Governments across the globe have piled up mountains of debt to keep their economies from crumbling on themselves. Each holds steadfast to an assumption that debt problems can always be solved with more economic growth. This idea that all national economies can and should continue to grow indefinitely is a delusion perpetuated by powerful global economic institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

In this age of economic recessions and impending ecological catastrophe, we urgently need to create new economic models and institutions that stand outside this growth delusion. One of the more radical visions that was proposed to the United Nations’ Bhutan Commission is the idea of an International Bank for Right Livelihood. The idea emerged at a series of brainstorming sessions at the UN Headquarters in which I was privileged to participate.

The International Bank for Right Livelihood would not be a single monolithic...

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