a way that a large majority of humankind does not continue to pay the consequences of the consumption excesses of a few?
• using position and office, be it public service, corporate management or NGO leadership, to render service to humanity rather than for personal benefit and enrichment?
If we have not at least set in motion the processes that will lead us in a different direction, no measure of recovery in the stock market or in consumption will save us from an even more devastating crisis in the future, a crisis that would affect us more seriously considering the resources already used to face the last one. Just because the fever is down, we do not stop treating the underlying illness.
The present system, including the measures that have been taken during the previous months, is based on past experience. While past performance is no guarantee of future results, we can be certain that using old remedies will certainly lead to another – graver – crisis.
There is still a window of opportunity to act – and much more needs to be done.
World leaders, whether political, corporate or of civil society, must have the courage to undertake deep-seated and far-reaching changes. Legal standards, political and economic theories are solely designed to safeguard the interests of humanity as a whole. Humanity should not be made to suffer for the preservation of the integrity of any particular law or doctrine. The economy has globalized but we are still bound by 19th-century mental constructs of nationalism and sovereignty.
A favourable sign in this context has been the process of widening the circle of leaders of government debating an expanding agenda of economic and related issues at their periodic summits. We humbly invite them to consider that their national interests would be best served if they took the interest of the whole planet into consideration. They must be bold and reach a consensus on measures that would improve the world economic system and then invite all the other nations to participate.
`All need to give up their narrow self interest when the future of humanity is at stake. If no one moves there can be no change or progress. We call upon the leaders to exercise the vision, courage and trust that are required to respond to the expectations of the world’s people who are looking for a new, just and prosperous world,’ said the EBBF Governing Board.