The ECPM conference on morality in the banking world, held in the European Parliament with Joris Luyendijk, was well-visited. Main speaker on the event on 2 December was Dutch best-selling and award-winning author Joris Luyendijk. Together with ECPM MEP Peter van Dalen (ECR) and Belgian MEP Sander Loones (ECR), he discussed the banking sector and the need for morality above legality.
After a warm welcome from the event’s co-host MEP Peter van Dalen, Joris Luyendijk started off with a speech about his vision on the banking world. He emphasized the need for a system that can withstand the inevitable failure of banks. “Our banks are too interconnected to fail, which is a root cause of economic crises.” Addressing the two Members of the European Parliament seated next to him, he mentioned that the current policy of banks forms a threat to democracy, for if the system collapses people will ultimately look at politicians. MEP Peter van Dalen answered that politicians have made legislation for the banking world during the last few years, but that we need more than just legislation to evade another crisis: we need morality. This key element was stressed many times during the conference. Laws and regulations are not enough to make sure things will not go wrong again. The same point was made by MEP Sander Loones as he emphasized that it is a wrong mindset to think that what is not forbidden, is always allowed.
After the exchange of thoughts between Joris Luyendijk and the two MEPs, there was a lively discussion with the attendees of the conference. All attendees had the opportunity to ask questions or raise concerns. A visiting Dutch MEP, Anja Hazekamp, rightfully mentioned that the underlying problem is that we want to spend more in order to be successful. MEP Peter van Dalen agreed: our European society is addicted to growth. However, the urge for economic growth should not be our main drive or the main purpose of our lives.
Joris Luyendijk’s book “Swimming with Sharks. My journey into the world of the bankers”, which has already been translated into several languages, was handed out for free by ECPM to the first 100 people who had registered for the conference.
To see the pictures of the conferece, take a look here.