The Convocation takes to heart the words of Pope Francis.
In July of 1944, as World War II was drawing to its end, delegates from 44 nations gathered at the magnificent Mt. Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, USA for a conference. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bretton_Woods_Conference. The Bretton Woods Conference would establish the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and set the stage for the General Agreement on Tariffs & Trade (GATT). Fifty years later, a second Bretton Woods conference was held; and last summer, 2014, a third. http://brettonwoodsiv. org/history/. Despite these and related efforts, our financial system and economy have gotten worse, dramatically so — for the majority of our fellow citizens, humanity. Specifically:
^ In 1995, the six largest bank holding companies in the United Sates held 17.1% of our country’s GDP.
^ When the 2008 financial crisis hit us, the percentage of wealth held by the banks rose from 17.1% to 55%.
^ In 2010, two years after the crisis, the combined assets of the holding companies were estimated at 64% of GDP.
^ Examining the US economy alone, from 2009 to 2012 the incomes of the top 1% of the US earners grew by 31.4 %, while incomes of the bottom 99% feel to 0.4 %.
^ Summing up our collective fortunes, the 200 richest people on the earth have acquired more wealth than the 2.5 billion poorest and growing. The bottom-line. ~ Emmanuel Saez & Thomas Piketty: http://www.dailykos.com/story
Common sense suggests that this trend can not continue. For it has no future. In the words of Robert Hemphill, of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta: “It (the monetary problem) is the most important subject concerned citizens can investigate and reflect upon. It is so important that our present civilization may collapse unless it is widely understood and the defects remedied very soon”.
Key to remedying the defects, addressing this monumental inequity — while we still can — is the recognition that money is, as we say, “the life-blood of our nation”. As such, it needs to flow, unimpeded, throughout the entire “Body-Social”, enriching every cell in the organism.
This understanding of money is in contrast to the current financial practices, where the majority of our nation’s and world’s wealth ends up being pooled in privileged and selective “organs”, becoming, in effect, a blood-clot that undermines the health of society. As Franklin, Washington, Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and our most revered public servants recognized, money is our Common Wealth. As such, its purpose is to serve the Common Good — as given voice in the opening verse of the United States’ national song:
“America, America, God shed his grace on thee, and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.”
On the foundation noted, The Bretton Woods IV Convocation will present a model for regional development in northern New Hampshire, one of the poorest regions in the state and nation, that can inspire regions near and far. The model would:
1. Reintroduce the common sense monetary principles developed by Ben Franklin, along with our public-spirited Founding Fathers;
2. Upon this monetary foundation, the model will showcase — nationally and internationally — new directions for commerce and culture.
With the collaboration of fellow citizens from near and far, we look forward to taking a step in transforming New Hampshire’s North Country into a Northern Commons, where hope returns to hearts, smiles to faces and where — through honest hard work — prosperity returns unto our land.