Newsletter No. 26 - September
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1. Website Home Page Updated
2. Beyond Economics
3. Weaning Wall Street and the City off State
4. The 'Secret of Oz' - Updating 'The Money
5. G20 Summit Meeting in Pittsburgh
6. Bloated Superstructures - The Real UK Election
7. Two UK October Events Relevant to Item 6
8. Other Important References
1. WEBSITE HOME PAGE UPDATED
The revised Home Page reflects the subject
matter I am mainly dealing with currently,
nearly six years after the website started up.
My current emphasis on the need to reform
the worldwide money system does not mean that
I think the need to shift other aspects of human life
in society from
dependency to self-direction and self-control is
less important than I previously thought. Quite the
Enabling more people all over the world, for example,
to decide and control their own work instead
of depending on employers to provide and control it,
will be one of many such interacting shifts in the overall
pattern of systems renewal on which the future of humanity
will depend. Connected shifts in spheres like
education and health will be just as necessary.
But virtually none will be possible if the worldwide
money system goes on compelling or encouraging people
to reject them.
2. "BEYOND ECONOMICS"
This is the theme of Development, Vol. 52,
Issue 3, September 2009 (www.palgrave-journals.com/development/journal/v52/n3/index.html)
for the Society for International Development (www.sidint.org).
My paper in it is on "The
Twenty-first Century Crisis of World Development – The
Central Role of Money Values: a metaproblem".
It recognises that humans are now an endangered
species and that:
"The way the money system now works is a metaproblem
affecting almost everything. It imposes a perverse calculus
of values, compelling or encouraging almost everyone
in the world to compete to turn planetary resources into
waste. We badly need to bring money values into
harmony with ethical values, to motivate us
to help each other to regenerate and conserve the planet’s
History shows why the money system has evolved
perversely as it has; and philosophy confirms
that the assumption on which conventional economics
is based - that values generated by a human
calculus of value can be treated as objective facts
- is an elementary conceptual error.
But, even if we are committed to remedying its social,
environmental and economic outcomes, we shy away from
trying to reform it."
The paper proposes a practical programme for money
system reform as an urgent challenge for world
In accordance with Palgrave's copyright requirements,
I will be glad to e-mail a .pdf Author's Copy of the
text of the paper to colleagues who email
me and ask
for a copy of "SID, Beyond Economics, Robertson".
3. WEANING WALL STREET AND THE CITY OFF STATE
"Wall Street and the City of London survived
thanks to state support. Now they need to be weaned off
it." The Economist, 10.9.2009.
It was good to see The Economist publishing
that message in its leader of 10th September on "Unnatural
Evolution", about the aftermath of
the collapse of Lehman Brothers a year ago that precipitated
the global financial breakdown. http://www.economist.com/printedition/displayStory.cfm?
Particularly welcome was the Economist's publication
of two comments - one from me on 11th
and the other from Ben Dyson (www.BenDyson.com) on
14th September - pointing out that the right way to wean
them off state support is to relieve the commercial banks
of the function of providing almost all the public money
supply as profit-making debt created as loans to their
NB: Ben Dyson will be one of the speakers
at the conference of the American Monetary Institute
this week in Chicago, 24-27 September (www.monetary.org/2009conference.html).
4. "THE SECRET OF OZ" - Updating "The
This 109-minute film is Bill Still's successor
to his 1996 "The Moneymasters". It
makes a very powerful case for monetary reform in
the USA. I recommend it warmly to
non-Americans as well as Americans, and I am glad
to have had a part in it as the UK "expert interviewee" in
Two connected points from it about the history of monetary
reform in the USA particularly impress me. First: how
many US Presidents have said that governments should
take the power to create the public money supply away
from the banks and use it in the public interest; and,
second, how many of those Presidents subsequently met
with assassination or attempted assassination.
You will find a lot of interesting background and current
information about the film on "The Secret of Oz" website
- www.secretofoz.com -
including how to get a copy at the special introductory
price until 30th September.
5. G20 SUMMIT MEETING IN PITTSBURGH, 24-25
Before the G20 meeting in London on 2nd April the need
for a genuine international currency to replace
the US dollar was publicly canvassed by Russia and
China. For a reminder, click
here and scroll to Item 3.
It has now been raised again in advance of the follow-up
G20 Summit this week - www.pittsburghsummit.gov.
But now it is being raised - and rather favourably and
interestingly too - by the director of economic policy
studies at the influential, pro-business conservative
think-tank, the American Enterprise Institute. See www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=
Will President Obama, as Chairman of this G20 Summit,
be prepared to accept international monetary
reform as an agenda item? He is currently beset
by serious difficulties on other policies - on health
and anti-missile defence, for example, as well as Afghanistan
and the Middle East. He may well feel that, at this time,
it would be unnecessarily risky for
him to agree to formal international discussion of the
prospect of giving up America's privileged financial
position in the world economy.
That will not, of course, prevent representatives of
other countries like China and Russia discussing international
monetary reform informally. As interest in it spreads,
awareness may spread that the principles underlying it
are valid for individual countries too.
Among other issues arising at the
Pittsburgh Summit will almost certainly be the proposal
to control banker' bonuses, which Lord
Turner - see Item 6
below - recently described as a "populist
diversion". Another could be the proposal to split "retail
banks" (high street banks) and "investment
banks" into completely separate businesses,
on the general lines of the American Glass-Steagall Act
repealed under President Clinton in 1999. The aims of
both those proposals would, in fact, be successfully
and more simply dealt with by removing the power to create
the public money supply from all profit-making banks.
Preceding the G20 Summit, a major Faith Summit of
more than 25 national religious leaders representing
the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths will
be held on 22-23 September in Pittsburg to discuss a
priority agenda for tackling poverty and environmental
damage. It will press for actions — not just words — that
will help hungry and poor people to lift themselves out
6. BLOATED SUPERSTRUCTURES - The Real UK Election
Ahead of next year's general election, as the UK
political parties struggle with how to deal with the damage
to the public finances caused by the recent
banking boom and bust, Conservatives are
calling for severe cuts in wasteful public spending by a "bloated" government
At the same time, Lord (Adair) Turner,
head of the FSA (Financial Services Authority) has suggested
that the private financial sector has become
too "swollen" for
the good of the economy, and that some parts of it make
no useful economic or social contribution. Meanwhile,
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has at last admitted that
serious cuts in public spending will be needed.
The fact is that both big government and big
business (including big finance) are now much
too large, too dominant, too wasteful and too
damaging to citizens' interests.
No established political party has yet understood that citizens
should be enabled to take more power to control their
own lives; and that that cannot happen without
a comprehensive reform of the money system, because only that
will reduce our society's overdeveloped dependence
on the whole swollen superstructure of financial, bureaucratic
and connected professional establishments.
In summary, comprehensive reform of the money system
- change how the public money supply is
- shift taxes off the incomes and
profits people earn by making useful contributions
to society and instead tax the value they take from
common resources like the value of land and other environmental
- shift public spending away from
big public and private sector organisations providing
top-down public services, and on to providing an unconditional
citizen's income to all citizens - to reflect our rightful
share in the value of common resources, and to enable
us to look after ourselves and one another better than
so many of us can today.
This transfer of power to people to
control our own lives co-operatively may be necessary
for our species survival. Scholars like Joseph
believe that causes of the collapse of previous civilisations,
like the Roman Empire, included the top heavy growth
of organisational superstructures comparable to those
in our global civilisation
7. TWO UK OCTOBER EVENTS RELEVANT TO ITEM 6
(1) Bromsgrove Conference, 2009.
Late afternoon Friday 2nd to lunchtime Sunday 4th October. For
a report on last year's meeting and information on this
year's - click
here and then on the "PROSPERITY UK" button
at the foot of the page for the email address for this
(2) Schumacher Lectures, Bristol, 2009, in
co-operation with the New Economics Foundation. Saturday
17 October, 09:45 - 17:30. FROM THE ASHES OF THE CRASH:
Rebuilding the new economics". Click
here for event details and ticket ordering.
8. OTHER IMPORTANT REFERENCES
(1) Corporate and Government Corruption is
a feature of the whole worldwide money system. Thank
you to Barbara Panvel for this reference to it in India
(2) Human survival and population reduction:
how to achieve them. Thanks to Jack Alpert
for this - www.skil.org/position_papers_folder/eagleshumanssurvival.html.
(3) "Action is the life
of all, and if thou dost not act, thou dost nothing" - Gerrard
Winstanley (1609 - 1676) - www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2009/sep/05/gerrard-winstanley-plaque-cobham.
This surely presents a truth that theologians, philosophers,
scientists, economists, academics and everyone else should
reflect on. Perhaps we should substitute "I
decide how to act; therefore I am", in place
of Descartes' cogito ergo sum ("I think; therefore
21st September 2009