Casino Finance: Gambling on our Future

Undermining the economic and social potential of future generations

When the state invests too little in public infrastructure – education, medical and social care, it is societal negligence that does not just affect current generations but negatively impacts societies for generations to come. Private companies step in and begin to increasingly provide these essential services, turning public services into business enterprises answerable to shareholders rather than the needs of the general public. The redistribution effects of austerity policies further exacerbate this economic crime.

The world is tied into a debt-based financial system where the only currency entering into circulation is through lending. Irresponsible lending caused the 2008 global financial crisis. Trade was conducted at much higher rates that the product’s intrinsic value (economic bubbles).15  When a sudden drop in these rates occurred, the bubbles ‘burst’ and the system crashed. Once this happened, governments lent even more money to bail out or recapitalise banks. This debt is being shouldered by current generations in the form of lack of investment in socio-environmental infrastructure through austerity measures and passed on to future generations who face huge amounts of compounded interest16 as well as the consequences of current lack in socio-environmental investment.17

“To keep interest rates low most central banks monetized that debt, injecting large sums of money into their economies  - between December 2008 and December 2012 the global money supply increased by more than 31%.”18  Perhaps most frustratingly this debt was not even created to fix the root of the problem but simply to recapitalise the financial system that was the cause of the crisis.

The financial system took risks with people’s livelihoods without internalising any of the human consequences. A key example was the subprime mortgage industry, and the investment business derived from those mortgages. “Their suffering was invisible to those on the inside: it was so remote that for all practical purposes it did not exist.”19

“The mounting evidence of fraud, conflicts of interest, indifference to suffering, repudiation of responsibility, and systemic absence of individual moral judgment produced an administrative economic massacre of such proportion that it constitutes an economic crime against humanity.”20

The lack of regulation and oversight as well as shareholder pressure to deliver ever higher quarterly returns allowed the actions of a small minority to cause the suffering, loss of savings, housing, jobs, on a massive scale, precipitating spending cuts to all the services essential for thriving, equitable and sustainable societies. Selfish and greed driven actions has led to worsening poverty and sharpened inequality to brutal levels around the world21, as deprivation is exacerbated in pockets of society and the well-being of the lives of thousands in the future are threatened.

In our view, when individuals act despite knowing the threat from their acts to the survival and well-being of future generations and ecosystems - this should constitute a crime against future generations.

Read other examples of crimes against future generations: Arctic Drilling, Bottom Trawling, Cultural Heritage Destruction, Denying Girls an Education, Nuclear Weapons

 

"Yes moko, just like the sea which has to move its tides
so we can collect Kaimoana at certain times.
Rules give harmony to our lives
so we live with
minimum conflicts.
Working in harmony with others, ae moko, it’s nature’s
act of saying,
Let us make music all together
if not in reality — then make it your dream."

WFC Councillor Pauline Tangiora


Future Justice…

...is about thinking and acting differently, based on respect, dignity and mutual trust

…considers not just what is happening now, but the effects of our actions in the years, decades and centuries to come

… is a means of creating new rules for how we live and work, pass laws and run countries

…is the giving of rights to the poorest, the weakest, the ignored, to the planet and to the other living creatures we share it with

…is a protection for all the people yet to be born,  whose lives we are blighting before they have even started

…is about what we do now.  Our actions today will determine the conditions of life for centuries to come