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Forging the Next Great Transformation
A book proposal in the midst of a #Planetary Crisis?
I have been taking a summer break and working on my new book proposal. As the work progresses I would like to share ideas and some texts with you, my Substack subscribers. I would very much welcome your feedback, arguments, counter arguments, suggestions and advice.
As things stand the provisional title of the book is:
Forging The Next Great Transformation: Ending the Supremacy of Wall St over Society and the Planet.
An independent analyst, I write about the international financial system and its impact on humanity and ecosystem. I do so without fear or favour. Your support is appreciated.
I have faced big psychological barriers in progressing with this work. Societies, including my adopted one, appear to be breaking down under divisions caused in part by inequality, but also by a prolonged period of both fiscal and now monetary austerity. The instability of the global economic system, the staggering scale of fraud and graft; the rise in international political tensions and bellicosity - and the careless, indolent attitude of British politicians (“I hate tree huggers”) to the security threat posed to their citizens - fills me with gloom.
Politicians fiddle while every day brings news of catastrophic weather events; and of the increasingly rapid degradation of nature. Statistics released by the UK government reveal a 48% decline of species between 2015 and 2020, with woodland birds faring the worst. Only today, Prof. Rockstrom, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Professor in Earth System Science at the University of Potsdam warned that
scientifically, this is not a #ClimateCrisis.
We are now facing something deeper.
Mass extinction. Air pollution.
Undermining ecosystem functions.
Really putting humanity’s future at risk.
This is a #PlanetaryCrisis."
Is a Planetary Crisis the very moment to plunge into the chaos and write another book? Is there even enough time left for explanations of how the world economic architecture/system fails humanity and the ecosystem? For a book on how it can be transformed?
Is there enough time to design a system that would carry humanity safely through the chaos and on the road to a more just, sustainable world?
In other words, is there time to prepare for The Next Great Transformation?
Or, I thought to myself, should I just hit the streets, take direct action, and slow march with the Just Stop Oil heroes and heroines?
Could I - and you dear readers - manage to do both?
And then I heard Kenya’s President William Ruto speak at the Summit for a new global financing pact - Building a New Consensus for a More Inclusive International Financial System.
The Summit was largely motivated by Prime Minister Mia Mottley - leader of the tiny and increasingly climate-vulnerable island of Barbados - the first British slave society, “and the most ruthlessly colonized by Britain’s ruling elites”.
Last year, in July 2022, PM Mottley set out the Bridgetown Initiative - to
lay the path toward a new financial system that drives financial resources towards climate action and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“We need to fix the system” Mottley told the Financial times during the Paris Summit, which was hosted by Emmanuel Macron, President of France.
On hearing President Ruto speak alongside her, I knew then that a book on how to design The Next Great Transformation might have a role to play.
The president was very clear in his comments to the Financial Times during the event:
We need a new financial mechanism to deal with climate change - one that is not controlled by a shareholder or is not subjected to the interest of any country…
The Summit for a new global financing pact took place in the midst of much talk in the global south of “de-dollarisation” - of ending dependence on the imperialist US dollar for international payments.
While fully understanding the motives behind demands to de-dollarize - the arrogant action of the United States in freezing Russia’s central bank reserves (banned under international law); the Federal Reserve’s decision to hike US rates and to thereby strengthen the dollar while flushing capital out of emerging markets and crushing currencies around the world - to name but a few of the harmful actions of the hegemon - I nevertheless disagree with the de-dollarisation approach.
Switching from one country-dominated currency to another as the world’s reserve currency would mean little change. We could be exchanging one hegemon for another. What is needed, instead - as President Ruto argues - is System Change.
At the Summit he argued that the new “mechanism” outlined in the Bridgetown Initiative would be akin to a “Global Green Bank”, funded by green taxes and levies applied globally. An independent Bank that would not be “controlled by a shareholder, or subjected to the interests of any one country.”
That was the kicker, the inspiration for the break-through on the proposal. Perhaps there might, after all, be a role for this book in supporting and informing leaders, campaigners and revolutionaries in the months and years ahead - as they prepare to dismantle the Supremacy of Wall St over Society and the Planet.
Elements of my thinking appeared in the second, follow-up podcast with Michael Hudson and Radikha Desai…due to land soon. Radikha had just returned from China and so had interesting insights to share….
In any case, I look forward to hearing from readers over the next few months - as I toil away on Forging The Next Great Transformation.