“The financial scandals of recent times - In particular, the Cum Ex or Wirecard scandals – reveal that there are deficiencies of accountability in the financial economy and its supervision by policy-makers and the rule of law,” writes Bishop Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, of the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD - Protestant Church in Germany), in his foreword to the EKD Text “Towards a Sustainable and Just Financial system” published last year in German. Now it has also appeared in English. Bedford-Strohm adds that the financial crisis of 2008 has already shown how dangerous developments can be in a largely unregulated international financial market, with the growing economic inequalities at the national and global level also revealing a wrong trend.” For many years the EKD has advocated the guiding principle of sustainable development. In this, the dynamics, structures and guiding values of the financial system are of central importance,” emphasises Bedford-Strohm.
The discussion paper was written during the period of the last EKD Council by the Advisory Commission for Sustainable Development, which was chaired by Professor Uwe Schneidewind, a former president of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy. “The Advisory Commission advocates a social and ecological transformation of the financial economy,” Schneidewind explains. “The discussion paper offers a Protestant orientation for the steps necessary for reform.” The document argues for a strengthening of accountability relationships on the part of the financial economy and the real economy, as well as between policy-makers and the rule of law. They all serve the common good and should be guided by the ecological carrying capacity of the Earth.
“Since people often feel that the structures of the financial economy are not transparent, the EKD discussion paper wants to provide explanations and information on this issue,” says the chair of the Advisory Commission. “At the same time, we offer reflections on the theological and ethical foundations of the biblical witness as well as the Reformation and ecumenical tradition in this context.”
The discussion paper is available for downloading at www.ekd.de/en/financial-system.
Hanover 19 May 2022
EKD Press Office