Thursday November 26th 2015

40 years of foresight, insight and integrity



Interesting Sites



Transforming Economics Into True Wealth

November 2012

 The statement on TRANSFORMING ECONOMIES INTO TRUE WEALTH is an invitation to fully engage in the planetary whole-system shift now under way.  Many SRI investment professionals recognize our human responsibility for the many breakdowns in our societies and enfolding ecosystems resulting from our limited consciousness: climate change, hunger, poverty, conflicts, financial crises and ecological destruction. These systemic breakdowns are accelerating due to global interconnectedness and now driving the breakthroughs worldwide occurring below the radar of the mainstream mass media. The 193 country members of the United Nations have recognized human interdependence and that no nation acting alone can solve these global systemic crises.  Thus, they have pooled their sovereignty, however imperfectly, seeking solutions through treaties, agreements, protocols, institutions and agencies to promote the common good and all life on planet Earth.  Likewise, many public, private and civic sector organizations, professional and academic groups are also coalescing to take broader responsibility.

Full statement and see signatories


Read more »


June 27, 2012  © 2012

The STATEMENT ON TRANSFORMING FINANCE BASED ON ETHICS AND LIFE’S PRINCIPLES begins with the biological truth that the human species is interdependent with all other life forms on Planet Earth.  A joint collobration with Biomimicry 3.8, the statement shows how human societies, cultures, values and belief systems are informed by and modeled on the Life’s Principles, which are strategies universal to all organisms.  Ethical markets and finance, along with Life’s Principles and biomimicry, should provide the basis for all production and exchange of goods, community structures and services.  This includes the design of monetary systems, investments, banking, financing,  bartering, reciprocal exchange, payments, crowdfunding, compensation and unpaid gifting, sharing, cooperatives, reproduction of future, generations, provision of public goods, infrastructure, collective health, education and life-supporting services.

Link to full statement and signatories

Ethical Markets 6: Beyond Economics TV series entering global distribution

Ethical Markets Media TV Series
Ethical Markets 6: Beyond Economics
In distribution with Films Media Group beginning Winter 2015/2016, www.films.com

Individual episodes available at www.EthicalMarkets.tv.


These TV shows scan major aspects of rapidly accelerating change in today’s Interconnected Global Economy. The shows examine how this is driving restructuring of agriculture, media, investing, technologies and education as computers take over many sectors, displacing humans, even in professions including medicine, law and high-speed global finance, leading to new volatility worldwide.


Investing in Desert Greening – In this program, Hazel Henderson discusses with Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist, NASA Langley, and Carl Hodges, president, Seawater Foundation, all the opportunities to shift agriculture to desert regions and grow salt-loving plants, 10,000 varieties, with seawater and free daily photons from our Sun. This halophyte agriculture could provide most of the food, fiber and biofuels for our growing human population on earth.

Making Ethical Investing the New Norm – In this program, Hazel Henderson hosts two pioneer asset managers: Mariana Bozesan, founder and general manager of AQAL Capital GmbH, Munich, Germany, and Garvin Jabusch, cofounder and chief investment officer of Green Alpha ® Advisors. They discuss how until recently “ethical”, “responsible”, “green” investing has been a niche asset class in most progressive portfolios. Henderson explores with these experts the potential, as accounting markets catch up, for a new normal, with this kind of ethical investing growing to become 100% of portfolios in the future.

Rating the Ratings Agencies – In this program, Hazel Henderson discusses with Claudine Schneider, Congresswoman, US House of Representatives (R-RI), 1980-1990, and Lawrence Bloom, FRICS, Co-Founder & Chairman, B.e Energy, the need to rate rating agencies. Much criticism has focused on the role these major ratings agencies such as Standards & Poors and Moody’s played in certifying toxic mortgage-backed securities as “triple A”, which contributed to the 2008 meltdown on Wall Street. Conflicts of interest are explored in how these raters still are rating securities while being paid by the issuing financial firms, rather than the prospective investors, and reforms still needed.

Reforming Capital Markets and Corporate Governance – In this program, Hazel Henderson discusses with Linda Crompton, MA, MBA, pioneering Canadian bank president and mutual fund innovator, what reforms still are needed in capital markets. They review the challenges and progress over the past decades as ethical, green investing began to go mainstream which now in the USA alone comprises $6.57 trillion or 18% of total investments. Future expansion is expected as accounting reforms expose real risks such as water shortages and climate change excluded in traditional financial models.

How Adam Smith and Charles Darwin Got Hijacked – In this program, Hazel Henderson discusses with Kim Ann Curtin, author of Transforming Wall Street and CEO, The Wall Street Coach, how the two greatest icons of Western thought, Adam Smith and Charles Darwin, became distorted. Their ground-breaking research was misused by elites in 18th century Britain and later by global economics and finance. Few have read Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) which explores human behavior in families and communities as empathetic, caring and cooperative, similar to Charles Darwin’s view that humanity’s success is based on cooperation. Why did economists, financiers and elites prefer Smith’s later Wealth of Nations (1776) which described human behavior with strangers? Why did The Economist mischaracterize Darwin’s theory of natural selection with their own theory of “survival of the fittest”?

Transforming Wall Street – In this program, Hazel Henderson discusses with Kim Ann Curtin, author of Transforming Wall Street, CEO, The Wall Street Coach, her new book. Curtin interviews 50 well-known players on their moral challenges in business and finance and what values guide their behavior, asking if they read Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). Most had not, and these revealing interviews with leaders raise many key issues and how further reforms can bring more ethical practices to business and finance.

The Future of Education – In this program, Hazel Henderson discusses with Dr. William Abare, President, Flagler College, how education is changing. They explore the growing challenges to education: costs rising faster than inflation; students bearing $1.2 trillion in loans while facing disruptive technological changes and job markets shifting globally. Traditional colleges are challenged by massive open online courses (MOOCs) such as Khan Academy, backed by Bill Gates, and other start-ups now funded by Silicon Valley capitalists, with millions of students learning free online. How can the benefits of campus-based education be extended to include more student and help counter growing inequality?

The Future of Business Education – In this program, Hazel Henderson explores innovative courses with Dr. Allison Roberts, Chair of the Business Administration Department, Flagler College. They critique the values underlying much traditional business education which still teach with obsolete textbooks and assumptions that self-interest competition is “human nature”. Old courses still assume the impacts of business activities harming others and their environmental costs can be “externalized” from company balance sheets. Dr. Roberts, whose doctorate is in health and labor economics, has designed a more scientific curriculum, taking account of social and technological changes that have changed the global economy. Dr. Roberts teaches broader analyses and strategies for business success and new scorecards so that her students can prosper in the 21st century while contributing to more sustainable societies.

Reforming Business Education for Sustainable Economies – In this program, Hazel Henderson discusses with Linda Crompton, MA, MBA, pioneering Canadian bank president and mutual fund innovator, how business courses need to catch up with changes in today’s finance and business. They review the urgent need to reform curricula at business schools in North America and Europe. Many still are teaching from obsolete textbooks with faulty assumptions that still permit companies, financiers and governments to “externalize” the social and environmental impacts from their balance sheets and pass on the costs to taxpayers, citizens and the environment.

Asia’s Challenges to Western Economies – In this program, Hazel Henderson and Asian Markets Sustainability Analyst Matthew McGarvey, both China experts, review the new challenges China poses to Western economies as well as from other emerging economies in Asia. Western economists misunderstand the restructuring in China from exports toward domestic goals and shifting from polluting coal to wind, solar and the “circular economy” and their “Green GDP.” The new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIG) led by China has attracted members like Britain and other European countries, as well as the IMF. Yet, the US Congress refused to join and is now out in the cold. The rush to new mega-trade deals in Asia and the need for new rules and metrics are explored.

Transitioning Economies Towards New Values – In this program, Hazel Henderson and Asian Markets Sustainability Analyst Matthew McGarvey, who has lived in China, Vietnam and regularly visits Asia, discuss trends toward new values beyond Western GDP-measured economic growth. Asian economics’ models tend toward the Chinese view that “markets are good servants but bad masters.” Government rule-setting and oversight are favored and often authoritarian. Matt McGarvey recounts his personal journey from growing up in America’s heartland to learning Chinese and working in Beijing, and his experiences in Vietnam and other Asian countries.

Artificial Intelligence: What Happens As Machines Take Over? – In this program, Hazel Henderson and NASA Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell discuss the new alarms raised by Bill Gates, Google’s Eric Schmidt, Space-Ex and Tesla’s founder Elon Musk and physicist Stephen Hawking that intelligent machines like IBM’s Watson may soon outsmart humans. These computer pioneers believe this could pose existential danger to human civilization – because they may not share human values and may cause us great harm. Bushnell cites all the areas where computers are already smarter and more efficient than humans: in law, medicine, accounting and will be needed in NASA’s space program. Henderson worries about the societal impacts as ever more sectors of modern economies are digitized, now displacing white collar jobs beyond earlier manufacturing automation since the 1960s. While futurists envisioned “leisure societies,” shorter work weeks, guaranteed basic incomes and flowering of culture, art and human potentials – what we got was unemployment, stagnant wages and longer work hours.

Robots Taking Over: What Will Humans Do? – In this program, Hazel Henderson and NASA Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell explore the advance of automation as ever more sectors of industrial societies are digitized: from manufacturing to retailing, accounting, healthcare, education, legal services and even finance. Driverless vehicles will end jobs in trucking, taxis, which offer millions of entry-level opportunities. Fly-by-wire airplanes have caused the deskilling of pilots, some of whom have been confused when computerized navigation systems have failed – causing crashes. Can computerized systems be programmed with human values: empathy, compassion and ethics? Can a driverless car pass an ethical test of judgment: swerving to avoid hitting a group of people at the expense of colliding with a single person? Bushnell points out how much more efficient computers are at many tasks than humans. Henderson looks at the macro-effects: how can economies maintain aggregate demand to buy all the new productivity’s goods and services? How can people obtain purchasing power if not from jobs? They discuss alternatives emerging: worker-owned companies, cooperative enterprises and guaranteed basic incomes now enacted in Brazil, Mexico and proposed in Switzerland, Europe and the USA.

Privacy in the New Media Age: Part I – In this program, Hazel Henderson explores with law professor Jon L. Mills, former speaker in Florida’s House of Representatives, his current book, Privacy in the New Media Age. The Internet, social media, blogs, “citizen-journalists” and global news distribution pose thorny issues in all countries. While the USA favors free speech over individual rights to privacy, European countries are protecting people’s “right to be left alone” and the deletion of old records of individual behavior which may jeopardize their future employment. While Facebook and Twitter facilitated the grassroots protests and rebellions of the “Arab Spring,” these social media also helped police to track down the dissidents and their prosecution. Prof. Mills points out that technological innovations always outrun the pace of law and public responses. Different rules apply in many countries and global agreements may take decades.

Privacy in the New Media Age Versus the First Amendment: Part II – In this program, Hazel Henderson continues discussing with Professor Jon L. Mills his current book, Privacy in the New Media Age. The conversation focuses on the USA and how the Constitution favors free speech and press in the First Amendment over individual rights to privacy. Mills cites many examples of how individuals are harmed in today’s social media, by false statements by bloggers, ubiquitous cameras in public places, tracking individuals’ movements via their cellphones and GPS. They explore data-collecting by government and by corporations selling users’ personal data to advertisers, as well as snooping by drones. Again, these new technologies and media have outrun the law and public awareness and in some cases even dubious rulings by the Supreme Court.

Beyond GDP: Interview with Michael Green




progress, true wealth, and the wellbeing of nations

August 2015 newsletter

In this edition of the Beyond GDP newsletter:


Social Progress Index

Michael Green is Executive Director of the Social Progress Imperative, an initiative aimed at redefining how the world measures success. An economist by training, he is co-author (with Matthew Bishop) of Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World and of The Road from Ruin: A New Capitalism for a Big Society. Previously, Michael served as a senior official in the U.K. Government’s Department for International Development, where he managed British aid programs to Russia and Ukraine and headed the communications department. He taught Economics at Warsaw University in Poland in the early 1990s.

Why was the Social Progress Index (SPI) developed and who was involved in its development?

Green: The original idea of developing an index to
capture social progress goes back to the 2008 financial
crisis. Together with my friend Matthew Bishop from
the Economist I wrote a book about the financial
crisis, The Road From Ruin. One thing that
we identified was that the financial crisis was very
much a crisis of measurement. Then during the 2009
World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council, Matthew
raised the need for developing an index capturing
the level of social progress of a country.

group of us started working on this idea in 2010 and
then approached Professor Michael Porter from Harvard
Business School to help us on the development of a
Social Competitiveness Index who brought in Scott
Stern from MIT. Beside the initial support of Avina
Foundation, Skoll Foundation and Compartamos Banco
from Mexico, we also got support from Cisco and Rockefeller
Foundation. Deloitte joined us as key partner in
2013. So it was a big collaborative effort. The first
spi was then launched in a beta version in April 2013.

Which dimensions does the SPI cover?

Green: First, the spi is based only on social and environmental indicators. Most of the other composite indicators (e.g. the Human Development Index, the OECD Better Life Index, the Gross National Happiness Index) mix up economic and social measurements, while the SPI measures social progress without considering economic dimensions. The SPI is
therefore a measure which is complementary to GDP,
allowing comparisons between social progress and economic
development as measured by gdp. Secondly, the SPI
is focused on outcomes. For instance, it measures
the health conditions achieved in a country and not
expenditure on the health sector – so the SPI is a
descriptive tool, not a normative one. Thirdly, the
index is >applicable to all countries, independently
from their level of economic development.

The SPI is a useful tool for supporting both public debate and policy-making. This composite indicator covers three dimensions broken down into 12 components and aggregates 52 distinct indicators into a single score; a country ranking is also available. Owing to its structure, it can be easily disaggregated in its different components. Therefore, it can be used in order to identify countries’ weaknesses and strengths.

The SPI measures social progress, i.e. how successful
a society is at delivering social progress to its
citizens, not how happy it is. The two aspects may
sometimes overlap, but they refer to different concepts.
The notion of social progress the SPI is based on
three ‘dimensions’:

satisfying citizens’ basic needs (nutrition and basic
medical care, water and sanitation, shelter, personal
safety), (2) providing every citizen with the building
blocks of a better life (access to basic knowledge,
information and communications, health and ecosystem
sustainability), (3) giving citizens the opportunity
to pursue their hopes, dreams and ambitions free from
obstacles and barriers (personal rights, freedom and
choice, tolerance and inclusion, access to advanced

Which are the main strengths of the SPI in comparison with other measures of social progress?

Green: One strength is that the SPI is built only on social and environmental indicators. This allows for comparisons with gdp trends: given a certain GDP level, countries’ performances on social progress may even substantially differ. In other words, economic and social progress may diverge.
Furthermore, the SPI methodology is transparent, based on data from reliable sources such as the UN agencies.

And what are the main weaknesses of the index?

Green: Our biggest challenges are data quality and
availability. The best data available are not always
as methodologically robust as we would like for issues
such as shelter and mental health, for example. On
Ecosystem Sustainability, data on greenhouse gas production
would ideally be complemented by those on GHG consumption.
I would also love to find data on the quality of life
of people with disabilities, which is such an important
issue but where there is presently no data.

the best data we can find we have pretty good global
coverage – 133 countries were covered by the 2015
Index, corresponding to the 94% of the world population
– but our goal is to have a Social Progress score
for every country in the world.

Has every component of the index the same weight?

Green: All components of the index are equally weighted. Within each component, however, not all indicators are equally weighted. The different weights have been defined according to statistical techniques such as Principal Component Analysis. Further methodological information is available on our website.

What are the key findings from the 2015 SPI and what are the main differences to 2014?

Michael Green: Our key finding is that on average
there is a positive relationship between economic
growth and social progress. Wealthier countries such
as Norway generally show better social outcomes than
lower income countries. However, given a certain GDP
level, the variability among countries can nevertheless
be considerable. Hence, economic performance alone
does not fully explain social progress. At any level
of GDP per capita, there are opportunities for higher
social progress and risks of lower social progress.

2015 SPI results were very similar to 2014. This is
a good confirmation of the model’s robustness. This
might be explained by the fact that the trend of the
variables captured by the SPI (e.g. the adult literacy
rate) depends on policies’ long-term effects. Nevertheless,
the limited data availability (only 2014 and 2015
results are currently available) doesn’t allow for
identifying any trend yet.

looking at the social progress drivers, we didn’t
find a significant correlation with income inequality,
measured by the Gini coefficient. We did, however,
find a strong negative correlation between social
progress and poverty rates (both absolute and relative).

How could decision-makers make use of the findings from the SPI?

Green: The SPI is a useful policy tool, which can
contribute to defining development strategies aimed
at fostering social progress as well as economic growth.

example of its application is provided by the measurement
and monitoring of the national development plan of
the Government of Paraguay – “Paraguay 2030” – which
was recently launched. In this context, the SPI is
used to measure the country’s social well-being and
the impact of social investment.

can you assure that your index is taken up by policy

Green: The SPI is a composite indicator, providing an aggregate score. It can therefore be easily understood by both policy makers and the general public. It has the potential to become a reference in the political debate on social progress, as GDP is for economic growth.

Could the SPI be applied at regional level, for example in Europe?

Green: There are currently applications of the SPI in some regions of the Americas and of Europe.
Several initiatives have already been launched to apply the SPI at regional level in Latin America.

The first sub-national Social Progress Index was launched in August 2014 for 772 municipalities across the Amazon region of Brazil. The methodology has been adapted to the specific context: while the index has kept its structure of twelve components, the indicators have been slightly modified according to data availability and their relevance for those municipalities. For example, an indicator on educational attainment, for which data are not available at national level, and on waste collection and forestry, which are relevant in the Amazon region, have been included. The SPI framework has enough flexibility to be tailored to fit local contexts and realities.

In September 2015, the application of the SPI to 13 selected cities in Columbia will start, to provide useful and up-to-date information for urban policy makers.

In the USA, Michigan has been the first state to adopt the SPI. The application of the SPI to some cities and other states across the US is planned in 2015.

At the end of 2014, the development of a SPI prototype for the NUTS 2 EU regions started in cooperation with the Directorate General Regional and Urban Policy of the european commission. As in the case of the Amazon region, the 12 components structure has been kept, but the set of indicators is currently being adapted to the specific context.

When do you expect the first results for the European regions?

Green: In October 2015, we will launch a trial version for the EU area and a consultation process involving the most relevant stakeholders (governments, businesses and civil society). The feedback will be vital for further SPI development in Europe.

would like thank Michael Green for this insightful

To download the Social Progress Index Report 2015, please click here.


D. Roosevelt

“The test of our progress is not whether
we add more to the abundance of those who have
much; it is whether we provide enough for those
who have too little.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt (second inaugural speech,
from January 20, 1937).

In the spotlight

The social dimension of European Economic Governance

The EU
and the EU
Charter of Fundamental Rights
cover several important
social principles. A horizontal social clause introduced
by the Lisbon Treaty requires the EU to promote a
high level of employment, to guarantee adequate social
protection, to fight against social exclusion and
to ensure a high level of education and the protection
of human health.

In 2010 the EU adopted the Europe 2020 strategy calling for a smart, inclusive and sustainable growth. Each of these three areas are accompanied by a number of specific targets and flagship initiatives.

Inclusive growth (the aspect most relevant to social progress) is measured against the employment rate and the poverty or social exclusion headline target. The related targets to be reached by 2020 are increasing the overall employment rate to at least 75% and reducing by at least 20 million the number of people at the risk of poverty and social exclusion compared to 2008. However, according to the latest available figures in 2013 121 million in EU27 were at risk of poverty and social exclusion, i.e. almost every fourth person. The 2020 target of 96.6 million in EU27 seems therefore still far from being reached.

In light of the EU’s growing unemployment (especially for young people) as well as increasing inequality and poverty in the EU Member States, in recent years the european commission has integrated some social principles in its economic governance system.

2013, the European Council agreed to include a non-binding
of key employment and social indicators
in the Joint Employment Report, annually prepared by the Commission and adopted by the Council of the European Union. The scoreboard contributes to strengthen the social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) by enabling a better and earlier identification of major employment and social problems. It includes five indicators: the unemployment rate, youth unemployment, real change in gross disposable household income, at-risk-of-poverty rate and inequalities (S80/S20 ratio).

Since 2014, the
scoreboard is fully rooted in the EU economic
governance framework. Also in 2015 it has been included in the Annual Growth Survey during the
European Semester
, the EU yearly cycle of economic policy coordination.

A number of efforts have been made to explore how indicators on social progress can be integrated into concrete policy recommendations. Among the approaches to measure social progress in Europe, the Bertelsmann Stiftung has developed the Social
Inclusion Monitor Europe (SIM).
The SIM combines the Social Justice Index and the Reform Barometer in order to better measure social justice and formulate concrete recommendations for policy reforms in individual Member States and the EU28 as a whole.

on a cross-national survey, the Social
Justice Index
includes 27 quantitative and 8 qualitative indicators, associated with the six dimensions of social justice (poverty prevention, equitable education, labour market access, social cohesion and non-discrimination, health, and intergenerational justice).

Report “Social
Justice in the EU – A Cross-national Comparison

summarises the main findings for all the 28 EU Member States, showing considerable heterogeneity in the ability to create a truly inclusive society. According to the latest figures, the wealthy northern EU countries (Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands) have the highest ranks in social justice, while Bulgaria, Romania and Greece show the lowest scores.

The Reform Barometer,
developed by the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the London School of Economics, is an expert survey on government responses to increase social inclusion across the 28 EU Member States by balancing the macro-economic bias of the European Semester. The online survey instrument includes 60 questions, covering the six dimensions of social inclusion and is directly disseminated to more than 400 policy experts across the EU. Their answers provide information on the extent to which policies introduced in the past year achieve particular objectives and give examples on their country context.

mentioned EU social indicator initiatives help promoting
the social dimension of the Europe
2020 strategy
calling for smart, inclusive and
sustainable growth. Inclusive growth (relevant for
social progress) is measured against the employment
rate and the poverty or social exclusion headline

In brief


Sustainable Governance Indicators 2015 published

The fourth edition of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Sustainable Governance Indicators (SGI) has been released. Covering 41 EU and OECD countries, the SGI aim at contributing to a factual and data-driven debate on good governance and sustainable policy outcomes. These 140 indicators combine quantitative data from official statistic sources with experts’ qualitative assessments. They measure sustainable governance with respect to three pillars: Policy Performance, Democracy and Governance. Results for 2015 show Scandinavian countries, Switzerland and Germany being the top performers, while Southern and Eastern European countries ranking among the weaker performers.


Zero draft for Sustainable Development Goals released

The Co-Chairs of the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have issued their long awaited „zero draft“, containing a proposal for 17 goals and 169 targets to be attained by 2030. This new set of goals addresses issues such as global poverty, inequalities and climate change. It should replace the original Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which will expire at the end of the year. The formal SDGs adoption will take place at the UN Summit from 25 to 27 September 2015 in New York. The next step will be to develop a global indicator framework supporting the goals that is planned to be developed by March 2016.


China implements Gross Ecosystem Product in Yantian District of Shenzen

The Yantian District of the Shenzhen City, in the Chinese Guangdong Province, has begun to implement a dual accounting, operating and promoting mechanism involving both GDP and Urban Gross Ecosystem Product (GEP). By putting an economic value on all ecosystem products and services nature provides for human well-being, the GEP captures the benefits provided to urban residents by improving their living environment. The aim is to calculate the two indexes yearly and achieve GDP growth without compromising GEP. Thanks to a change in energy and sustainable mobility policies, 150 million Yuan of ecological value were created and the GEP has increased between 2013 and 2014. The GEP development is in line with the new Eco-Civilization initiative, one of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China’s top priorities.


World Happiness Report 2015 reveals happiest countries in the world

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) has published the third edition of the World Happiness Report. Among the 10 countries showing the highest average life evaluations, there are only small or medium-sized western industrial countries, with Switzerland, Iceland and Denmark at the top. Changes in life evaluation between 2005-2007 and 2012-2014 might be related to a combination of differing exposure to the economic crisis, the quality of governance, trust and social support. By far the largest drops could be observed in Greece and Egypt, followed by Italy. However, there is evidence that a high quality social capital can keep or even improve subjective well-being also in case of natural disasters or economic shocks. The 2015 report analyses a number of issues, among which the neuroscience of happiness and children’s happiness.


Income is not the most important factor for life satisfaction

March 20th 2015, the International Day of Happiness,
Eurostat published a collection of subjective well-being
indicators. This was the first time they have been
gathered at European level. In 2013, EU residents
rated their overall life satisfaction at 7.1 on average,
on a scale of 0 to 10. Scandinavians were the most
satisfied, while Southern and Eastern Europe residents
generally expressed lower levels of life satisfaction.
Having a very good health condition turns out to be
the most influential factor for life satisfaction,
followed by financial situation, labour market situation
and social relations.


1st edition of Sustainable Cities Index released

The Sustainable Cities Index, developed by ARCADIS and the Centre for Economics and Business Research, ranks 50 of the world’s leading cities according to social, environmental and economic demands. Seven European cities are among the top ten, with Frankfurt, London and Copenhagen at the top. No North American city made it to the top ten, mainly due to rather weak performances with respect to environmental and social sub-indices. The index aims to support decision-makers to identify sustainable development opportunities.


Upcoming events

Workshop on Measuring Inequalities of Income and
Berlin, Germany, 16 September 2015

United Nations Summit to adopt the post-2015 development
New York, 25-27 September 2015

(Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange) Global Conference
Bangkok, Thailand, 28-30 September 2015

OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy,
“Transforming Policy, Changing Lives”

Guadalajara, Mexico, 13-15 October 2015


Beyond GDP newsletter is issued up to 4 times a year
by the European Commission, DG Environment and DG
The contents of the newsletter do not necessarily reflect the official
opinions of the institutions of the European Union. All logos and trademarks
in this newsletter are property of their respective owner.
© Copyright 2007-2014 European Commission


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Court rules that there are no checks and balances

Better Markets Logo

Financial Reform Newsletter

March 20, 2015

Court rules that there are no checks and balances when the Executive Branch settles cases, even those that caused the worst financial crash since 1929 and caused the worst economy since the Great Depression of the 1930s, costing the US more than $12.8 trillion: Longtime readers know that Better Markets sued DOJ over its $13 billion settlement with JP Morgan Chase. Without transparency, oversight, accountability or any judicial review, that settlement was negotiated in secret and without any meaningful public discloser. For $13 billion, JP Morgan Chase got total civil immunity and got to keep secret the illegal conduct of its executives, officers, supervisors and staff in inflating the subprime housing bubble – all as detailed in the lawsuit. Regrettably, as Better Markets stated in the press following press release, a federal district court dismissed the case on entirely procedural grounds:

“The court never considered or ruled on the merits of our lawsuit that DOJ did not have the unilateral authority to settle years of JP Morgan Chase’s egregious illegal conduct without independent judicial review. The decision sadly stands for the proposition that there are no checks and balances when it comes to Executive Branch action to settle any case on any terms without any meaningful transparency, public accountability or oversight by anyone.

This procedural ruling makes clear that the lawsuit is not deficient, the law is: no one has standing to challenge DOJ’s actions even when senior political appointees secretly negotiate legal immunity in exchange for a $13 billion payment from the country’s largest, most politically connected too-big-to-fail wall street bank for inflating the subprime housing bubble, which lead to the worst financial crash since 1929. Such backroom deals should not be allowed in a democracy worthy of its name. We will be carefully evaluating the court’s opinion before determining our next steps.”

As The Financial Times editorialized in “The People Versus Wall Street Banks” when the lawsuit was filed,


“Whether or not its legal challenge succeeds, Better Markets has highlighted some troubling issues.” 


The FT was right. The legal deck was always stacked against the lawsuit because the law discriminates against those like Better Markets seeking to protect the public interest (while privileging private corporate interests). That means that the “troubling issues” raised by DOJ’s repeated secret backroom settlements with the powerful and politically connected elite too big to fail banks on wall street will have to be addressed by the people’s elected officials in Congress. Surprisingly, Congress has so far just sat silently on the sidelines while the Executive Branch has unilaterally seized breathtaking authority to take such unaccountable action on these historic matters.


Better Markets is in the middle of important hearings in Congress on numerous financial reform issues: Sometimes Better Markets is in the middle of Congressional hearings when, like next week, President and CEO Dennis Kelleher has been asked to testify next week at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on the Financial Stability Oversight Council “FSOC”. Other times, like yesterday, our work can get injected into a hearing without notice.


At a Senate Banking Committee hearing yesterday on the “Regulatory Regime for Regional Banks,” several of the country’s most senior financial regulators testified: Fed Governor Dan Tarullo, FDIC Chairman Marty Gruenburg and OCC Comptroller Tom Curry. The Ranking Member on the Committee, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), used a chart from a Fact Sheet released by Better Markets on the subject of the hearing:  “Everything You Need to Know About the $50 Billion Threshold.” To our surprise, Fed Governor Tarullo questioned the accuracy or completeness of the chart from the Fact Sheet, but he was wrong, as we detailed in this press release.


However, that shouldn’t detract from the focus of the hearing: the enhanced prudential standards applied to banks as tailored for their size and risk profile. The law set a threshold of $50 billion to initiate a closer look at banks’ activities and provided for increasing standards for the largest, riskiest, and most complex banking organizations that pose the greatest threat to Americans’ savings, jobs and homes – the too-big-to-fail megabanks on Wall Street. As detailed in the Fact Sheet, while the financial reform law requires regulators to apply enhanced prudential standards, it also gives them very broad discretion in tailoring those standards to the risk profile and activities of different banks.


That has stopped too many from mis-describing the law and how it is applied, causing some to call for either the elimination of the $50 billion threshold altogether or raising it. However, before taking the consequential step of changing the law, policymakers should ask those seeking to change the $50 billion threshold to demonstrate that


1. a specific requirement of the statute is causing demonstrable, independently verifiable damage to the U.S. economy, and


2. he only means to fix such a requirement is through legislative changes, rather than, for example, the Fed appropriately exercising the discretion already provided for by the law.


Remember, the financial reform law was enacted just a few years ago to prevent another crash like 2008 and the economic wreckage it caused and continues to cause to American families, workers, communities and our federal budget. Financial reform should be allowed to be fully implemented and then changed only if in fact changes are needed, rather than in response to fact-free claims of harm or, worse, due to the disguised claims of Wall Street’s most dangerous too-big-to-fail banks that collect big bonuses while getting ready for their next bailout.


Fighting to protect your retirement security and the integrity of the markets: Secretary of Labor Tom Perez also testified before the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday and the House Education and Workforce Committee on Wednesday outlining the Department’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget request. During the Tuesday hearing Secretary Perez was asked about DOL’s new rule to protect Americans’ retirement savings. Better Markets has been meeting with leaders in Washington and working with allies in support of this proposed rule that is expected to require brokers to act in the best interests of their clients rather than putting their own economic interests above their clients. This indefensible conflict of interest is the result of a 40-year old legal loophole that must be closed to help ensure that tens of millions of Americans finally get the unbiased advice they deserve so they can build a comfortable and dignified retirement.


Like the DOJ, the SEC is excellent at spin and PR about how tough they are and how great their work is, but the facts show otherwise: Also on Thursday, SEC Enforcement Director Andrew Ceresney testified before the House Financial Services Committee. As we have pointed out and criticized for years, the SEC has been following a dangerous pattern of severely punishing low-level actors while letting Wall Street’s too-big-to-fail banks and, particularly, their executives off the hook when it comes to enforcing the law. That approach only incentives more crime where there is little fear of being caught and less worry about being meaningfully punished. It’s imperative that the SEC begins to go after Wall Street megabank leaders, require them to fully disclose the extent of their wrongdoing, and have banks and individuals pay real penalties that actually fit the crime. The SEC must get out of the PR and spin business and back to being a real cop on the Wall Street beat.


Better Markets in the News


U.S. judge dismisses lawsuit over $13 billion JPMorgan Chase settlement: Reuters by Lindsay Dunsmuir 3/19/2015


Better Markets Rips SEC’s Double Standard: Corporate Crime Reporter by Editor 3/19/2015


HSBC’s Flint Odds-On to Be Next U.K. Bank Chief to Exit in 2015: Bloomberg by Stephen Moris 3/18/2015


Japanese bank seeks justice in subprime mortgage trial: NY Post by Kevin Dugan 3/16/2015


Articles of Interest


BNY Mellon Close to Settling Foreign Exchange Lawsuits: Bloomberg by Christie Smythe, Charles Stein, and Bob Van Voris 3/19/2015


Putting a Breakup of Bank of America to a Shareholder Vote: NYT by Antony Currie 3/19/2015


HSBC to Shuffle Board Roles of Several Directors: NYT by Chad Bray 3/20/2015


U.S. Prepared to Charge Banks for Violating Old Settlement Deals: Bloomberg 3/16/2015


You eat what you kill’: Wall Street bonuses keep soaring as profits decline: The Guardian by Suzanne McGee 3/15/2015


How Does Wall Street Work? Only One-Quarter Of Investment Bank Revenue Comes From Activities In The Real Economy: International Business Times by Owen Davis 3/13/2015


Support Better Markets


Help us fight for the public interest in our financial markets and protect Main Street from Wall Street. 



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Video: Building the Woman’s World Banking Movement

Building the Woman’s World Banking Movement


Building the Woman’s World Banking Movement – interview with Michaela Walsh; Ethical Markets Media, 2013. Michaela Walsh is Founding President of Women’s World Bank http://www.swwb.org/. Its mission is to expand the economic assets, participation and power of low-income women and their households by helping them access financial services, knowledge and markets.

Michaela Walsh was a member of the Founding Committee of WWB (Woman’s World Banking), and served as the organization’s Founding President from 1975 to 1990. Prior to that, Ms. Walsh served as a Project Director for the U.S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, and as a Program Associate with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
Ms. Walsh subsequently founded the Global Student Leadership and Enterprise Management at Manhattanville College. She was the first woman partner of Boettcher & Company, and the first woman manager of Merrill Lynch International. Ms. Walsh serves on the boards of several organizations, and has been a member of the WWB Board of Trustees since its inception in 1979.
The mission of the Women’s World Banking global network is to expand the economic assets, participation and power of low-income women and their households by helping them access financial services, knowledge and markets.
Hazel Henderson is the founder of Ethical Markets Media, LLC http://www.ethicalmarkets.com/ and the creator and co-executive Producer of its TV series. She is a world renowned futurist, evolutionary economist, a worldwide syndicated columnist, consultant on sustainable development, and author of The Axiom and Nautilus award-winning book Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy (2006) and eight other books. She co-edited, with Harlan Cleveland and Inge Kaul, The UN: Policy and Financing Alternatives, Elsevier Scientific, UK 1995 (US edition, 1996), and co-authored with Japanese Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda, Planetary Citizenship (2004).
Filmed and edited by Bruce Merwin with http://www.StAugustineVideo.com.
Bank (Building Function),World,women,interviews Michaela Walsh,Hazel Henderson,Michaela Walsh,Women’s World Banking,Manhattanville College,Boettcher & Company,financial services,Ethical Markets Media,Growing the Green Economy,Planetary Citizenship,Bruce Merwin

Video: The Green Economy — A Wide Shot



The Green Economy — A Wide Shot – interview with Gregory Wendt; Ethical Markets Media, 2013. This is a wide-ranging discussion of the green movement today.  Greg Wendt is founder of the Green Economy Think Tank http://www.greeneconomythinktank.org/ which convenes sustainability leaders to catalyze ideas into action to grow the green economy through forums, events and conferences.

With increasing concern about the economy, environmental degradation, public health and gridlock in civic leadership, there is a great need for new ways to make change happen. Communities and Cities all over the world must create innovative solutions to economic development which creates jobs for their residents, while maintaining quality of life with cleaner, healthier and safer business practices. To meet these challenges, a new type of leadership is emerging which cultivates the resources and authority to convene and continue the dialogues for creating shared visions, outcomes and shared success.
Green Economy Think Tank (GETT) is a non-profit organization that catalyzes the convening of these new leaders from diverse sectors who are focused on implementing and improving our nation’s green economy.  It enables and revolutionizes the way corporations, government agencies and communities interact, build consensus and achieve goals that are locally and nationally topics of discussion.  The Green Economy Think Tank fosters collaboration between leading green economy initiatives and groups through events and programs that bring together leaders from business, education, government, health, technology, and community in regions around the country.  It conducts events and forums utilizing unique collective intelligence technologies to facilitate group collaboration and participation for evolution of actionable intelligence.  Its Day Events bring together thought leaders from private and public sectors and engages them to lead in evolving innovations, actions and ideas to further economic growth in alignment with growing wealth while maintaining the vision for a better world for future generations.
Hazel Henderson is the founder of Ethical Markets Media, LLC http://www.ethicalmarkets.com/ and the creator and co-executive Producer of its TV series. She is a world renowned futurist, evolutionary economist, a worldwide syndicated columnist, consultant on sustainable development, and author of The Axiom and Nautilus award-winning book Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy (2006) and eight other books. She co-edited, with Harlan Cleveland and Inge Kaul, The UN: Policy and Financing Alternatives, Elsevier Scientific, UK 1995 (US edition, 1996), and co-authored with Japanese Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda, Planetary Citizenship (2004).
Filmed and edited by Bruce Merwin with http://www.StAugustineVideo.com.
Hazel Henderson,Gregory Wendt,Green Economy Think Tank,Green Economy,Ethical Markets Media,The Axiom and Nautilus,Daisaku Ikeda,Planetary Citizenship,Bruce Merwin

Video: Banking for the Common Good


Banking for the Common Good – interview with Mary Houghton, Ethical Markets Media, 2013. Mary Houghton is the co-founder of ShoreBank, once the largest and oldest community development bank in the US.  Hazel Henderson interviews Mary Houghton about community development banking movement today.
Houghton, along with Milton Davis, James Fletcher, and Ron Grzywinski purchased what was then South Shore Bank to fight redlining in the Chicago neighborhood. She retired as president in May 2010.
ShoreBank was a community development bank founded and headquartered in Chicago. At the time of its closing it was the oldest and largest such institution, and in 2008 had $2.6 billion in assets. It was owned by ShoreBank Corporation, a regulated bank holding company. ShoreBank had branches in Chicago’s South and West sides, Cleveland, and Detroit. Between 2000 and 2006, ShoreBank issued nearly $900 million in loans to citizens in Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland. ShoreBank and its affiliated companies have projects in 30 countries.
In the early 1980s, Houghton and Grzywinski worked with Muhammad Yunus of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh (Yunus and Grameen Bank received the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize). From 1986 to 2001, Houghton served on the Board of Directors of Accion International. Houghton serves as a director of the Calvert Foundation, the Rapid Results Institute, and Women’s World Banking. She is a member of the Ashoka Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship. Houghton received a B.A. cum laude from Marquette University and an M.A. in International Studies from Johns Hopkins University.
Houghton has received several awards and honors:
In 2001, she was awarded Honorary Doctorate of Business by Northern Michigan University.
In 2004, she was named “Community Banker of the Year” by American Banker magazine http://www.americanbanker.com/magazine/ for her work making ShoreBank “the gold standard of community development banks.”
In 2009, Houghton accepted the 2009 Economic Opportunity Achievement Award from The Opportunity Collaboration in Ixtapa, Mexico for her work “providing financial services and information to residents who were excluded from traditional banking circles.”
In 2009, she was invited to deliver the “Leaders Forum Lecture” at the Yale School of Management.
Jointly with co-founder Ron Grzywinski, Houghton received the Hesburgh Award for Ethics in Business from the University of Notre Dame, in 2008, and the Gleitsman Citizen Activist Award at Harvard University, in 2006. They were both named to U.S. News & World Report’s list of America’s Top Leaders.
Hazel Henderson is the founder of Ethical Markets Media, LLC http://www.ethicalmarkets.com/ and the creator and co-executive Producer of its TV series. She is a world renowned futurist, evolutionary economist, a worldwide syndicated columnist, consultant on sustainable development, and author of The Axiom and Nautilus award-winning book Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy (2006) and eight other books. She co-edited, with Harlan Cleveland and Inge Kaul, The UN: Policy and Financing Alternatives, Elsevier Scientific, UK 1995 (US edition, 1996), and co-authored with Japanese Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda, Planetary Citizenship (2004).
Filmed and edited by Bruce Merwin with http://www.StAugustineVideo.com.


Link to Full Statement and Signatories


September 13, 2010, St. Augustine, Fl, USA; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Greenwich, CT , USA

Financial experts, warning of future crises, call for re-affirming finance as a global commons, first recognized at Bretton Woods in 1945.

The TRANSFORMING FINANCE group, as beneficiaries and active participants in global capital markets, affirmed their responsibility to reform finance.  The full TRANSFORMING FINANCE Statement asserts that “Financial markets are founded on trust – now eroded by the irresponsible and unethical behavior of many players, including many of our leading financial institutions.”  The signers, from the European Union, China, India, Australia, Brazil, Canada and the USA agree that “unbridled greed-driven speculation, the improper use of public infrastructure technology for activities such as high-frequency trading, together with a misguided self-regulatory ideology, damaged the financial commons and the trust on which we all depend.”

The TRANSFORMING FINANCE group outlined necessary principles and conditions to operate the shared global financial architecture consistent with 21st century realities.  The group pledged to continue their own efforts to modernize capital markets to serve human societies as one of the tools to manage the global commons, using the new accounting standards and national accounting beyond “efficient market” and “rational actor” models, now outdated by findings in brain and neurosciences.

Video Series: Transforming Finance

Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 2.08.09 PMBuilding the Woman’s World Banking Movement – interview with Michaela Walsh; Ethical Markets Media, 2013. Michaela Walsh is Founding President of Women’s World Bank http://www.swwb.org/. Its mission is to expand the economic assets, participation and power of low-income women and their households by helping them access financial services, knowledge and markets.
Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 2.10.58 PMBanking for the Common Good – interview with Mary Houghton, Ethical Markets Media, 2013. Mary Houghton is the co-founder of ShoreBank, once the largest and oldest community development bank in the US.
Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 2.14.19 PMThe Green Economy — A Wide Shot – interview with Gregory Wendt; Ethical Markets Media, 2013. This is a wide-ranging discussion of the green movement today.
China’s New Development – interview with Zhouying Jin, “Transforming Finance” –
an Ethical Markets Media production © 2010
Finance Should Serve Society – interview with Steve Waddell, “Transforming Finance” – an Ethical Markets Media production © 2010
Escaping the Web of Debt – interview with Ellen Brown, “Transforming Finance” – an Ethical Markets Media production © 2010
Copyrightt © 2015 EthicalMarkets.com | Supporting the emergence of a sustainable, green, ethical and a just economy worldwide