Grand plans, money and falls – seeking values and answers in the financial crisis

January 26, 2009

The Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU comes at a watershed period. Europe and the world are being shaken by a global crisis. Many people agree, however, that the watershed concerns more than just the economic crisis. Every crisis is an opportunity for reflection and change. The current global financial crisis indicates that after 25 years a change in political thinking is once again impending. Coming into play are new forms of economics and politics, lifestyle and international order. The attempt behind this thinking is to begin with an understanding of the underlying causes of the existing situation and an analysis of the main problems and to add a revision of the values that a few modest contributions to the discussion on possible alternatives can offer.

The great political changes of the 1980s are behind the current financial crisis. The restriction of state power, removal of borders and release of market instincts bore fruit, but also brought local crises and global problems. The explosion of money without rules led to collective risks, debts and private profits without frontiers. Pride comes before a fall. This fall not only culminated in a collapse of prices, the evaporation of billions in assets and global recession, but also revealed a breakdown in values and the unsustainability of the existing economic model. The paths forward should therefore not ignore the need for not only greater stability, but also for greater social equality, preservation of natural capital and democratic control of the market and the state.

The full policy paper can be downloaded here.