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Newsletter No. 23 - April 2009

Links to previous Newsletters can be found here.

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FINAL PROGRESS REPORT ON THE
G20 MONETARY REFORM CAMPAIGN

EDITORIAL. This Progress Report will be the last about the campaign to put national and international monetary reform on the G20 agenda for 2nd April. That short campaign has contributed to growing awareness of the need for international and national monetary reform.

But it also strengthens one's sense of the urgency of convincing a wider range of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) of that need. Even in normal times our skewed system of financial rewards and penalties motivates almost everyone in the world to get and spend money destructively - socially, environmentally, and economically. That results from creating money as profit-making debt, together with dysfunctional tax systems and public spending programmes.

This means that a wide range of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) should support monetary reform as part of wider money system reform . It is important for social issues (poverty, welfare, social injustice, health, human rights, etc), environmental issues (climate change, energy supply and use, water, food and agriculture, etc); the problems of ‘developing’ countries; and general economic and public policy issues (world future prospects; local and community economic development; ethical investing, trading and consuming; corporate social responsibility; etc).

Most NGOs still give priority to getting money from the existing money system for their own projects. Natural enough but, if the existing system remains unreformed, they will all continue to swim against a very powerful tide.

If you find target dates useful, the Copenhagen UN Climate Conference - http://en.cop15.dk - will be on 7th - 18th December, 2009. We must persuade it to recognise the key importance of having a money system that encourages everyone to save, not destroy, the world. 

 

1. THE AFTERMATH OF THE G20 MEETING. Mainstream opinion has cautiously deemed it successful so far. But disagreements between G20 countries have not been resolved.

More important, as the economic situation worsens and anger grows against the bankers and the rich. It is likely to become more widely accepted that serious study of the feasibility of national and international monetary reform is needed. (For more about that, see Item 4 of Newsletter 22).

We can encourage this by publicising the questions in the one-page Note on "THE ROOT OF THE PRESENT CRISIS AND ITS CURE: Who Should Create The Money Supply? Should It Be Created As Debt Or Debt-Free?". You can read it at www.jamesrobertson.com/presentcrisisroot.htm.

 

2. THE PROBLEM FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA is that, like Prime Minister Brown, he is insulated from reality by advisers from the conventional school of financial experts, who have never questioned if it's right to depend on the commercial banks to create our public money supply.

However, there are green shoots of hope in the USA, as elsewhere.

Stephen Zarlenga and the American Monetary Institute - www.monetary.org - have prepared an American Monetary Act based on the necessary reform. They have backing in Congress from influential Congressman Dennis Kucinich. Please look at their website if you don't already know it.

Hazel Henderson has been a friend and colleague since the 1970s. Her "Ethical Markets" website is strong on Reforming Global Finance - www.ethicalmarkets.com/category/reforming-global-finance.

It's good to see, if you scroll down the page, that she includes contributions from John Bunzl - www.simpol.org - on "The G20 Can Change The Rules For Global Trade", and from me on " The Root Of The Present Crisis: Who Should Create The Money Supply? As Debt Or Debt-Free?"

In David Korten's (www.davidkorten.org) "Agenda for a New Economy"(Berrett-Koehler Publishers - 2009, pbk, 196pp), he asks whether commercial banks are so vital for the national interest to justify showering them with trillions of dollars to save them from the consequences of their own excess (Answer, No), and whether there might be other more effective and less costly ways of providing necessary and beneficial financial services (Answer, Yes). One of these would be to "transfer to the federal government the responsibility for issuing money" (pp142-144).

This widely ranging, strongly decentralising book has been rightly acclaimed. It deserves a longer review at a later date. Its conclusion is surely correct. The people must first show the way we insist the leaders must follow. That will allow President Obama to join a people's declaration of independence from Wall Street.

The same goes for citizens and our leaders in other countries too.

 

3. THE PROBLEM FOR PRIME MINISTER BROWN is that the past ten years have left him with a "boom and bust" reputation - exaggerated boasting followed by conspicuous failure. The recent short YouTube film - www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9sO25aFjDs by "renegade economist" Fred Harrison on "How Gordon Brown Broke Britain" presses it home - a relentless shredding.

Fred doubts if Gordon Brown has the flexibility to flip to the escape route in the scenario sketched in Item 4 of Newsletter 22. I nurse the hope that Brown, or a successor Prime Minister, will take it up when enough people have understood the facts as explained at www.endtherecession.org and other comparable websites.

 

4. THERE WAS A VERY ENCOURAGING BLOG POST from former nef director Ed Mayo on 19 March - http://edmayo.wordpress.com/2009/03/19/monetary-reform.

It reflects his perceptive and enthusiastic foreword that launched the publication of "Creating New Money" by nef nearly ten years ago - www.jamesrobertson.com/books.htm.

As he now says,

"We are moving into a new financial system as well as a downturn or depression. The radical toolkit deserves a fair hearing.

The idea that this was all the fault of Fred Goodwin (who I understand now has two bodyguards) is simply lazy thinking. It was not just individuals. There was a system at work and it is the system that we need to think anew."

 

5. BRYAN GOULD (www.bryangould.net), the former Labour Shadow Cabinet member who is now back in New Zealand, contributes the last chapter in "The Crash - a view from the left". He says,

"In particular, we should re-examine the role of the privately owned banks in the light of the current debacle and question whether they should ever again be allowed a virtual monopoly of credit creation. In view of the burden that bank failure has imposed on the taxpayer, should the banking function not be seen as essentially a public responsibility?".

The book is published by Soundings and can be downloaded from www.lwbooks.co.uk/ebooks/crash.html.

Other contributors include Colin Hines, Toby Lloyd, Richard Murphy and Ann Pettifor.

 

6. TWO ORGANISATIONS that I hope will call for monetary reform next time.

(1) Global Coalition for Responsible Credit: A call on G20 leaders - www.responsible-credit.net/index.php?id=1980&viewid=42636.

(2) Rights and Humanity: Ubuntu Declaration for a Just and Sustainable World Economy.

 

7. THE NUMBER 10 PETITION to the Prime Minister has collected nearly 500 signatories since 2nd March - http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/ G20moneyreform. It will remain open until 30 April.

If you haven't already signed it, please do; the eventual number will be a useful measure of support.

If you have signed it, but have not checked that your name is on the list, please look at it and check. We know of a number of people who thought they had signed, but had failed to confirm it on the automatic reply e-mail sent to them from No 10.

 

8. VIDEO NEWS. Nearly 2,500 people have watched Fred Harrison's Renegade Economist film of me explaining the need for international and national monetary reform. Click here or on the image below to watch it.

 

9. Thanks. Finally, thank you to everyone who has supported this Crash Campaign. I hope to be in touch again in early May.

 

James Robertson
6th April 2009

PS. A Massive Fraud. I wonder whether Geithner or Summers will show this to President Obama - www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04032009/ profile.html. Black is clearly a respectable and knowledgeable witness. Thanks to Steve Kurtz and David Weston who have both just sent me this.

PPS. "Money for Nothing" - www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/ apr/03/g20-economics-banks.

I got news of this truly excellent article by Mark Braund literally minutes after Newsletter 23 went out. Please read it and add a supportive comment if you can.