From a Debt to a Gift

From a Debt to a Gift

22 November 2022 Katharina Serafimova 156 views

What is money? Do we need money? If we fetch water from the spring and go into the forest and gather food, then we don’t need money. When we follow our individual impulses to fashion things in an entrepreneurial, creative way as human beings, then something like money becomes relevant. Money in that sense is the «spiritual element of the economy» – that is what Rudolf Steiner calls it – and I wanted to understand that.


If money is the spiritual element of the economy, how is it at work, then, when over ninety percent of the money is based on debt, and debt brings stress, anxiety, and fear? For me, it was logical that I could understand this better by going to a bank. So I became a sustainability officer at a private Swiss bank, which was a very interesting apprenticeship. I was looking for the Archimedean lever to bring about the greatest possible change. I wanted to know who can change things. I found that even the managing director of a bank cannot really do it. Even if sustainable projects are wanting to be undertaken, they remain unfree. So I kept looking for even bigger and more powerful people. This was my hypothesis: the bigger and more powerful they are, the more likely they are to be able to change something or to know where the Archimedean point for change lies in our society.

I then had the opportunity to develop the topic of ‹Money and Nature› for WWF, first in Switzerland and then for international projects. To do this, I did a lot of research with McKinsey, Credit Suisse, KPMG, and others to find out where the disconnect lies between the decisions of financial institutions and their impacts, all the way up to G20 negotiations and central banks, where we tried to influence even higher officials. I thought that if the banks cannot do it, maybe the Bank for International Settlement or the Financial Stability Board can. Finally, I was forced to conclude that the topic that was not talked about – or could not be talked about – was the creation of money. And that is why in the end, I went on to actively examine the monetary reform movement.

This excerpt comes from an article originally published in the (online exclusive) English Edition of the weekly Newsletter ‹Das Goetheanum›. You can read the full article on the website of 'Das Goetheanum'.

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Illustration Fabian Roschka