Application before the European Court of Human Rights (4)
IV. EXPOSÉ RELATIF AUX PRESCRIPTIONS DE L’ARTICLE 35 § 1 DE LA CONVENTION
STATEMENTCONCERNING ARTICLE 35 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION
VERKLARING BETREFFENDE ARTIKEL 35 § 1 VAN HET VERDRAG
The dogmatism behind the assumption that money is in itself worth money in the form of interest and its conditioning of people, politics, economy and the judiciary contravenes the following articles: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 14 and 17 as can be read in the appeal of 4 July 2007:
In this petition, I will limit myself to article 6 (right to a fair trial):
The search for balance is the essence of the legal system and a fair trial. How will the balance of power evolve in society if the basic message is to bring in more than you contribute, make a profit?
Money rules the world. But the power of money remains largely invisible. Few realise that we are living in a global casino in which almost 2 trillion dollars changes hands every day. No less than 98% of this is speculations, i.e. money not used to pay for goods or services. The negative consequences of this are all too familiar: poverty, environmental pollution and chronic lack of time.
From the back cover of The Future of Money by Bernard Lietaer, published in the Netherlands by De Boekerij BV Amsterdam.
What objective hold do politics, the legal system, economic science, and normal people have if growth and profit are the economic objectives? Is five per cent good or maybe twenty? It’s intangible. If the virtual part of the economy is in difficulty, we pump billions into the system to save it, at the expense of the whole. What we achieve by doing that is to save the belief in the system, whilst the rest remains as it was. The existing balance of power is stabilised. Stability is a matter of life and death for all societies but as a constitutional state, we are also obliged to look at the mutual hierarchy of power to see if people are essentially still “equal”. This is only possible if there is a common basis in which people are “equal” and onto which they can always fall back. Legally speaking, this is the constitution and human rights. Politically speaking, this is a bit more vague: winning elections, the general good? It should be the latter, but what constitutes the general good: economic growth and profit?
We have not made it easy for ourselves, but at the same time that’s the success of the system. Thanks to an arithmetic lever, we have managed to turn an apple into an apple plus X per cent. This X per cent is our reward for the effort we have put in. No one has ever been able to explain to me where exactly the added value of the X per cent is, except in the apple itself. The undersigned calls this our bureaucratic faith. This is hardly surprising as this belief works as a lever, a profit catalyst. First there was a plain or very special apple and if you sold it and your costs were lower than your income you had a profit…. on paper. Because in reality, all there was was the apple and whether this makes you a “profit” or a “loss” does nothing to change that. The result was a lot of hocus-pocus about that apple, and what good this has done us, you may well ask. The origin of this bureaucratic technique is found in the financial world, where money in itself is worth money in the form of interest. In actual fact, it’s something we believe or think is true. If we borrow money we have to pay it back and pay interest, which is why we had to come up with something that makes an apple not just simply an apple but an apple plus X per cent.
Fortunately, this can be done in a supply and demand market, where growth and profit are the motors of the economy. Profit is in fact nothing other than the difference in power between the supplier and the demander. A big difference in power gives you extra purchasing power. The West has far more purchasing power than African countries, for example. It doesn’t really make much difference if you have lots of debts, the point is to grow and win, because by doing so your purchasing power increases. Actually, this is an indicator of market dominance, although to uphold the faith, economists and political commentators will use other, more pleasant sounding words to describe it. This is not so much reproach as logic and, in certain respects, of all time.
If we look at the global consumption pyramid, we see that twenty per cent of the richest account for eighty-six per cent of total global consumption – you, and the undersigned, included (Source: UN population fund). The trend in the difference in purchasing power clearly emerges in calculations made by the footprint organisation, i.e. that if every citizen of the world were to have the same average consumption requirements as the Dutch have, we would need five extra worlds. We live beyond our means and that has to be paid for somehow. Evidently, today’s political and economic system has nothing built into it to maintain the balance, such as by using the earth’s own natural renewable production capacity.