Zarlenga Interview with Alistair McConnachie, Prosperity, 2007

AN INTERVIEW WITH STEPHEN ZARLENGA

 

The following was recorded on the morning and early afternoon of Friday 5th October 2007, traveling in the car of James and Dorothy Gibb Stuart from Glasgow to the Bromsgrove 2007 Conference. It has been transcribed by Alistair McConnachie.

 

PERSONAL BACKGROUND

 

Stephen, you’re the Director of the American Monetary Institute and author of the most comprehensive book on monetary history ever, The Lost Science of Money, and we’re looking forward to your presentations and contributions at Bromsgrove 2007.

 

Let’s start with your background and how you got into Money Reform. Where were you born?

 

I was born in 1941 in Chicago.

 

What is your family background?

 

My mother and father immigrated, separately, from Italy in the 1930s, during the Great Depression, and they moved straight to Chicago. In fact they met in Chicago, but they were from close-by villages in Italy. The area is the same area that Cicero came from I’m proud to say [laughs], and they really did everything they could for their kids.

 

What was your father’s job?

 

He worked on the railroad and really was a good man and helped instill certain values in us. My parents brought us up with a lot of love.

 

What was your education?

 

In Chicago we had a number of wonderful Universities. I went to the University of Chicago and studied several different subjects and finally graduated in 1963. I visited Europe and liked it a great deal. I was learning French. I really grew up, in a sense, in Europe, which was a wonderful experience. Europe has been through two world wars and the people of Europe have learned from that in ways that we Americans have yet to learn.

 

What did you do for a living?

 

I worked in the financial area, with mutual funds and insurance and real estate in the investment world. I’d been associated with the investment world for decades when I decided it was time to write the book on money.

The thing that really brought that to a head was the first Gulf War. What happened was that the American people were about 80% against that first Gulf War in 1990, even though the media was promoting it full steam. What I realised at that point, Alistair, was that as Americans, we had lost our country.

If the people were 80% against that war, and yet we are to go to war, and it became apparent that the Iraqis were nearly invited to attack Kuwait by our Ambassador – well, when this became known, I was just so disgusted with it.

I looked out my window one day, my apartment down in Battery Park – because I was working then in the World Trade Centre – in the commodity trading group there. I looked out the window, and looked down Liberty Street. It was like a canyon and it was all dark…in the shadows of the tall buildings…but at the end of Liberty Street, the sun was shining on one big white building…the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

At that instant, without words, I immediately knew it was time to write the book!

And that is when I began, that day! I had a camera handy and I took a picture of that sunshine on the Federal Reserve Bank and you can see it in the very beginning of the book.

 

Wow, that’s a great story! Your interest in monetary reform must have been sparked prior to 1990. What was it that made you look into the system? Was it while you were working in the financial sector that you began to realise something was wrong, or did you have a family history – were your parents reformers?

 

No, they weren’t, but you’re right, there was more of a background.

From 1970, I worked in America with a small mutual fund which was invested only in gold shares, and I introduced it to brokerage houses around the country. In order to do that, I had to understand more about the monetary system and began to realise some of the problems.

This was back in 1970, when the markets were going through terrible conditions. Inflation was rampant. People were being fired from their good paying jobs. This was the point in time when the International Monetary Fund, the IMF, surrendered to currency speculation. They had a choice in 1970, 71, 72. They had a choice!

They could have curbed currency speculation, which is destructive, uncalled for and absolutely not what currencies are supposed to be used for. A currency system essentially is set up to facilitate production, trade of real goods, and as a means of paying for the process. To turn it into a speculative gambling house where vast amounts of currency get moved from country to country at the speed of light plus 30 seconds – electronic communications are moving at the speed of light, but it takes 30 seconds to put the phone call through – that ends up destroying the ability of currencies to carry out their true function, in terms of facilitating the creation of values for living.

It turns them into engines for promoting the engines of death. That is what currency speculation has done and the IMF had a choice. It could have stopped it, but it didn’t lift so much as a finger to stop it. Those decisions were made roughly in 1970 -73. So, I was watching that, and understanding that the system was sick.

At the time, I thought that gold was a part of the answer. And that reflected an immaturity in the readings in the area. It’s a normal thing. People in monetary reform go through a gold phase. Even Thomas Jefferson did that.

He went through a period where he thought gold was important but came to understand that money is a fiat of the law. That took him about 20 years.

You have to look at the Jefferson quotes on money in their sequence and then you see their development. Otherwise you can get Jefferson saying anything at all. And this is a problem of using quotations as a method of investigation. They are always out of context and the final answer to quotations can be, “So what!”

 

When you started to examine the area, what monetary reform works did you study?

 

That is a very good question. Here’s what happened. At a point in time, about 1975, I was very fortunate to read several works by Alexander Del Mar, and he turned out to be the greatest monetary historian of all time in America.

I read those books, and Del Mar understood – he also went through a precious metals phase – but eventually, going through it for thirty years, he came to understand the fiat nature of money and wrote that way.

And as I was reading I realized that if Del Mar is right and all this stuff about gold is wrong then most of the monetary reformers in America are making a mistake.

I say “reformers,” they were not really reformers, they were interested in it, but they are what we call “gold bugs,” who came to it, as I did initially, through investment…you find that a lot of the gold bugs are connected with gold coin companies, or gold shares.

They are making a mistake. They are confusing an investment with money – something which is a good investment is no good for money because you want an investment to be going up. You don’t want money to be going up. Everybody who is in debt, usually the producers, have great difficulty in paying off debts because it ends up that the debts keep increasing and they pay back more than they receive.

So I put Del Mar aside at that point, but the ideas kept operating in my mind and when I was ready to start the book I took the books by Del Mar out again and re-read them. I thought it would take about two years because I’d been involved in the area of finance and investments most of my career.

I thought I’d have to read about 15 volumes to fill in the various gaps that I knew were there. Well, Del Mar led to about 20 other excellent sources, and each of those led to another 20 good sources, and so on. And about 800 source materials later and 12 years of reading, and writing, the book was finally ready.

Had I known it would take that long, I would never have begun the project! But what happens is that when you are in it for 2 years, well, you keep going. When you’ve been in it for 4 or 5 years you have 4 or 5 years of research and work in it, and then you can’t stop! You have to finish it. And that is what happened.

It took 12 years. I did it chronologically, which was the best way to keep track of it in my mind. We started with the first period, then proceeded to the next, and so on. Since I did the research that way, it is also the way the book is presented. It makes sense, much more readily than it would if you try to chop back and forth between modern period and ancient period.

 

At what stage of writing did you establish AMI?

 

In 1996 we realized that since the research was going to continue, it would be a good idea to put it into an institutional format, which is tax exempt, so that people who would help us would be able to deduct that from their taxes. And so we set it up as a charitable trust. “We” being myself and our co-founder, Dr. Lucienne DeWulf.

 

THE QUESTION OF GOLD

 

When you started off, you were thinking that gold was part of the solution. When you finished, 12 years later, why had your idea changed?

 

One of the wonderful things about doing this kind of research is what you learn, and I learned that gold was not a part of the answer. In the historical studies, you could see that gold was part of the problem that the banking establishment – we could call it the financial oligarchy, whatever form it was taking – was able to easily manipulate.

Aristotle gave us the science of money. Del Mar gave me the keys to rediscover it.

That science was laid out by Aristotle when he summed it up in one sentence. He said, money “exists not by nature, but by law.” So he is telling us that money is not something that comes out of a mine. It is something that comes out of society. It is the legal power of society and that was quite different from where I had started.

 

What would you say to those “gold bugs” who say that gold is a good investment? For example, you hear them say “50 years ago one bar of gold could buy a £5,000 pound house. Today, that same bar of gold will buy the same house, even though the house is now worth £50,000.”

 

I would say to the gold people, “Look up the history of the price of gold because it is just not true!” What we find by looking at the gold prices is that gold is extremely volatile.

I’ve published, in the book, what happens to gold during different periods.

We have periods where gold and silver lost 80% of their value and never recovered, for example, from 1500-1650, where gold was being stolen from the Central and South American Indians. Essentially the money supply of Europe rose about 4 times and the value of gold dropped 80% during that period.

Now some would say, “Oh that is going way back to the 16th and 17th centuries.” Well, Okay, let’s go back to 1918 through 1926, 27. We had the value of gold dropping 60% in just a short period. So, that was a gold inflation in the modern times. So the gold bugs should understand that gold is volatile. It moves up fast; it moves down fast.

Even more recently, go to 1981. Gold was at $880 an ounce. It dropped down over a period of 15 years to $232 an ounce. Gold is volatile. Now the gold bugs try to say, “Well, that is not really gold changing. That’s the dollar changing.” But that is crazy. The dollar didn’t change that much. Gold is volatile – it’s a fact.

 

What do these gold bugs want? Do they want the currency to be tied to gold?

 

They don’t have a clear solution. They talk about “going back to a gold standard.” But we never really had that! Even when they think there was a gold standard, it was always mixed with bank paper. And the reason for that is demonstrated eloquently by William Hixson in his 1993 book Triumph of the Bankers, where he shows that the production of gold does not keep up with population growth.

So if you are going to base the money system on gold, you have constant deflation, that is constant increases in the value of money.

The problem the gold people have is that they are confusing money with wealth. Aristotle’s definition separates money from wealth.

If you don’t separate money from wealth, if you define money as wealth, then the wealthy are going to control not only their own money, they are going to control the monetary system – which belongs under societal control. It should not be controlled by particular interest groups, or cliques, or so-called elites.

So the mistake is a psychological one. They are confusing their investments with money.

 

Now to play devil’s advocate. Say there was a breakdown in society – the “nuclear war” scenario. Paper money would become worthless. And all these gold coins which they’ve got buried in their back yards, and all these diamonds that they are hoarding would all become valuable, because they could be traded.

 

I guess you could say that, but you know what would be more valuable than gold? Sewing needles and practical things!

But seriously, if we get that kind of situation, well, most of us are going to be so demoralized that we are not going to go forward. So we have to make sure that doesn’t happen in the first place!

To gear one’s thinking for disaster is not the way to proceed. First of all, you make the disaster more probable, and palatable to yourself, and secondly, that is not what mankind is here for – to end up in a nuclear war which wipes out civilization! That would make such a joke out of all human existence.

The availability of the things that people value would become almost non-existent. You are not going to have a car because there would be no gasoline. You are not going to live in the kind of houses that you live in today.

We have to avoid this lifeboat type of planning.

That doesn’t mean you should not have a handful of gold and silver coins, just in case, but don’t devote your life to that kind of thinking!

 

Some in the Muslim world want to support the idea of a Gold Dinar, as they see it as a way to combat the international globalist system. They see a sort of refuge in gold. If you were speaking to their leaders, what would you say to them?

 

That’s a very interesting question. We’ve just written a paper on that and we speak about it in our book. Here’s what we said to them.

It is not a solution for Islam because it won’t work! There is not enough gold! Firstly, it will create tension between Islamic countries as they struggle to grab more and more of the gold supply. That has been one of the causes of war between Western countries in the past.

There is another reason. The Prophet Muhammad himself instructed his followers that fiat copper coinage was to be valued as equally as gold or silver coinage when trading. We quote that in our book in the section on Islamic monetary developments. So, Islam’s own traditions favour fiat money. There is also the problem that it might end up fomenting tension with the West. For these 3 reasons, we’re against the idea.

 

To finish off talking about gold; what do you say to those who fear that fiat currency is a license for the government to inflate the currency?

 

There was the assumption that gold doesn’t change, but as we’ve shown, the value of gold changes all the time – for example, with the supply of gold, and the supply of stuff that it purchases, and with the supply of labour, and with the population.

Money should be relatively stable, but it doesn’t have to be absolutely stable over time, but it should maintain its value in general. Not in an absolute sense because the value of money can change as conditions in society change, as economics change.

The present currency system has to be changed. It is unjust internationally, but also within nations, where it favours only the financial segment of society. There are ways of avoiding inflation.

 

THE AMERICAN SCENE and THE FEDERAL RESERVE

 

Regarding the American scene, are there any prominent politicians pointing in our direction, even in a small way?

 

The answer is yes, but not all of it is public.

Senator Chris Dodd is Chairman of the powerful Senate Banking Committee. He understands the money system. He hasn’t talked about it but I know he truly understands it.

Another is Congressman Dennis Kucinich who has made some monetary remarks in a recent debate indicating a desire for the government to be controlling its monetary system, and that is major progress [see PROSPERITY, October 2007 at 1] and a third who has gotten attention on the Republican side is Congressman Ron Paul. He is actually standing up to the Federal Reserve System. The interesting thing is that he is addressing the causes of so many of our problems, not just the consequences.

We respect his standing up to the Fed, even though we don’t agree with the solution he is proposing.

 

Is the Fed publicly or privately owned?

 

Yes and no [laughs]! It is essentially privately controlled.

To say, it is “privately owned”, well, to the extent that there is any ownership, it is private. That is, the only part which has ownership is the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks and they are owned by the member banks according to a formula of their size. They have to buy shares. The shares are not traded. The shares are very restricted, very limited. So, it is a strange kind of ownership that is attributed to the owner banks. There is no other ownership.

Some people think there are shares of the Washington Board. There are not. Occasionally you see rumours, that the Fed is owned by “the Rothschilds,” or “the Morgans,” but that kind of statement really serves more to stop us examining carefully what the Fed does and how it operates. It detracts from a careful examination of the banking system. So, what people have to remember is that the Federal Reserve is not in the Executive branch, it is not in the legislative branch, it is not in the Judicial branch of our government. Those are the only 3 branches of our government.

 

So it is also inaccurate to say the Fed is a “government owned” institution.

 

Yes, it would be inaccurate to say that. Granted there is an ambiguity involved – because the President appoints the Washington Board for 14-year periods. But once he appoints them they are out of his control for 14 years. There is only one appointment for them. They don’t get a second. And he appoints the Chairman for 4-year periods. So there is the ambiguity.

But you don’t find a Ralph Nader being appointed to the Federal Reserve! It is essentially dominated and controlled by the banking fraternity.

 

THE AMI REFORMS

 

Can you explain your reforms please?

 

Our reforms are determined from historical examples. Our methodology is to look at the facts in monetary matters which are found in history. It takes so long for a monetary system to function and make itself clear.

We have arrived at 3 major reforms. All have to be done. It is not a matter of doing one or two, but all three.

What they are:

The first reform is to bring the money creation process into the government. And that is done by nationalizing the Federal Reserve Banks, all twelve of them, and then of course, the Washington Board. Only the US government would create money under that system.

We would not want to dismantle the Federal Reserve because it has a tremendous amount of knowledge which should be saved – knowledge of how much money should be in circulation at different times, even in different cities. We have paid for that knowledge, it belongs to our country, we don’t want to destroy that knowledge or throw it away. That’s the first part, nationalization of the Federal Reserve.

Now for all those characters who tell us the Fed is already a part of our government, well then fine, they shouldn’t mind too much if it gets nationalized!

Secondly, the commercial banks – the private banks – will no longer be able to create money.

People think that our money is created by the government. It is not! It is created by the banking system when it makes loans. We realise this money is in the form of credit that they put into our accounts. Whenever they loan credit into an account they are essentially creating what is money in our system. So in effect, the banking system is creating what we use as money.

Under the American Monetary Act [2017 update: NEED Act], this is no longer allowed. Banks have to have full reserve for their loans in the sense that if someone has a checking account the money has to be available there all the time. Now rather than phrasing this as a reserve requirement, we prefer to phrase this in the following way – banks can lend money, but they cannot re-lend credit that is deposited with them. [2017 update: NEED Act; see: SEC. 402.(a)(1)(B)(ii): DEPOSITS AS BAILMENT, and SEC. 402.(d),(e) and (f)]

These first two parts are drawn from what was called the Chicago Plan, which came out of the University of Chicago during the Great Depression – these were in its better days before the University went over to the dark side of monetarism and worship of free markets.

Henry Simons was the creator of the Chicago Plan and he devised an extremely elegant solution to moving the banking system from its present condition to a condition where all the money in the system was real money and not credit – not private bank-created credit but government-created money.

And the way to do it was this. Rather than telling the banks to get to full reserves by calling in their loans – which would be impossible because that would collapse the entire system – the government would loan newly created US money to banks, if necessary, to bring their reserves up to match 100% of their loans, so that they had loaned real money.

This is a truly elegant way to turn all the credit that the banks created and loaned out, into real government money, and it renders the banking system as a mere intermediary in that process, where they get some compensation for their work but where they are not the creators of the money.

Now, those first two parts come from the Chicago Plan and they were promoted and agreed upon by all the best economists in the land and it was expected that it would be enacted into law in the 1930s, but they did not understand the political process well enough to manage that.

The third part of the plan, we’ve added based on our experience in the past, based on our experience with the nationalisation of the Bank of England and other developments which have occurred.

Since we have removed the power of the banking system to create money in society, as population and business grow, the government would spend new money into circulation on infrastructure.

We would start with the 1.6 trillion dollars of infrastructure that the American Society of Civil Engineers says is needed to bring our infrastructure up to reasonable levels. That would take several years. The present rate of creation of money is about $800bn a year in 2006 for example. In addition to the hardware infrastructure, we include both health care and education as part of the infrastructure, and that means a universal availability of education dictated more by the person’s ability to learn and study than by their ability to pay. And universal health care, as offered by any other industrialised country in the world at present!

Some people have mis-evaluated our plan because they don’t read carefully enough to see what we are saying, and secondly they are trying to think of our plan in terms of today’s situation – which will be different from the situation once our plan is enacted. Here’s an example. Some people would say, “Oh, there won’t be enough money if the banks aren’t making loans. How could money enter society?”

Well, here’s how. Let’s remember that the government is paying for infrastructure by creating new money – not credit, but money! They are spending it into circulation, with no interest charged.

A couple of months ago a major bridge collapsed in Minneapolis because the infrastructure of our country has deteriorated to a danger point – and it’s not just bridges, but dams. 10,000 of our 80,000 dams are in danger of collapse according to the American Society of Engineers.

So that bridge in Minneapolis needs to be reconstructed. How would it work? Contractors would bid for the job in exactly the same way that they do now. The job would go to the best contractor based on his experience, his price and the terms of the bid. As that programme continues, that contractor gets paid by the government, and the contractor has to pay his workers and suppliers, he has to pay for the concrete, the steel, all the machines and so on. What do these people do with the money? Well the workers pay their mortgages, they pay the shops, they pay their school bills – what do those people do with the money? Ultimately, the money created by the government and spent on infrastructure gets deposited into the banking system because that is what people do with their money, they put it in banks.

The banks, under our system, would be in a position then, to loan that real money. They are not loaning credit anymore, they are loaning money. That’s the difference, and the banks would have to attract deposits from people in order to make their loans, or they would have to attract investments from people in order to make their loans…which would become available in large amounts, since under a part of our plan, as the national debt becomes due month by month, it gets paid in new government-created money – the bonds are not rolled over – and all of that capital that’s paid out would be available to invest – but it would no longer be used as a method of creating new credit. It would shift the economy into reality, out of usury.

 

How do you define “usury”?

 

We define usury in the classical sense, meaning the classical scholastics from about 1100 to 1500, as the misuse of the monetary system, not simply the taking of interest, because the taking of interest, in itself, was not usury.

Jeremy Bentham has mis-defined “usury” as taking more interest than is normal. Actually, in his work on it, he defined usury out of existence, which may have been his purpose.

But it is not just taking interest, interest was always allowed on certain conditions according to the rules of the scholastics. It is an anti-social misuse of the monetary system.

 

THE GREEN MOVEMENT

 

Let’s talk about the green movement. What’s your opinion on the trend towards localism, and while you’re speaking on that can you also address the idea of community currencies.

 

I am happy to say that the Green Party in America is progressing towards monetary reform ideas.

They invited me to speak at their National Convention at Reading, Pennsylvania, on July 12th, and my talk, called, “Greening the Dollar: Reclaiming Democratic Values Through Monetary Reform” – which I’ll be summarizing at Bromsgrove – went over really, really well there.

Regarding localism, I have mixed feelings and it depends upon what it is for. If it’s localism to build community and get people away from their television sets and into local projects which are best done at the local level, then I’m all for it. The only caution I have is that when you have an issue which is necessarily a national issue, then whatever you can do at the local level is fine, but don’t give up the national arena to the bad guys!

For example, in local currencies, and we talk to people trying to do local currencies, and we usually do it from a historical viewpoint – what we like about that is that they understand there is a problem with the national currency and they are trying to learn about it and do something about it and that’s a terrific opportunity in terms of education and growing awareness of the nature of the problem and the solutions which exist.

The caution firstly is that it is very difficult to localize the currency – people can only point to “Ithaca Hours” and the “Berkshares”.

But none of these things, even if it is possible to get them to work and provide some assistance locally, will not and cannot stop the dispersal of injustice from the national level.

They don’t in any way stop the ability of the private controllers of the national currency to go to war.

They don’t stop the misuse of the national currency.

From that point of view we need to be careful. In America, as in most countries, we are used to being able to trade with each other and that requires one currency for the country.

It really is a national issue. Now, I don’t think any of us is thinking along the lines that there is not going to be a nation in our lifetimes and our children’s lifetimes.

So if there is going to be a nation, there is going to be a national currency, and so why not fix it when it’s broken! It is broken and we know how to fix it! It takes a bit of effort to fix it, but probably less effort than attempting to set up local currencies!

That bridge in Minneapolis, for example, can’t be rebuilt on local currencies. It requires a national contribution.

Also, regarding localism, what worries me is the withdrawal of the thinking people from the national level, and even to an extent from the local level.

I watched all this begin in America. It began as I was graduating from the University of Chicago. We were all asked to write an essay, on, I paraphrase, “Yes, as graduates we should participate in political matters” or “No, as graduates we ought to stay above the fray.” What I realise years later is that question should never have been asked.

Today, we have a situation, thanks to the “hatred” of government which has been built up and nurtured – which really came out of economics, and we detail that in our book The Lost Science of Money, how this attack on government was started by Adam Smith himself, father of economics – where some of the brightest and best are withdrawing from the national scene.

And I wonder, and this is a question, I am not putting this forward as a belief – is there some connection between some of the brightest and best going local and staying out of the national scene and the horrible things which are occurring from the various – you could even call it gangster elements – on the national scene?

 

Some greens may be opposed to spending money on infrastructure. They’ll say, “Oh that is just damaging the environment.”

 

Excellent point! That is a reason to have reform to our national currency, because we already have the knowledge to build 21st Century infrastructure, which is sustainable, that is environmentally-friendly, that gives us the kind of world we want, that helps us clean up the environment.

We cannot do it with a 20th Century monetary system. But we can do it with our monetary reforms!

 

STRATEGIC CONSIDERATIONS

 

How do you respond to someone who might say your reforms “sound kinda socialist and we’re not socialists in America?”

 

Well, that is the word they might use. They think they can scare me with a word. I am not afraid of words like that. First of all, what do they mean by that? To these people it is just a smear word.

I don’t support “socialism,” or “capitalism,” or any “ism.” As soon as you have an “ism,” you have good things mixed with bad things. What I try to do is focus on the good things. To try to support systems that embrace those good things.

Now, the fact is that human beings have a dual nature. We are individuals and we are social beings, and as such we have to recognize that there are things that we have to do individually, and things that we have to do socially as a group.

The free marketers can sometimes seem to ignore the fact that there is a need for social activity, yet they are taking advantage of the fact that it exists! The profits they are getting can only be there so long as there is a functioning system.

 

If you were making your case to Republicans how would you try to get through to them, bearing in mind that they would be coming from a generally free market position?

 

That’s a good question. We want to be able to reach all people, and it is important to keep that as a goal. At the same time, where it is possible, we don’t want to waste our energy and time. In this case, one of the approaches that I’d use with them is to focus on methodology.

I would point out that theories are supposed to explain and conform to the facts – and this is a problem in the type of economics which most Republicans favour, for example, the Austrian School of Economics, where one of the leading members, Ludwig Von Mises, actually tells us, more than once, that his theories cannot be disproved by mere facts!

I would point out that this is ridiculous. I once gave a talk to a group of international philosophers for peace organisations and described some of the methodology that economists use. I had them laughing in the aisles.

My point to them was that they have the standing – since philosophy is to determine how we know things – to de-certify economics as a science, pending improvements in definition and methodology.

In addition, we are not against the free market in the sense of the right meaning of the term, but what the Austrian School has done is to equate the free market with the removal of all governmental regulation and control and that is a huge and terrible error.

The truly great economists which we had in the United States from the early ‘30s which included Henry Simons and others from the University of Chicago, people who trained Milton Friedman, these people were strong supporters of a free market, but to them a free market meant that all the utilities would be government-owned. And they strongly favoured governmental regulation. Markets do not automatically monitor and guide their own freedom.

The reforms that we are advising were actually favoured very strongly by one of the Republican icons economics – Milton Friedman.

 

When this movement grows, do you think it risks being taken over by groups with a particular ideology who want to use it for their own political purposes, whatever those may be?

 

Good point, and I think the answer is that there is a danger of that and so we have to be careful. We’ve been careful on that from the beginning. As the AMI, we have everything coming at us one way or the other and while we can’t mind read, we look at the effects of what they are doing and we can see cases where what you have just described is happening. We are careful not to allow them into our thinking and our programme.

Also, we have a kind of built-in protection here, and it is the following. What we have defined with our 3-part American Monetary Act [2017 update: NEED Act] is the 3 minimum conditions necessary to put time on the side of justice, because once time is on the side of justice, things will happen in humanity’s favour over time, rather than against us as at present, and we can operate in a much more relaxed manner.

So, since these are the minimum actions, it is not going to be easy for anyone to talk us out of them. The way we have formulated this is such that we are not trying to make all the changes which would be desirable and that will eventually occur once these 3 minimum actions take place. So by limiting ourselves in that way we also protect what we are trying to do.

One area that helps us keep this process clean and good is when we get funded. Funding is a key thing. It gives us time to examine things more closely. It gives us time to communicate better and it is the hardest part of what we do. In America, some people imagine that non-profits are well funded. Well, some of them are, but some of the most important ones – and we are one of those – don’t get handed a lot of funds.

We began the AMI without an endowment. We began it with a donation from one expert money reform thinker with 150 copies of his book. We continue so long as donations come in, so long as people are purchasing our books and research and making the effort to come to our conferences.

 

Stephen, thank you! We’re very privileged to have the benefit of your insightful knowledge. Thank you also for all the valuable work you’re doing, and for writing the book. We wish you and the AMI all the very best for the future.

 

Thank you, Alistair, for this opportunity to express some of our positions. It is through this type of interview that people learn about us and it is deeply appreciated. Thank you!

 

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Mourning 100 Years of Usury under The Fed

Mourning 100 Years of Usury under The Fed

By Nick Egnatz

 

December 23 marks the tragic 100th anniversary of the private Federal Reserve System, when the U.S. government gave to a private banking cartel that which no government has the right to give away–the sovereign right of a people to create and control their own money, the very lifeblood of a free and independent people.

“The Congress shall have The Power To…coin Money…”, Article 1, Section 8, U.S. Constitution.

Contrary to what most Americans think, the Federal Reserve System is not a part of the U.S. government.  Rather it is network of private banking corporations, wholly controlled by a handful of Wall Street mega “too big to fail” banking corporations.  Anyone doubting their absolute power should hearken to Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin of Illinois 2009 statement following the financial crash and the inability of Congress to regulate these banking corporations, “frankly they (banks) own the place (Capital Hill).”

The Federal Reserve System was the secret brainchild of the Rockefeller, Morgan and Rothschild banking families.  It was drawn up in a secret meeting at Jekyll Island, Georgia in 1910 and the only way that it was able to be voted into law was for the Rockefeller/Morgan/Rothschild banking corporations and their toxic legislative representative, Senator Nelson Aldrich, the very ones that secretly conceived the system to then publicly oppose it.  Thus convincing the American people, their hapless dupes in Congress and President Wilson that it was some sort of banking reform.

The Federal Reserve System is the legal embodiment of a monetary system that creates the nation’s lifeblood (our money) out of thin air as debt.  True, The Fed is required to return the interest The Fed accrues on the funds they conjure up out of thin air; but the private banking corporations that own The Fed, use these same funds to justify the loans they make and these same private banking corporations then get to keep the interest they charge the 99% on our credit card debt, mortgage loans, car loans, student loans etc.  It is a system of usury designed for the rich to get richer, while making debt slaves of the 99%.

See “Occupying The NEED Act”   http://www.intrepidreport.com/archives/11626

for a more detailed discussion of the U.S. monetary system.

Watch this short video as ten year old Holly explains the U.K.’s monetary system, which is basically the same as ours.  Just substitute “Federal Reserve System” for the Bank of England and “Wall Street private banking corporations” for High Street banks.

Five years ago the outrageous speculation and creation of toxic financial instruments by the “too big to fail” banking corporations that completely control the entire Federal Reserve System resulted in a browbeaten Congress voting $700 billion to bail-out these functionally bankrupt banking corporations.  Unknown to the American people was that the secret Federal Reserve System over the next few years provided another $16 trillion in funds to these same banking corporations and others to pump up the bubble that had burst on the 99% in Sept of 2008.  We the people only found out about this secret gift from the Federal Reserve System to the very banking corporations that own and control this same Federal Reserve System because Sen. Bernie Sanders was able to attach a rider on the Dodd/Frank “financial reform bill”.  It remains the only public audit of The Fed in its 100 year history.

The Fed continues to bail-out its banking corporations with monthly gifts of $85 billion used to buy bonds and the toxic financial instruments created by these behemoth banking corporations.  To date almost $4 trillion has been gifted to the “banksters” of Wall Street via this process known as “quantitative easing” (QE).

Arrayed against this plenary power of private banking corporations to create our money supply are the American people, aka the working class.  The Occupy Movement said “we are the 99%” and by bravely occupying public spaces in every major city in the country in 2011 was successful in bringing to the national media a word never before allowed to be uttered–inequality.

The 100th anniversary of the Fed is marked by a nation in crisis.  A crisis that cannot be resolved by austerity, sequestration, government shutdowns or cutting unemployment insurance without providing jobs for those out of work.  The $17 trillion federal debt cannot be paid off under this system.  State and local governments will continue to be unable to pay off their $3 trillion in debt under this system.  Citizens will be unable to pay off their $16 trillion in mortgage and personal debt under this system.  This is a system designed to put the 99% into debt slavery to the “too big to fail” private banking corporations.  It is not broken, but rather doing exactly what it is designed to do.

Our country, founded on the statement “all men are created equal”, is now the most unequal industrial democracy on earth, indeed more unequal than many Third World countries.  UNICEF ranks us last among 24 industrial democracies in childhood poverty and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranks us 28th of 30 member countries in inequality and poverty, trailing only Turkey and Mexico.

The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Open Market Committee shall maintain long run growth of the monetary and credit aggregates commensurate with the economy’s long run potential to increase production, so as to promote effectively the goals of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.”    Section 2A, Monetary Policy Objectives, The Federal Reserve Act

The Fed is incapable of living up to its objective of maximum employment, while at the same time maximizing profits for the private banking corporations that own it.  The Clinton Administration solution in 1994 was to redefine unemployment so that it no longer counted the long term unemployed, unless they continued to jump through the government hoops at the unemployment office after their benefits had run out.  They are now disdainfully referred to as no longer seeking work and thus not unemployed.  This is how an economic recovery can be claimed and The Fed can appear on paper to be living up to its mission, while real unemployment rises and the official government rate drops.

Counting all those not working that need a job and those working part time that need a full time job, economist John Williams website Shadow Government Statistics pegs the real unemployment rate at 23%, after a steady climb from 20% at the beginning of 2009.  Bogus government stats for the same period show a steady drop from 10% to 7% official unemployed.  A recovery can be claimed and The Fed is living up to its charter.  Welcome to “The Twilight Zone” of The Fed. http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts

This outrageous level of inequality is a direct result of the U.S. monetary policy of gifting the sovereign right to create the people’s money to private banking corporations and the private Federal Reserve System that these banking corporations  own.  There will be no relief for the American people under the current monetary system of debt money created by banks. Congress squabbles because the system in place cannot solve the problem. It is the problem.Here is the solution.

The NEED Act (National Emergency Employment Defense) Act, H.R. 2990 in the last Congress would:

  • Create 7-10 million good paying jobs.
  • Repair our crumbling infrastructure.
  • Give each citizen a Citizen’s Dividend that could be $10,000.
  • Give small businesses what they need, customers with money for their goods and services.
  • Provide debt-free funds to overwhelmed state governments.
  • Provide interest-free loans to desperately in need local governments, replacing interest-bearing bond financing.
  • Pay off the national debt, as it comes due.

It would do so by instituting 3 major, necessary reforms:

1) The Federal Reserve System is dismantled and good parts are placed into the U.S. Treasury.  Most Americans think that the Federal Reserve System is actually a federal agency. The NEED Act accomplishes this. A Monetary Authority within the Department of Treasury will then determine how much debt-free U.S. Money to create in keeping with The NEED Act’s charter to be neither inflationary nor deflationary.  While the Monetary Authority will determine how much money to create, it will have no say on how the money is used.  This remains the Constitutional function of Congress.

2) Accounting rule changes prohibit banking corporations from creating debt money via fractional reserve lending–the process in which banking corporations literally create money out of thin air when they make a loan to the 99% and create a deposit equal to the amount loaned to the customer to balance the banking corporation’s books.  This sleigh-of-hand process is decisively ended.  Future bank lending would consist of banking corporations lending monies that they actually had. This is what the majority of Americans mistakenly think happens now.

3) The Congress originates (creates) new U.S. Money and spends it into circulation, for infrastructure, health care and education and does so debt-free.  A Citizen’s Dividend is paid to each citizen that could be $10,000.  These funds will be available from the Federal Reserve System’s Open Market Account (SOMA).  The NEED Act specifically referenced spending $2.2 trillion the American Society of Civil Engineers estimated in 2009 was needed for repairs to our crumbling infrastructure.  Their more recent 2013 report estimates that $3.6 trillion needs to be spent on infrastructure repairs by the year 2020.  This increases the number of jobs to be created from 7 to 10 million.

The NEED Act is available here

http://www.monetary.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/HR-2990.pdf

False Reforms Will Not Work Now

There is a move to create state banks like the state owned Bank of North Dakota.  But state owned banks will continue to create debt money, the only difference is that it will be created by a state owned bank.  While this might be marginally better than the current system, the actual gains for the people will be very limited and nothing will be done to stop the creation of debt money by private banking corporations.  In fact they will work hand in hand together in continuing to create debt money as they do now in North Dakota.

Money creation belongs to the nation and should be done debt free as it will be done in The NEED Act.  Other banking functions can and should continue to be done by private banks, but regulation of these private banking corporations is very much a function of the federal government and will be done under The NEED Act.

In fact a very strong case can be made that legitimate private banks will be able to flourish under The NEED Act.  They just won’t be creating our money supply as debt.  With 10 million new good paying jobs created in infrastructure repairs and with a total of $3 trillion in Citizen Dividends, the American people can begin to repair their financial health.  We will have money to invest in banks.  The banks will then be able to loan this actual money out at a modest interest rate, benefitting all in society.

Local currencies and other inventions like the Bitcoin, while well intentioned, are merely diversions away from the systemic change that is desperately needed and accomplished by The NEED Act.  Focusing on The NEED Act will get us what we need, focusing on diversions will keep the Money Power right where it is now with the wealthy and their “too big to fail” private banking corporations.

You Are Needed

Changing such an unfair monetary system that has its tentacles in every department of government is no small task.  But it is the task we are given if we are ever to restore some level of democracy and equality to our nation.

The website for the American Monetary Institute the leading advocate of The NEED Act is http:  www.monetary.org

We the people need to educate, advocate and organize.

  1. Learn more about the Federal Reserve, the NEED Act and real monetary reform. Go to www.monetary.org
  2. Share information about the American Monetary Institute (AMI) and the NEED Act via discussions, meetings, email and social media
  3. Write or, better, meet with your Congressperson or Senator. Inform them about the NEED Act. Ask them to work with AMI to introduce a new version.  For those of us that feel strongly enough about the need for real monetary reform, tell your Congressperson and Senators that their active support of The NEED Act is necessary to receive your vote.
  4. Finally, don’t lose hope. The current monetary system is unsustainable. Fundamental change is inevitable. Those who have defended and bolstered our unjust and undemocratic monetary system for the last century benefiting banking corporations over people will deservedly lose credibility. That’s when we must be ready with knowledge, conviction, organization and a plan to provide real monetary reform.  Because if our plan The NEED Act is not presented to the American people, those that own the “too big to fail” banking corporations and our government will certainly be ready with a ‘solution’ that is even worse than our present reality.

Nick Egnatz is a Vietnam veteran. He has been actively protesting our government’s crimes of empire in both person and print for some years now and was named “Citizen of the Year” for Northwest Indiana in 2006 for his peace activism by the National Association of Social Workers.

Contact Nick OccupyNick@yahoo.com

 

 

Getting What We NEED

On April 1, 2014, in Uncategorized, by AMI

Getting What We NEED

Getting What We NEED

By Nick Egnatz

 
Watch the Youtube video of the Cawthra Park Secondary School Choir opening the song for the Rolling Stones.  The choir starts to sing and is almost completely drowned out by the crowd noise.  Slowly, gradually, something begins to happen.  The beauty and purity of their united voices as one, silences the crowd.  The choir is split into two groups, left and right.  Just as we the people have been split into a left and right, knowing that something is rotten in Denmark or Wall Street, separately searching for answers.  Then the shear beauty and power of the choir as one wins the day.  Our challenge is to come together and fight for what we need and want for our society.

“You can’t always get what you want

But if you try sometime,

You just might find,

You get what you NEED.”
 

 
What do we want?

Decent lives for ourselves, our families, our friends, our neighbors–for all of us.

Good jobs that pay a good wage.

To take care of those that can’t work, the retired, disabled, mothers with young children and other caregivers, those that provide other services to the community that aren’t represented in a profit and loss statement.

A healthcare system that quite simply includes all of us and excludes the profit guys.  That includes dental, mental healthcare, prescriptions, natural alternatives and that excludes insurance companies, deductibles and co-pays.  The Affordable Care Act is none of the above.  When it was rammed through Congress, proponents of a single payer system, Medicare For All, were not even allowed in the Congressional discussions and the doctor and nurse advocates were forcibly removed and arrested when they attempted to present a single payer alternative.

While I would accept a single payer system, I would much prefer a single payer/single provider system.  This is what I had for 4 years of my life while I was in military service to my country.  In addition to regular checkups, dental care, prescriptions etc, I had one major surgery plus recovery stateside and a major illness that required me to be med-evacuated from Vietnam to the states and hospitalized under doctor’s care for more than two months.  There were no bills for any of this and I continued to be paid the entire time.  While in the service I was single, but those that were married had the peace of mind knowing that all the above care would also be given to their families as needed.  Isn’t this the type of system that we should also be considering for our entire society?

An end to debt slavery–student debt, underwater mortgages and out of control credit card debt, when being late on one payment can jack your interest rate to 25-30%.  Of course, it is easy to miss a payment when we live with an economic system that is incapable of providing jobs for all its people.  And so many of the jobs that we can get now only pay about half of what life’s basic necessities cost.

Put the 9 million American families that have been either foreclosed and torn from their homes or are in the process of foreclosure back into homes.

A clean, sustainable environment–transitioning from energy that pollutes air, water,  soil and threatens future human life on earth as we know it to renewable alternatives.  With the Fukushima nuclear disaster as an example of the inability to safely contain nuclear energy and waste, we can be assured that nuclear energy and bombs for that matter are anathema to human life and peace of mind.

An end to U.S. militarism, war and empire–in service not to the American people, but rather to the military/industrial/Congressional/banking complex.

These are all things that we want, but as the song says “You can’t always get what you want.” Why?  In our present monetary system there is never any money for these and other programs that would actually benefit the people.

“But if you try sometime

You just might find

You get what you need.”

Bringing the voices of peace, anti war, anti nuclear, environmental, Fight for $15, anti foreclosure, labor, debt jubilee, universal basic income, national healthcare, Social Security, Medicare, anti racist, LGBT activists, etc together in one voice, committed to struggle, we can get what we need.

And what we need is The NEED Act!

http://www.monetary.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/HR-2990.pdf

What does The NEED Act do?  It is the game changer that makes money available, debt-free, for all of the above goodies or programs that will immensely improve our lives and society.  Without it we will continue to roam in the wilderness, never enough money for the things that we want and need.

The NEED Act

National Emergency Employment Defense Act, H.R. 2990 in the last Congress,  changes who creates and benefits from our money.

Presently almost all (97%) of what we use for money is created by private banks when they make loans to us.  This money is created out of thin air by these huge banking corporations.  They simply make two accounting entries and what is used for money is created.  You and I must then pay this money back to them, plus interest, with the sweat of our labor.  It is why we the 99% are in the process of all becoming debt slaves.  The banking class has no intention of changing this paradigm.  Change can only come from all of us banding together in struggle for monetary reform via The NEED Act.

In the depths of the Great Depression in the 1930s economists at the University of Chicago proposed reforms that became known as the Chicago Plan to change from a debt money monetary system to a “money by law” monetary system.  Unfortunately the reforms were not made and the depression lasted until we entered WWII.  The NEED Act builds upon the Chicago Plan.

“The Mistake lies in fearing money and trusting debt.”Henry Simons, University of Chicago economist said from the depths of the Great Depression

The 3 simple necessary reforms of The NEED Act:

  1. The Federal Reserve System is dismantled and good parts are placed into the US Treasury. A Monetary Authority within the Department of Treasury is created which avoids an inflationary or deflationary money supply. Most Americans think that the Federal Reserve System is actually a federal agency. the NEED Act accomplishes this.
  2. Accounting rule changes prohibit the banks from creating debt money. Fractional reserve lending is decisively ended. Future bank lending would consist of banks lending monies that they actually had. This is what the majority of Americans mistakenly think happens now.
  3. The Congress originates (creates) new U.S. Money and spends it into circulation, for infrastructure, health care and education and does so debt-free.

“Over time, whoever controls the money system, controls the nation.” Stephen Zarlenga, Director American Monetary Institute

Using newly created U.S. Money the NEED Act could initially:

  • Give each citizen a tax-free Citizen’s Dividend that could easily be $10,000 each if we simply used the newly nationalized Federal Reserve funds.  Think of this as a bailout for the 99%.  This is also necessary to avoid a deepening of the depression.  When banks are no longer able to create money as debt, new U.S. Money must be created and immediately put into circulation.  This will do what the Obama stimulus failed to do.
  • This then gives our small businesses what they need–customers with money in their pockets for their goods and services.  It will end our current depression.
  • Pay off the national debt as it comes due.  The part owed to our private banking community would be channeled back to the Treasury Dept so that the banks would not benefit from money created from nothing and then loaned to the U.S. government.
  • Repair our nation’s crumbling infrastructure and put 7-10 million Americans to work doing so.   In 2009 the American Society of Civil Engineers estimated that it would cost $2.2 trillion to do so and create 7 million jobs.  Their 2013 report estimates $3.6 trillion is needed and this would result in 10 million new jobs.  The ASCE grades the infrastructure of the world’s wealthiest country with a D+ rating.
  • Provide debt-free funds to beleaguered state governments, Indiana’s would be about $1.5 billion annually.
  • Provide interest-free financing to local municipalities for schools, libraries, roads, sewers etc.  Thus ending costly municipal bond financing charges.

After we have seen what a committed sovereign government can do with monetary reform and a responsive, democratic money system, we can then put our legislators to work for the other things we want and need.

“Anything that is physically possible and socially acceptable, we can do with the monetary reform of The NEED Act.” Robert Poteat, monetary reformer

Meanwhile, our legislators from both political parties are hopelessly frozen within a debt money paradigm, unable to provide the things that we need and want for our society and the health of our mother earth because they can’t borrow anymore and they can’t tax anymore.  It’s up to us to tell them that we will no longer accept austerity.  America needs The NEED Act!

Nick Egnatz

Nick Egnatz is a Vietnam veteran. He has been actively protesting our government’s crimes of empire in both person and print for some years now and was named “Citizen of the Year” for Northwest Indiana in 2006 for his peace activism by the National Association of Social Workers.

Contact Nick OccupyNick@yahoo.com

 

 

Occupying the NEED Act

On April 1, 2014, in Uncategorized, by AMI

Occupying the NEED Act

Occupying the NEED Act

By Nick Egnatz

 

More than 5 years into the economic crisis created by Wall Street, recovery is a nothing but a meaningless word, mouthed by politicians. Yet just two years ago a bill was placed before the last Congress: the National Emergency Employment Defense Act (the NEED Act)

Ignored by politicians and corporate media alike, the NEED Act would:

  • Pay every American a Citizen’s Dividend that could easily be $10,000 for every man woman and child in the country.
  • Thus giving small businesses what they need: customers with debt-free money to purchase their goods and services.
  • Pay off the national debt, as it comes due, without deficit spending.
  • Create 7–10 million new jobs repairing the nation’s crumbling infrastructure.
  • Provide debt-free funds to beleaguered state governments. Indiana’s would initially be about $1.5 billion per year.
  • Provide interest-free, loans to local governments for schools, libraries etc., replacing the present system of financing through interest bearing bonds.

Understanding why the National Emergency Employment Defense Act (the NEED Act), H.R. 2990 was ignored and what needs to be done to put it back before Congress again, only this time with strong citizen support, involves a discussion of who creates and benefits from our money.

The Federal Reserve System celebrates its 100th anniversary on Christmas Eve, 2013. Contrary to what most Americans think, it is not a part of the U.S. government. Rather it is network of privately owned banks, wholly controlled by a handful of Wall Street megabanks: Chase, CitiBank, Bank America and Goldman Sachs. In 1913, the Federal Reserve Act ceded the power to create the nation’s money supply to the private Federal Reserve System and its private member banks. Anyone doubting their absolute power should hearken to Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin of Illinois statement following the financial crash of 2008 and the inability to regulate the banks, ” . . . and frankly they (banks) own the place (Capital Hill).”

Arrayed against this plenary power of private banks to create our money supply are you, I, your friends, families, neighbors, mine and everyone else who either works for a living or has a need to do so—the working class. Because the Occupy Movement was successful in creating a dialogue about the inequality endemic to our present economic system, it was necessary for those that represent the wealthy banking class to attack each and every permanent occupation that had brought American citizens together to try and work out a more equal system. These attacks were orchestrated nationally by the Obama Administration.

Yet there is little doubt that the same attacks would have been made by a Republican Administration, if one were in office.

The challenge for Occupy and other peace and social justice groups is to first garner a basic understanding of the nature of money and then advocate both within the present corrupt political system and outside the system for a return of the power to create money to the people through a representative and responsive federal government. I use the word return, not because this had been the actual practice, but because this is the power vested in the Constitution. “The Congress shall have The Power To . . . coin Money . . . ,” Article 1, Section 8.

Nature of money

The confusion the banking class has spread throughout our country’s history has been successful in keeping the people and our elected representatives ignorant of the nature of money.

There are basically three types of money:

  1. Money as a commodity: Gold and silver coins and paper money backed by 100% gold and silver reserves in the vault.
  2. Debt money created by banks: This is the system we have now and is the cause of our present problems. Bills and coins make up only about 2 1/2% of our total money supply. The rest of our money supply is conjured up out of thin air by private banks when they make loans, with a private tax (interest) added on top.
  3. Money by law: Aristotle defined money as an abstract legal creation of the state, created to benefit society as a whole, in contrast to those who believed money was a commodity to be hoarded by the wealthy. “Money exists not by nature, but by law.” As such, money is an instrument of law for the benefit of all. Its value is a reflection of that society’s industry and concept of justice. Always public, never private.

Both money as a commodity and debt money created by banks monetary systems have historically resulted in tremendous inequality with the money always ending up comfortably ensconced in the vaults of the wealthy. Money by law monetary systems in ancient Rome and Sparta allowed these sleepy hamlets to develop into two of the most thriving city states in the ancient world, with a much greater level of equality amongst their citizens than neighboring states had.

Rome and Sparta: Money by law

Rome had a money by law monetary system of bronze bars and coins from the reign of King Numa in 716 BC until wars further and further from home resulted in the minting of silver coins to pay their armies in foreign lands beginning around 310 BC. The bronze money by law monetary system was still used exclusively at home until the Punic Wars with Carthage resulted in Rome converting into a silver coin money as a commodity system by about 212 BC. Rome became a world power with its money by law monetary system. Its decline coincided with it changeover to a money as a commodity system.

Before Lycurgus became king of Sparta around 800 BC, he travelled much of the known world to get ideas about how to have the fairest and most equitable system for his future subjects. On the island of Crete he met the poet Thales “the lawgiver” who returned to Sparta to advise him. Lycurgus then eschewed the money as a commodity system of gold and silver and instead installed a money by law monetary system of elongated iron discs. They were called Pelanors because they resembled small cakes of the same name. They intentionally had no value outside the law. They were dipped in vinegar when hot during the smelting process. This made them brittle and useless for anything but money by law. Lycurgus also instituted land reforms, dividing the land more equally amongst the Spartan citizens.

Sparta grew into a Hellenic power during the almost 400 years of a money by law monetary system. Around 415 BC Sparta became more and more involved in wars far from home and regressed to a gold and silver money as a commodity monetary system. This was done largely as a result of successful foreign conquests and the capture of gold and silver from the vanquished that then made its way back to Sparta. The combination of war and a money as a commoditymonetary system was then the cause of Sparta’s demise as a world power.

U.S. money by law

U.S. history—Jefferson and Madison battling with the private 1st Bank of the United States, Jackson and Van Buren clashing with the private 2nd Bank of the United States, the Greenback and Progressive Movements, more recently parts of the Occupy Movement—has been a struggle and search for a fair and equitable system of money. Unfortunately, until now the banking class has had the money, clout and the ability to befuddle the issue enough to remain in power. Bank accountants then mystify the explanations of their occult practices, while the 99% are swallowed up in the quicksand of debt from present and past monetary policy.

The justification for giving the money power to the private First and Second Banks of the U.S. and the private Federal Reserve System was that they were issuing money as a commodity backed by gold and silver in their vaults. But the reality was that the banks that Jefferson, Madison, Jackson and Van Buren fought, the private banks and their private Federal Reserve System that citizens battle today have always created our money supply out of thin air by issuing debt money created by banks. This has been done historically by a process called “fractional reserve lending” in which banks loaned out about 10 times the actual money they had in reserve. Recently this process has been advanced to the point that the banks make the loans first and then use the entire Federal Reserve System to borrow whatever funds are necessary to justify the loan.

It is why citizens in the U.S., countries across the globe such as Greece, Cyprus and Spain, our own cities like Detroit and states like Illinois are all becoming debt slaves to a private banking class.

Let’s look at the successful examples of money by law in our own history.

Colonial Scrip: North American colonists suffered from a lack of money throughout their history. Remember that the colonies were created to benefit the mother country and not to provide a good life for the colonists. English law forbade sending coinage to the colonies and the Dutch also kept coinage from New Amsterdam (New York). Economic activity became so difficult that Massachusetts even made a small amount of Indian wampum legal tender in an effort to create a circulating medium.

Massachusetts rediscovered the science of money in 1690 when she issued “bills of credit,” the first paper money in the West. She spent them into circulation paying for the colonial expenses. Pennsylvania followed in 1723 with paper money that was loaned instead of spent into existence. A less perfect system, but still effective in alleviating the shortage of money in the colony.

The colonial money by law fiat currencies dramatically improved life in the colonies, facilitated the building of real infrastructure and reversed the flow of emigrants who for decades had been moving back to England. Because the colonial script was successful at alleviating hardship and fostering a new spirit of independence, the mother country made them illegal.

Continental Currency: The Continentals helped us to win our independence. The Continental Congress authorized $200 million and issued that amount to finance the new nation’s struggle for independence. Long after they made the Revolution a reality, they have been smeared by pundits as inflation money. What actually happened was that the British counterfeited billions of them and eventually destroyed the Continentals. Yet they still carried us over a 51/2 year period of Revolutionary War and to within 6 months of final victory. They gave us our nation!

Greenbacks: $450 million of paper Greenbacks were issued to fight the Civil War, in lieu of paying usurious interest rates to private banks. Eventually they were exchanged dollar for dollar with gold coins, but few were returned as Americans liked their paper money by law Greenbacks. The Greenbacks allowed us to keep the nation that the Continentals had given us and the Colonial Paper Scrip had helped to build.

Results of debt money created by banks monetary system

Now let’s examine what “debt money created by banks” has given us.

The 11 major financial catastrophes in U.S. history:

  1. Panic of 1785–1788
  2. Panic of 1792
  3. Panic of 1819–1822
  4. Panic of 1837–1843
  5. Panic of 1857–1861
  6. Great Depression or Panic of 1873–1878
  7. Panic of 1893–1897
  8. Panic of 1907
  9. Great Depression 1929–1941
  10. Recession of the mid 1970s
  11. Depression 2008-?

In addition to this depressing record of financial panics, recessions and depressions, the U.S. is for all practical purposes the most unequal industrial democracy on earth.

The progressively increasing level of inequality is starkly represented by the 2011 study done by social scientists Atkinson, Piketty, and Saez. “Top Incomes in the Long Run of History.” Journal of Economic Literature. Of all the income gains made in the U.S., during the Clinton years 45% went to the top 1% of earners, under Bush Jr. it was 65%. Now under the alleged ‘progressive’ or ‘socialist’ Obama, 93% of all income gains in the country to the top 1%.

The Occupy Movement was absolutely responsible for bringing a discussion of this inequality to the nation. Prior to Occupy there was never as much as a mention in the national media of the inequality built into our economic system. This is not because others had not been talking about inequality before, but because the level of citizen involvement in Occupy across the country, empathetically rejecting this inequality, made it impossible for the corporate media to completely ignore it.

Our work is far from finished though and our task is to now present and fight for a fairer and more equal system. the NEED Act’s monetary reform is the systemic change needed to bring about a greater level of equality. Enacting it is not the last step, but merely the first necessary step to fulfilling what we have all been taught is the promise of America.

The historical record is clear. There will be no relief for the American people under the current monetary system of “debt money created by banks.” Congress squabbles because the system in place cannot solve the problem. It is the problem. Here is the solution.

America needs the NEED Act

In the last Congress, then Congressman Dennis Kucinich and Congressman John Conyers, Jr., sponsored H.R. 2990 The National Emergency Employment Defense (NEED) Act.

The 3 primary and necessary reforms of the NEED Act:

1) The Federal Reserve System is dismantled and good parts are placed into the US Treasury. A Monetary Authority within the Department of Treasury is created which avoids an inflationary or deflationary money supply. Most Americans think that the Federal Reserve System is actually a federal agency. the NEED Act accomplishes this.

2) Accounting rule changes prohibit the banks from creating debt money. Fractional reserve lending is decisively ended. Future bank lending would consist of banks lending monies that they actually had. This is what the majority of Americans mistakenly think happens now.

3) The Congress originates (creates) new U.S. Money and spends it into circulation, for infrastructure, health care and education and does so debt-free. the NEED Act specifically referenced spending $2.2 trillion the American Society of Civil Engineers estimated in 2009 was needed for repairs to our crumbling infrastructure. Their more recent 2013 report grades U.S. infrastructure with a D+ rating and estimates that $3.6 trillion needs to be spent on infrastructure repairs by the year 2020. This increases the number of jobs to be created from 7 to 10 million.

Partial reforms have not worked in the past

These reforms have been tried separately in the past and because they have been done separately the banking class has always managed to navigate around them and return to the status quo of a debt money created by banks monetary system.

  1. The Bank of England, the British central bank and model upon which the U.S. Federal Reserve System was built, was nationalized in 1946 after the Church of England led a campaign against it. The Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple said of the Bank of England’s monetary policies that “the result is to make into the master what ought to be the servant.” Because the nationalization of the British central bank was done separately and fractional reserve lending was not quashed, the money creation power merely flowed to the individual private banks and away from the nationalized Bank of England and the British government. The status quo of “debt money created by banks” remained.
  2. The debt-free Greenbacks were created and spent into existence allowing the Union to fight and win the Civil War. Because the concurrent practice of money creation by fractional reserve lending was not stopped, the private banks, after first allowing the Greenbacks to win the war for the Union, were quick to eliminate their debt-free competition. This was all done despite the fact that U.S. citizens loved their debt-free Greenbacks.
  3. In the 1830s Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren defeated the private Second Bank of the U.S. in a monumental struggle, ending the corrupt bank’s creation of debt money. This was a good thing, but because they both had an incomplete understanding of the nature of money, they neglected to create and spend into existence the money by law that was necessary for the economic lifeblood of our country. As a result of the lack of money, the country was plunged into the terrible Panic of 1837–43. Those individuals that think a return to the gold standard of money as a commodity would solve our problems, need to study the results of Jackson and Van Buren’s efforts doing exactly this.

False reforms will not work now

There is a move to create state banks like the state owned Bank of North Dakota. But state owned banks will continue to create debt money, the only difference is that it will be created by a state owned bank. While this might be marginally better than the current system, the actual gains for the people will be very limited and nothing will be done to stop the creation of debt money by private banks. In fact they will work hand in hand together in continuing to create debt money as they do now in North Dakota.

Money creation belongs to the nation and should be done debt free as it will be done in the NEED Act. Other banking functions can and should continue to be done by private banks and not a state or a national bank. Regulation of these private banks is very much a function of the federal government and will be done under the NEED Act.

In fact a very strong case can be made that legitimate private banks will be able to flourish under the NEED Act. They just won’t be creating our money supply as debt. With 10 million new good paying jobs created in infrastructure repairs and with a total of $3 trillion in Citizen Dividends, the American people can begin to repair their financial health. We will have money to invest in banks. The banks will then be able to loan this actual money out at a modest interest rate, benefitting all in society.

Local currencies and other inventions like the Bitcoin, while well intentioned, are merely diversions away from the systemic change that is desperately needed and accomplished by the NEED Act. Focusing on the NEED Act will get us what we need, focusing on diversions will keep the money power right where it is now with the wealthy and their private megabanks.

Other features of the NEED Act

What about the $17 trillion federal debt? The federal debt will be paid off as it becomes due. If we continue with a debt money created by banks system, we will never be able to pay off the debt.

The NEED Act is based on an understanding that the root economic problem is using debt for money and consequently a lack of money for average everyday people. This is immediately addressed with a Citizen’s Dividend to be paid to every citizen. This is necessary to maintain a sufficient money supply. The Federal Reserve System’s Open Market Account (SOMA) will be incorporated into the federal government with the NEED Act. It has the funds necessary for a $10,000 Citizen’s Dividend and in fairness these funds belong to the U.S. citizens. Other dividends may be forthcoming in the future, as long as they are non-inflationary.

A commitment of the NEED Act is to channel 25% of all newly created new U.S. Money to state governments based on population to use as they see fit. I estimate my state, Indiana’s share of this to be $1.5 billion per year, with a population of 6.5 million. This is based on a $15 trillion U.S. economy growing at a very modest 2% yearly rate, creating the need for $300 billion in new U.S. money, 25% of which would be allocated to the states.

This $300 billion in new U.S. Money would not be enough to finance the infrastructure rebuilding called for by the ASCE report. The charter of the NEED Act calls for money to be created in sufficient quantities for our nation’s needs, in a non inflation/deflation manner. The historical record has shown that creating money to build and benefit the entire society has been non inflationary and thus the infrastructure spending would be non inflationary. The legislation is clear that if spending becomes inflationary it will be checked, with the corollary also true that if deflation begins to rear its ugly head, more money will need to be created and spent into circulation. The Monetary Authority will determine the amount of new money to be created and spent into circulation. The Congress, under its Constitutional authority, will determine how to spend it.

Local governments are also experiencing tremendous financial pressures. The NEED Act makes interest free loans to local governments for schools, libraries, roads, sewage treatment plants etc. Done away with forever is the interest on bonds that have been used to finance such projects. The recent LIBOR scandal illustrated the illegal rigging of these interest rates, resulting in billions of dollars in excess interest paid to the international banking cartel by the 99%.

Social justice & monetary policy

Stephen Zarlenga’s The Lost Science of Money, a tour de force study of 3,000 years of monetary history, incorporates the perspective of social justice and fairness in monetary policy. All the world’s great religions have struggled to reconcile monetary policy and the abhorrent concept of usury. In my own youth almost all states had usury laws limiting the amount of interest that could be charged by lenders. In 1978 in Marquette vs. First Omaha Service Corp., the Supreme Court ruled that a national bank could charge the highest interest rate allowed in their home state to customers living anywhere in the United States, including states with restrictive interest caps. This ruling coupled with subsequent court rulings and legislation has left the public defenseless against astronomically high interest rates and completely exposed to the money power’s greed.

Learning from Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, the Scholastic Scholars of the Middle Ages and 3,000 years of monetary history, Zarlenga frees the term usury from the constraints of modern interpretation: simply charging an excessive interest rate to a definition more in keeping with the usage of the word usury in ancient societies. Zarlenga’s “macro usury” is “the taking of something for nothing through the structural misuse of the monetary mechanism.”

The NEED Act cuts to this very “heart of darkness” of the debt money created by banks monetary system of usury.

Not addressed by the NEED Act

What the NEED Act does not address is individual debt. A debt jubilee or forgiveness of debt is certainly within the spirit of social justice and the historical record from which the NEED Act originated. Making the NEED Act a reality, certainly no small feat, will help pave the way for such a jubilee.

We have other grave crises confronting our country. A few that come to mind:

  • A culture of militarism, empire and war.
  • Progressively greater and greater inequality.
  • Global warming and a slew of other environmental crises.
  • An undemocratic democracy.
  • An assault on civil liberty.

The NEED Act, while not directly addressing these, will certainly make our country more equal and thus allow a greater level of democracy; the level of democracy and equality being in direct correlation to each other.

Wars and militarism have been a profit center of bankers throughout history. Taking the money power away from them will certainly reduce our present reliance on using war, as the first and almost always last, instrument of our foreign policy.

Putting the money power with the people through democratic representation will allow us to confront the tremendous crises of global warming, nuclear weapons, nuclear power and disposing of nuclear waste. Let’s face it, there is now and never will be sufficient funding to adequately address these crises, under a debt money created by banks monetary system.

And finally putting our government to work on all these positive programs to benefit our people will certainly reduce the need for our government to spy on its own citizens, torture and incarcerate them and claim the right to do this indefinitely, absent any process of law. When our government starts to make itself the servant of the people, there will be no need for it to be our enemy.

How to do it

Perhaps, I should ask you for your suggestions here. I have no illusions that our Congress and President will come to some great awakening and pass the NEED Act. Personally, I stopped voting with the 2010 election. This as a statement that our country is undemocratic to the core and my participation in the voting charade would be giving my consent to the entire process. This was done after previously voting in every election since I came of age and sent in my absentee ballot from Vietnam in 1968.

I believe that our organizing for the NEED Act outside of the political arena and lobbying those in the political arena should be done from a position that the system is rigged for the wealthy and it’s up to our representatives to prove us wrong by sponsoring and voting for the NEED Act. Our strategy should be simple: get on board and support it or you don’t get our votes. We will vote for no one who does not support the NEED Act and conversely will vote for whoever does, regardless of their party affiliation.

The NEED Act (National Emergency Employment Defense Act) is in bill form and was before the last Congress as H.R. 2990, cosponsored by Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and John Conyers of Michigan. There were no other cosponsors and there was no companion legislation in the Senate. Presently the NEED Act sits ready to go, but without a single sponsor in the Congress and no companion legislation in the Senate.

The entire bill, fourteen pages, is available at monetary.org

My own opinion is that two updates should be made to the bill.

  1. Revise the amount to be spent rebuilding our infrastructure from $2.2 trillion to $3.6 trillion, as reflected in the more recent 2013 study by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
  2. Specify $10,000 for the initial Citizen’s Dividend. This amount will be available when the Federal Reserve System Open Market Account is incorporated into the government and we will need this level of immediate infusion of money into the economy to replace the debt money that will no longer be created. So many of our citizens need this type of bailout to get back on their feet and when we are fighting for the bill, it will be so much more effective to state a specific figure rather than a vague statement that we will all get a dividend.

We need to organize within our congressional districts and states to pressure our representatives. Write them, email them, call them and arrange to meet in person and discuss the NEED Act with groups in each congressional district.

Short letters to the editor, because that’s all most newspapers allow now. Focus on one point. A few examples to stimulate your own writing. Please, feel free to use these as is or change them to fit your specific circumstances.

“I want my Congressman to support the NEED Act, (National Emergency Employment Defense Act) because it will put 7–10 million Americans to work at good paying jobs and do this debt free. Congressman So and So, why are you not on board, fighting for jobs for your constituents, by supporting the NEED Act?”

“The NEED Act (National Emergency Employment Defense Act) pays off the national debt so that we don’t have to have our Food Stamps, Unemployment Benefits, Head Start program etc. cut because of austerity, sequestration, government shutdowns. It also puts 7–10 million of us to work at good paying jobs and does so debt free. Congressman So and So, why are you not supporting and leading a parade for the NEED Act?”

“The NEED Act would give our state (Indiana) a yearly grant of $1.5 billion debt-free from the federal government. This could be used in a variety of ways such as reducing college tuition, funding our local school districts and even reducing taxes.

Since this is new money spent into existence and not borrowed by our federal government, it does not add to the national debt. In fact under the NEED Act the federal debt is paid off as it comes due. Under our present system of debt money created by private banks, the federal debt will never be paid off.

Senators Coats and Donnelly, why on earth are you not sponsoring this legislation?”

“I own a small business. I’ve been struggling for years to keep my business going and employees working. The NEED Act (National Emergency Employment Defense Act) gives each person in the country a $10,000 tax-free Citizen’s Dividend. It does so debt free. My business doesn’t need loans and more debt. My business needs customers with cash for the goods and services I provide. Congressman So and So, why are you not supporting the NEED Act?”

The American Monetary Institute monetary.org is a small non profit charity that supports monetary reform via the NEED Act. More information, along with Stephen Zarlenga’s book The Lost Science of Money are available there.

There is a need to create a website that organizes actions of all types supporting the NEED Act by Congressional Districts and States. Anyone that can help with this task please contact me at OccupyNick@yahoo.com

Nick Egnatz

Nick Egnatz is a Vietnam veteran. He has been actively protesting our government’s crimes of empire in both person and print for some years now and was named “Citizen of the Year” for Northwest Indiana in 2006 for his peace activism by the National Association of Social Workers. Recently he has been championing monetary reform for the 99% by replacing our present ‘debt money created by banks’ monetary system with a democratic, debt-free ‘money by law’ system. Contact Nick: OccupyNick@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

Book Review for Modernising Money

On March 18, 2014, in Book Reviews, by AMI

Book Review for Modernising Money

Book Review for Modernising Money

by Steven Walsh
AMI Researcher

 

Andrew Jackson and Ben Dyson have done a fantastic job in helping to explain modern banking practices as they relate specifically to the money creation process and, just as importantly, how we must reform it, creating a fair monetary system for all. This system would allow for public and private job creation, and along with that opportunity, a more peaceful and healthy society and environment. While the book focuses on England’s monetary system, the same analysis applies to the United States and, in general, all the banking systems in the world.

In the United States parallel work, with a strong historical foundation, has been done by the American Monetary Institute. The National Employment Emergency Defense Act (NEED) has been introduced recently into two sessions of Congress by the Congressman, Dennis Kucinich. This Act throws a spear into the mysterious – and often cloaked – banking system and corrects a fundamental injustice in how money comes into circulation. Dyson and Jackson add to the monetary reform movement by exposing the present monetary system in an understandable fashion and by articulating possibilities for how the future might look under the “reformed system.”

The compelling and key argument that Dyson and Jackson make is that the present practice, whereby money is created by banks (indeed, 97% of the money in England), perpetuates an injustice and is immoral! The origination of money must belong to government, through a public administration process, for the benefit of all citizens. It is that simple. Jackson and Dyson use the current language of economics and banking to explain the “moral hazard” of letting banking corporations and their leadership control the nation’s money supply. A major demonstration of the moral hazard has been the recent bail out of the failing banks. When bankers mismanage, no matter what their size, and become insolvent there needs to be a proper way to let them fail without hurting the overall monetary system of society. The “reformed system” as advocated in Modernising Money, like the NEED Act in the United States, makes this transition in an elegant and just way.

In the light of history Dyson and Jackson’s book comes at an important time. During the Great Depression of the 1930’s, important U.S. economic academics: Irving Fisher, Henry Simons, etc., along with a strong majority of the economists of the day agreeing, introduced bills into both chambers of Congress to reform the banking system, in the same fundamental way as it is being done today: because it was morally right. They felt that even though the bankers would not want it that enough righteous Congressmen would take the time to understand and the change would come. They did not push to educate the common voters; the bankers prevailed and both bills died in Congressional committees. Today we understand this was a mistake and Jackson and Dyson’s book plays an important role in rectifying this by helping to educate the public on this crucial topic. The educated lay person will now be in a better position to stand up to monetary/economic punditry or present-day banking advocate and speak truth to power.

Jackson and Dyson give the reader explicit detail in how to move from the current operating system to the public creation and administration of money (through the Money Creation Committee and the Bank of England in England, which parallels the Monetary Control Board and the Bureau of the Federal Reserve as created and maintained under the NEED Act). This allows for common sense choices that can take a nation out of debt and have its people prosper at the same time. It is through these real choices: how much money should be created, should this money be spent into circulation or should it be lent to the banks to be relent into circulation, that Dyson and Jackson explain how money should be modernized. For example, if money is lent to the banks should there be a stipulation that this new money be lent out by the banks for entrepreneurial activities rather than creating asset bubbles in the area of home mortgages(?).

For those readers with little time, I would suggest reading the five page conclusion which serves as a summary for this important book. Overall, the language is clear and although the economic/banking material at times gets a little thick, know that you do not have to read every point before moving on. The book is organized and smartly redundant enough, that the chapters can stand on their own. Also, as suggested by the authors, you can choose to skip chapter four, which slogs through the mud of our present banking/economic system, and not miss crucial information for understanding monetary reform. Chapter four, however, goes the extra mile in laying out the present system bare, which more serious students will find useful.

In summary, Modernising Money is a must read for those who want to help lead us out of this economic/monetary abyss. It is time for enough people to understand these monetary reform ideas so that we have the political resolve to right society for all.

If you would like to order a copy of the book, please send a check for $35 USD (S&H included) and your address to the American Monetary Institute at:
PO Box 601, Valatie, NY, 12184.

 

Or order online using PayPal


 

 

A Program for Monetary Reform

On January 30, 2014, in Research & Articles, by AMI

A Program for Monetary Reform

A Program For Monetary Reform

This paper, from six notable American economists, is a 1939 proposal put forth to rebuild America’s economic system.

 

On Modernising Money

On December 23, 2013, in Book Reviews, by AMI

On Modernising Money

On ‘Modernising Money’ – A Review

By Joe Bongiovanni
Co-Director, The Kettle Pond Institute
Plainfield, Vermont

 
I liked it from the title – being an active verb that brings with it the substance of needed reform. It’s a book about ‘doing’ something.

For anyone considering buying any book that explains in just the right amount of detail exactly how the modern money systems of the world really work, what is wrong with these present systems, and what can really be done to make ‘money’ itself a common good of sovereign peoples – do what you can to make a purchase of “Modernising Money” by British authors Andrew Jackson and Ben Dyson.

Note: I went to Amazon, where I occasionally purchase and the price was $57 – with only one (1) available. I went to Alibris, where I most often purchase, and there were none available. I went to the Positive Money website and tried to purchase there, but they rejected the bonafides of my home zip code.

So, do what you can to get a copy. It will be well worth the effort.

Some may say that this book describes the particular monetary system of the British, with its publicly-owned central bank and GILTs being the rendered public debt-instrument. True enough, yet there are volumes of direct connectedness between the nature of the US and UK systems of money that are relevant to fixing that which is responsible for so much that is wrong with today’s private systems of debt-based money.

This book well complements Stephen Zarlenga’s ‘masterpiece’ , “The Lost Science of Money”, which provides 23 Chapters of monetary history on this planet, and one(1) chapter of how to reform the system. The Jackson-Dyson book has one Chapter on history, and nine (9) Chapters on everything from how the present system works, to the socio-economic and environmental consequences of this debt-based system of money today, to how the reformed system would effect both economics and banking, and on to a Conclusion that reclaims the righteousness of how a modern money system can become the engine for the common good.

This IS the book that needed to be written at this time. There is nothing more powerful in today’s world of bought-out political power than a truly well-informed citizenry. And what we have in this well organized and written piece is honestly the very best arsenal of indisputable information that can be used to inform those interested on how to replace our bought-out political power with a rational, workable and sustainable money system for the future – on both sides of the pond.

The book’s Foreword by noted economist and ecologist Professor Herman Daly includes the following; slightly paraphrased:

– The privileged power enjoyed by the private banking sector of creating money from nothing and lending it at interest in the form of demand deposits …. derives from the current design of the banking system, and can be corrected by moving to a system where new money can only be created by a public body working in the public interest.

This is simple to state, but difficult to bring about. Jackson and Dyson do a fine job of explaining the clear institutional reforms necessary for a sound monetary system. –

Back in the mid 30s noted Chicago Plan supporter, Fed economist Robert Hemphill wrote in his “Staggering Thought” on reform of the money and banking system that: “It is the most important subject intelligent persons can investigate and reflect upon. It is so important that our present civilization may collapse unless it becomes widely understood and the defects remedied.”

This work of “Modernising Money” by Andrew Jackson and Ben Dyson is exactly the piece that should be used by, and useful to, today’s generation of intelligent persons that pick up the collected mantle of sound money and public purpose.

Get it where you can. Now.

If you would like to order a copy of the book, please send a check for $35 USD (S&H included) and your address to the American Monetary Institute at:
PO Box 601, Valatie, NY, 12184.

 

Or order online using PayPal


 

 

War and Debt

On August 19, 2013, in Uncategorized, by AMI

War and Debt

War and Debt Powerpoint

Is our current debt-based money system a leading motivator for our country to go to war?

 

Robert Poteat, leading expert on America’s money system and Senior Advisor to the American Monetary Institute, introduces War and Debt, a Powerpoint presentation that examines:

▪ How our debt-based money system promotes war, and warfare then promotes more debt.

▪ How HR 2990, introduced into the last Congress by Rep. Dennis Kucinich solves these critical monetary problems.

Please leave any questions or comments on the presentation below in the Leave a Reply section.

War and Debt Powerpoint

 

Paper Money and the Original Understanding of the Coinage Clause

By: Robert G. Natelson, Professor of Law, The University of Montana School of Law

*View the full article in PDF here

Below is the abstract from Natelson’s article Paper Money and the Original Understanding of the Coinage Clause

Over a century ago, the Supreme Court decided the Legal Tender Cases, holding that Congress could authorize legal tender paper money in addition to metallic coin. In recent years, some commentators have argued that this holding was incorrect as a matter of original understanding or original meaning, but that any other holding would be absolutely inconsistent with modern needs. They further argue that the impracticality of functioning without paper money demonstrates that originalism is not a workable method of constitutional interpretation.

Those who rely on the Legal Tender Cases to discredit originalism are, however, in error. This Article shows that the holding, although not all the reasoning, of those cases was fully consistent with the original understanding of the Coinage Clause. This Article tells the intriguing story of Colonial America’s extraordinary monetary innovations, examines contemporaneous law and language, and shows how the paper money question was addressed during the framing andratification of the Constitution.

View the full article in PDF here

 

Review of David Graeber’s “Debt: The First 5,000 Years”

Reviewed by Robert Poteat, AMI Researcher

“The book is worth reading and will aid anyone to understand that the evolution of money as settlement of debt and its conversion to debt is far more complicated than a simple solution to barter with bits of precious metal.”

The book is 594 pages that include 391 pages of anthropological discourse on credit, debt, and money in 12 chapters, 59 pages of footnotes, and an extensive bibliography is included as well as index.

The cover leaf dispenses with the myth of money originating as a solution to barter with…”not a shred of evidence to support it.” Text of the book reveals many variations of credit/debt/money relations in primitive as well as modernized societies from 3500 BC to 2011 CE.
The first written language was cuneiform from Sumer that began approximately 3500 BC. Baked clay tablets written in cuneiform reveal that money power was the prerogative of the temples that served as civil authority. The clay tablets reveal an extensive system of credits/debts as means of exchange as well as some coinage of metals. Interest, or usury, had already been invented. Any attempts to explain origins of money before the invention of writing must be speculation.

The author examines a number of undeveloped societies that operated on various systems of credits and debts, and examines the social relations of these systems. Social relations in small communities relied heavily on the dishonor of not paying one’s debts. This attitude still prevails in modern society.

A strong case is made that money was invented to pay debts or enable immediate settlement of exchange with someone with whom there was not expected to be any further association. In many cases, a coin acted as a token or counter rather than being valuable in itself. A good argument is made that precious metals were adapted to coinage to assist armies in procurement of arms, armament, and equipment in far off places. Precious metals are portable and are nearly universally recognized as having price value.

The author concludes in Chapter 6, page 164: “If we have become a debt society, it is because the legacy of war, conquest, and slavery has never completely gone away.” Government debt to private parties has been used to manipulate and corrupt government for private ends, particularly, in the present debt paradigm called capitalism. Debt has been used to degrade everything including human lives to a monetary calculation that eliminates all social obligations to each other. This is especially observable in the later development of capitalism that has
reduced society to a system of practical debt slavery.

The author offers no solutions except a weak suggestion of debt forgiveness.

As a matter of opinion, the book, as an anthropological study, did not give enough consideration to the power assumed by entities, temples, kings, governments, etc., to control society through control of money. This was already evident in Sumerian clay tablets and has evolved into the present private central bank monopolies that are the greatest concentration of wealth through debt in human history.

The book is worth reading and will aid anyone to understand that the evolution of money as settlement of debt and its conversion to debt is far more complicated than a simple solution to barter with bits of precious metal.