People that matter – Bernard Lietaer


I’m starting a new series on my blog, featuring people I met that I think have something important, intelligent to say that may influence our short and long term future.

There are many people that qualify (which is good, as I’m going to run this thread for a long time!).

I’ll start the first of the series with Bernard Lietaer (www.lietaer.com and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Lietaer)

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Bernard was part of the “Future of Money” stream at the recently held Compass Summit (www.compass-summit.com). The stream was sponsored by Innotribe, and I had the pleasure of introducing Bernard to the crowd.

Let’s first flash back to the past.

Back in 2009, the Innotribe team started looking at the “long” aspect of finance, inspired by the long now foundation (www.longnow.org). We were interested at the “long finance” aspect, basically focusing on the resilience of the financial system. Resilience is a term dear to SWIFT, and we wanted to explore some long term implications about its meaning.

Rather immediately, when you start considering the long finance, the discussion comes about money, or, more appropriately, about value and how it is expressed. And this is where I inevitably meet Bernard.

I did invite Bernard to Innotribe@Sibos Amsterdam in 2010, where we started the Long Finance discussion, but unfortunately he could not make it (he is a busy person, I can tell you!). So we sort of drifted apart for a while.

Back to now. When considering the “Future of Money” subject we were planning for the Compass Summit, Bernard’s name immediately spring back to my mind, and I contacted him.

We finally met in person in California, right before the beginning of the Summit (this is strange, as Bernard lives in Waterloo in Belgium, about 5km from SWIFT headquarters…. But as I mentioned, he is somewhat of a migratory bird, difficult to catch).

Bernard is an interesting mix of academic (expert on currencies) and practitioner (central banker, fund manager, contributor to the Single European currency- the euro), associated to a great story teller, writer (he is the author of the “Future of money” book and numerous writings) and professor, as he explains things simply and in a way many people understand. And an innovator, and out of the box thinker- as he has designed the C3 (commercial credit Circuit), that is being used in Brazil and Urugay (Have a look at his TEDx talk for a summary of C3 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nORI8r3JIyw)

In addition, I quickly discovered in California that he is, like me, an amateur of fine food!

You may be, as we say in french, “pour ou contre” (in favor or against) his theory. I know he has supporters and I know he has detractors. But what cannot be denied is his scientific (almost mathematical) approach, the strength he puts behind his proposal and his passion.

In a nutshell – he has something to propose to improve the financial crisis we are going through. He is out there proposing a different approach. And I believe this is something worth recognizing.

If you assume (as I do) that we’re going though a period of change equivalent to the printing press or the steam machine, then ask yourself the question – is the money we use today, designed and maintained over centuries, designed for an agricultural and industrial age, is that money going to take us where Internet and social media are taking us?

This is the subject and, shall I say, battle of Bernard.

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One thought on “People that matter – Bernard Lietaer

  1. Kosta, I could not agree more about Bernard. His talk was one of the highlights of the Compass Summit, and I will never think about money the same way again. I especially appreciated his point that countries with at least two currencies have more stable economies than those with “mono-currencies”.

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