A New Economic Paradigm By Women for Women and all Children
Dear Ms. Michelle Bachelet,
I feel blessed to have this opportunity to connect with you personally. I feel confident that under your leadership women and girls around the world can partner, network and collaborate in creative ways to achieve the UN millennium development goals. These goals are: i) end poverty and hunger, ii) universal education, iii) gender equality, iv) child health, v) maternal health, vi) HIV/AIDS, vii) environmental sustainability viii) global partnership
As a Buddhist practitioner, geographer, peace and women’s advocate I like to share my humble vision for equitable and sustainable economics that can simultaneously address complex local and global challenges like poverty, war, ecological destruction, women’s inferior social and economic status, food scarcity, water privatization and lack of basic public infrastructure, health and sanitation in many urban and rural areas around the world.
Both developed and developing countries are realizing we cannot carry on business as usual. Women’s voices, visions, leadership and participation must be actively invited, nurtured and acknowledged in all legal, social, environmental and economic policy decisions from top levels of government to gram panchayat (village governance) as in India, Pakistan and Nepal.
Women perform two-thirds of all labor and produce more than half of the world's food. Yet, women own only about one percent of the world's assets, and represent 70 percent of those living in absolute poverty. Two-thirds of the world's uneducated children are girls [Global fund for Women]. This must change.
Women must engage in birthing a compassionate currency, economy and citizenship that is prior to and independent of the patriarchal logic of Capitalism. For example fiat currency is not a private property or commodity. Almost all new money and credit (except coins) in the world originates as interest bearing ‘debt’ via centralized commercial banking system. This faulty, speculative and unsustainable system originated with Bank of England model around 1700 AD and adopted worldwide in the post colonial period.
The earliest form of currency like ‘cowrie’ shell was used extensively in Africa, China and India. It was a symbol of fertility, gift economy and feminine abundance of gaia. Sovereign and debt-free paper and coin currency existed in many parts of the world including India, Mandarin China, Medieval Europe (tallystick), and Early Colonies of America. Women can again revive the forgotten debt-free currency paradigm back into sustainable new economic thinking. With our deep awareness of interdependence of human family and society, economy and ecology, power and responsibility women are uniquely positioned to change the staus quo and gross imbalance in wealth distribution.
With right understanding of currency Democratic Government everywhere can issue its own debt-free Sovereign currency of the people by the people for the people. We have much technological progress in finance and banking but we desperately need new thinking, consciousness and social innovation around currency. Since all living things die the best way to prevent accumulation, hoarding and mindless production of debt and stuff is to develop a tier system of sustainable public currency for short (1-3 years), medium (5-7 years) and long term (10-13 years) needs. Non-profit public banking (like North Dakota Bank) can be adopted to promote local living economies at the local, state and national level.
“Currency is a social and/or legal agreement, a tool of communication, a measure and unit of value, a token and receipt of acknowledgement, a symbolic storage of trust value, that permits free and indirect exchange of goods and services; free circulation, as well as, free assembly of all kinds of capital resources for the purpose of creative human enterprise within any social network or political jurisdiction. Knowledge of transparent debt-free public currency need to be protected as ‘social commons’.” – S. Barua
The concept of unconditional Basic Income Grant (BIG) as implemented or adopted in parts of Namibia, Brazil and Iran can also be viewed as Basic Investment in people and planet. It can be used as the most powerful tool to break entrenched poverty and inequality everywhere. If used with proper training and social support system Basic Income can uplift many women working in the very large informal economy and village economy of developing countries. It is a social security or social credit payment to all citizens from the Government of the people.
Only after public currency accumulates in private hands through free market mechanism would private banking develop. Ecologically and socially conscious countries like Bhutan (adopting Gross National Happiness Index instead of GDP), Costa Rica and large economies like Brazil can easily adopt public banking and debt-free currency system. Sheltering countries from International currency fluctuation can similarly be achieved with each country having a right to draw credit and settle payments with one unified set of International Freedom Currency, independent of any one national or private currency. Lot of room for creative imagination exist. Privatized debts are only electronic entries (compounded interest far exceeding principal) and can be easily forgiven and forgotten.
So the first step is to become aware and educated about non-profit public banking and start working from local economy upwards. Then work towards women supported Basic income grant and public micro credit for small organic farm, community development projects and self-employment in informal and village economies. End fractional reserve banking at the national level by establishing Public National Bank directly under the Treasury. Also adopt a sustainable currency model to diversify currency to match local demand and needs of different sectors. Private banking can co-exist and compete with public banks, but they would not have power to create credit out of thin air and nor engage with risky speculations like derivatives with public money like pension funds.
Thank you for your kind attention and consideration. Wish you the very best in all your endeavors.
In solidarity, peace & joy
Founding Board Member SUSA
As the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women officially begins its work this month, World Pulse is asking women worldwide: What is YOUR vision and recommendation for UN Women? We invite you to raise your voice by writing a letter to UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet outlining your recommendation for how this new UN agency can truly affect change on the ground to promote gender equality and uphold the rights and needs of women both on a local and global scale.
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