UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Greece and the madness of debt - why monetary reform is the task of our age

The stupidity of humans knows no bounds. But we must take some of the blame for failing to understand how our crazed debt based money system works and how to rectify it or fail to campaign for change.

Greeks have said no more austerity, enough is enough! Quite rightly they know that cuts to GDP of 10%, £50bn Euros of privatisation, cuts in wages and pensions will savage the economy and destroy the living standards of the population. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/15/greek-crisis-world-markets-turmoil?intcmp=239

This all boils down to a lack of money nothing else. Greece can issue bits of paper called bonds and auction them to banks, which create money out of thin air to give back to a government. Banks hold them on their accounts or trade them on to pension funds.

The Greek government is running out of money because the only institution in EU that can create money is the European Central Bank. Greece joined the Euro on the basis if would improve its trading performance, but the real price it has paid is the loss of its money sovereignty and now that chicken has come home to roost.

The whole global financial system is once again in danger because if the Greeks default on their debt repayments the balance sheets of banks that hold the debt will go into decline which may create a situation where banks stop lending to each other. Credit crunch Mark II.

This time however will there be the ability for governments to borrow to bail out banks? The economic chaos that could ensue could usher in a new period of state tyranny, the signs are already there in Greece.

Our dependence on borrowing is not a choice. When all money is created via banks making loans, it is mathematically impossible for the public and governments as a whole to stay out of debt. If you manage to stay out of debt, it means someone else has to sink further ‘under the water’ in order to maintain the money supply.

There is no way that the public or governments can get any money unless banks make loans. If banks don’t lend, there is no money. We are absolutely entirely dependent on bank lending in order to have a money supply in our economy.

If everyone paid back their debts, including governments, we would run out of money! We would simply grind to a halt.

We have handed over one of the most important economic functions, money supply, to private profit making banks. The only way out of this problem for Greece the UK or any other government and its people is for them to take money creation back into their own democratic hands.

Both those in work and out must watch, as the world they know and understand changes almost in front of their eyes like some nightmarish Kafkaesque novel. This is the era of accelerating economic and social change.

But is this surprising? If a monetary system is invalid or flawed, then the entire economy is based on the mathematics of error, and must be riddled with the effects. If the financial system upon which our economies are built is defective, and yet monetary considerations dominate our economic decisions, should we be surprised if the results are less than satisfactory?

The past thirty years are almost unique by comparison with the previous three centuries in the lack of attention that has been directed at debt and the financial system. Throughout the eighteenth century, there were repeated calls for reform.

During the nineteenth century, excessive banking was held by many to be directly responsible for the waves of appalling poverty that swept Europe and America during a period of increasing industrialisation and agricultural development.

In the 20th century, during the depression of the 1930s, the financial system effectively seized up and brought virtual collapse to the economies of the world in an age which was, perhaps for the first time, obviously wealthy, and in which technology offered people real freedom as well as material prosperity. One observer judged that over 2,000 schemes for monetary reform were put forward at that time, all with a common theme in their outright rejection of the debt-based financial system as it then operated.

The same system continues to this day, modified in small details, but unchanged in principle; and the current financial crisis in Europe shows the potential for collapse still exists. However the issue of economic volatility through booms, slumps, crises, and collapses has never been the sole point of criticism. It is the long-term trends that a debt-based financial system fosters which are most destructive.

Reform of the debt-based financial system is clearly not a minor issue. It is not a matter of fiddling around with taxes, incomes and allowances to make things apparently more equal, more efficient, or perhaps more straightforward.

Changing the debt-based financial system involves gradually altering the very foundations upon which national and international economics is based. Monetary reform is concerned with attempting to determine a new principle for the supply of money to an economy - the purpose being to create a supportive financial environment in which more constructive economic trends are allowed to emerge, and in which more benign systems of overall economic management become possible.

In view of the rapacious onslaught on the environment, the waste of natural resources and the social and political friction caused by de-regulated commerce and capital flows, this is at once a promising, but a sobering prospect.

The crushing of human aspirations by the mountains of debt created by the current monetary system will not create a positive social force unless that struggle understands that a key objective for it must be the termination of debt based money and the creation of publically created debt free money.
For more on the solutions go here.... http://www.positivemoney.org.uk/our-proposals/