Bretton Woods Monetary Institute & Festival

“The aim of the Bretton Woods Conference was the creation of a dynamic world community
in which the peoples of every nation will be able to realize their potentialities in peace.”

Henry Morgenthau, Chairman 1944 Bretton Woods Conference & United States Secretary of the Treasury.

~ ~ ~


The framework speaks to how the monetary solutions spoken of can be achieved in a healthy society, that is in a truly ordered social order. For a reason. Until such a framework is understood, the solutions that we seek to implement will, we suggest, continue to be short term and superficial, at best.

Monetary matters are part and parcel of our economic system. Our economic system, in turn, is part of our larger social system, society itself. Alongside the economic sector are the political and cultural sectors. The latter, cultural sector, is comprised of education, religion, the arts, science and the non-profit (non-business) and non-government (NGO) sectors.

For our economic system to serve humanity, the social order, that is for our economy to be truly productive, businessmen and -women must work in an orderly way with representatives of the other two sectors: political and cultural.

This can only happen if those in business are clear not only about its own purpose, its role in society, but if businessmen and -women recognize and respect the purpose, role of the related political and cultural sectors. 

The movement for campaign finance reform speaks to the concerns that arise when this does not happen, when, that is, one sector (economics/business) tries to control another (politics). The result is that politicians end up beholden to businessmen and -women, as opposed to acting as public servants, servants of the people, whose main purpose is to ensure that everyone is treated equally under the law. The division between church (i.e. the cultural sphere) and state (i.e. the political sphere) speaks similarly to the importance of each of the spheres maintaining their independence.

The monetary misfortunes spoken of focus the question: What is the essential purpose of business, the economic sector? Is that purpose simply to “make money” in a competitive, “cut-throat” economy? Is making money the ultimate ends of business, our economy? Or is making money the means, the indispensable means toward a greater end: to make goods that are truly good and to provide a service that is a true service — in a way that benefits not just the 1% but all the stakeholders, including the community itself that provides businesses’ very foundation? If the latter is the case, might cooperation have a greater role to play in the economic process then many to date have imagined? An increasing number of studies, including the following Harvard Business Review articles,  confirm precisely this point.

This question is becoming increasingly focused. Under the preceding section (An overview and examination of our monetary misfortunes), Christine Lagarde, Director General of the International Monetary Fund, spoke at the conclusion of the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos of the fact that our monetary system, our way of business is not sustainable. For humanity, the 99%, is increasingly being left out, impoverished. Her statement invites us to consider a distinction seldom considered.

We speak in the United States of our celebrated “free enterprise system,” without, it appears, considering that there are in fact two kinds of freedom (philosophically, i.e. thoughtfully speaking): a “negative freedom,” or freedom-from a sense of commitment and responsibility to the other, and a “positive freedom,” or freedom-for the other.  [Economists address this point by distinguishing between what they speak of as “perfect” and “imperfect” competition.] The question is: Which free enterprise system are we, in truth, speaking of, would we celebrate? 

The former, “negative freedom,” has, as suggested, no future, is leading to a dead end: Wall Street’s noted motto: “IBG!” (I’ll be gone!); “YBG!” (You’ll be gone!). The latter, “positive freedom,” is given voice in the abiding refrain of the national song of this land. As such, it invites us to awaken as Americans (and those who have followed our lead) from, and to, our dream — our true dream: 

“America, America, God shed His grace on Thee,

And crown Thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.”

~ ~ ~

An understanding of the essential purpose of the three sectors of society (political, cultural, and economic) forms the indispensable framework for monetary reform — indeed, we suggest, for all societal reform. On these shores that framework was first offered, appropriately, by the Original Peoples of this land, to whom the founding fathers, and, in particular, Franklin, Jefferson, Paine, and Madison appealed for guidance. We speak of the Iroquois Confederation and, in particular, to what are referred to as its “Three Twins Principles,” as follows:

* Justice, the purpose and guiding principle of the political/rights sphere, arises in the eyes of the founders of the Iroquois Confederation out of righteous human beings;

* Freedom or liberty, the purpose and guiding principle of the cultural sphere, arise out of human beings who have attained not just outer power, but inner power: integrity, presence and clarity of mind.

* And finally, peaceful prosperity, the purpose and guiding principle of the productive, economic sphere, are the natural fruits cultivated by healthy human beings. 

The consideration of the indispensable framework for monetary reform leads to the Year 1 Keystone Project.