The inspiration for the GLS Bank (a community bank for loans and gifts in Bochum, Germany) also served as the inspiration for the initiative of the Vidar Foundation.


One party has an idea, an initiative-----------------------------Expression of spiritual life

Another can support that party with money ------------------Brotherly economic help

A third party becomes aware of this and accompanies

    and organizes this help------------------------------------------Legal/rights function (a bank) 


 

This three-fold picture arose out of the wish to transform the non-relationship between investor and individual receiving credit into a genuine social and conscious relationship with the chance that natural self-interest could be changed into an interest for another.

(From Eine Bank fuer die Menschen (a bank for human beings) by Rolf Kerler, Verlag am Goetheanum, Dornach, 2011.

 

In explaining his Fundamental Law, Rudolf Steiner states in no uncertain terms that for a person to work not for the community but for him or herself is the very antithesis of the ideal of social relationships.  He calls it the introduction of the principle of selfishness into society.  Further, he maintains that every society must of necessity collapse if people work only for themselves.  “The work of the community must be so organized that the product of labor belongs to society, and so that the means of subsistence are created not as the reward for labor, but through the structure of society.”

(From  A Historical Background for the Formation of Judgment on the Social Question , Philmont, NY. Unpublished manuscript.GA 185a)

 

The question of interest was also studied in the beginning of the GLS Bank.  Interest on investment, which thus treats money as a commodity and is contrary to Rudolf Steiner’s Fundamental Law, was nevertheless seen as a social fact and therefore taken into consideration in the establishing of policy. In the end, it was understood that money just as everything else must in the course of time be used up and gradually  depreciated or transferred as a gift; however,  this cannot be done in an “across the board” manner  but rather agreed upon in a process of individual negotiation. Thus interest on credit offered can bring a return to the lender  of 0% or current bank rates or anything in between.  Vidar Foundation follows this process as well in working with investors.