Open Forum 2012 – Remodeling Capitalism

Open Forum 2012 – Remodeling Capitalism

Hello everybody.
A very warm welcome to you. My name is Larry Elliot. I’m the Economics
Editor of The Guardian Newspaper in London. And this is the Davos World Economic
Open Forum for members of the public. This has been going for ten years,
this is the tenth anniversary of the forum and I am really glad to see this hall is
absolutely jammed packed with people. And I hope we are going to have
a stimulating discussion tonight about remodeling capitalism. And before I introduce the panelists,
I am going to ask you, the audience, to do a bit of a participation. So, two questions for you;
do you think the current model of capitalism is working, yes or no? Show of hands, put your hands up. Yes, yes ,it’s working. Okay.
No it isn’t. Okay. Quite mixed, but the slight majority
in favor of no. Okay, the second question, can it be fixed?
No. Can the problems be fixed? No.
Hands up for yes. Hands up for no. Okay. We will be coming back to the
audience later on for their comments. Let me just introduce the panelists
in alphabetical, if not in the order they are on the stage. I have got here with me Jafar Hassan,
who is the Minister of Planning in the International Corporation
of Kingdom of Jordan. I have got Ed Miliband, the leader of
the opposition Labor Party in London. Navi Pillay, the UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights. Steven Roach who works for Morgan Stanley,
but also is a professor at Yale University. Tomas Sedlacek who is a
lecturer at Charles University in Czech Republic,
former advisor to Vֳ¡clav Havel; Juan Somavia who is the Director
General of International Labor Organization and we have Maria from
the Occupied Zurich Movement. Now the way I am going to organize
this is that the members of the panel are going to have three or four minutes
to answer the two questions that I put to you at the start. Is the current model working?
And if it is not working satisfactorily, what can we do to fix it? I am going to be quite ruthless
with the members of the panel because I do want to get the audience
to be involved. This is an open forum. And when it comes to your participation
I am going to show an equal degree of ruthlessness, because I know
these meetings of old. I have been in the audience myself
and people tend to stand up and make ten or 15 minute statements. That is not going to happen either from the
platform or from the audience. I will cut people off if they try and do
that. I hope you agree that is a fair
and democratic way of doing it, because if one person just occupies
the entire space, that’s not very fair to everybody else. Larry, you are going to have to stop
talking now. Okay, thank you. Steven, I stand
corrected. I am going to ask Maria to open the
proceedings with her views about these two questions.
Maria, the floor is yours. Okay. I am going to do it in German.
You all have your phones to understand what I am saying. Thank you very much for the invitation
to this panel. We have been invited to ask
about the faults of capitalism. The expectations of the 99%
of our governments and banks and caring for the small man. I am Maria,
I am the small man and I represent you. Thanks for being here. I don’t need to tell you much about
the state of the world; hunger, military power, discrimination, exploitation,
destroying nature, poverty. Perhaps you already know
that we live in an economic situation which produces all these states
that I have been talking about. I don’t need to have to say about
the WEF improving the state of the world. The participants of the WEF
have been looking at the state of the world and trying to improve it,
but I don’t see much result. Where were the WEF participants in
Afghanistan, in Eritrea, in Haiti? The WEF uses rhetoric and says,
yes we have had a crisis and we must really now do something about
it. It’s nice for them to see it, but they say something about the crisis,
they do very little about it. In reality, all they are talking about
is making the markets more flexible, about reducing workers rights,
about protecting the financial markets. They don’t speak about how to improve
the world. They are trying to make the world more
profitable. That’s what they are about,
and it’s hardly, therefore, surprising that the WEF there are representatives
of businesses talking to each other and the logic of this is to maximize profit. The logic of firms and concerns is to
maximize profit. A firm is led by people,
but it’s a machine. And it’s not one of the functions
of businesses to improve the world. The so called global leaders
who can meet here, I think it is perverse. It’s not only perverse because there
is so much horror out there in the big wide world. It’s also perverse
because that horror is being caused by the people who are meeting here in Davos.
If these people consider themselves global players in a world which everyday
40,000 people die of hunger, if these people have the capital
to end all that, then it is not only that they’re not
helping, it is in fact manslaughter. But this is an open forum. The open forum
is the counter meeting of the WEF for the WEF. It’s a way of trying to control criticism. It’s a way of trying to get rhetoric
into particular tracks. The open forum is what the future
generations are going to ask how long this system could last? Am I going to say, we don’t accept it
because they can’t tell us they knew nothing about it. The WEF 0.001% take positions.
which concern seven billion people. There’re not listening to
and the 0.001% are not legitimized by anyone. People have to control their own lives
and that is not working. When the people here discuss
the future of seven billion people. Our future is something
that we must take into our own hands. There are enough approaches to that,
collective self-managed businesses, cooperatives. There is collective
intelligence. There is a great deal of collective
experience and there is a lot more possibilities
that we can try to develop. We are living in a time in which
all the social rights that we have fought for are being frittered away. We live in a time in which people
throughout the world are playing up, are standing up, seeing through their eyes
and starting to organize themselves. Dear people, WEF are not the world.
The world is not made up of rich and wise men. Stop expecting anything from panels.
Stop expecting panels to explain the system to you, what the problems are
and how they can be solved. Stop making us small. You don’t know what the world can look
like, how you can live your own lives. Don’t do that because what they are trying
to let us believe is that the world can be changed by them. But transform it yourselves.
Great transformation… Great transformation
is the theme here. Let’s not have the talks to,
let’s talk to each other. First step to change
is that we all have a vote. Take that vote, say what you have to say.
We all have something to say and to contribute. Stop talking about major changes
and let’s start with those major changes. Let’s take a first step here in this room. Thank you very much. Okay. Thank you. Take a vote.
Take a vote. This is a tool we can use.
This is a tool we can use. To be heard.
To be heard. Anytime.
Anytime. Anywhere.
Anywhere. You can use it, too.
You can use it, too. We can use it here.
We can use it here. Let’s talk to one another.
Let’s talk to one another. Face to face.
Face to face. As equals.
As equals. Panelists.
Panelists. It means you, too.
It means you, too. We’re ready to talk, so let’s hope you
are. Let’s get on with it shall we. Join us.
Join us. Join us.
Join us. Come on down.
Join us. Shall we use the microphones as well?
Join us down here. Is there space?
How are we going to organize this? Look, hang on, hang on, hang on, hang on.
I’m quite happy to organize the meeting and not moderate. If someone else wants to moderate,
that’s cool. I think we should continue
from here. Join us. No.
Yes. Come on. No. It’s not going to work.
We can seat… I think we… Who is moderating?
We have a moderator. We have got somebody from
the Occupied Movement. Yes, there’s lady there. Hang on one second.
Hand on one second. Look, look.
Hang on, can I just have people’s attention for one second. Okay. Who would like the meeting
to continue in the way it’s supposed to be organized, i.e. with the panelists up
here and you listening and participating when you have your chance. Put your hands
up. Okay, who would like it
to be organized in a different way? Okay, well the people who want it
organized in the way it was supposed to be organized win by a very large
majority. That’s the democratic choice
of this meeting. So let’s do it that way. I cannot live with that. Well in that case you are being as
undemocratic as the people you profess Look we have just taken a vote.
It’s been a democratic choice of the meeting and that’s the way we are going to
do it. Look, this is supposed to be an open forum
for the benefit of the people of Davos and the people of Switzerland. The people here want it to be
organized in this way. We have to respect the views
of the majority of the people. Otherwise that’s tyranny,
that’s not democracy. That’s tyranny. I think we should go ahead. We are face to face. No, we’re not. Okay. Steven would you like
to make a contribution? Hello, can we talk?
You, we would love to talk to you and engage you,
but if we spend the whole time fighting over who says what to anyone,
then we will not have a dialogue. We will not get to the issues. We are extremely sympathetic
to a lot of the problems that are gripping countries
all over the world. Capitalist and non-capitalist. They are big issues
and none of us are thrilled with what’s happened in the world
over the last several years. But if all we do is scream and yell
with one another over how to talk, we get nothing done. So, let’s engage each other. Yes. We’re doing that. We’re doing that. Elliot, give me the phone.
You want to talk? Yeah. You are being very disruptive
and most of the people here don’t want to hear your disruption. They want
to hear the issues. This is not about disruption,
it’s about substance. Can we do that? I can’t hear you, I can’t hear you. No, the panel discussion is about
capitalism and you are invited to contribute. Look, can I just say something?
Can I just say something? Okay, look we are already a quarter of an
hour into this session. We can sit here for an hour and half
and just yell at each other and get nowhere. And some people can go home feeling very
happy that they have disrupted the meeting and they will feel very good about
themselves. But the majority of people here, I think, want to discuss
the substantive issues, which is, is something going wrong with the system?
If so, what can we do to put it right? I think that the bulk of the people here
want to discuss those issues. We’ve got some good people up here.
People who are very sympathetic to a lot of what the Occupier Movement is
talking about. And we can have a generally very fruitful
discussion where we talk to each other and try to get dialogue going. But if we
just have a meeting which is totally anarchy, where people just yell at each
other and don’t respect each other then where is that going to get us?
Really. We’ve got Ed Miliband on my right has made
reforming and remodeling capitalism part of his real purpose as opposition
leader. We’ve got Juan Somavia here,
who this week talked about the need to create 600 million jobs in ten years
in a report from the ILO. We have got people from the United Nations,
from Jordan. We’ve got Steven Roach, who is a really top
notch economist. We’ve got Tomas Sedlacek. We have got people here who have got
real expertise and we can learn from you,
but you can learn some things from them. That’s what dialogue is all about. It’s talking to people, learning from
people. But really, hang on one minute,
but if we just interrupt each other and shout at each other
and start with a fixed position, that everybody on this panel is
somehow starts with bad intentions, we really are not going to get anywhere.
And I suggest that I will bring the audience into this discussion as much as I
can, but let’s listen to the people first on the panel and then we will throw it
open. I don’t see anything wrong with that,
and I think the majority of people in this audience want it to go that way. You may not think so
because of my white beard, but I have been an activist all my life
and I know how to disrupt a meeting, you don’t know how much. I fought a dictatorship in Chile,
I was in exile. I came back before the dictatorship was
over. I was in jail. I know what you can do in order
to make things not happen and I know that what we need to do is to
make things happen. And this I think is what our discussion
is about. But let me begin with one thing. I think that we have to think of what
are the values that we share. And I think that everybody in this room
shares one value, which is the respect for human dignity. And if there is a problem today,
is that we have lost respect for the individual and for the person. In terms of markets, we have become
a human capital. Can you imagine a more debasing way
of describing all of us? You know we have human capitals
for the market that has now happened. And I want to talk about my issue,
which is your issue. The essence of human dignity has
to do with human rights. and now we will talk about that. But there is one element which is common
to exactly all of us, and that is the dignity of work. The young people want to make sure that
they will have the dignity of work. The people at work want to make sure that
they have equality working with their respected workers. The people that worked for 30, 35, 40 years
whatever, it’s going to be, want to make sure that what they gave to
society they can receive back once they have a pension. How is work treated today?
Work is the cost of production and it has to be as low as possible in
order to be competitive. The worker is the consumer. You, everybody in this room is looked at
as a consumer by the economic model of capitalism today. You are a consumer.
If you are a worker, you get little pay. So since you don’t get well paid because
productivity goes that way and salaries goes this way, you get
indebted. You know that everybody in this room and
throughout the world. So what is the key question that we all
have to quarrel less about? Whatever our style of making our points, I don’t have any problem with the sort of
things that you’re doing. It’s not — I don’t think it’s so right. But whatever the way of doing of making
your point is, work is at the heart of individual
dignity, of the dignity of the human being. We prove ourselves in the type of work
that society permits us to have and the opportunities that may or may not
be there. Work is at the heart of the stability of
the way people want to live together, in a household, in a family, whatever way
people chose to live together. A family without work is a very unhappy
family. A household without work is people on the
street, wondering what they’re going to do the
next day. We know because we all live in
communities, that a community at work is a community at
peace. So if you ask me, remodeling capitalism,
I don’t particularly like the word capitalism for a very simple reason. I think that our society is much richer,
is much better than simply using the word capitalism to describe what we’re all
about. How can we use the word capitalism to say
this is a capitalist society? We are not.
I am certainly not. So I don’t mind whether we remodel it or
we don’t remodel it. What I want are values and I don’t know how
we’re going to call them. I want values that are inserted in all of
us and that we believe we are going to fight for those, for those values. I just want to mention that I believe and
I want to leave it here, Elliot, that I believe that we have to fight for
the right to have decent work. Particularly the young. If you don’t fight to say look, you adults
have prepared the policies are great Because youג€™ve somehow engineered policies
that when we come to unemployment, unemployment of the young, are two, three,
four times higher than that of adults. Great job. If there is unemployment, you make sure
that adults have less unemployment than young people. These are the sort of things we need to
do but in order to change and to get to these changes, there is one simple thing
that is essential. We have to organize. We have to organize. There are lots of deaf ears and there and
a lot of people who have the capacity to change things that are not doing it. From political parties, to business, to
civil society itself. So, one can say I don’t like it
or you can say, what am I going to do about the fact that I don’t like it? My challenge to you is to organize in
whatever space you have in society. Whatever it is, make sure that you’re
organized. Because the last thing that is going to
change this world is to say, I don’t like it, to write it maybe,
to pronounce it maybe, to talk about it when you meet with others
and then to go home and say, what the hell, what a bad world I’m in. Without organization we’re not going to
change it, because the present structures that are
presentation are not doing it. We need to move into a world in which
voice and participation have a space that they don’t have today. That’s what you represent and that’s the
reason I want to be here because I’ve been sitting there for a long
time. This happened to be a temporary job that I
have. My real job is being a member of civil
society and fighting for the things that you’re all fighting for. Thank you. Jafar or Steven, I want to talk a bit about
young people. Young people are obviously very important
in the part of the world you come from. You’ve got a very young population, lots of
unemployment. Give us your perspective on this. Well 70% of Jordan is under 30.
So that’s a significant number, that’s most of the country. If we talk about capitalism and how this
is considered, I mean, really greed is a key weakness
that we have in the capital system. Unchecked greed leads to injustice and
crisis. That’s key and that’s what we found today
in many of the bubbles that happen around us and lead to crisis
and further injustices. This is a question of needing to regulate
the bad side of capitalism, if you will. That’s on the one hand. On the other hand, really capitalism is a
very dynamic system. It needs to preserve and renew its
legitimacy and this has happened over and over and over again. Today weג€™re in the process of
significantly needing to renew that legitimacy, but in order to do that and to
survive today, we need to build a culture of prosperity
rather than a culture of profit. I think one of the major issues that we
have had in new emerging economies and we’ve moved fast; weג€™ve moved by the
book; weג€™ve privatized quickly; We’ve welcomed investments and weג€™ve
doubled investments more and more and more and that’s very important and
that’s significant. But the key challenge today and throughout
the Arab Spring is that people are not seeing it. The great majority, the young don’t feel
that their opportunity has been fulfilled. They don’t feel that they have really had
what thy expect and expectations are very high.
Expectations are very high and it’s becoming harder and harder to
fulfill those expectations, because the state in many ways had given
up to the private sector, given up to the market economy to play the
role it used to play because it couldnג€™t afford in many ways to
continue in that role. Now we discovered that actually many of
the things that had to be done, are not there. We discovered that to remain competitive,
you need to have a far, far better education then you used to 10 years ago
or 20 years ago or 30 years ago. If you don’t get that quality education,
not just the education, if you don’t get that quality, you will
not have the edge. If you’re, if others in societies go to
private schools and private universities or study abroad and came back with those
skills, you do not stand a chance in ten or 20 or
30 years to go where they are going. These are the key problems; these are the
keys issues that are basically expressed every day
among the youth in the Arab Spring and it is absolutely important to do them. The dilemmas for us as governments is to
do the inclusive growth part, to make sure that through efficient social
policies, we are able to maintain efficient market
economies. But these social policies really have to
be efficient because we cannot afford to have just social policies. So what one big change would you like to
see? If you could change the current model, in
what way would it be? I think the 70% youth in Jordan have to be
equipped to a knowledge-based economy. To do that is education. It’s not just quality education, its
education that’s fully engaged and built into the sectors, into the
factories. The faculties have to be into the
factories. Majors have to build into sectors that are
competitive. Otherwise youth will not only have its
dignity by not finding the opportunity, but will not be even able to have an
income. This is another key problem that’s really
a major issue. Okay, thank you. Mr, Miliband.
-Well, look Larry, thank you. First thing I’ll say is it’s always difficult
when you’re in a big historical moment, to understand
the moment that it represents. I think the people in this audience
have to understand the scale of this historical moment. Because we are seeing a massive crisis
in my view of a particular type of capitalism. A type of capitalism based on finance,
a type of capitalism which has hugely unjust rewards and a type of capitalism that has huge concentrations of unregulated
private power. So my answer to your first question is the
system is not working. I think the system is in significant
crisis. Why do I say that? Because I think that the system has
produced effects that are not just the people who camped outside St. Paul’s
Cathedral or here in Zurich, or here in Davos or elsewhere, are annoyed
about. But that the vast majorities of our
population, make them think the system is not working
for them. So the first answer is the system is not
working. Secondly, can it be fixed? I think you have to be completely honest
about this. It depends what you mean by fixed because
I think that capitalism is an incredibly creative system. It creates huge amounts of wealth but it’s
also an incredibly destructive system and it creates huge injustices. Now personally I think that we can fix the
system or at least make it far, far better then it is. I think we know what the tools are to make
it far better than it is. It is about a progressive tax system, it
is about a much fairer distribution of wealth and income. It is about saying that these big
concentrations of private power, particularly those concentrations of
private power that are exploiting ordinary people,
need to have a much greater sense of regulation. It’s also about a system where finance is
not a servant of itself but is a servant of people and a servant
of proper job creation. Let me just say one last thing because I
think this is a significant thing and the beginning of the meeting had people
from Occupied obviously unhappy about the nature of the meeting. I think those people shouldnג€™t
underestimate the impact they have had on this debate. Because I think that they have helped to
move this debate and where this debate stands. Because I think it was brought into very
sharp relief the sense that many, many people have that
the system is not working for them. It’s forced the media to take more
Seriously, than it otherwise would have done, this agenda. But and this is a very big but, the
question for that movement and the question for all of us who care
about this is, can you turn expressions of anger into
expressions of action? I think we have actually a unique, this is
going back to my original point, we have a unique historical moment to do
that. The final thing I’ll say is ,why do I say
that? Because people from right and left are
having to acknowledge this. You know, here in Davos, not exactly the
World Economic Forum, not known for its great sense of humility
about capitalism and about itself, is having to say we too get this agenda. That is very significant but it is an
opportunity that has to be grasped. Not an opportunity that should be allowed
to slip away because these historical moments can come
and then the moment can slip away and it has to be seized. Thank you. Thank you. Well, Maria told you that she is a small
man representing you. Let me tell you, I’m a big woman
representing you. I am not surprised at all that there was a
division in the house on the first question on capitalism. Because the lines are surely blurred when
communist systems are exporting billionaires and capital systems are
importing food. The global economic food crisis and
economic crisis and the occupying Wall Street and street
protests during the Arab Spring, tells us that the age of economic impunity
is over. More and more people are demanding greater
accountability on the part of governments and on the part of international
institutions and the private sector. Prior to the Arab Spring, financial
institutions and development agencies described the economic progress in this
region, particularly for instance on Tunis. They said excellent growth, theyג€™re
providing employment for everyone, theyג€™re meeting their MDG goals.
Where were they looking? Because that’s not what the people on the
street were saying. Here’s the first Tunisian who set himself
alight because he couldnג€™t find a job. So there were all these ills and this was
the assessment that was being made. To me the voices on the street and this
protest, vindicates what we have always said. That you have to have human rights based
approach. People must be the center of economic
policies whatever system you call it. That means delivering on civil and
political rights, economic, social and cultural rights. Where do I get this from? The Universal Declaration imposes an
obligation under human rights law on all states as their core
responsibilities in governance, to ensure freedom from fear and freedom
from want, civil and political rights, economic,
social and cultural rights. What people are demanding today is
delivery of their rights. They are no longer prepared to trust
invisible institutions or unaccountable institutions to guarantee
their economic wellbeing. What they’re asking for is participation
in these processes. Now all these standards that I’m quoting
are what the member states created. States, all 193 states created these
standards so they are our standards. They must be implemented. Are they not being implemented? How widespread is the acceptance of the
actual – in terms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? How many countries would you say? How big a part of it does it actually
apply in those? Well I’m looking at it globally which is
my mandate. Let me quote the statistics given by OECD,
the Organization for Economic Cooperation Development for Europe. They said that this year is the biggest
gap between the rich and poor. So I don’t see any delivery there on economic rights and wellbeing for the poor. I support the call for participation by
all concerned and particularly the marginalized. Those with less economic status, women
and children, they want to have a say in economic and
political matters. This is the wakeup call that we are
receiving in 2011. It can be done because businesses must be
socially responsible and they must respect human rights. Thank you. -Thank you very much. Steven, youג€™ve worked in Asia for a long
time. Would this discussion be somewhat
different if you think we were holding it in
Shanghai rather than in Davos or Mumbai? I think that’s a very important point,
Larry. Is this working? Yes I think it is. -Okay. I’m an economist and yes, I spend the
better part of my career working on Wall Street. While on Wall Street, I was very vocal in
warning of periodic bouts of instability and imbalance and excess. I cannot say that my warnings were heeded
or listened to. But it never stopped me from trying to get
to the bottom of what I thought was a very unstable
combination between financial markets and real
economic activity. As an economist, I think it’s critical to
just point out one obvious fact. The income inequality, which has become
the standard of the Occupy movement, as they raise their protests all over the
world, is global in scope. We in the West do not have a monopoly on
rising inequality. Whether we are state directed or pure
market based, capital, non-capitalists, America or China, income inequality is
higher then it’s ever been in modern times. I would argue that it’s less the system
and more in the way that we have governed our system. We have in many cases let regulators,
policy makers, politicians be subjected to ideological
capture and that has blinded them from imposing the discipline that a system like ours needs. In the last 20 years, weג€™ve let in an
increasingly complex world, inter-related markets driven by high speed
technology veer out of control. Weג€™ve let regulation be replaced by self-
regulation. In the last 30 years, I’ve counted them
up, you can do the math yourself, we’ve had a major crisis about once every
three years. The countries involved in the crisis are
across the ideological spectrum. From capitalist to non-capitalist, to the
United States to Asia and now, of course, Europe. The answers have been very, very elusive
especially for my profession, the economics profession. Economics owes its origins to the problems
of allocating resources in a fair and efficient way that generates increased
economic welfare, prosperity and presumably equality. We’ve lost sight of that. The economics profession has nothing to
say about the problems of income inequality. That embarrasses me. As a professional economist, I take major
exception to a profession that does not hold itself accountable to
real time problems. What needs to be done, I am not
presumptuous enough to sit here and tell you that there are five things
that needs to be done. I myself was very much involved in the
United States, when I was in college, protesting against my own sense of
inequity during the war in Vietnam and social problems that swept America
during that period. So I definitely sympathize very much with
the frustration and the isolation, disenfranchisement and especially
the high levels of youth unemployment. We can say that education is the answer
and I’m an educator now. I believe that’s the answer but it’s not
as easy as that. It’s matching skills with opportunities that
change at hyper speed in this world. What I do believe most strongly in though,
is that we need better systems of governance to run our markets,
our companies, our economies, our monetary policies and our fiscal policies. We’ve dropped the ball and we’re still
dropping it today. I spent a lot of my time talking to central
bankers and the fiscal authorities around the world. We’ve got deficits that are shooting up as
high as they can go. We’ve got interest rates set by central
banks at zero. They don’t know what to do. They come up with new and creative
policies. They call them quatitative easing. I worry that when policy is unhinged and
the crises that we’ve suffered, 11 over the last 30 years,
are an indication of more to come. This is not a stable system. It’s a system
in need of more disciplined governance. Excuse me. Is that because of the nature
of financial markets globally? Do you think, I mean, after the last
crisis, for example, of the last big crisis in the 1930’s, Roosevelt came in and clamped down on
finance on Wall Street pretty hard. I mean, he created firewalls between
retail banking and investment banking, and generally the rhetoric was incredibly
strong. I mean, in his inauguration speech,
he talked about kicking the money changers out of the Temple. I mean, this sort of stuff would be meat
and drink to protesters today. Do you detect any willingness on the part
of the policy makers to take that sort of tough action again, or are we just going to have financial
markets running the show? No, the financial markets are sort of
very much back on their heels. The pendulum power shifted dramatically
away from market makers to those who are individuals, citizens who
are affected most by the markets. The point is that the pendulum of
regulations swings over long periods of time, back and forth, and it usually takes an upheaval like this,
a crisis like this, to change the value proposition that governs the way
resources are allocated, and as Ed said, we are living in the middle
of that right now, and what we don’t know, are what the new
rules are that will provide a more equitable and a fair outcome,
but we know that we need new rules. We know that self-regulation was not the
right answer. During a period of complexity, rapid
technological change in markets that were prone to excess,
and that’s a lesson that we need to learn. Okay. Thank you. Tomas. Well I stepped down, because I liked what
Barry had to say for most of it, and I’m happy to give my four minutes to
you, because we obviously don’t have the answers. We’d all agree that there’s something wrong
in the kingdom, but we don’t know what to do. And I come from a communist country,
and let me tell you, communism did not work. I mean this honestly, in no mocking way. I would really like you to take my four
minutes, if you want to. Yeah. Thank you. So, I’m Sedlacek. I’m also going to do it
in German. You know German. Okay. Yeah. -Okay. For four minutes.
-Four minutes, Okay. Can somebody make like this?
-I will tell you. Don’t worry about that.
I’ll tell you when your four minutes are up. Whew. Okay. This is freestyle in four
minutes. I’ve always wondered what it’s like when a
lot of people are listening to you and what I would Say if they were. The first thing I’d like to say is, is that
I’m disappointed. Where is the problem? Why are you afraid of emancipating
yourselves? Why do we take this normal form of
discussion, just accept it and sit there and listen and
hear what other people have to say. Where do you see the dangers? What’s the
problem? It’s simply too simple to listen to people
who have been saying these things in the same system for the past 50 years. They’re travelling on the same track. They’re going round and round on a treadmill. You probably too are an exception,
Mr. Sedlacek, but the others are representatives of a
system, which has really failed so badly, that I don’t expect anything from you. I’m not expecting people to tell me
what the problem is and then solve it for me, and I think we need to have a different
way of solving problems and causing problems. So the panel here, as I see it, is made up
of people who have been invited here, but who aren’t really creative thinkers. Well, I accept you too, but that’s perhaps
speculation on my part. But let’s come to the important point.
Why has the system failed? The system has failed.
It failed a long time ago. I don’t think it’s failed absolutely in 2011.
It was a new crisis in 2011. There was one before that, and I think
there’s going to be crises over and over again, and they’re going to come thicker and
faster, because the elite is simply solving crises
and preparing the next crisis. As Maria. said, 40,000 people die every
year, die every day of hunger as a direct results of malnutrition and
hunger, and people who have the capital to solve
that, to fight against it, are not doing it. And I simply think that the coming
generation is going to look to us and perhaps like our grandparents. When we’re
grandparents, and they’re going to say, well how could you? How could you accept
that? How could you accept it? 40,000 people dying every day of
hunger, how could you accept that? And not because there’s not enough to eat. We know, and you know this better than I,
that we could feed 12 billion people with what we produce in food today. It’s not a question of resources.
It’s a question of notes with figures on it and a lot of people don’t have those notes
with figures on them. Okay, I will continue to disrupt the panel.
I’ll continue to go on like this. Personally, I won’t say to my grandchildren,
well you’re not so important. I thought like you are.
I grew up in Switzerland. Are we done yet? No, I was about to ask you a question. I asked the other panelists a question. In fact, thank you very much
for your intervention. What one or two things would you do to
sort out the problem? Now you’ve given us some description of the
problem and obviously there is a problem. We all agree there’s a problem. I just
wonder what you would, if you had the power, you had the ability to solve things, what
would be the things that you would do in order to solve the problem? Contrary to other people, I don’t see myself
as an expert. I’m sorry. Okay, what were you saying?
Okay, nothing. Of course I have ideas. I’ve been around for the past 24 years and
I’ve always thought about how society could function, which is not based on exploitation
and hunger. Well, you want to hear my voice. You want
to hear what I have to say. Well, I think communism, state socialism has
clearly failed and the loss of private property, I think is something
that we need to look at. Collectivization of resources, because a
private resource system is based solely on growth, and that is simply ludicrous. So I think we need to go towards an economy
where people have according to what they want, not an economy in which we produce
what people think they want, but never knew it. I think we have a kind of consumer society. We produced a society based on
consumer values. People have to have an ipod or an iPhone
every three months and they want the newest version, which is not really
better than the previous one. There’s no point in that kind of system,
where everyone wants a new iPhone every three months, so people make an iPhone,
a new iPhone every three months. We could have clothes.
We could have products, we could have services,
which would be based on what people actually want. Excellent. Thank you. Hang on. Hang on one second. I think we’ll
just let the rest of the panel have a word, if you don’t mind. Okay. Ed Miliband. Hold on a second. You’ll
have your chance to speak. Are you part of the Occupied movement as
well? -No. Okay. Well, I think it’s only right that
the members of the panel have a say as well, so Ed Miliband No, I’ll give time to the audience. No, I think I’d like to go round the panel.
I asked a question of the chap from Occupy. It’s quite a difficult question,
because it’s always easier to say what the problem is, rather than actually lay out
some solutions to it. One might say it’s more collective
bargaining. One of the problems is that workers are not able to get the full or
even part of the fruits of their labor. I’d quite like to go round from people to
say what they think should be done. Everybody in this room knows there’s a
problem. We can talk about income inequality,
and we can talk about the fact that private sector debt has become public
sector debt and the bankers have been bailed out by the tax man and so on. But actually, I’d quite like to start
moving towards some answers, rather than some questions. You want to be Prime Minister of the UK.
What sort of things would you want to do? Let me give you three very very
quick answers to that. First of all, you’ve got to do something
about the runaway distribution of rewards at the top of our society. Now how do you do that? I said you need a
more progressive tax system. I think that’s important. I think you’ve got to find different ways
in which you can control what the top executives get,because the history
of the top one percent is massive. I think there are ways you can do that by
changing the rules. The rules apply to boards and who’s on boards. One proposal we have, for example, is that
every public listed company should have a normal employee on the board. Because if
you can’t look an ordinary employee of your firm in the eye and say, this is a
justified salary, then you shouldn’t be getting the salary.
So it’s one very specific thing. Secondly, you clearly have to reform the
way that the banking system works, so that it properly serves industry.
How would I do that? I think you’ve got to look at some of the
models that are already out there, for example in Germany, where you have part
public, part private relationships in the banking system. So you don’t simply leave it to the private
banking system. Thirdly, as I indicated at the outset,
I think there are, particularly in areas where there isn’t proper competition,
I think you need much greater regulation. Now in Britain, that’s about the energy
companies, the train companies. Lots of organizations have been privatized,
but in my view, don’t have proper don’t have proper regulations. So that’s not a transformation, but I think
there are three things that could make a difference. Tomas, you’re not going to get away with
just handing over your mic for the entire interview but I really don’t want you here
just for that, and we haven’t heard from you at all. So what would you do? You know, when my iPhone doesn’t work,
I’m not expected to repair it. I go to the experts. I appreciate in this the occupied Wall
Street, because you’ve made this a mainstream topic, and I think it’s
important. And you are just saying really what
sociologists, philosophers, critical economists and anthropologists, just to
pick a few, have been saying for years, that globalization has its dark sides of
the rule. It’s not just sunny side up all the time,
and it was some sort of a miracle that globalization produced, by and large,
at least in our quarters of the world, happy, happy results and thank God for
this wake-up call that’s happening. But the problem is following. Okay. Let’s
help not Greece, not Wall Street. Let’s help the Third World. Who’s on the street, left again? Who’s on
the streets of Athens? It’s the Greek left, protesting that their incomes are going to
go down five percent. Well it has to go if somebody others income,
in the short run anyway, is going to go up. Solutions. Okay. Obviously there is
something terribly wrong with the whole idea of interest rate. I don’t have anything against capital.
I think we should have private capital, but interest rate is spooky. This is a message that we’re hearing from
Moses, from Aristotle, from Holy Koran, from Vedas, from Samarian. Don’t use interest rate. It enslaves you.
It enslaves people. It enslaved Greece. It enslaved Hungary, and if we continue doing what we’re doing,
it’s going to enslave the whole of Europe. It is not China that we should be afraid of,
that they will catch up with our growth. It is ourselves. China has nothing to do with Greece. China
has nothing to do with Ireland. China has nothing to do with Hungary. China has nothing to do with Japanese
problems. So, redistribution of wealth happens largely
because of interest rates. And you can enslave the world, which is what
we have been doing, thanks to that. So my first point. To speak very specifically, we don’t
understand what it is, interest rate. Clearly Greece has been getting extremely low
levels of interest rate, we now know, because we can’t take the bankruptcy of
Greece, because it would collapse possibly the whole system. In other words, the whole system was set
wrong. If we would have set it again, from the benefitof hindsight, we would have much
higher interest rates. First conclusion. Second conclusion.
It was all a hoax. Interest rate, what you read in Financial
Times every day, it’s calculated to the one percentage point of one percent, which is
called a basis point, one hundredth of a hundredth percent. We calculated it exactly wrong.
It was all a hoax. It doesn’t work. We don’t understand it, but we’re riding
it crazy. This is one thing we either should
understand how it really works, which will take many, many years, because we didn’t
figure it out in 2,300 years yet, or stop using it as excessively. Second point is, we need to forget about
growth in Europe. We’ve been selling stability. We’ve been selling our humanity and we’ve
been buying growth at the expense of ourselves, our future and others. We have to sell growth and buy stability.
The world has grown by four percent last year as a whole. China has grown, a very poor part of the
world. We should be happy for them. India has grown. a very poor, poor part of
the world. We should be happy for that. We didn’t grow. We don’t have to grow.
We’ve been growing for many years. We’ve already been there. We’ve been efficient. We have been
efficient. We’ve had low levels of unemployment. We’ve been there, we’ve done it. We have
the t-shirt. We didn’t do anything good with it. We didn’t help the world,and we are
obviously not fit to meddle with that. We should actually be happy with what we
have, concentrate on the rest of the world and deal with unemployment by working less.
So the German model. Thursday, there’s not enough demand for the shoes you’re
producing. Go home Thursday evening, decrease 20 percent of your pay. You have to take that pain and spend the
weekend with being a hippie. Thank you. Before I go on, there’s
a lady in the audience there who’s been very patient. I’m going to ask the rest of the panelists
in a minute, do you want to get the mic to this lady? Is there a mic, a roving mic?
The second row from the front. If you can keep your contribution nice and
short, that would be very good. Thank you very much. Well, I would like to
ask the people whose like here in the Occupied. You say you want to change the
capitalisms, right? -No. So you want to fix it or you want to change
it completely and what, to go back to socialisms? The socialisms that never
worked in any part of this world? Because that what I see. You’re totally
against it, but for what? I’m just 18 years old girl, but where I
come from, the socialism didn’t work. I’m from Bolivia, if somebody knows where
Bolivia is. It’s in Latin America. Okay. (Inaudible). I know my country.
I’m making here my exchange year, and now I can see the reality
of my country. I love how the Swiss government is, but
here, people live in a bubble, because they have no idea what a crisis, a real
crisis is. People here say like, there is a problem
with their president of the bank, their Swiss president bank,
and it was like a big crisis. A big crisis is when deaf people bought us
and votes for socialisms, for a bad government and that’s right.
That’s a socialism. Why, because they are like blind because
they want power, and that’s what this socialism bring. I was like listening to the guy there, and
he did like, yeah, people can like, with the capitalism buy an iPhone every
every three months, because these people work for it. And instead of, I see every day brothers
back home, Go, go, carry on. I’m not stopping you.
Carry on. Finish. May I answer you?
Hold on, hold on one second. I’ll let her in a minute. Go ahead.
Carry on. And instead of working for the people that
they need, they are making protest and stopping my
whole country for that. And that’s true. That’s really true.
And I think, if we want to develop, unfortunately, my country is not the best
because we have been managed in a bad way. But when it’s well, like the capitalism,
okay, I am going to give this example. Like in Cuba, Havana, how is it now?
Thereג€šsocialism. And now how is Cuba? Have any of you been
in Cuba? It is a beautiful city. Havana is so beautiful. But have you ever,
ever,ever seen the suburbs of that city? Have you seen how poor they are? Do you think that’s fair? it’s not fair.
It’s not fair at all. Why? Because people are so blind and they
just want power and power, and they just want that. You can see, Hong Kong is a capitalist city,
and how big is that city compared to Cuba? Excellent, thank you very much. Could you just briefly reply, I quite like
your views, on what you think should be done. We’re trying to get the panelists to say
whatthe solution should be. You might want to — I would like to talk about a solution too,
that’s why I’m up here, and it’s the same thing I wanted to say to
answer her. Do you want to do it in German or in
English? -In German. In German. Can you keep it nice and short
though, please? Yes, of course. Because we’re running out of time, so … I think that I would suggest a different way
of thinking, to talk about solutions. We need to think about it differently. We’re talking about systems, we’re talking
about socialism, how can we fix or organize capitalism. We’re talking about systems and I don’t understand why we are forced to
adopt the system that’s been forced upon us. I would suggest that we think about what we
want, we think about that among ourselves. We need an economy. We need heat. We need
to eat, and people in Bolivia need heat and food. How can this be done fairly, how can it be
organized, how can we organize among ourselves,
societies throughout the world. I don’t think that we’ve gone too far that
we have an answer yet, but I think we are noticing that there are
people who want their voice heard, who haven’t had their voice heard. This was the message of the Occupy meeting,
this was the message of the Arab Spring, people want to be heard. These movements have to work together with
people who are living in society, whatever their political leanings, and
that’s what I want. I want people to speak to each other,
organize themselves properly. Somebody should be here from
Occupy (inaudible). Okay. Thank you very much indeed for that. Let’s start with Steven and come around.
Steven. Solutions. I would offer just two simple things, again. I’m the dumb economist, so I’m going to
say things that really bear on my area of expertise. I just want to pick up on one thing
that Tomas said, growth versus stability, stability. We cut too many corners going for growth,
for the sake of growth, and we ended up creating in many economies, in the developed world, as well as in the
developing world, periods of false prosperity that have come
back to haunt us. So I think if we actually introduced
stability mandates in a way in which fiscal and monetary and
regulatory policies were set, we could build better safeguards into our
system. We do not do that now, and there’s been
enormous push back from the power structure, to even talk explicitly about the concept of
stability. So I would endorse that point, I think it’s
critically important. Secondly, it’s been observed, and it’s
glaringly obvious all over the world, that one of the most serious problems is
soaring levels of youth unemployment. And this needs to be addressed,
we don’t know the causes of it, it could be a number of things. But we do know that solutions come
in education and in programs that directly employ the unemployed youth,
the future of all of our economies. How do we afford it? I don’t have any
answers. But I would say that we could give serious
contemplation to unwinding the excesses, especially in
the United States, that we spend on military spending, and divert that to supporting the unemployed
youth of our world, thank you. Thank you very much. I would ask Jafar and Navi to make a couple
of brief points on that. I know there’re some people (inaudible),
I’m going to get to you as soon as I can, but I’d just like to have the panelists’s
view on what they would do, and them I’m going to throw it open. Well, we cannot ration reward,
but we definitely have a responsibility to provide opportunity.
And that’s where the real problem is. Today we’re working on a quality of life
index for different parts of Jordan, and the results will come out,
and I’m sure there will be very very big differences in different areas
when in pertains to quality of life, and that’s where governments should really
intervene. The financial situation, maybe for Europe,
maybe for the US, all the regulations were very important. But the problems that led to the Arab Spring
were there far far before that. And fixing the financial situation
is not going to fix the problems that the Arab Spring is about. If you had seen the human development index
that was done on the Arab world over the past seven, eight years,
it was a red flag all throughout. But nobody did much about it, or the efforts
done were not enough. So really it’s in the handbook,
but right now we’re just hearing the voices that were due to the failures of proper
management and proper implementation. Thank you very much. I have a simple answer. I think governments should listen to the
people and listen to their demands. For instance, right now,
corporate compensations, military expenditure remain very high. Yet countries all over the world have
adopted austerity measures cutting down on jobs, on educational
opportunities, old age pensions, and all kind of social benefits. And if you ask the people, they’dll have a
clear answer on whether that is fair or not fair. And government has an obligation to protect
people from the decisions of economic and financial
actors that harm the human rights of people. I have been to Bolivia myself, and I have seen the degradation to the
environment caused by huge multinational companies that
are exploiting the natural resources there. And that’s what I mean, you ask the ordinary
Bolivians, and they will tell you without hesitation, they’d prefer clean water than these
multinational’s mining in their country. So that’s a bottom line, so far. Is democracy fighting them? Because Switzerland’s a very democratic
country, they’ve got referendums on virtually
everything, and the US is a very democratic country, the UK is a very democratic country, we vote
every five years for our parliament. Is the democratic process not working in
large chunks of the world? Where it’s not working is where the stress
is on economic growth as the only indicator. Whereas a human rights base approach will
tell you that it’s not just growth, it has to be equitable development,
sustainable development with the full participation of the people. Okay. Just a question here, and I don’t know the
answer, but I look at China. China’s grown more rapidly than any large
economy in modern history. They’ve taken more people out of poverty
than any modern economy in modern history. They have raised per capita income tenfold
in the last 20 years alone. There are still a lot of poor people in
China, but for them, growth at least in that period of time did improve the welfare of
more people in a poor society than we’ve ever seen. So I take your point, but consider the
alternative, that China had not grown and stayed in a very unstable and chaotic
and poor places it was in the late 1970’s. You’re saying you’re quite suspicious of
the no growth approaches. I think growth needs to be based on solid
fundamentals. Where you get into trouble with growth
is when you roll the dice through financial engineering. You create false growth, unstable growth,
dangerous growth that ends up then destroying much more
than it would’ve created. I think this is the point that Tomas was
trying to make. We both want stable growth
but we’re not anti-growth. Okay. Good. There were a couple of people from
the audience. Hang on a minute. There are first some people from the audience.
I know you’ve come up on stage, and welcome to you. But there are people who have been asking
to speak for some time, so I’m going to ask, could you get the mic to
the chap about five rows back? Nice and short and sharp if you can. Hello to everyone.
First I’d like to say that I’m a journalist so all what I want to do is just ask.
Ask questions, no answers. The first speech about Havana in Cuba.
I would like to ask you, okay, there are some poorness,
but what about the sanctions to Cuba? Imagine. Also we saw people clapping
that we are now in a situation, we have to stop our economic growth. Actually we are not in the situation we can
grow but I would like to ask you, are you ready to feel that the growth will
not continue? Because I’m afraid a lot of people don’t
know the answer, and we have to have place for experts.
That’s all. Thank you very much.
I think there was somebody just behind there. I have a question for Mr. Miliband and also
Mr. Roach. Just on steps to action. Do you think there needs to be reform so the
electoral finance system so at the moment corporations have a very
heavy influence on who gets elected through campaigning and things like that. Do you think there needs to be more
regulation there so that people can take strong positions against companies,
and Mr. Roach about the recent decision in American Citizens United. About the ability for these corporations to
spend billions of dollars on electoral campaigns and that’s being called
free speech. Do you think there needs to be reforms in
these areas as well? Okay. Thank you. Is there anybody else?
One more question I’ll take in this round. Someone right at the back. I do apologize.
The lights are bright. Someone right at the back.
Let’s not discriminate against people who are right at the back. I’d like to talk to Maria. I was very happy to see someone on the
stage who belongs to the Occupy Movement. I was very happy to see a man from the
people that talk to you. But I’m a little disappointed that they
blew their chance. They blew their opportunity.
They didn’t take the opportunity to show us what their views were.
I’m quite happy to change the system. I think it’s quite good that we should work
together, but I think we should show respect. Whether you’re a socialist or a capitalist or
a communist, working together or changing a system can only start if you
respect the other person. And that, I think, is something that I’m
missing here. You haven’t told us what the solutions are or
practically no solutions and you want to change the system but you
don’t know what to change it for. You want youth to be behind you, but I think the way in which you’re
disrupting the panel here is not the way of doing it. And you really can’t be taken seriously.
So if you have an opportunity again to talk to a public of this kind then please
use that opportunity and give us your views respectably and also
connect and communicate with the people in the panel
on the (inaudible). Okay. Thank you very much. Can I ask Ed and Steven to answer the
specific question that was put to them? The one about campaign finance?
What do you think? The answer to the question is yes. I think there does need to be campaign
finance reform both in Britain and the United States.
I think that would make a difference. I think as an observer of what happens in
the United States, it seems to me to be an even bigger deal in
the US than it is in the UK. The scale of campaign contributions and the
need to raise finance. In the British case, I would like to move to
campaign finance reform. I think you do have to find a way of having
some state funding, if you’re going to do that. I think just at the moment getting people to
pay money from their taxes to fund political parties, is kind of not
really on, but I think that over time we do need to
move to campaign finance reform. I think I’d be very willing to –
Excellent. Thank you very much. As a UK taxpayer. It would be money well
spent. Excellent. Steven.
-I would go further. I realize that it’s very expensive to run a
campaign but tough. You want to run for office, you’ve got to be
able to raise your funds. I would absolutely forbid any form of
business from contributing to a political campaign. Campaigns should be about appealing to the
votes of the people, not about appealing to the votes of business.
And that’s where we’ve gotten into trouble. You just want to say something there asked
about the contribution? That’s fine. I’ll ask you in a second.
I know you wanted to say something. I just wanted to go in the line of what was
said before, that we cannot continue with growth but
we have to have clear what it is and I think it’s about human and sustainable
development and both together. And the reason I’m saying this is that this is
the only way to get out of the hook of a growth system in which, as Steven was
saying, the type of finance excesses are part of
growth. The non-respect on the environment is impact
on growth. Incredibly, the fact that you have half of
the world working populations is in vulnerable jobs, that’s part of growth. So how can you use the concept of growth
that is now being utilized as a success and then you say 7%, 8%.
I understand what Steve said and we can look
back and discuss whether it was good or bad. the fact the Chinese have decided to change
that and move into much more social justice. But we’re talking today and looking towards
the future. So there’s no use discussing towards the
past. The fact is that unless we change that and that’s where our capacity to think and
to work and to produce energy together, in
order to create the space for the thinking. around this to change,
it’s not going to happen. One of the things that’s become very
fashionable recently is the idea of sustainable growth or green
growth or environmental growth? Is that just a contradiction in terms or is
there an alternative to the traditional just growth or cost model? No contradiction whatsoever.
No contradiction whatsoever, because you define that growth comes from
investment and you define the type of investment the society wants. The problem is because of some of the things
that Steve was saying, in a totally deregulated system in which you
have to let the market take all of these decisions, obviously it’s not
going to happen. But you can create a space in which the
regulation is capable of orienting investments to what our good societal
objective and for that you need the type of dialogue we have here. The ILO happens to be a triple (inaudible)
institution and in order to move forward we have to listen to workers, to governments
and also to business. I happen today to believe that there is too
much importance given to multinational companies and to large companies who define
the policies, and extremely little to the only ones that are
going to create the jobs, that the young people around the room are
going to be able to have access to in the future, which are the smaller/middle
enterprises. So you need a rebalance and you need the
rebalance between capital and labor. The amount of rebalances are enormous but we
are only going to get to define them if we can find ways of our societies to think
together and to make the political system move in that
direction, to make the business system move in that
direction, and ourselves, to change our own thinking
about our consumption patterns, the way we look at what works should be about
et cetera. So this is what I feel is the essence of the
reason of coming together, that we create the strength, the energy I was
saying, in order for these types of changes to happen.
This is what I wanted to say now. Okay, excellent. I’m going to ask one of you
two to contribute. Either Maria or your friend because we’re
rapidly running out of time here. What I’m going to do is I’m going to ask one
of you to say what you’d like to see done. Then I’m going to ask all the panelists one
thing they’ve picked up from this evening, one lesson they’ve learnt, one interesting
thing they’ve learnt from it. So we’ve got about eight minutes left,
so if I let both of you speak, we’re going to run out of time.
So when I go around the panel again, I’ll ask you for your one thing you want to
take away from this meeting. So one of you must choose. I’d like to answer that question that the
girl behind asked me. You going to speak in German? Okay. I’d like to answer that because you
talked about respect and if we disrupt and there’s no respect,
respect doesn’t mean sitting up here and talking to you from here and tell you
what the solutions are. Respect means doing exactly, talking to you,
talking to each other, thinking together about what the solutions
could be. That is basically the idea of the Occupy
Movement. We’re not a political party.
We’re not telling you this is our ideas and you can follow our ideas or you can
follow other ideas. The aim of Occupied is to empower you to
think for yourselves. To come up with your own solutions and to
act for yourselves. So the criticism that we’re not proposing
solutions, well, we’re so used to people telling us
what the solutions are, so that’s not the idea that we have.
The solution is not to sit up here and to tell you what the solutions are. What we need to do is to change the whole
process of finding solutions. What we need to do is to sit down and
decide what is good for all of us together. Okay. Thank you very much Maria
and I think what we are trying to do is have a respectful dialogue. Listen to
each other and push the process forward. So I would say that we are actually trying to
do that. That’s the whole point of this meeting.
It’s to try and actually together find some solutions.
I’ll take that one question. Can you bring the mic to the chap at the front
here, and then I’m going to have to start rounding
things off I think. I was listening to what you said and I think
the major issue that we have today is that we have a problem with economics and
we have a problem with a specific system that we call market economy. And of course, some people would say, let’s
switch to socialism, let’s switch to planned economy.
Maybe this will be the solution. But I think if we want to stick to the system
that we have now, because to some degree we enjoy it. We have a
decent life, but if we want to somehow fix it, we have to think about the limits of
economics. And that’s what I’m missing today in the
political discussion. We always think about where is the solution
within our theory or our system that we support? The capitalist economy or the market economy,
what is the solution? And we fail completely, when we have to
address the other question, which are the limits where it doesn’t
perform as we want? And I think that’s the limit where the
politics in its essence comes to bare in a sense that, I mean politics
in a way that we want to have human rights. We have some rights and this has to be one
priority and not just having a highly efficient market. Isn’t the process really one of trial and
error? That you try something, if it doesn’t work,
you try and amend it or do something differently?
If the way we’re doing things at the moment, called a system. Isn’t the point you say,
well actually, we’re not happy with this. It’s not working. If you look at a business,
if something’s not selling, they change the product range or they do
something differently. Surely the same dynamic applies to politics. If something is not working, try and analyze
the problem and think what the solution could be.
You change because otherwise, that is the only way you’re going to do it. Of course, but I think that then we remain
in thinking this system, and we just keep running in that system.
So I think the major point has to be, just to understand it better, because
apparently we don’t understand it. My last point is, Quick, quick, quick, quick, quick. very quick, is that what we see in economics
is that suddenly they discover that there is behavioral finance. They discover sociology. They discover
philosophy. They discover all the other subjects that you can study
which were existing all the time but just — But that’s a good thing surely isn’t it?
-That’s fascinating. That took a long time but that’s a good thing.
Okay. Right. Well done. Okay. Thank you.
We’ve got three minutes and I’ve got one, two, three, four, five, six,
seven panelists. So I want them to say what they think is
the one thing that’s come out of this evening, one thing they want to take away
or the one thing they want to change. Let’s go round from Steven,
all the way round to Juan. Youth unemployment.
That’s obviously the problem. We can’t just complain about it, we’ve got to
convert that into opportunity and we’ve got to fund it.
There are ways to do it. We waste a lot of funds on things that are
antithetical to youth unemployment. Thank you very much. A pattern in growth index.
Look at quality of services, quality of housing, quality of schooling,
quality of health and translate growth into a parallel system
that you are looking at. Okay. Thank you. Marie. We all can articulate what’s wrong with the
system. Let’s use rights language to spell out what
should be done about the system. Okay. I want to pick up on this gentleman’s point
because I actually think that maybe what you were getting at was the limits to markets. It’s not about the limits to economics but the
limits to markets. The most important thing that I take out of
what you say and the most important thing we’ve got to do
is establish there are limits to markets. Limits to markets in terms of where we provide
healthcare and education and pensions. And limits to markets in the way that markets
work so they have proper regulation. And what is the answer? What provides the
limits to markets is democracy. That is the thing and that is what has been
lost over the last 30 years and that is what has to be regained.
-Okay. Tomas. I think we’re lying here to ourselves using
the very tool which is called language. linguistics. We have the mantra which we repeat which
means we must grow otherwise shorten it up, we collapse, we seize big Europeans.
We need to be bribed by at least 3% of new money so that we donג€™t
smash each other’s heads. You know, this is what you read in the
newspaper. This is not true, we don’t have to grow.
What it means, the sentence, we must grow, it simply means, we want to be richer.
That’s the only thing it means. And that’s the problem.
We want to be richer. We are filthy rich already. So here we are trying to look for capitalism
with a human face. I come from a communist country. We tried
to do this communist Perestroika, to find communism with a human face.
It failed. Let’s hope that the system that relies on
innovation will be ready to innovate itself and that we will be able to find soul for
this body that got out of control because when you separate the body from the
soul, from the intent, from the heart, you get a zombie. So we need to return the soul into the
economics. So we donג€™t need the government to repair it.
we don’t need the NGO’s to repair it. It would be wonderful if we could actually
incorporate the values within the crisis itself.
So let’s hope for capitalism with human face. Sorry, I don’t know your name, but please
speak and be quite quick. We’re out of time. I would encourage to start talking about the
real issues like being to profit from someone, equals having an interest rate, equals having
growth and equals having growing debts. These relations are not so much talked about. It’s not so much talked about what money
actually is. Who is creating money? It’s not talked about that.
If we talk about capitalism in crisis, we should talk about capitalism itself.
We didn’t talk about capitalism a lot. We always contrasted to subjects which are
very abstract without looking into them. We should also look into the concept of work,
as you started somehow talking about it in the beginning, dignity of work does not
mean to be employed. Employed means I work for someone else.
We should start working for ourselves, for the things we really want.
That means all the people in the world would like to contribute to this human race,
to this planet. They would like to do something. Money is just an old system to make them able
to do something. Okay. We could have a whole new debate about
money, I think, which will take quite a long time. Juan. Let me say that I was extremely enthused by
this meeting and I’ll say why right away. But before that, I think that there’s one
concept that emerges from what we’ve all said. That is one that is not really very much used
today which is social justice, and the notion of social justice behind any
one of the options that we can make, I believe, needs to come back. The reason I’m very happy is that we began a
little bit difficult but we wound up dialoguing.
And what I want to say is that we cannot ever resign dialogue because that is
the source of the agreement that we need to find in order to get a better
society. And I’m very happy finally, that you’re here,
that you’ve been up here. That you’re sitting there, that we’re
listening to each other and that consequently we conclude that these
are extremely complex issues in which we don’t ,obviously, any of us, have
a simple solution, but by listening to these others, maybe we
are today better informed. I certainly have been happy to listen to all
of you and to all of you up here because it enriches me and it enriches all of
us up here. So thank you so much that we were able to
finalize this in the way it has been happening. Thank you. It just leaves me to say thank you very much
to all the panelists on the panel, the people who have come up to participate as
well, and to you the audience for being here tonight. I think it’s been a really fascinating hour
and a half. We’ve actually had a really good dialogue and
come up with some serious suggestions for how we can actually improve the state of
the world, and that is what this is all about. Thank you all very much indeed.
Have a safe night.


  1. Marko Kraguljac says:

    Who allowed dilution of mediocrity, stiffness and privilege with sanity on "world" "economic" forum?
    Keep talking about employing wage slaves and obey, dont stray.. markets might get upset.
    Just mimic mandarin-suckup participants and owners will be satisfied. Thats most important.

  2. boboshantist says:

    Capitalism was started with the idea that resources and slaves are infinite.

  3. tramtadadaification says:

    the audience is annoying.

  4. Kyle Colon says:

    What an interesting microcosm of the OWS movement. I guess this is why they didn't change the world, couldn't stfu for the first 15 mins. Mob rule has been discredited as a viable method of governance, better luck next time.

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