Received by mail:
From: World Future Council
Dear Friends! We need an economic and financial order based on an understanding of natural limits and a reverence for life. Our economies must assist and not hinder our efforts to promote global equity, reduce climate change and stop resource depletion.
This is no utopia! Concrete steps and policy proposals were identified during the first meeting of the WFC Future Finance and Economics commission (March 27th -30th) in Egypt. For example, while detailed regulation of financial speculation is time-consuming and complex, “negative legal enforcement” is much faster and shifts the burden of proof, making financial products not approved by the respective supervisory authority legally un-enforceable.
Corporate law can also be reformed quickly. The WFC will initiate parliamentary hearings for new corporate charter and shareholder legislation. This would inter alia oblige corporations to account for natural and social capital depletion caused by their activities. Laws to link corporate rights and privileges, e.g. limited liability, to duties and responsibilities have existed in many countries and can easily be reintroduced. In addition, as no company’s success depends on the CEO alone, salary increases for the top management should be reflected across the whole workforce. The gap between highest– and lowest-paid employees should be reduced to pre-bubble levels, i.e. around 20 to 1.
Organisations set up to supervise the financial sector and manage assets and institutions saved by the taxpayer must be accountable to the public. The majority of their board members should therefore be nominated by parliaments, civil society and the wealth-producing business sector.
Such reforms will be crucial for rebuilding confidence and trust in the economic sector, the lack of which is at the core of the current crisis.
With best regards from the Board of Directors and Secretariat,
Jakob von Uexkull, Chair, Board of Directors, April 2nd, 2009.