2local Strategy. Creative Moderation: From Preservative Rules and Norms to Innovative Renewal
Preservative Rules and Norms
The norms and rules of large companies and mega-banks are mainly aimed at strengthening their position. They do not hesitate to switch to deception, corruption, brutality, shamelessness, money laundering, and tax avoidance. For example, multinational companies, such as Shell and Philips, can enjoy public goodwill by insisting on effective climate policy, while simultaneously ensuring that it does not happen, and taking on activities such as employing 75 lobbyists through the European Chemical Industry Council (ECIC). To bring Unilever to the Netherlands, politicians promised dividend recipients an insane amount and defended the move without arguments. Because the shareholders did not like the move to the Netherlands, a call from the highest Unilever boss to the prime minister was enough to stop the plans for relocation. and politicians were accused of wanting to deliberately damage the banking system.
The banking world is involved in money laundering and various other violations of the law, including LIBOR. The government should keep these mechanisms under control by setting rules. But that usually doesn’t happen. Governments release the financial sector, focus on growth, ignore the potential consequences to the climate, and show a preference for free trade. Companies like Shell and Philips do not pay corporate income tax in the Netherlands. A CO2 tax was advocated by 71 economists (Jan 2019), but no such tax was discussed at the industrial tables of the climate agreement. Governments measure their success by the number of large companies that establish themselves within their borders. That is why these companies are rewarded with a low income tax.
In a European context, large companies are encouraged to become so large that they dominate European markets (economic nationalism), and thus can measure up to Chinese state capitalism. Competition at this level is fierce: American authorities are tackling European car manufacturers, while European authorities are tackling American tech companies. Everything that is big is getting bigger, and regulators and law makers are on a leash held by those increasingly larger companies. After the financial crisis of 2009, radical changes were expected, but did not come. The banks that were considered “too big to fail” at that time were not broken up. In many countries, they only grew bigger. Interest rates have been extremely low for 7 years. A low interest rate makes high debts more bearable in the short term, but worsens the problem in the long run. Under this model, consumers have no problem borrowing more and creating a higher debt burden for themselves, but that high debt will remain when interest rates rise again. Our economy, which is currently running on housing and share prices, is struggling with interest rate increases.
It is often stated that the government should ‘adjust’ the issues of the malfunctioning economic and monetary systems. As discussed previously, this fix should not come from the government. We must get started by ourselves. The role of the state is essential to providing necessary training, which should focus more on ethics, philosophy and social studies. However, the government mainly supports research that benefits the interests of large companies.
In order to put the recommendations of various scientific and policy reports into practice, we must conduct interdisciplinary research and tailor programs to both the country and local levels. In research and innovation, however, we must be extremely careful and critical with regard to application. For example, according to eco-modernists, the development and deployment of technology would lead to a reduction in the consumption of raw materials and emissions per unit of product, so that this ‘green’ technology achieves the objectives of the Paris Accord. However, this will not work.
Decoupling growth and pollution is not possible in a world where production chains are globalized. The ecological damage will be exported to poor countries and poor people. Infinite growth in a finite world is not possible, and blind faith in technological innovation is irresponsible and immoral. In the current age of technological innovation, we must be critical when assessing technologies that can contribute to worldwide prosperity and those that do not. A technology that is promising in this respect is the blockchain, coupled with smart applications. Blockchain is maintained by a distributed network of computers all over the world. There is no central power. It is possible to achieve transparency through blockchain.
With relatively simple means, we can use this technology to make a rigorous transition to ‘prosperity’ for everyone, so that we do not end up in the aforementioned trap. A wide range of digital money is currently available. The most famous is Bitcoin. At its core, Bitcoin is a cryptographic ‘open source’ software protocol on which Bitcoin can be created, stored and exchanged. The same is the case with our 2local cryptocurrency. We bring 2local to sustainable companies.
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