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What Now?

After more than three years of failed attempts to heal the economies and financial markets throughout the world, it’s clearly time for us to reexamine our tendency to apply familiar, yet evidently ineffective solutions to the current problems.

The conclusion we can make from the failure of every bailout and rescue plan, on the one hand, and the tenacity and severity of the economic and financial crisis, on the other hand, is that the existing paradigm has exhausted itself. Therefore, we must urgently adopt a new one. The current toolbox for resolving the crisis has failed and will continue to do so because it is inadequate to dealing with the economic-social global network on which we are all dependent.

If we adapt the economic and financial systems to that network of economic and social connections, if economics will also adapt, and if we acquire the characteristics of the new economy—the economy of mutual guarantee, then we’ll find before us the tools to resolve the crisis.

The inability to deal with the global crisis has brought many people to agree that the real cause of the crisis is not the economy, but our human relations. In a Der Spiegel interview, Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, said “There has been a clear crisis of confidence that has seriously aggravated the situation.” [28]

Many agree that a change of concepts and values is required now, a shift from relationships based on power—aiming to maximize personal or national gain—to solidarity and social cohesion. The connection among people is the topic on the public agenda, and that is what requires mending and adjusting to the laws of the global and connected world. The economy is meant only to support and maintain that connection among people; after all, it is we humans who create the economy, not the economy that creates a society.

The economy is not a law of Nature. It is a product of people’s views and a reflection of human relations and interests. Therefore, to change the economy, we must first change ourselves and our relationships. We can induce change in the economy and society by agreeing that mutual guarantee is the foundation for the social-economic-educational system in each country, and in fact, in the entire world.

There is no argument that the socioeconomic situation is seriously flawed, and that the yearning for social justice has merit. One must ask, “What prevents those who see that the root of the problem lies in lack of mutual guarantee from understanding that therein lies the solution to all our problems?”

The answer is, “It’s the inability to understand that such a shift of mindset is the most practical step we can take. This is attainable by creating a social and media environment that explains and educates about the value of mutual guarantee. Without this shift, no economic or social service plan will succeed.”

Indeed, only one key element is missing in all the rescue plans: mutual guarantee—a genuine care for one another and agreement in a round-table type of decision-making process, feeling that we must all help one another and make concessions, just like a family. Without that necessary shift of mindset, as good as any new rescue package may seem, it will invariably fail.

[28] “There Has Been a Clear Crisis of Confidence,” Spiegel Online International (April 9, 2011),,1518,784115,00.html

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