One Bank One Index

The Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank hit the ground running in 2015 with a bold agenda to create a “lean, clean and green” multilateral development bank for the 21st century.

China does not have a One Bank One Index economic-ecological accounting scheme to complement its One Belt One Road infrastructure and development plan, but it should since it is well-poised to be the leader in infrastructure and debt financing for the Global South.

However, to say that a One Bank One Index (OBOI) accounting scheme does not exist is simply another way to unveil strategies for an ecological post-pandemic economy that could potentially fill a vacuum caused by a series of economic downturns that began with the Wall Street collapse in 2008 and culminated into the miasma of our global pandemic economy. 

China’s leadership in the implementation of the Paris Agreement, SDGs (esp. poverty reduction) would be confirmed and enhanced by supporting an economic-ecological index. 

We need to explore more equitable accounting schemes to address the problem of global leadership, national/regional development, and sustainable local and rural livelihoods

The recent G7 summit and Biden’s Build Back Better World (B3W) suggests that the Western economies will seek to push forward an aggressive model for ecological accounting and this is not likely to bode well for the Global South.  We need to explore more equitable accounting schemes to address the problem of global leadership, national/regional development, and sustainable local and rural livelihoods.  China, who retains its position of solidarity with the Global South, is well-positioned to be the normative source of economic value and infrastructure financing that should be considered dominant.

When the UN Statistical Division announced their revision to the GDP System of National Accounts last March, the framework may have lacked specificity as to how accounts would be treated, but the language is clear: national accounting systems will no longer “be heedlessly allowing environmental destruction and degradation to be considered economic progress.”

Taken at face value, there is a lot to celebrate with that expression. But considering that most of the proposals for natural accounting systems were devised by institutions in the advanced economies with little participation from the South, indigenous or other impacted peoples, it is difficult to see environmental accounting as a truly global initiative.

Those in ecosystem financing are mostly aware of controversies with Cap and Trade, or the exclusionary policies of Big Conservation where large swaths of blue/green spaces of oceans and forests would be managed and accounted for by the large economies using technologies from Dept of Defense sub-contractors. Yet, apart from a few critical minds, there remains little in the way of addressing these flaws.

Much of the logic behind the adoption of these conservation enclosures is simply the urgency of something needing to be done, and since Western interests continue to paint China as a bogeyman across all sectors, it would appear that if there is nothing better on the horizon, then the global initiative is to pursue the hegemonic enclosure with all its flaws intact.

The China-led One Belt One Road is operationally an infrastructure and development initiative, delivering the Global South new access and opportunity in trade of goods and services. While it does bring advantages to China, it does not accomplish this through privatization regimes, enclosures, destabilization of democratic governments, or economic rights abuses that it is often accused of.

What is factual, is that without interference, the Belt and Road Initiative has the technological and institutional structure that would support countries and regions to participate in a much more viable market without being compromised by the neoliberal financialization and militarization of containment, obstruction and destabilization.  

When we trace the evolution of the UN SEEA for example, beginning in the 1990s, textual language marks the evidence of how institutions shifted from “degradation and depletion” to corporatization and private investment. This arrangement was not simply that of a practical matter, it was a structured and deliberate agenda motivated by the very groups that would seek to benefit from our ecological crisis.

Revising our national accounts to include ecosystem services does not preclude that this was merely an exercise in corporate conspiracy, but rather an existential necessity if we are to ever restore our environment. And while the potential crisis that awaits is the competition for global climate leadership, ecological economic accounting schemes like our Intemerate Equation provides an equitable approach to the distribution of global wealth by providing a comprehensive accounting scheme whereby ecological-economic benefits are equitably received.

Foreboding initiatives already suggest that remote peoples may soon be desperate enough to be manipulated into abandoning their homes without a fight. Australia, for example, has proposed that Tuvalu swap national territory for citizenship. Each extreme weather event brings impacted peoples that much closer to embracing the faux-generosity of exploitative interests.

But what of a One Bank One Index?

The combination of several factors that include our present global pandemic: the rise of the Belt and Road Initiative and the benefits it provides for the Global South, new multilateral institutions like the AIIB, the BRICS-led Contingency Reserve Arrangement, the Cross-Border Interbank Payment System, advanced communication technologies including the release of Huawei’s Harmony OS, open-source AI technology like the ARIES for SEEA, and a new data economy all cohesively line up for a relatively seamless transition into a new ecological-economic global economy.

This global transition should be a boon for the Global South. New infrastructure and alternative financing alignments provide regions with an opportunity to choose ecological restoration over degradation and depletion. It is a roadmap to reverse decades of exploitation and embraces new service sectors for labor, development of specialized technologies and intellectual properties, and open the door for new financial sectors where entire communities can own, package, market, and invest in restoration schemes with or without already established financial institutions.

A People’s Prospectus could circumvent Wall Street, bypass hedge fund managers, ignore transnational privatization regimes, and engage in financial markets where they would hold the equity and benefit from their own services in what we might call trans-local, inter-global trade. 

What a People’s Prospectus could deliver is a missing piece of the puzzle for the global economy, which is how we foster sustainable livelihoods in rural and isolated communities that complement highly risky involvement in agricultural or extractive  production.  

What happens if the people manage their data commons? What happens if our ecological data were stewarded by those who are customarily engaged with local biodiversity? Who profits when ecological restoration packages are created by those very communities who would benefit from local restoration services?

The “ownership” or management of that data would not fall under the manipulations of insurance companies or Wall Street investment funds, but rather the communities that would seek to ensure their own wellbeing and profit from investing in their own labor and intellectual property.

To reduce socio-ecological and economic risk and uncertainty requires local control of “private property” in the form of local intellectual property. This type of control would strengthen ties to rural communities, allow poor families to plan families around sustainable income and reduce the risk involved with urban-rural migration. In other words, ecological data promotes social cohesion and a sense of belonging, while providing a sustainable alternative source of income or credit to local authorities, even as data is aggregated and channeled through national and global infrastructure, in alignment with our vision for a One Bank One Index program within the BRI.

A People’s Prospectus: one bank and one index, community data flows, international transactions, indigenous auditing, trans-local market capitalization. A People’s Prospectus could circumvent Wall Street, bypass hedge fund managers, ignore transnational privatization regimes, and engage in financial markets where they would hold the equity and benefit from their own services in what we might call trans-local, inter-global trade. 

While there is no promise that a People’s Prospectus will provide large payouts for communities, it will provide access for a wider distribution of funds and build new opportunities for local services, invariably stimulating local communities.

The Intemerate Equation provides one option for an ecological accounting roadmap for the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Island Countries (ACP). How we facilitate that is open for discussion, and while international financial institutions are caught in the middle of a system struggling to define new rules for global trade and development, unable to predict or contain the risks, an intemerate accounting side table could fill the economic gap resulting from decades of economic and ecological malfeasance.

Faced with lack of infrastructure, access to labor, and environmental sustainability, we have designed a regulatory and auditing infrastructure to prove proof-of-concept.  

The combination of a global economic downturn, a global pandemic, and our looming environmental crisis should not be seen as an opportunity for exploitation just as Wall Street did by creating a Water Futures market behind everyone’s back.  A post-pandemic economy should be seen as an opportunity to reset the global economy to one that is more just and equitable.  If that cost can begin with One Bank and One Index, that might just be enough to derail the neoliberal impetus that seeks to manage and privatize our ecological biodiversity.

An intemerate accounting scheme leveraged against debt may be a crude quid pro quo, but with the amount of funding necessary to fulfill proof of concept, a One Bank One Index proposal seems like a very small risk to define a more just and equitable global economy.

They Count Bombs

The foundation for economic and ecological justice begins with our accounting system.

Intemerate Accounting is a just, fair and equitable ecological accounting scheme assessing the value of our ecological-economic interactions, and applying the resulting data toward reversing climate change’s impacts through restoration. Accordingly, this accounting scheme values our data offsets, rather than measuring the commodity or resource itself.

We can all provide customary services of conducting inventories, collecting statistics, publishing data, determining conditions and trends, examining and analyzing changes, summarizing data, collecting and describing, compiling, measuring, researching, monitoring, managing our ecological biodiversity, that interaction is economic and traditional, and when we manage our commons, we restore the planet and our humanity.

Accounting for Military Systems

Why are High GDP economies often war economies?

The rationale over how we account for GDP is important. The United States has a disproportionately unfair and unjust advantage over most other countries over how it accounts for military expenditures.

The US BEA pushed for these accounting revisions before the UN System of National Accounts back in 2008. Arguing that “national security” benefits our national income as a fixed asset is a spurious logic that only benefits militarized economies, especially considering that the more just, fair and equitable “ecological security” was rejected.

Fixed assets are essentially infrastructure, or “common good” accounts that CANNOT easily be converted into cash. What the US did was change how we accounted for weapon systems, away from being an inventoried expenditure, something we account for when we take it off the shelf.

Imagine that in 2008, we could just as easily have had environmental degradation and resource depletion and household work accounted for in our national income estimates.

Here is the argument from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis as to why Military Weapon Systems need to be treated as a fixed asset:

“The 1993 SNA states that destructive military weapon systems designed for combat, such as warships, fighter aircraft, and tanks, should be treated as intermediate consumption by general government rather than as fixed assets. This treatment is problematic for several reasons: 

  • It fails to recognise that weapon systems provide a nation with economic benefits by protecting the liberty and property of its citizens. 
  • It fails to recognise the role of capital in the production of defence services. 
  • It fails to recognise that existing military equipment have value and can be sold. 
  • When a government sells or transfers used military equipment, the treatment requires a counter-intuitive accounting entry of negative intermediate consumption. 
  • The distinction between destructive equipment and non-destructive equipment that can be used for peaceful purposes is difficult to make in practice. 
  • The treatment of military equipment used by the military is inconsistent with the treatment of the same equipment (for example, armoured vehicles) used by internal police. 
  • The treatment is inconsistent with the latest international public sector financial accounting standards. 
  • Many countries now maintain military equipment for long periods and are concerned about scheduling and providing for its replacement. “

To be clear, high GDP does not always mean that countries need to focus on military systems. Sometimes, as in the case with China, it really does mean positive growth of national income. The difference is that in China, the evidence is tangible with the rise of living standards and the hundreds of millions of people having moved out of poverty over the last two decades. Contrast that with the United States where millions have fallen out of the middle class and stagnant wages have only increased the cost of living. If people have less financial security and environments become more fragile when GDP increases, then clearly there is something wrong with how we account.

Imagine if ecological justice hawks and warrior accountants were sitting at this table rather than war department weapons industry and war machine lobbyists.

This is why ecological revisions to our national accounting system needs the participation of developing countries, indigenous and customary peoples and poor and impacted peoples. We would never allow this….

Intemerate Manifesto


Maxim: Economies measure our interactions with people and the environment.
Arrow: Aim for trans-local and inter-global reciprocity for a restoration economy.

As people of the ocean, forests, mountains and plains, people in cities, farms and rural spaces, we have long engaged in trade and supply chains.  That is a reciprocity that we must restore because it belongs to us, not investment cabals. Militarized economies that count bombs before trees, and values the shroud of industry before fresh air and clean water have done their damage relegating some families to pick through the waste of our consumption while others flounder in luxury, unwilling to hear the wails of extinction, the loss of habitat and the asphyxiation of those struggling for breath.  The shifts of nature have turned violent, yet economies continue to privilege the actions of those muted in gated communities rather than warriors defending regions from plunder and the millions of hands repairing the open wounds of environmental degradation and resource depletion.

To some degree, the evolution of our species has been bound and stacked atop totemic signifiers that have derived a historicism of “us” and “them” and “we” and “none.” As a specie we dotted the planet in social constructs across all environments as if testing the limits of who we are and how we self-identify. We are a mountain people, an ocean people, an island people, a desert people, a warrior people, a hungry or thirsty people, we are a people that are chased away, and we are a people that build walls. It would not be wrong to say that most of our existence on this planet has been as nomadic peoples and that our commitment to spaces and locales are based upon historicisms that may be little more than geographical bubbles.

Maxim: Survival of the fittest is a lie.
Arrow:  Our planet thrives with mutual aid, and as we see again and again, being the strongest never guarantees our survival; rather, the inverse is true, as power and greed has hastened collapse and extinction.

Civilization as we have come to understand it, was built the moment we began to understand the benefits of our division of labor and our understanding of exchange, markets, and supply chains. We gave it those us-and-them names, and also numbers that signified “many” and “none.” Now those numbers, define the Anthropocene, numbers like 7 and 8 billion, which some futurists predict may one day become none if this planet should soon become an uninhabitable wasteland.

Our totemic identifiers may have become little more than placeholders establishing imagined legitimacy of a fictionalized history suggesting that to be civilized means to have been found or discovered. The powerful have attained recognition by subscribing to an economic belief emphasizing that “survival of the fittest” privileges the bully.

However, it is Nature that continues to prove the inverse to be true: that mutual aid and inter-dependence is the path to survival. Our ecological biodiversity is the principle truth, not the power wielded by privatization and militarization. Our population, the 7 soon 8 billion, that is not the number of extinction, those are the 7 and 8 billion pairs of hands that will restore our ecological biodiversity, and define our Wellbeing.

Whether islands in oceans, or mountain villages, or gated in cities or affluent suburbs or enclosed in shantytowns and ghettos, we have evolved far beyond the historicist’s vision of an origin story. Ours is a story of supply chains. We divide our labor, we engage in exchange.

Whether we walk or sail or fly whether we journey or aimlessly drift, the geography of islands, deserts, oceans, and mountains may, to some degree have determined how natural partitions give boundaries to who we are, but the movement of people towards markets of exchange reject the imposed partitions of states and islands and instead recognize oceans, mountains and deserts as merely the spectacle between markets, the interstitial space that would eventually define the breeding ground for military campaigns and conquest and the wastelands of nuclear testing or dumping. We are all migrants living within and between markets of exchange.

Some may self identify as puritans, yet they trade as cannibals, as violent traders that cannibalize markets. Their economy is predatory and fierce. In the history of the world, there is no greater example of a cannibalistic system than the waning days of neoliberalism when Wall Street spectacularly imploded our financial system as investment markets consumed their own debt, hungered for credit default swaps, and feasted on derivatives and debt securities.

As we have imposed the capitalist moniker atop every tower and monument, will this system remain as if the conclusion of our human development has only evolved to reach this place?


How can we approach human reciprocity and exchange when the stratifications of trade and commerce divide us?  When assumptions over economic and ecological biodiversity continue to privilege a discourse that governs the flow of trade towards a center of power that manipulates what is political, sovereign and legal, the production or truth, the manufacturing of consent punishes difference and deviancy with tactics of exclusion, obfuscation, and containment.

We cannot consent to climate proposals that are backdoor privatization schemes enforcing how we count, examine, protect, nurture, analyze, collect, describe, compile, publish, monitor, manage, and value our environments.

We cannot enforce Sustainable Development as another top-down process where international organizations try to exploit our consent.

This is the time for Peoples of the World to mobilize against a common foe, against those forces of tyranny and industrial greed perpetuating a system that continues to alienate us from our indigenous and customary interactions with our land and resources.

We support sound climate goals and respect the science, but not at the expense of alienating us from humble traditional livelihoods.

We are trans-local and inter-global, and require an economy that is just, fair and equitable.

Maxim: GDP is not healthy for people and planet!
Arrow: Changes to National Accounts must include a robust revision of our Wellbeing and Ecological Biodiversity.

The United Nations, has recently announced a draft proposal to replace GDP with a System of Environmental-Economic Accounts and will include ecosystem services into the national accounting system.

We have nearly 50 years of evidence that our national accounting system has been grossly unjust, enforcing immense disparities between the so-called advanced economies and the rest of the world.

How our countries account for economic growth has put our environments at risk. The aggregates for GDP, or our Gross Domestic Product, are built upon the eroding pillars of Production, Consumption, Distribution and Exchange of Goods and Services, with no accounting of our Wellbeing or Ecological Biodiversity.

With this new United Nations environmental accounting system, there is a tremendous opportunity for developing countries, indigenous peoples, and interfaith groups to mandate Wellbeing and sound ecological priorities, that could set a new just, fair, and equitable path forward in how we measure our interactions with the global economy.

Maxim: The logic of Disaster Capitalism has shackled Carbon PPM in our Atmosphere.
Arrow: Ecological Data is a Peoples Commons, a 21st century pathway for people to participate in an economy based on restoring our climate.

When the pillars for measuring economic growth were built between the World Wars they were designed to measure industrial outputs, labor, land and resources, and trade in international markets; interactions that would give value to our national monetary system. When it was standardized by the United Nations in the 1950s, GDP was adopted to provide all the newly formed countries with an economic roadmap that would help navigate their way into the international system.

Upon its adoption, it was not intended to be a neocolonial or anti-communist tool, as different countries and economic systems used national accounting in ways that privileged their own social and economic strengths. It was simply a guideline to measure our industrial economic interactions.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1989, GDP was revised to reinforce the neoliberal privatization and capitalization tools that entwined transnational corporations with freemarket governments, giving investment regimes tremendous economic advantages over small economies.

The objectives of that 1993 national accounting revision became a system that benefited the priorities of privatization and capitalization at a time when the unipolar, neoliberal system was well positioned to take advantage of desperate economic conditions resulting from the Soviet collapse. Today, climate change is no different: Disaster capitalism is a vulture preying on Vulnerability, Fragilty and Conflict.

Despite attempts to include environmental degradation and resource depletion, and household work into our national accounting system, in the 2008 revision, national accounting was again revised, this time to include military systems and Research and Development, further enhancing the priorities of militarized and advanced economies, while ignoring global health and our ecological biodiversity. Despite the fact that in that very same year, the Wall Street financial collapse proved that the neoliberal system was not only grossly unfair, and unjust, but also systemically deficient, privileging the corporate 1%.

Maxim: A top-down consent process in not consent!
Arrow: We must invoke free prior and informed consent, and develop our our own methodologies!

Maxim: Ecological Data is a Peoples’ Commons and is not for the management by privatized and militarized conservation regimes.
Arrow:  Invoke new accounting methodologies valuing our interactions with peoples and the restoration of our environments.

Restoration of our ecological biodiversity belongs to the People, not for the financial benefit of privatized and militarized Conservation Regimes.

Maxim: A Peoples’ Campaign is inter-global.
Arrow: We must aim for trans-local exchange. Reciprocity in the 21st century must not contain or obstruct people-to-people development of our ecological engagement. We all share in our ecological biodiversity.

What is ecological works.  That is the fundamental by which we should be measuring our laws and economies.

We can no longer afford to talk about our economy as something divorced from ecology. We need to be clear that in the case of our planet, our ecology works. Millions of years of evolution has created an ecosystem of mutual interactions, and for thousands of those years– maybe tens of thousands– humans have developed a notion of economy: of trade, infrastructure and supply chains.

It is simple enough to trace the evolution of law and economic principles and we can readily pinpoint the moments in history when industry-friendly governments promoted their laws above the laws of nature. As we look for solutions to fix our existential crises, why do we turn to outdated economic models that created these crises to begin with?

Throughout industrialization, militarized economies continues to enslave, displace, rob, contaminate, contain, obstruct and exterminate cultures and environments. An economy must EQUALIZE and REPAIR that wrong.

Revising national accounts can promote a new system that brings our economy and ecology into harmony.

Reweaving the Ecological Mat: WCC/PCC Webinar

The World Council of Churches and the Pacific Conference of Churches hosted a webinar on the Reweaving the Ecological Mat program conducted by the Pacific Theological College, the Pacific Conference of Churches and the Oceanic Centre for Arts, Culture and Pacific Studies, University of South Pacific. The REM program was a three year program that explored how our ecology, economy, and cultural wellbeing could be a viable and tangible way to account for our future.

If climate change is the greatest threat to our existence on this planet, what the REM program did was to offer a solution on how to reverse climate change and pollution while promoting wellbeing and development for our region. This was done not by asserting another top down program demanding our consent, rather, through a bottom up program that respects and values people and planet.

Dr. Reverend Cliff Bird discusses the Oikonomics, a return to the ecological, economic, ecumenical and cultural relationship from which these terms derive;

Dr. Elise Huffer introduces the cultural and wellbeing factors necessary for any Pacific development scheme;

Arnie Saiki lays out what is behind the intermerate accounting scheme; and

Daphne Kiki, provides a view of the role our Pacific youth will need to play to shape our way forward.

What I think is clear is the role our churches and other religious institutions are going to need to perform to promote a new accounting framework if we are to survive the greatest existential challenge we have ever had to make.