Proposal paper for the 21 century: Finance for the Common Good
This Proposal Paper is a summary of the work by the workshop Escaping from the Financialization Maze: Finance for the Common Good.
Paul Dembinski, November 2001
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The importance of finance in the Western vision of society has grown in parallel to an increased confidence in the future of the system and to the multiplication of assets and financial transactions. This process can be qualified as the « financialization » of the economy: the extension into the economic world of the financialization of mentalities. Before becoming an economic reality, the financialization of mentalities is a social fact that leads to setting up self-referential restraints and establishing them as dogma, as universally applicable economic laws, when in fact they are no more than institutionalized actuarial gambles. It follows that Northern societies become more isolationist, with a parallel mechanism affecting the Southern economies. However, concern for the common good implies and presupposes opening up to, taking into account, indeed even welcoming, others. More consideration of others in current financial decisions would constitute an important step toward the common good. It should do so without bearing any prejudice toward financial activity itself, which is an essential element in economic life. The three areas where the explicit consideration of others seems to be required most urgently are credit, investment, and intermediation activities.