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09.30.2013

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The development of a Positive Economy: an interview with Jacques Attali

The PlaNet Finance Group, co-founded by Jacques Attali and Arnaud Ventura in 1998, is the instigator and organizer of LH Forum.

This event emerged from the desire to give meaning to the economy, aims to bring together those who think and act in the direction of a "positive" economy that seeks to promote long-term relationships, sharing knowledge, collaborative and participatory approaches such as MicroWorld.org for example.

In parallel with this second edition which was held from 25th to 27th September 2013, the "Report to a positive economy" delivered by Jacques Attali at the President of the Republic François Hollande on the 21st September 2013, is built from the perspective of avoiding the "catastrophe" for future generations. It includes 47 proposals of which the most important have to be implemented in the next five years.

1/ The weight of future generations

The former adviser of François Mitterrand recently insisted in interviews given to the press, the need for current generations to take the necessary and responsible steps to preserve the quality of life of future generations. Beyond this moral aspect, generational interdependence is crucial because large parts of the economy depend on future generations (utilities, retirement, production, health, etc.).

2/ The required output of "the dictatorship of emergency" for businesses

It is necessary that companies change their goals and think longer term than the only need for their immediate survival. Capitalism must be patient, unlike the shareholders 'short-termist' taking place in the market dictatorship.

In order to force the hand of the latter, Jacques Attali proposes the allocation of voting rights at general meetings depending on the holding period of the shares in order to favor stable shareholders.

He proposes also the creation of positivity company rating agencies, giving priority to these companies in the public markets. The modification of legal status of companies must allow access to the property thereof to all stakeholders for its functioning and not just shareholders. Leaders should secondly account to all.

3/ A democratic control

Jacques Attali has expressed his opposition vis-à-vis the independent directors as he deems "irresponsible" and does not sufficiently represent the next generation. He also considers that the independent administrative authorities which boomed in the context of a growing mistrust vis-à-vis the state, are not a democratic framework to bring social objectives. He recommends the creation of a long term chamber which would speak on behalf of future generations and would replace the Economic, Social and Environmental Council. The opinion of the latter would be mandatory and would be required to Parliament if not apparent reasons from its part.

4/ Positive economy as a mean to fight crisis

On the question of the difficulty of leading a positive strategy in the current crisis, he said that this context is due to the fact that the economy is not positive, state and company are obsessed with the dictatorship of the immediate.
"The shift to a more positive economy can help solve the crisis and the environmental, technological, social, political or spiritual challenges, facing the world by 2030."

5/ An assessment of progress

Jacques Attali points in his report the necessary development of assessment tools to measure "progress and what remains to be done."
The first of these tools is a positive indicator of the economy that ranks France in 19th place out of the 34 OECD countries (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). This index consists of the aggregation of 29 other indices. Some were borrowed from international organizations; others were created for this report. This is the case of the reproductive index of inequality, the representativeness of Parliament, or the tolerance to others.
The second assessment tool is the "Ease of Doing Positive Economy Index" measuring the willingness of a country to carry out structural reforms for a more positive economy.

Read the interview of Arnaud Ventura about positive economy and LH Forum.

Sources: Le Monde - Special LH Forum, September 24, 2013

Tags : positive economy, Attali, MicroWorld, PlaNet Finance, LH Forum, future generation, positive indicators