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Voters in France and Greece delivered a harsh judgement on their ruling parties in elections on Sunday 6 May, ousting President Nicolas Sarkozy from power in France and severely punishing the two leading parties in Greece.

These electoral successes, backed by the collapse of the Dutch government, rejection of the coalition government’s austerity policies in the UK’s local elections, and continuing and deepening protests in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and mayhem elsewhere, notably, Greece, tilts the balance of the European debate sharply away from austerity; cruelty to the 99%.

President Hollande has a rare opportunity to reshape the political and the socio-economic landscape not only in France, but in Europe too. The right has failed economically as its austerity measures continue to keep much of Europe's economy bumping along the bottom. Hollande must win. We must wish him good luck.

A word of caution and hope:

I hope and pray that President Hollande will keep his words and promises. In Britain, very similar to what happened in France yesterday, we, the people, by a huge majority voted for change and hope, electing a Labour government in May 1997. After many dark and hopeless years of Thatcherism, the people voted for hope, honesty, integrity, equality and ethics. In short, the electorate voted for a new domestic and foreign policy, guided by high moral compass.

However, in return, Messrs Blair and Brown cheated us, destroying our hope and dreams. This is why I dream that monsieur Hollande will not become a Sarkozy with glasses, as Blair and Brown became Thatcher in trousers! Of course, many believe that the same is also true across the Atlantic when comparing Mr Obama to Mr. Bush.

Read more:

French president François Hollande promises 'a new start' for Europe


Those Revolting Europeans


If President Hollande is serious about offering democratic Socialism as a true alternative to neo-liberalism and feral capitalism, then, he must remain true to his words.

The People Have Spoken: Europe is calling for an Alternative Economic Model-- A Reflection

The world today is facing a multitude of crises in politics, economics, finance, banking, energy, food, environment, education, and more, resulting in much uncertainty, fear and anxiety. There is no doubt we should see these crises, as well as others, such as terrorism, wars and xenophobia, as a wakeup call to action, to see things as they are. Moreover, the rapid and unsustainable rise in consumerism and materialism devoid of human and spiritual values, has seriously destroyed the fabric of society, and has catastrophically weakened the ethical, moral and spiritual dimensions of our communities. In short, the world is facing a crisis of values, ideas, and vision.

Complex world problems and intricate global issues require the coming together of multiple areas of expertise, experience, perspectives and insight. We must recognise that the civilisations of the world are entwined together in a global economic system which is incapable of functioning for the common good of humanity, other species, and this planet which is our home. Now is the time to begin a dialogue amongst civilisations, ideas, visions, disciplines and peoples on how to construct a new economic system and a new economics better designed to meet these ends.

It is clear that serious reflection is in order. To stand back and not question what has happened and why would be to compound failure with failure: failure of vision and failure of responsibility.

A sustainable and prosperous global economy needs to be grounded in the common good. Building a fair society and protecting the environment must accompany profit as goals for business. The failure of markets, institutions and morality during the current financial crisis has shown that the emergence of global capitalism brings with it a new set of risks which call for an ethical, moral and spiritual framework.

In the spirit of reflection and dialogue, seeking alternative possible solutions, perhaps the best is to begin by asking some of the “biggest” questions:

Which paths should be recommended to shift the current destructive global political-economic order from one of unrestrained economic growth, profit maximisation and cost minimisation, leading to ecological degradation, and social inequity to one that preserves and enhances social and ecological well-being, as well as human happiness, contentment, and well-being? Which ethical/spiritual sources should be considered in economic/business ethics and economic behaviour? How can we integrate these into economic theories and decisions? How can we deal with individual or institutionalized greed and self-absorption? What should be the role of universities in building an integrity-based model of business education? What are the requirements of a virtuous economy? How can we overcome poverty and scarcity with limited natural resources? What is the role of the next generation of business leaders? How should the training of young executives be directed? How should it supply insights into the nature of globalisation from diverse economic, technological, and spiritual perspectives? How should such education build support relationships among the participants that will lead to a deeper appreciation of the ethical aspects of business and finance; leading toward action for the common good within their chosen careers? In short, how can the intended outcome develop insight, commitment, and moral capacity in the participants to serve as leaders in the world community, working toward the global common good?

In all, we need to focus more sharply on the multifaceted insights and assets offered by the different perspectives and points of view. This is how we may implement a new agenda for a new economics, business and economic system which functions for the common good of humanity and the earth.