New Internationalist

Naked Emperors

Issue 421

Text by Vanessa Baird. Illustrations by Kate Charlesworth.

We should thank Bernard Madoff – the Wall Street broker with ‘impeccable credentials’ – who is charged with having swindled investors (including some of his best friends) to the tune of $50 billion. Few individuals have so eloquently exposed how easily gulled are the supposed experts of the financial world.

Madoff highlighted a simple truth: that one of the best ways to fool people is to make things appear rather complicated. Vanity kept ‘sophisticated investors’ from admitting that they didn’t really understand the intricacies of Madoff’s get-richer-even-quicker scheme. Greed and laziness kept them from asking the crucial questions. As long as the money came rolling in – and at 15 per cent the returns were abnormally high – who cared?

There are elementary lessons to be learned from this story – like ‘don’t just trust the experts’ and ‘don’t be scared of asking simple questions’. In the next few pages we will be doing just that. Some of the questions may seem quite naïve. We don’t mind. To be radical you need to get down to the roots of things. And simplicity can be the best tool for doing this – especially in an era that has been dominated by those who trade in obfuscation.

By getting down to the roots we can start to think again about how things should, could be. Suppose, for example, we grew an economic system that put people and planet before pollution and profiteering? For real change to happen it’s got to start now. We need to pluck up the courage to step out from the rubble of the current system and enter an age of possibility.

1 What are BANKS for?

To link borrowers and savers. In theory, banks help to keep money flowing and offer some stability… Don’t laugh.

What have they become? Gambling dens. Major high-street banks took advantage of deregulation to move into the high-profit, high-risk activity usually undertaken by speculators. Carried along by greed and free-market fever, they played the international markets, using complex new financial ‘instruments’ they didn’t understand, with no idea of who they were actually lending to. By statute, banks are allowed to lend several times more than the amount deposited with them by savers. The illusion of safety is only maintained because it has the backing of the state. However, the more aggressive players (like Northern Rock in Britain) took ‘innovation’ to dizzying extremes, lending more and more multiples of their deposits. The frenzy encouraged debt, fed consumerism, and made large profits for shareholders and top executives. Some retail banks (like RBS in Britain or Citicorp in the US) grew exponentially, buying up others, including investment banks. Today, buried under mountains of bad debt, many banks have all but frozen lending and become like menacing beggars. Too big to be allowed to fail they are being bailed out by governments using… our money, in the form of taxes we shall have to pay in future. But instead of getting back to lending the banks seem to be hoarding the several trillion dollar bail-out money. Gambler has become Scrooge.

Does it have to be that way? No. Traditional building societies or mutual savings banks are still owned by their customers (rather than by shareholders). They are more restricted in the way they can raise funds and have to keep a better balance between their lending and their deposits. Ethical banks too operate more cautiously than their high-street counterparts, avoiding risky speculation and international money markets. They are more responsive to human rights, the environment, and the communities they serve. In addition, around 170 million people in 96 countries in the world today belong to credit unions – co-operatively run mutual associations or ‘people’s banks’ that are often established in areas where people find it hard to get credit.

What could be done? Even bankers’ organizations are now admitting their sector needs tighter regulation. Radical reform is possible. All speculative activity known to cause instability could be banned outright; other forms could be taxed. Banks could be forced to become transparent and publicly accountable. Running a bank, which is a public utility, is a privilege; its abuse could be punished severely. There could be an end to bank bail-outs that spread the risk to the public while keeping the profits private – outright nationalization is preferable. Banks are duty bound to lend in ways that fulfil the requirements of the society in which they are allowed to operate. If bankers think this is incompatible with commercial banking they should look at the highly successful Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which extends micro-credit to people (especially women) considered too poor to be ‘credit worthy’. Grameen customers’ rate of repayment is exemplary. Similarly, credit unions lend to those who need it most. These existing popular forms of banking could be strengthened and encouraged. The size of banks could be restricted so that none is allowed to get ‘too big to fail’. The division between retail and investment banks could be reinstated. And there needs to be binding regulation of the banking system at an international level.

What can I do? How about putting your custom with a popular banking organization, such as a credit union or a mutual savings or building society? If you need to use a commercial bank, go for an ethical one. Recognize that the two statements: ‘Your money is safe with us’ and ‘we will earn you high returns’ are contradictory. You might consider Islamic banking – it does not use interest rates (forbidden under sharia law). Nor does it invest in areas contrary to its principles, while profits and losses are shared by lender and borrower. You could add your voice to campaigns for tight regulation of banks and more ethical, accountable and sustainable banking. Banks exist to serve the public – not the other way round. The banks belong to us – and in the case of recently bailed-out ones (RBS, Northern Rock, HBOS, Meryll Lynch, Freddy Mac and Fanny Mae) quite literally so! We can use our power as citizens, taxpayers and customers to let banks know what we expect from them.

You may also want to check out www.banktrack.org – an international coalition of civil society individuals and organizations that examines what banks do. Or take a look at Banks Exposed (NI 392).

2 What are HOUSES for?

Living in.

What have they become? Property. Investment opportunities. During the boom, getting on to the property ladder was seen as a way of making more money than you could by working. Rising prices made houses too expensive to buy, but irresponsible lending filled the gap. In 2008 ‘subprime’ or high-risk mortgages triggered defaults and the imminent collapse of US banks. Shockwaves spread through the global economy as it became clear that the ‘toxic’ mortgages had been sold and resold in ‘bundles’ on the international markets.

Does it have to be that way? No. Contrary to propaganda, being saddled with a mortgage is not the only route to happiness. Social housing and housing associations can provide decent homes for those who cannot afford to buy or for whom buying doesn’t make sense – which, were it not for the dynamics of property speculation, would probably be most of us. Not all societies have seen property booms on the scale of Britain or the US. Countries like Germany have large, decent-quality rental sectors.

What could be done? If governments embarked on major social housing projects, this would help tackle homelessness and provide employment. Expanding housing stocks would also ward against another property boom. Housing associations, co-ops and other community housing organizations could be encouraged, supported and given greater scope to provide homes. There should be a moratorium on evicting people who have fallen into arrears because of the crash. Mortgages should be rescheduled. Government loans or offers to buy properties would add them to the public housing stock, to be rented back to current householders. Various forms of co-ownership could be developed. Housing could be made cheaper if houses and land were legally separated; the land would be communally owned, while individuals could own or co-own houses.

What can I do? Don’t let politicians and bankers off the hook. Through a combination of deregulation and irresponsible lending they have exposed citizens to untold risk. Organize with others to create supportive networks to fight evictions, using direct action if necessary. Reassert the human right to shelter and the duty of the state to prioritize this. Support housing charities and homelessness campaign groups or street newspapers in your area. There are lessons to be learned from community groups in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. You could check out the Centre for Housing Rights and Evictions www.cohre.org. This is an NGO with offices around the world that exposes and fights forced evictions.

3 What are jobs for?

To earn money for the essentials of life. A job may also bring personal satisfaction and be a means of contributing to society.

What have they become? The means to deepen inequality. Globalization has helped keep wages low for millions around the world, increasing profit margins for corporations and shareholders. As top executive incomes soared – helped by generous bonuses – average employee salaries decreased in real terms. Today, jobs are a focus for fear and anxiety as recession bites and unemployment looms. Many business leaders are now pitting jobs against environmental obligations. It’s an ‘either/or’ situation, they assert: tackling climate change will cost jobs.

Does it have to be that way? No. Employment and environmentalism are not diametric opposites.

What could be done? Tens of millions of ‘green collar’ jobs could be created in the coming years, according to the International Labour Organization. Jobs could be created in renewable energy production, sustainable transport, eco-building, retrofitting, and organic food production. Low-carbon production methods could be pioneered and applied across industry. Governments have exceptional powers to raise (and create) money: major eco-friendly public spending programmes (or ‘green Keynsianism’) could boost economies and services. Businesses receiving public money would be bound to ‘green’ their activities. For example, car makers would develop and produce only the most energy efficient models which, through subsidies or incentives, would be cheaper to the consumer. Low-cost finance could be available to genuinely green, co-operative or social enterprises. Using ‘Just Transition’ principles, workers in ailing industries could be retrained.

What can I do? Act to save jobs and create new ones. If you don’t belong to a union, join one now. Campaign within your own workplace against fat-cat salaries and bonuses; support calls for a maximum wage to narrow the pay gap, cut costs and save jobs. If the company you work for is going bust, organize with other workers to take over the business and run it yourselves, co-operatively. Seems far-fetched? It’s what Argentinean workers at the Brukman textile factory in Buenos Aires did, saving their jobs and their company. Times of fear and uncertainty breed fascism, so challenge racists who use the recession to scapegoat migrant workers. It might be more appropriate to direct anger against overpaid mis-managers. And finally: if money can be made to save banks it can be made to save jobs.

4 What are markets for?

Places where goods can be bought and sold.

What have they become? God. As in ‘the wisdom’ or ‘the hidden hand’ of The Market. This belief underpins the dogma of free trade and privatization that has dominated the globe for the past 30 years. It has worked in favour of rich-world corporations and developing-world élites, while deepening inequality, poverty and indebtedness, worldwide. World Trade Organization provisions to liberalize financial services have played a key role in creating a dangerously integrated global system based on a bad model.

Does it have to be that way? Most Western political and business leaders are still acting as though the ‘one-size-fits-all’ free trade model were the only possible option. Any alternative is condemned as ‘economic nationalism’ or ‘protectionism’ (repeatedly, and incorrectly, identified as the cause of the 1930s Depression). International trade does not have to destroy local economies or the environment, so long as it’s conducted in a rational, flexible and undogmatic way. Local or regional trade agreements between equals (such as ALBA in South America) tend to be more fair and beneficial to those involved.

What could be done? The World Trade Organization could acknowledge that the free market model it has been pushing through the current Doha round of negotiations is fundamentally flawed. How about junking the WTO in favour of genuine democracy and ecological responsibility? Within trade negotiations, individual countries should be free to adopt policies that do not harm and impoverish their own people; developing nations, especially, need to be able to protect their local environments and fledgling industries from the activities of multinational corporations. The judicious uses of subsidies and tariffs (anathema to free-marketeers), would be available options in a toolbox of trade strategies.

What can I do? Join the 28 March rally in London to coincide with the meeting of the G20 (the group of the 20 biggest economies). What right does a handful of countries have to decide the future shape of the global economy? Advise the G20 to stop flogging the dead horse of free-market liberalism that has done so much damage. Keep supporting the kind of markets and the type of trading you want to see more of. You might want to check out our issue on Trade Justice (NI 388).

5 What’s money for?

A handy medium for barter or exchange.  It can be anything – rabbits’ tails, shells, metal discs, even bits of paper – that people agree is ‘money’.

What’s it become? Most money today is created not by governments but by banks – in Britain, for example, commercial banks create 95 per cent of the country’s money. They do this by making loans. If one dollar is deposited with a bank by one person, the bank is allowed to lend one dollar to ten people on the back of that one dollar deposit. 

Increasingly, in recent years, money has become an object of speculation. This is done by betting on changes in exchange rates between different currencies. It happens at lightning speed, over the internet, and can cause extreme instability in international money markets. An attack on one currency – the Thai baht or the British pound, for example – can bring a country to its knees within hours. Some currencies are safer than others, though. The US’s unilateral decision to leave the Gold Standard in 1971 made the dollar the global currency ‘of last resort’. Major transactions are conducted in dollars – other countries, such as China or India, hold most of their sovereign wealth in dollars. Other currencies may be allowed to crash, but no-one can afford to let the dollar fail.

Does it have to be that way? Not everyone believes so. Many people believe that the money system has become too complicated, and far too tangled up with banks, debt and speculation.

What could be done? The current system of allowing banks to create most of the money is too risky. If this function were returned to central banks, the system could become less profitable for private banks and more stable for the rest of us. At an international level, the dominance of one country’s currency (the US dollar) could be challenged and a return to an equivalent of the former Gold Standard agreed. Taxing cross-border transactions, meanwhile, would be a relatively simple way to put the brakes on currency speculation.

What can I do? There are various civil society groups around the world campaigning for more stable currencies. Increasingly, communities are inventing and using their own local currencies, alongside the national ones. The Lewes Pound, for example, can be used in shops in this English town. You can bypass currency altogether by using Local Exchange Trading System (LETS). This operates at a community level in several countries including Britain, US, Australia and Canada. With LETS, goods and services are exchanged without money passing hands (see Action page xvi).

6 What’s credit for?

Individuals and companies need credit to buy what they need now and can pay for later. The word ‘credit’ comes from the Latin ‘to believe’…

What’s it become? Once frowned upon, in recent times buying things on the ‘never-never’ has become a way of life. Credit has been pushed like heroin, with little regard for the financial health – or credit-worthiness – of the borrower. Banks and credit-card companies made money by getting people into debt. Retailers made money selling consumers things they couldn’t afford. Governments were re-elected on the back of economic growth fuelled by unsustainable credit booms and runaway consumption. During the 1980s the extension of international credit led to debt crises in many countries of the Majority World. Poor countries were in hock to rich ones, which pushed the dogma of economic liberalization on to the poor, using the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank as ‘enforcers’. Our global economic system is based on debt and works if credit is constantly available and keeps flowing. But this only happens if there is faith in the system. If faith dries up, so does credit – which is where we are today. Easy credit has become toxic debt and governments are trying to restore faith (or ‘confidence’) by throwing taxpayers’ money at the problem in the form of ‘fiscal stimulus’ packages.

Does it have to be that way? No. Countries where people have saved more and borrowed less are not so likely to be paralyzed by the credit crunch. As an export-led country, China has been sucked into the world recession. But as a big saver, it has more clout and more room for manoevre than, say, credit-crunched Iceland, which has had to go cap-in-hand to the IMF. While governments, like that of Venezuela, which have paid off debts to the IMF, have more space for developing socially responsive economic policies.

What could be done? Citizens in Europe, the Americas, India and Australia are footing massive bills for ‘fiscal stimulus’ packages to bolster their economies. These citizens have a right to insist on certain conditions. For example, the packages could: a) meet the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable first; b) meet environmental criteria for tackling climate change. Why should public money be used to line the pockets of executives and shareholders? Governments could prioritize schemes to enable individuals to renegotiate their debts. Credit-crunched, but otherwise viable, small enterprises could receive government grants or loan guarantees. On the international scene, irresponsible loans made to poor countries during the 1980s lending-spree should have been cancelled long ago. 

What can I do? If you are strapped for cash, have you thought of swapping or getting goods and services for free? The internet has spawned many websites that enable you to do this. If you are in trouble with a bank, mortgage provider or credit card company, credit unions offer low-cost loans and are a viable alternative to commercial banks and loan sharks. These not-for-profit organizations are a tried and tested method of banking, used by millions around the world. The World Council of Credit Unions (www.woccu.org) is an international organization which will also tell you how to set up a credit union in your area. Meanwhile, anti-poverty and Drop the Debt campaigns need your support now more than ever. (see Action page xvi). 

7 What’s finance for?

To handle investment, measure risk and offer shelter from unpredictable adversity. Selling insurance, mortgages and pensions is part of the finance sector’s work.

What has it become? An obese unstable monster. Much of the sector’s business is about making bets, using powerful mathematical models that are all too fallible. In countries such as Iceland or Britain, the financial services sector has grown so fast and so large that it overshadows the so-called ‘real economy’ of, say, manufacturing or retailing or other services. Finance has spawned an alphabet soup of complex ‘products’, including the notorious CDOs (or colateralized-debt-obligations) that triggered the current meltdown in the US. Much activity involves trading in things that do not actually exist (betting on the future price of copper, for example, or on who is going to default on credit). Though unreal, the impact of these activities on existing and often viable companies is devastatingly real as share prices tumble. The outcome for millions of people who – like it or not – have their pensions linked to the stock market, is lifetime savings lost and poverty in old age.

Does it have to be that way? No. Just as financial services have been systematically deregulated and given perilous freedom, so they can be re-regulated. Financiers, who have made fortunes from volatility, resist regulation, saying only a ‘light touch’ is needed. But you have to question their motives. A big hit on The Wall Street Journal website is: ‘How can I make money out of the credit crunch?’

What could be done? Governments could impose an immediate and permanent global ban on ‘short selling’ of stocks and shares – an especially lethal form of trading in derivatives. (Derivatives are contracts or ‘financial instruments’ whose value is ‘derived’ from the value of something else – a commodity or mortgage, for example). The ban could be extended to all derivatives, unless they can prove some kind of social usefulness. Key areas that relate to people’s basic needs – such as food – should be taken out of the arena of speculation.

The overweight financial services sector could go on a crash diet and the ‘real economy’ be boosted. The bonus culture that has done so much harm could be changed quite easily – by banning bonuses. Any which have been received by executives in companies that asked for public money could immediately be returned to the public purse. Executive salaries could be capped. Commissions on the selling of financial products could be outlawed. Hiring more women in key positions might help feminize finance – the sector has been plagued by macho risk-taking, fuelled by the ‘Big Swinging Dick’ culture of trading floors. (One of the few investment banks that survived the Icelandic crash was run by women. Their policy was never to invest in anything they didn’t understand.)

A radical rethink of pension policy is needed. Supposed to provide security in old age, pensions are the last thing that should be determined by the vagaries of the stock market. Britain’s New Economics Foundation is proposing a ‘People’s Pension’ which would be better insulated from market turbulence than orthodox pension schemes. It would be backed by People’s Pension Funds, with contributions invested in new public infrastructure projects such as schools, hospitals, transport and social housing.

What can I do? Insist on people-centred finance that is tightly regulated and fully accountable. Some traders are claiming to have ‘seen the light’ and are moving into new ‘environmentally friendly’ areas of activity and therefore don’t need regulating. Don’t be fooled. Many are eyeing up the carbon trading market – itself an offspring of the ruinous financial markets (see NI 391). These speculators could well create another disastrous – albeit green – ‘bubble’. Call for legal action against bankers, speculators, credit-rating agents and auditors, who misled clients and the public. In the US hundreds of Wall Street bankers are currently being investigated for their part in the meltdown. Why not elsewhere?

8 What’s the economy for?

Housework. Seriously: the word economy derives from ‘thrift’ and ‘administration’ in ‘managing a household’.

What’s it become? Worse than a teenager’s bedroom. A globalized mess – built on over-production, over-consumption and unsustainable debt. Today’s financial contagion has spread through the world’s economies at such a rate because the removal of trade barriers has made the system deeply interconnected. Governments, who since the 1980s have sold off public utilities to multinational corporations, are still loathe to intervene – in spite of the market revealing its fatal flaws and limitations.

Does it have to be that way? No. In fact, countries sidelined by globalization, and with more traditional banking sectors, have so far felt the impact of the current crisis less acutely than export-led economies closely linked into it.

What could be done? So powerful and prevalent has been the faith in globalization that it seems almost heretical to suggest that what the world needs now is a dose of ‘de-globalization’. Supporting production and consumption at a local or regional level, is not only greener – it might also make a lot more economic sense. If governments, currently pouring billions into big failing banks, directed a fraction of this amount towards financing local enterprise, they could boost their economies and create jobs. The current crisis could bring key services and utilities back into public ownership, enabling greater accountability and democratic control. Instead of creating huge surpluses of goods, the focus could be on keeping a healthy balance between production and consumption. We could continue international trade, but give preference to eco-friendly and fairly traded items we need, rather than massive quantities of exploitatively produced things we don’t. And if rich world governments devoted even a fraction of the money they have spent on saving private banks on international development aid, they would meet the 0.7 per cent of GDP target that most of them repeatedly miss. Perhaps we might then have a global economy that has people at its heart – rather than a finance-dominated one, that bets on the price of everything and knows the value of nothing.

What can I do? One danger of the current crisis is that as people tighten their belts they become more selfish, thus squandering the opportunity for a badly needed shift in values. It’s important to keep doing the things we believe in. If, for example, we value local shops, we must use them or they will disappear. If we want an independent media or organic food or goods that are fairly traded, we need to maintain or increase our support for these things. The unravelling of consumer confidence is an opportunity for examining values and challenging assumptions – for example, the assumption that economic growth is necessarily ‘a good thing’. It’s worth asking: ‘What kind of growth is good?’ For ideas and inspiration, you could check out the rapidly growing Transition Towns movement (See Action, page xvi) and NI 402 on Permaculture.

9 What’s taxation for?

To enable the state to raise money for public spending on, for example, health, education, transport… Under a progressive tax regime, the richer you are, the more tax you pay.

What’s it become? A transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich. If you are on a low or average income you have to pay tax and usually it’s deducted at source; if you are rich you can avoid paying it altogether! Transnational corporations find it easy to hide profits in tax havens and use a range of arcane accounting practices to avoid paying tax. Some 60 per cent of world trade passes from one corporate subsidiary or tax haven to another. Tax evasion in developing countries and capital flight from those countries is seven times greater than inflows of aid. The world’s richest corporations or individuals – such as Rupert Murdoch’s media empire or ‘anti-poverty’ campaigning musician Bono – pay little or no tax.

Does it have to be this way? No.

What could be done? The rich could be made to pay more. Tax havens could be closed down – some of the most notorious are British Crown dependencies such as Jersey and the Cayman Islands. Good tax systems need transparency – no more secret Swiss bank accounts. All transactions – currency, shares and bonds – could be taxed (see James Tobin’s proposals). This would not only slow down speculative activity but could raise considerable revenue, which could be directed towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals of halving world poverty by 2015. International trade, too, could be taxed (ignore howls of protests from the WTO). And for green taxes to work they need to be bold, environmentally effective and fiddle proof. Windfall taxes would be payable by fossil fuel companies – we could start with Shell and BP, both of which have posted huge profits this year.

What can I do? Boycott banks with subsidiaries in tax havens (Citicorp, Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC, RBS, for example). Pressure your government to close down tax havens. If you are British, you can start close to home, in Jersey. Call for a closure of loopholes that enable rich individuals and most large corporations to avoid paying billions of tax. Support people in developing countries who are trying to stop their élites siphoning the country’s wealth into Western bank accounts. Check out New Internationalist’s recent issue on Tax Justice (NI 416) and the Tax Justice Network. (See Action page xvi).

10 What’s the environment for?

Er… how about: it just is?

What’s it become? According to a capitalist and anthropocentric worldview, the environment exists to be exploited to extract maximum profit. It is both a mine for natural resources and a dumping ground for waste.

Does it have to be that way? No. Indigenous communities have a far healthier ‘give-and-take’ approach. This involves respect for, and conservation of, the natural environment. Many in the West are trying to move towards aspects of this worldview. 

What could be done? Now is our big chance to do things differently. To develop production that is sustainable and eco-friendly. To back diverse forms of renewable energy. To put pressure on governments to transform their economies and create millions of new green jobs. Up to now, only one per cent of financial investment has been in green or ethical areas. From now on all development and investment could be made to meet certain basic ecological criteria. We could identify and ring-fence areas that are central to life and should never be privatized – water, major forests, the seas, the atmosphere. Mining and fossil fuels could be added to this. We could think about what we mean by ‘the common interest’. Selfish, myopic short-termism has led us to the brink, environmentally as well as economically; a major mind-shift is required to think about future generations and act accordingly. We could start making that shift by separating two ideas that are often bound together as though they were one and the same – the notion of ‘growth’ and the notion of ‘wellbeing’.

What can I do? Keep in focus an issue that is even more significant than the current turmoil in the global economy – climate change. Support renewable energy and join the growing resistance to new fossil fuel schemes like ‘clean’ coal or oil sands. Support those in developing countries who are trying to protect their environments from corporate plunder that will only hasten climate chaos. Oil exploration in the Amazon is an obvious case. 

Closer to home, you can demand that your government commits to genuine, major, domestic cuts (not offsets) in CO2 emissions. Get involved in actions leading up to the international climate talks in Copenhagen in December 2009. For more see NI 419 on Climate Justice.

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Action

Campaigns, contacts and resources

There isn’t much choice really. Either we sit back and watch a bunch of failed bankers, politicians and regulators use our money to try to patch up a bad old system; or we seize the moment to create a fairer world. The challenge is tremendous – but we are not powerless.

Here are a few things we can do:

MOBILIZE

Get out there! If you can get to it, join the Put People First event in central London on Saturday 28 March. 
www.putpeoplefirst.org.uk   

For other actions see www.financialfoolsday.com www.fossilfoolsdayofaction.org  and www.g-20meltdown.org  

For the alternative G20 summit see www.altg20.org

Mobilization for the Copenhagen Climate talks is underway: www.climateaction.09.org
Sign internet petitions calling for various aspects of economic justice.


CAMPAIGN

Tax Justice Network
www.taxjustice.net

BankTrack
www.banktrack.org

Ditch Dirty Development Campaign (targeting RBS)
http://peopleandplanet.org/ddd

Attac network
www.attac.org

S2B network
www.s2bnetwork.org

Centre for Housing Rights and Eviction
www.cohre.org

Trade Justice Movement
www.tjm.org.uk

Jubilee Debt Campaign
www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk

International Trades Union Confederation
www.ituc-csi.org

War on Want
www.waronwant.org

Just Transition Alliance
www.jtalliance.org

Stamp Out Poverty
www.stampoutpoverty.org

Indigenous Environmental Network
www.ien.org

Friends of the Earth International
www.foei.org

Rising Tide (groups in various countries)
Survival International
www.survival-international.org


BE THE CHANGE (you want to see)

Transition Towns movement
www.transitiontowns.org

World Council of Credit Unions
www.woccu.org

Local Exchange Trading Schemes
www.lets-linkup.com

The Freecycle Network
www.freecycle.org

Ethical Investment Research Services
www.eiris.org

Outsmart banks at
www.moneysavingexpert.com


KEEP IN TOUCH (with progressive thinking)

New Economics Foundation
www.neweconomics.org

Transnational Institute
www.tni.org

(see also www.casinocrash.org)

Focus on the Global South
http://focusweb.org/

Bretton Woods Project
www.brettonwoodsproject.org

The Corner House
www.thecornerhouse.org.uk

International Forum on Globalization
www.ifg.org

Choike
www.choike.org
(Southern civil society portal)

New Internationalist's Clean Start Campaign website
www.newint.org/cleanstart

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