Rising Inequalities and the International Monetary System (September 2011)

Rethinking Bretton Woods | Wed, Sep 14, 2011

On Sunday, September 25th, 2011, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung New York Office, the Club de Madrid and the Center of Concern Rethinking Bretton Woods Project are holding the following event:

From Rising Inequalities to Shared Societies:The Need to Create a Sustainable International Monetary and Financial System
International Monetary Fund;
HQ2 Building, Room HQ2-01-280 (A&B)
Washington DC

Confirmed panelists include Alfred Gusenbauer, Chancellor of Austria (2007-2008); Alejandro Toledo, President of Peru (2001-2006); Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund; Sigrid Kaag, Assistant Secretary General and Director of Partnership Bureau, United Nations Development Programme; Richard Freeman, Professor of Economics, Harvard University; Josè Antonio Ocampo, Professor, School of International and Public Affairs; Fellow, Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University; Jonathan Coppel, Economic Counsellor to the OECD Secretary General; Isabel Ortiz, Associate Director, United Nations Childrens’ Fund (UNICEF); Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant Secretary General, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations; Ulrich Volz, Senior Economist, German Development Institute; Emmanuel Moulin, Economic Advisor to the President, Office of the President of the Republic of France; Pablo Pereira, Former Executive Director for Argentina to the International Monetary Fund, and other invited speakers yet to be confirmed.


Overview of the event

Recent events—from the global financial crisis of 2008-9 to the ongoing democratic uprisings in the Arab World—show that the current international monetary and financial system is dysfunctional. Neither national nor international policies adopted in response to recent crises have translated into strong recoveries, and the rebound has been especially weak in the labor markets. In addition, the limited role that public policy has played in addressing chronic and increasing inequality—especially the particular challenges presented by group inequalities, which are fuelled by perceived and real injustice, and often have international dimensions—underscores the urgency of finding ways to correct these ineffective policies.

At present, we are not on the right path: one indication that we are going fast in the wrong direction away from global development and poverty eradication comes from the outcome of the recent UN Conference on Least Developed Countries, May 2011 in Istanbul, which defines this effort as the responsibility of individual countries, and not of the international system as a whole. This outcome threatens equitable development, political stability and the pursuit of shared, socially cohesive societies.

The organizers of this high-level conference are therefore deliberately juxtaposing two goals which are seldom linked: reform of the international financial and monetary system and achieving equitable and shared societies. The objective is to contribute to the current debate about the need for a new paradigm for the international financial and monetary system toward producing an agenda for equitable development and social cohesion.

This time, we want to focus specifically on the need to formulate a new consensus which incorporates social elements as well as hard economic considerations, and the incorporation of social policy elements into the aspects of policy and performance that states are required to meet within the framework of the international monetary and financial system.

This year and those that follow feature a unique confluence of forces that represent the most favorable political environment to reexamine and set the basis for a renewed world economic system. The debate on the reform of the international monetary and financial system presents an important opportunity to examine alternative global economic policy frameworks from the perspective of what might be needed in order to support and nurture equitable development and shared societies. The organizers of this conference wish to promote such discussion among influential current and former policymakers and key thinkers in the context of the 2011 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Shared Societies is an approach to social inclusion developed and adopted by the Club de Madrid. It is defined as a society based on equity, where each and every person feels at home, feels that they belong, that they can play a full part in that society and, at the same time, fulfill themselves. It is an ideal to which few people would object, but which is usually subordinated to economic growth, creating a competitive market and protecting existing interests. It has been seen as socially desirable but economically unsound. The time has come to challenge this assumption.

There is no need to RSVP for this event but access to the building will require accreditation for the World Bank/ IMF Annual meetings.


Click here for summary from previous seminar on reform of the international monetary and financial system and shared societies, Spring 2011.

Click here for  New Directions on Monetary and Financial Policy, a publication developed as a result of that previous seminar.


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