Newsletter No. 41 - May 2013
Links to other Newsletters can be found here.
2. A Leadership Vacuum
3. Understanding The Scale Of The Challenge
4. The Practical Reforms
5. Progress: Money System
Reform As A Whole
6. Pressures on Money Supply and Banking Reform
7. Some Coming Events
8. An Addition to my Website
PS. A Money System Reform Petition
As the urgent need to understand and reconstruct key
parts of the world's money system becomes clearer and
clearer, this newsletter summarises where we
are and where we must go next.
2. A LEADERSHIP VACUUM
We face a great crisis. The current money system
is motivating us to destroy the future for our grandchildren
and great grandchildren by compelling us to
compete against other people and countries, and encouraging
us to destroy the planet's resources.
The outlines of a solution are now clear.
A reformed money system will be one that motivates
and enables us to help one another to meet our
needs, including the need for justice in our world society
and the need to conserve the planet's resources on which
our survival depends.
However moving to that solution, and overcoming doubts
and vested interests, is going to require a great deal
of energy and courage from us all. It will also require
great leadership from our politicians.
Past crises have brought forth great leaders. At the
moment, the political leadership that is needed so badly
is simply not there.
National leaders - from Canada, France,
Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and
the United States, together with the European Union -
will meet at the G8 meeting in Northern Ireland on 17-18
Jun. Will they live up to the challenge?
I fear not.
That is in spite of the fact that the
British Prime Minister chairing the meeting has pledged
to tackle the "staggering" levels
of tax evasion as a key priority of the UK's presidency
of the G8 this year. See www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/may/09/100-richest-uk-billions-offshore-tax-havens -
especially its final paragraph.
Protesting NGOs may live up to the challenge somewhat
better. Examples include the World Development
Movement "shouting out for Justice" (www.wdm.org.uk),
and the Progressive Development Forum "telling
the truth about aid" (http://progressivedevelopmentforum.wordpress.com).
But neither the G8 leaders nor the
protesting NGOs are likely to respond with
enough understanding of the deeply
rooted challenge imposed
on the human community by the present money system.
(For some important consequences of that, see the following:
3. UNDERSTANDING THE SCALE OF THE CHALLENGE
The behaviour of almost everyone on Earth, with its
effects on the lives of other people and the natural
world, is now motivated to a great extent by how the
money system works. We need to understand:
(1) how that process of motivation happens;
(2) how it is now motivating us to
behave in ways that threaten our future;
(3) how to change the way it works;
(4) what we can do to make sure it
is changed that way.
Assuming it is not already too late, radical reform
of the whole worldwide money system is
urgently needed, involving:
(1) a restructuring of national money
systems, and a reduction of their present centralising
(2) further development of the international money
system and local money systems; and
(3) the purposeful evolution of them all into
a global system that serves the various common interests
of all the world’s people more effectively, democratically
and ecologically than the global system serves us today.
This may well involve a radical
structural change in politics. See for example John
Bunzl in The Huffington Post on "The
Right Mourn Thatcher; The Left, Any Sense of Direction" -
it will almost certainly require peaceful revolutionary
action by squeezed middle class people,
as described by David Boyle in his latest book, Broke:
Who Killed the Middle Classes? - www.david-boyle.co.uk/broke which
I heartily recommend.
Failing that, we will continue down the road to self-destruction.
See for example www.monbiot.com/2013/05/10/via-dolorosa.
4. THE PRACTICAL REFORMS
Three component reforms will contribute to National
Money System Reform. They are:
reform (changing how the money supply is
- public revenue reform (changing
what is taxed and not taxed); and
- public spending
reform (changing what public revenue
is spent on and what not).
Those shifts will transform the present national money
system into one that is more
intelligently organised. They
will mean shifting away from
a redistribution of resources that fails to
correct the outcomes of a badly organised money system, to
a predistribution of resources that provides
the basis for a money system better designed to serve
the necessary purposes of money today. (For more about
predistribution, please see the Introduction to my March
First, the national
This will be changed into a
truly public service. It will stop the creation
of money by commercial banks as profit-making debt.
It will make the central bank responsible for creating
money debt-free and giving it as public
revenue to the elected government to spend
Second, public revenue.
Changes in other sources of public
revenue will shift taxes
off ‘goods’ on to 'bads’. This
(a) Abolishing taxes on
value added, incomes and profits that penalise useful
work and enterprise.
(b) Replacing those taxes
with charges on things and activities
that subtract value from common resources for private
benefit. These will include taxes or charges
on land values and on the use of other
common resources, mainly environmental including
the capacity of the environment to absorb pollution
Third, public spending.
Changes will include a people-centred shift in
public spending including:
(a) Introducing a Citizen’s Income – a tax-free
income paid to every man, woman and child
as a right of citizenship.
(b) Meeting the costs of that by
reducing the costs of:
(i) interest on government debt,
(ii) perverse subsidies,
(iii) contracting out public infrastructure
and services to commercial and financial businesses,
(iv) public sector inefficiency and waste.
national reforms will also provide the international
money system with a
model designed to meet the challenges of world
society today and in the future; and it will provide local
money systems with an enabling context for a
revival in more self-reliant local economies, instead
of their present disabling one.
NB. These practical reforms are more fully
explained in Future
5. PROGRESS: MONEY SYSTEM REFORM AS A WHOLE
A simple philosophical principle underlies all three
of the reforms at items 2, 3, and 4 above - how the money
supply is created, what is taxed and
what is not taxed, and what is public money spent on
and what not.
The principle is that everyone should pay into
public revenue the value of the
common resources they use for their own profit, and
they should receive from public spending a
share in the total value of common resources.
As supporters of those separate reforms recognise that
supporters of the others share those principles too, support for
the separate reforms and for money system
reform as a whole are quickening.
(1) Alanna Hartzok is
a prominent example - see www.earthrightsinstitute.org.
She is the current General Secretary of the International
Union for Land Value Taxation- www.theiu.org.
Earlier this month she gave a paper in New York to
the annual meeting of the North American Basic
Income Guarantee Congress - www.usbig.net/congresses.php.
The importance of the occasion is that
it expressed co-operation
between supporters of two of the three main component
reforms in total money system reform - land value taxation
and basic income. She
is now looking forward to future big meetings at which
supporters of all three reforms - money supply, land
value taxation and basic income (Citizen’s Income)
- will come together.
I greatly appreciate that Alanna's
paper was A Tribute
to the New Economics of James Robertson. Its
abstract was as follows:
"James Robertson, co-founder of The New
Economics Foundation and The Other Economic
has been called “that most subversive of
men, the eminently reasonable revolutionary".
His vision for a new economics for the 21st century
is multi-dimensional and local-to-global.
Robertson advocates for a universal basic income in
combination with socialization of resource rent,
land value taxation, green taxes, widespread
ownership of productive capital and fundamental
monetary policy reform. He foresees a multi-polar
world that is both decentralized for local self-reliance
and a revived household economy as well as global rules
for international trade and finance.
His perspective on “the real economy” involves
a reorientation of work, technology, energy, agriculture,
transport, health, education, leisure, science, philosophy
and religion. Robertson is a new economics renaissance
man. This session will be a tribute to his work
(The full presentation can be downloaded
here for any readers who are interested to see
Alanna gave another paper in April to the World Bank's
Land and Poverty 2013 conference in Washington on "Socializing
Land Rent, Untaxing Production" - see www.earthrights.net/docs/2013-WorldBank-Hartzok-LandRent.pdf.
The IU Conference 2013 on "Economics for Conscious
Evolution" will be held in London on 24 – 28
July - see www.theiu.org/conference-2013-full-programme.
Apart from Alanna's organising role, her fellow participants
in one session will include Aniol Esteban, the Head of
Economics at New Economics Foundation.
(2) Another prominent example of a supporter of all
three reforms is Michael Kumhof. He
is well known for the IMF Research Report - www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2012/wp12202.pdf -
on "The Chicago Plan Revisited".
arguments for transferring the creation of the money
supply to a public agency. But he also suggests taxing
incomes gained from land values, etc - see www.theiu.org/news/imf-speaks-taxing-economic-rent.html;
and I have been told that the other day in New York
he suggested that the public revenue from money supply
reform could help to finance a Citizen’s Income.
(3) The Coalition for Economic Justice - www.c4ej.com includes
twelve think-tanks, charities and pressure groups, joining
in response to the current economic situation. It is
concentrating at present on the introduction of a Land
But its members are also concerned with reducing
Tax Poverty, the reform of the Money
Supply,and the introduction
of a Citizen's Income (Basic Income). A
good example is the Systemic Fiscal Reform
Group - see www.systemicfiscalreform.org.
(4) I hope George Monbiot will
complete the picture he gives in his important recent
Guardian article "Communism, welfare state
- what's the next big idea?" – www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/01/alternative-to-war-on-britains-poor.
He mentioned land value taxation and a basic
income as inspiring, transfiguring ideas -
offering an alternative to war on Britain's poor. If
he had added reforming how the money supply is
created, he would have hit on a truly inspiring
As he concluded, "These ideas
require courage: the courage to confront the government,
the opposition, the plutocrats, the media, the suspicions
of a wary electorate. But without proposals on this scale,
progressive politics is dead. They strike that precious
spark, so seldom kindled in this age of triangulation
and timidity – the spark of hope".
(5) This report came in yesterday
from Stephen Zarlenga -
It shows that, at a recent event in New York arranged by the American Monetary
Institute, three of the eight speakers were Georgist supporters of Land
Value Taxation in discussion with supporters of reforming the Money
Supply (monetary reform).
It is another example of the co-operation starting to grow between supporters
of the three main components of overall money system reform.
6. PRESSURES on MONEY SUPPLY and BANKING REFORM
(a) A conspiracy of silence? A bitingly
penetrating critique by James Bruges at http://political-cleanup.org/?p=6874.
(b) How central
banks undermine the market economy. Central
banking expert and author of The
Money Trap, Robert
Pringle (whose new book I discussed in the March
2013 newsletter) deplores "the systematic
exploitation of savers by reckless borrowers, including
governments and big banks propped up with state money".
" ... governments get their budget deficits financed
courtesy of central banks, central banks’ balance
sheets replace markets, too-big-fail-bankers get their
bonuses financed by state subsidies, corporations hoard
cash, while workers, consumers and savers are screwed.
Thank you very much".
(c) Sir Mervyn King will retire at
the end of June. Mark Carney from Canada
will succeed him as Governor of the Bank of England.
During the coming month will King aim to give the impression
that he leaves things in good shape and will Carney let
it be known that he faces a formidable challenge? It
will be interesting to see. They are both human after
In any case I hope someone will tell Carney that he
has a chance to make history as a great leader by
starting to fill the “leadership vacuum" described
at 2 above.
(d) In "Global Research" ( May
1), Ellen Brown explains why she
says "Depositors Beware: Theft is
Legal for Big Banks, and Your Money Will Never Be Safe ".
[Note: Support continues to grow for
Land Value Taxation and a Citizen's (Basic) Income. I
will be reporting their future progress in a later newsletter.]
7. SOME UPCOMING EVENTS
31 May, central Dublin: The
Money Mess : Consequences & Alternatives, organised
by Feasta and Sensible Money. Great
programme. Details at http://themoneymess.eventbrite.com.
1 June, central London: Land
Value Taxation and the Covenant with God,
organised by the Christian Council for Monetary
Justice and Land Research Trust.
Details at www.eventbrite.com/event/5506287454/eorg.
2-4 June, San Rafael,
Banking Conference 2013, Funding the New Economy.
Details at www.publicbankinginamerica.org.
10-15 June, London: The
Spark - A
week of workshops and events to strengthen the movement
for economic justice in the run-up to the G8 meeting
on 17-18 June. Details at www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk/?lid=8255.
15-23 June, Bristol's
Big Green Week and Schumacher
Lectures 2013. Details at www.schumacher.org.uk.
24-28 July, London: IU (International
Union for Land Value Taxation) Conference 2013 – Economics
for Conscious Evolution. Details at www.theiu.org/conference-2013-full-programme.
19-22 September, University
Center, Chicago: 9th Annual AMI Monetary Reform
theme: Implementing Monetary Reform now! Details
8. AN ADDITION TO MY WEBSITE
If you look at www.jamesrobertson.com/turningpoint.htm, you
will now see a full set of Turning Point (2000) newletters
from February 1977 to January 2000. (We sent none out
in the two year period between Autumn 1987 and Autumn
With the passing of time I feel that the website should
provide some archival, historical information about "alternatives",
as well as suggesting how alternative policies should
be supported today.
23 May 2013
PS. On 28 May, I sent out an additional email.
I hope that many recipients of the newsletters will be interested to sign this petition - www.avaaz.org/en/petition/End_the_debtbased_money_system.
It is closely related to Item 1 above.
It asks the world leaders at the G8 meeting in Northern Ireland next month to imagine having the courage to end the power of the banks to create the money supply out of nothing and charge us interest on it.
It has been initiated by Marian Farrell who lives in Northern Ireland - http://transitionderry.ning.com/profile/marianfarrell.
Marian interviewed me in March 2009 about why mainstream monetary reform is important for local monetary, financial and economic decentralisation in Transition Towns like Derry and other places aiming for local sustainability.
The interview can be heard here - www.jamesrobertson.com/videoandaudio.htm.