Whereas a stable financial system is essential for achieving our goals of social justice and care for the Earth, the current international system remains fragile and crisis-prone. KAIROS research and analysis on the global financial crisis focuses on both its origins and the prospects for a new, more equitable financial architecture. KAIROS views issues of global finance from the perspective of the peoples and ecosystems that suffer most from its crises and inequities. While bodies like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the new Group of Twenty (G20) failed to take decisive action in the wake of the most recent crisis, there are also many signs of hope.

KAIROS has documented how the UN Commission of Experts on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System has placed on the agenda some concrete proposals for a fundamental restructuring. Most recently we have found renewed interest in using Financial Transaction Taxes (FTTs), also popularly known as the Robin Hood Tax, to raise revenues to fight poverty and finance climate change adaptation and mitigation measures in developing countries.

Resources: KAIROS Policy Briefing Papers

KAIROS Policy Briefing Paper #27: Can Quantitative Easing Fund Green Jobs? (December 2010) describes a controversial monetary policy tool recently employed by the US Federal Reserve Board to create money out of nothing. The paper suggests that using new liquidity to purchase government bonds from private financial firms has dubious benefits. However, quantitative easing can serve a public purpose if it is used to fund the creation of jobs in clean, renewable energy projects.

KAIROS Policy Briefing Paper #25: G20 Surrenders to the Money Traders (July 2010) analyzes how the G20 summit in Toronto steered away from needed economic stimulus and towards harmful austerity. While the G20 as a group did not endorse measures to raise revenues through taxing financial transactions, bank profits or money traders’ remuneration, some of its members who belong to the Leading Group on Innovative Financing for Development have endorsed the implementation of a modest tax on currency trading that would raise US$25-34 billion a year for a Global Solidarity Fund.

KAIROS Policy Briefing Paper #24: An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Adopt a Financial Transactions Tax (April 2010) recounts how the third G20 Summit in Pittsburgh in 2009 started a debate on how financial transaction taxes might be used to pay some of the costs of government bailouts and raise money to fight poverty and climate change.

KAIROS Policy Briefing Paper #19: Financial Crisis An Opportunity for a New Global Order (November 2009) explores the causes of the financial crisis and the prospects for a new financial order.

KAIROS Policy Briefing Paper #17: G20 Rehabilitates IMF, Marginalizes U (April 2009) analyzes the first two meetings of G20 leaders in Washington in 2008 and in London in 2009 which reinforced the old order and ignored more progressive proposals under discussion within the United Nations.

KAIROS Policy Briefing Paper #16: What Kind of a “New” Bretton Woods will Emerge from the Crisis? (February 2009) chronicles calls for a “New Bretton Woods” conference that would fundamentally redesign the global financial system.

Resources: Ecumenical Documents & News Articles

Statement on just finance and the economy of life by World Council of Churches’ Advisory Group on Economic Matters.

Justice Not Greed is an anthology of articles by Christian economists, theologians, ethicists, and sociologists dealing with recent failures of the world's financial structures. KAIROS Global Economic Justice Coordinator John Dillon has contributed a chapter to this book.

The Accra Confession is an important ecumenical document by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches that establishes economic injustice and ecological justice as matters of Christian faith.

60 States to lobby U.N. for currency transaction tax

Several countries issue declaration supporting a tax on financial transactions

G-20: Take Action on Financial Transaction Taxes


First Nations Challenge Foreign Investment Protection Agreements: Policy Briefing Paper #36


In August 2013, KAIROS welcomed Brenda Sayers, a band councillor from the Hupacasath First Nation on Vancouver Island. Brenda explained eloquently why the Hupacasath had filed a request in a federal court seeking a judicial review of the federal government’s decision to proceed with the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection Agreement (FIPA). Learn more in our newest Briefing Paper.

UN Climate Talks Move Backwards: Developed States Refuse Meaningful Action


Once again a UN conference on climate change has failed to take meaningful action despite the devastation wrought by typhoon Haiyan. Youth attending the conference in Warsaw singled out Canada and Australia for refusing to hear the urgent pleas for action from developing countries.

Ecologists Call for a Transformed Financial System – Policy Briefing Paper #34

Briefing Paper 34 - liquidity

Ecologists, alarmed by how human activity is de-pleting ecosystems faster than they can be replen-ished, have added their voices to calls for a trans-formed financial system. Ecological economists point to how excessive consumption leads to more extraction of raw materials and emissions of wastes than can be sustained on a finite planet.

The financial crisis of 2007-2008 has shown how the current financial system is neither sustain-able nor just. The human and ecological devastation that resulted from that crisis makes the search for a new financial system more urgent than ever....

A Breakthrough on Financial Transaction Tax, But Still a Long Way to Go

Robin Hood

A decision by 11 European countries to implement a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT, also known as the "Robin Hood Tax") constitutes an important victory for tax justice campaigners. Austria, Belgium, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain could start collecting a 0.1% tax on trades in stocks and bonds and a 0.01% […]

Policy Briefing Paper #33 – Signposts for a New Financial Architecture


In 2012 KAIROS joined ecumenical partners from around the world in fashioning the São Paulo Statement on International Financial Transformation for the Economy of Life. Briefing Paper No. 33 describes the background for 10 of the key elements contained in the São Paulo plan of action for establishing a new international financial and economic architecture. […]

Policy Briefing Paper #32 – Tax Reform for Equity and Sustainability


Briefing Paper No. 32 summarizes research on tax justice issues that KAIROS prepared for the São Paulo conference. Reform of taxation is a feasible way to reduce ine-quality, fund social programs and finance invest-ments in harmony with Earth‟s ecological carrying capacity. Taxation measures can also be effective for curbing speculation and excessive investment in ecologically […]

The São Paulo Statement “International Financial Transformation for the Economy of Life”

logo wcc

The global ecumenical community has issued a strong call for the transformation of the world’s financial system. A statement calling for a new financial and economic architecture emerged from a conference attended by sixty delegates from Christian churches from every continent. The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) in partnership with the World Council of […]

Economy of Life, Justice, and Peace for All: A Call to Action

logo wcc

In June 2012, the Global Forum on Poverty, Wealth and Ecology of the World Council of Churches (WCC) concluded with a strong call for action to build an “economy of life” that focuses on eradicating poverty, challenging wealth accumulation and safeguarding ecological integrity.  The forum took place in Bogor, Indonesia, with more than one hundred […]

A Sustainable Energy Policy is Possible


In July 2011, federal, provincial and territorial energy ministers called for a public debate on a national energy strategy presenting KAIROS with an opportunity to elaborate on its vision for a just and sustainable energy policy. KAIROS envisions a transition away from fossil fuels towards energy efficiency, conservation and a reliance on renewable sources. We […]

KAIROS Analysis of the 2012 Federal Budget

logo-kairosProvisions of the 2012 federal budget have important implications for several KAIROS priorities, including justice for Indigenous peoples, and ecological sustainability as well as the quality of Official Development Assistance.   Equity for Indigenous Peoples in Canada The budget announces $275 million over three years for First Nations education ($100 million for early literacy and […]

KAIROS plays key role in World Council of Churches North American Hearings on Poverty, Wealth and Ecology.

WCC - Poverty Wealth Ecology logo

From November 6th to 11th, representatives from churches in Canada and the United States, joined by guests from every continent, met in Calgary, Alberta for a consultation convened by the World Council of Churches on issues of poverty, wealth and ecology. Some participants travelled to Fort McMurray to witness the scale and impact of the […]

Pumped Up: How Canada Subsidizes Fossil Fuels at the Expense of Green Alternatives

Pumped Up

KAIROS’ 60 page 2011 study “Pumped Up: How Canada Subsidizes Fossil Fuels at the Expense of Green of Green Alternatives” demonstrates that the fossil fuel industry receives subsidies amounting to 1billion dollars a year from the federal government — resources that could be used to offset the costs of transitioning to a green economy. ——- […]

Budgets are Moral Documents

The current economic crisis and climate crisis are interconnected. They challenge people of faith to proclaim a different set of values that begins with the vision of one humanity, one creation.

KAIROS Briefing Paper #27: Can Quantitative Easing Fund Green Jobs?

In our August 2010 Policy Briefing Paper, “G20 Surrenders to the Money Traders,” we discussed how central banks have the option of creating money out of nothing through what is known as“quantitative easing” or QE for short. In that paper, we note that the US Federal Reserve created US$1.2 trillion in 2008 through QE. It used that money to purchase […]