How did the socially responsible investment
(SRI) industry begin?
What would you like to talk about now?
How significant is the pool of money
that's screened according to SRI principles in the USA, and is there
a significant untapped potential for this to grow?
What about the way the World Bank works
very closely with multinationals to create structural adjustment
policies, and then people do a currency raid on a country like South
Korea, causing massive bankruptcies which enables the multinationals
to come in and buy up their companies at bargain basement prices?
Can regulatory frameworks put an end
to that kind of practice? Do you think this is the desirable way
of dealing with it?
Is the investing public powerful enough
to get that kind of legislation passed?
Do you think the proposed Framework
Convention on Corporate Accountability, which has been made by the
NGOs here in Johannesburg, is a good idea?
Let's talk about security and military
corporations. How important are weapons manufacturers to the US
economy? Are US military planners and strategists beginning to redefine
the concept of security, to include environmental and social problems
overseas that lead to conflict and terrorism?
Hazel Henderson has been talking to
me about the fact that most developing countries hold their foreign
reserves in dollars or in other currencies like that. She's proposing
to them that they, for starters, shift to the Euro, and that would
create some changes in terms of American power.
Then there are other proposals like
those made by Richard Douthwaite and FEASTA- the Foundation for
the Economics of Sustainability (www.feasta.org)
in Ireland. He says that holding the foreign currency reserves in
dollars is in effect a massive loan being given to the USA and to
the other countries in whose currencies the foreign reserves are
Richard Douthwaite also points out
that in order to overcome the problem of the addiction to growth
that's built-in to the current system - because the money supply
is created through debt issued by the banks - there's a need to
revert to the system where money is actually created by governments.
FEASTA has interesting proposals in this regard for a two- or three-tier
system with a global currency created by a new UN agency that would
be used for foreign currency reserves, and then regional and national
currencies issued by inter-governmental networks and national governments.
And what is the potential for the world's
religious communities to become a really active force for sustainability
in all its manifold expressions?
And a final question: do you know of
any local authorities or governments starting to invest their money
in ethcially-screened portfolios?