The current fi nancial crisis has not come about by chance. It is the result of a system that has
emerged over the last 30 years and which Keynes may well have called the ‘casino economy’.
The dominance of fi nance over real economy characterises the fi nancial crisis, while fi nance
itself is dominated by the all-encompassing target of maximum profi t at all times. Other aims of
economic activity such as job creation, social welfare and development have fallen by the wayside.
In response, new actors are surfacing, e.g. the institutional investor (hedge funds, private equity
funds, etc.), while new instruments are leading to highly leveraged and destabilising derivatives.
The casino system has been promoted by governments and intergovernmental institutions to
liberalise and deregulate fi nancial markets. Although developing countries have not participated
in the casino system, they have been suffering most from the spill-over into the real economy. The
main lesson learnt is that the casino has to be closed.
Paper presented at a
meeting of the Joint
Team of the Reformed
Churches of Germany
and South Africa, held at
Germany, 26–30 May 2008.