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Monday, February 04, 2013

Positive Money’s Third Annual Conference: Modernising Money

by Mira Tekelova (Positive Money)

  • Almost 300 people attend sold-out event
  • Biggest money reform gathering in our lifetimes, worldwide
  • Second ‘foundation stone’, the 335-page book Modernising Money released; diagnoses the illness, prescribes the cure

  • 9.15am, Saturday, 26 January 2013, it’s a crisp, clear morning, and close on 300 people start arriving at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London.
It’s the biggest Money Reform meeting anyone attending has ever seen in their lifetimes.
The event began at 10am with a 5-minute video compilation of the best parts of Michael MeacherLabour MP’s and Steve Baker Conservative MP’s comments at the  October 2011 Conference.

Positive Money’s Progress So Far

PM_Conf (6)Ben Dyson then spoke on the progress so far, and “brought us up to speed” with what had happened. He stated that when Positive Money started out, around two and a half years ago, they were faced with disbelief when they pointed out that banks create money. This motivated the group to help produce the book Where Does Money Come From, the second edition of which is out now.  The book, he said, had recently been mentioned in the Financial Times.
“We’ve been arguing for two and a half years that the financial crisis was caused by banks creating money”, and so it was good to see Lord Adair Turner  say, “The financial crisis of 2007/8 occurred because we failed to constrain the private financial system’s creation of private credit and money.”
He quoted from Conservative MP, Jesse Norman, who is on the Treasury Select Committee: “Commercial banks have an even greater power than that: They have the power to create credit – that is, money – by expanding their balance sheets.”
He also mentioned the IMF working paper by Jaromir Benes and Dr Michael Kumhof as evidence that these ideas are getting noticed.
Positive Money have trained up 70 people to speak on the subject in the past year. Ben has spoken in the Houses of Parliament, and the Welsh Assembly. There is a forthcoming event in the Scottish Parliament in February, and he will be speaking to the Icelandic Parliament later this year. Positive Money’s videos have been translated into 11 languages.
He stated that the focus for today would be “the big question – how do we get to critical mass?”

The Problem of Debt-Based Money

He then introduced Miriam Morris, Positive Money’s Campaign Director, who led us through a session on the strategy of the campaign.
See the interview with Miriam Morris here:

PM_Conf (15)
Fran Boait, the Campaign and Operations Manager, presented the main reasons why we should care – how the way money is created today destroys our businesses, society and the environment.

pmconference2013 425It was then time for the first break-out session ”Know Your Audience”, in which each table was discussing one of the key audiences like Businesses, Students, NGOs, Academics etc. During this session everyone had the opportunity to contribute to the day and get their points noted.
This had the effect of making best use of all the brain power which had been gathered together. 

The Solution: Modernising Money

Ben gave a brief history of money in the UK, pointing out that when banks realised they could create banknote money it started to cause instability. Sir Robert Peel’s government passed the Bank Charter Act in 1844, which stopped creation of banknotes (but crucially not the money banks create by making entries in their ledgers). In fact, said Ben, “The law which governs how money is created is close to 170 years old. Most of the money in our economy comprises liabilities in the form of bank deposits. 3% is covered by the law. 97% is not covered by the law!”
MM_Front_Cover copyPositive Money, and the book Modernising Money, make clear that the central bank cannot control the money supply. Ben quoted Mervyn King as saying that for 50 years they, the central bankers, “struggled” to control the money supply.
As Ben said, in the battle between the private profit motive of the commercial banks, and the public interest motive of the Bank of England, the private profit motive has won out every time.
How has this come about? The banking system has simply “evolved” over time, said Ben, and there has definitely been “no sign of intelligent design!”
We have a system built on sand, he said. We have to wipe it away and build something on firm foundations. The money system is just a collection of rules, and laws and computer systems. It is really easy to change. “This is just an artificial monetary system” and we cannot let ourselves be distracted by the big challenges which face us in the coming century, simply because of this artificial system." (snip)
NOTE: Read the complete article at this website:


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