International events

With our international events we aim to present state-of-the-art ideas for relational finance for a wider audience, thereby reaching out to a network of professionals in the Rhineland area that we want to engage in our way of thought.

Our first international event was broadcasted (online) from Pakhuis de Zwijger (Amsterdam) on 29 June 2020. The complete program was recorded and can be found here.

Due to the outbreak of the Corona-virus, we deem it unlikely that large international gatherings can be organised over the course of 2021. We will however continue to produce exciting events online – also for international audiences. Announcements and recordings will be published on this website. See for instance the Future Markets Consultation.

The Great Reallocation and the future of the financial capitalism

The post-Covid agenda for Europe

Webinar: 7 July 2021, 16:00-17:30

Registration link will follow.

With: Jan Peter Balkenende, Christophe Darley, Stanislas Pottier and others.

Definitive program will follow soon.

Between the United States and Europe
President Biden is making a head-start with his agenda to Build Back Better the American economy post-Covid. In March 2021, the president signed a $1,9 trillion relief package into law; a $2 trillion infrastructure package has just been presented; and more trillions are expected to follow this year. With these enormous stimulus programs, president Biden aims to rebuild the backbone of the American economy (SME’s, middle-class employees, ambitious infrastructure works), narrow the gap between rich and poor (provide health insurance, cash payments, heighten minimum wages, better education access), and turn the economy towards a green future (new regulations, innovation, stimulate sustainable business). In the media and academia, Biden’s efforts are sometimes regarded as risky, but above all as bold, strategic and goal-oriented.

Although president Biden does not oust “America First” like his predecessor, it is not expected that he will reinstate the American led transatlantic hegemony of old days. This is partly due to the changing of the global power relations in recent years (China, Russia and other regional leaders entering the stage). For Europe this is a harsh realization: that it will definitely have to stand on its own two feet. This has thorough implications for political and economic policy and strategy, for governments and business alike.

Reset and reallocation
Europe, alas, faces its own challenges for the post-Covid period: rebuilding the economy, countering climate change, battling rising inequality, dealing with new power concentrations and absorbing new political movements (populist backlash). These are major challenges, that ask for a grand reorganization of the economic system. Some are therefore talking about the inevitability of a Great Reset. The question is however: how should such a reset come about, and who should take the lead?

In the Covid-period, think-tanks across Europe have written and published on the future of continental capitalism post-Covid. Some of them have explicitly referred to the European tradition of the social-market economy (or Rhineland capitalism) – an ideal that could again be used as a cornerstone for the economy post-Covid. Furthermore, some of these think-tanks are explicitly looking at the financial sector as the central axis in contemporary capitalism, to take the lead in the coming years. There is enough money, but we are not using it right. We don’t need a Great Reset, but a Great Reallocation.

Global wealth (capital) is highly concentrated in the hands of a relatively small number of institutions and individuals. A sizeable chunk of this wealth (including pension savings and private investments) is now being invested in stocks, financial derivatives and real estate via anonymous markets, the main motive being short-term returns. Quantitative easing policies only strengthen this tendency; highly benefitting the financial sector over the real economy. The Great Reallocation will require a different (financial) rationale for our economy. Change becomes concrete when and because resources are invested differently. The most pressing challenge is therefore: how can we ensure that productive investments (wealth, capital) are allocated to organizations and companies that can contribute to the common good (climate, inequality, innovation, infrastructure etc.)? And most importantly, who can and should take the lead: governments, business, financial institutions? And how?

Program: meeting of European minds
In the Netherlands, think-tanks Socires and the Sustainable Finance Lab are working together with the Moral Markets research program (Vrije Universiteit) on the Balkenende Report on the future of the market economy in Europe, which is due to appear in the fall of 2021. In preparation of the launch of the report, we wish to invite our European counterparts, who have written on similar topics, for an afternoon of conversation. In the planned webinar (July 2020), we will ask the French Institut Montaigne & Comité Médicis and the German Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) to present their view on the future of financial capitalism in Europe.

The central question to this webinar is: how can we envision and organize the great reallocation of finance in Europe? Is it possible to forge coalitions of companies, governments, thinkers and wealthy individuals, who together want to ruminate on the reset of capitalism and the required Great Reallocation; for a new, European arrangement of economy and society? Can we fulfil the European promise of capitalism with a human face?

Also see: