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Greeks reject debt slavery

Beyond Money - July 5, 2015 - 12:55

In today’s referendum, the Greek people voted overwhelmingly to reject the bailout offer that was presented to them by the intransigent “troika” of the IMF, EC, and ECB. With more than half the votes counted nationwide, the NO votes led the YES votes by about 60% to 40%. This result also represents a vote of confidence for the Syriza coalition government and for Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras who, amidst scathing attacks by troika leaders, had urged Greeks to reject the offer.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is now calling for Greece to be expelled from the eurozone. That is not likely to happen any time soon, but if it did, Greece would be the better for it. So long as the Greek government continues to balance its budget it might well be able to issue a domestic currency without inflation. It might also encourage private measures to provide domestic liquidity. Private currencies spent into circulation by trusted issuers on the basis of goods and services that are in regular demand, and mutual credit clearing associations of businesses have historically been shown to be effective in providing exchange media and alleviating economic hardship, especially when official currencies are in short supply.


Categories: Blogs

The Truth Behind the Greek Crisis

Beyond Money - July 5, 2015 - 02:30

Sunday, July 05, 2015. Somewhere in Greece.

As we await the outcome of the referendum vote, the atmosphere here is one of calm expectancy. In my view, the Greek crisis is shaping up to be a major battle with the forces of banking and corporate power that are intent on imposing a neo-feudal New World Order, arrayed against those who are hoping to preserve some hope of social justice, economic equity, self-determination, and democratic government. It is a Goliath vs. David situation.

With mostly propaganda coming from the mainstream media, people’s beliefs are shaped to conform to the picture that serves the Goliath agenda. Be not deceived. This article referred to below is very important and offers a deeper insight into the Greek situation.-t.h.g.

Behind the Greek Crisis

July 2, 2015

Exclusive: The usual narrative of the Greek economic tragedy is that the country is paying for its past profligacy, but there is deeper back story of political repression fueled by major powers intervening in Greece and contributing to a dysfunctional political system, recalls ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk.

By William R. Polk

Read it here: https://consortiumnews.com/2015/07/02/behind-the-greek-crisis/

And, here is another pertinent article, this enough to make one cry: How Europe Played Greece: “We would rather Deal with Corrupt but Obedient Leaders, than Honest ones with Ideas of Sovereignty”  By Alex Andreou, Global Research, July 04, 2015


Categories: Blogs

Has science proven the supernatural?

Matslats - July 4, 2015 - 04:43

While anecdotal evidence abounds for strange coincidences mind to mind communications, and the supposed laws of physics being broken in ways we find meaningful, it has been very hard to capture these events in a laboratory in a way that the rump of the scientific body finds acceptable.

read more

Categories: Blogs

The right faces in the right places

Beyond Money - June 30, 2015 - 01:35

There has been a lot of talk lately about placing the face of a notable American woman on one denomination or other of U.S. Federal Reserve note. I strongly support that effort and a number of worthy candidates have been suggested.

The big question is “Which of the present male images will be displaced?” Several people have proposed that Andrew Jackson get the axe. I have a strong opinion to the contrary, and a recent op-ed in the New York Times prompted me to express it in writing. Unfortunately, the Times chose to not publish my letter, so I offer it here below.–t.h.g.

To the editor, New York Times:

Steven Rattner’s op-ed (NYT, June 20) proposed to “Leave Hamilton Alone” and “Evict Andrew Jackson.” There are compelling reasons to argue the opposite.

Hamilton may well have been a “visionary genius” but his talents were applied largely in the service of anti-democratic and elite interests. He was an avowed monarchist and was “distrustful of ordinary people to rightly judge matters,” siding with those who urged George Washington to declare himself king. According to Thomas Jefferson, “Hamilton was, indeed, a singular character. Of acute understanding, disinterested, honest, and honorable in all private transactions, amiable in society, and duly valuing virtue in private life, yet so bewitched and perverted by the British example, as to be under thorough conviction that corruption was essential to the government of a nation.

Many of the measures that Hamilton proposed, like those employed to encourage loyalty to, and establish and the credit of the federal government, were clearly important in making the fledgling United States better able to stand up to the European imperial powers. But his insistence on establishing a central bank, modeled after the Bank of England, was intended to establish aristocratic rule indirectly by financial means.

Andrew Jackson, on the other hand, despite his many faults, was a champion of “government by the people.” He was devout in his commitment to safeguard the Republic from corrupters and usurpers. This is best exemplified in the so-called “bank war” which pitted him against Nicholas Biddle and the Second Bank of the United States. His 1832 veto of the bill to re-charter the Second Bank saved, for a time, the American republic from an insidious scheme to swindle the American people and to take power from the elected government and hand it over to a self-serving elite who were already entrenched in Europe.

In Jackson’s Veto Message he declared his objections to the Bank which included its monopoly privilege that was to be granted “for many millions less than it is worth,” its “gratuities to foreigners and to some of our own opulent citizens,” and most of all, its establishment of a power that could rival that of the elected government and create “a bond of union among the banking establishments…, erecting them into an interest separate from that of the people.”

While Jackson’s monetary policies may not have been the best, the financial turmoil that followed the closing of the central bank can be blamed on the nefarious work of Biddle in restricting credit, and the period of “free banking” that ensued was actually of great importance in building the American economy. Even former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan has acknowledged that “The perception of the free banking era as an era of “wildcat” banking marked by financial instability and, in particular, by widespread significant losses to noteholders also turns out to be exaggerated.”

Unfortunately, Jackson’s victory was short-lived. The elite forces have, step-by-step, tightened their grip on power, arrogating to themselves, in the name free trade and national security, ever more power until democracy has become a mere charade. The present global interest-based, debt-money, central banking regime has corrupted the political process, drowned all nations and their peoples in ever-increasing debt, and all but completed the creation of a neo-feudal “new world order.”

If for nothing else, Jackson should be honored for taking a stand for democratic government and warning the people of the deceptive schemes that have been, and continue to be employed to undermine and defeat it.

_________________

Thomas H. Greco, Jr., author, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization


Categories: Blogs

TiSA, another secret treaty to obliterate democratic government

Beyond Money - June 26, 2015 - 04:47

We the people continue to be disempowered as our governments cede ever more control to global banking and corporate elites. TiSA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are the latest and boldest moves in that direction.

The big questions are “How far will we the people allow this process to go before we rebel, what can be done to reverse the damage, and when will it be too late to restore democracy?” Here below is a summary of the situation in so far as TiSA is concerned. –t.h.g.

Wikileaks throws light on an ultra-secret treaty

Marco A. Gandásegui, Jr.* – ALAI

Panama and another fifty countries are engaged in the negotiation of a secret treaty that will put an end to what little is left of democracy and free trade at a world level. North American and European officials advise their counterparts. Everything indicates that this operation is being developed regardless of the laws of the countries involved. At present, the US Congress is legislating to create a juridical framework for the new body. In the case of Panama and the majority of the countries that are taking part in these negotiations, there is no information as to what is being legislated.

Wikileaks is revealing, through a world-wide journalistic network at their disposition, the content of these clandestine negotiations among some 50 governments to establish a neo-liberal planetary alliance, the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). The agreement on the interchange of services is not only being negotiated in the most absolute secrecy, but also intends to maintain its secrecy during the first five years of its operation.

The level of concealment of the TiSA – which covers telecommunications, electronic commerce and financial services, as well as insurance and transportation – is superior to that of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement between Washington and their Asian associates. Wikileaks revealed secret documents that expose the construction of a set of norms and rules designed to evade state regulations on the global market.

If the treaty is not to be known for years, the governments that implement it will not need to be accountable. According to well-informed sources, the fraudulent intention of these clandestine negotiations is obvious in view of its unashamed violation of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.

Up to now, the Latin American governments involved in the secret negotiations of TiSA include Panama, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru. The texts of the secret negotiation of TiSA divulged by Wikileaks show that what is involved is the elimination of all control over financial services. It was precisely the derivatives or CDS (credit default swaps) – nothing less than bets on possible bankruptcies – that generated the stock market bubble that exploded in 2007-2008 and put an end to the capitalist financial system as we have known it. The collapse obliged Washington to inject trillions of dollars from public funds into the biggest banks to avoid bankruptcies.

Wikileaks had access to internal notes on the negotiations with Israel and Turkey for their adhesion to the secret treaty, something that was denied to China and Uruguay when they requested them, probably due to a fear that they might have leaked the contents when they discovered what was involved. The list of Latin American governments taking part in TiSA is revealing. They are all faithful allies of the United States. The ALBA countries, as well as Brazil, Argentina and others in which Washington does not confide, are excluded.

The most incredible aspect of the TiSA is that total transparency will be demanded of countries that are not part of the secret treaty. The countries that are not part of the intimate circle, must reveal ahead of time and open to discussion all the regulations and rules that that they propose to apply, thus ensuring that the big corporations have time to counter, modify or prevent these sovereign decisions in accord with their interests.

TiSA will take into account all the demands of the financial industry of Wall Street and the City of London, as well as the interests of the big global corporations, for whom the treaty is not secret but a product of their own creation. According to the Professor of Law of the University of Aukland (New Zealand), Jane Kelsey, ‘the great danger is that TiSA will prevent governments from strengthening the rules to control the financial sector”.

Designed in close consultation with the capitalist financial sector on a global scale, the TiSA will oblige the signing governments to strengthen and widen the stock market deregulation and liberalization that sparked the crisis. In addition, governments will be deprived of the right to maintain and control financial data in their territories. Moreover, they will be obliged to accept toxic credit derivatives and be prevented from adopting measures to avoid other crises created by neo-liberalism. And all this will be imposed by secret agreements, so that public opinion will be unable to find out what are the true causes of the ruin of their countries.

(Translated by Jordan Bishop for ALAI).

*Marco A. Gandásegui, Jr., professor of Sociology, University of Panama and researcher associated with the Centro de Estudios Latinoamericanos Justo Arosemena (CELA). www.marcoagandasegui14.blogspot.com . www.salacela.net

 


Categories: Blogs

Guild of Currencies day in Exeter

Matslats - June 15, 2015 - 18:32

The first 'Transition Pounds' in the UK, Totnes, Brixton, Stroud, Lewes, and then Bristol lacked proper theoretical foundations, and achieved very limited circulation. Even today, on its fourth issue, the Totnes pound is extremely sluggish. Even with discounts, pound-backed (proxy-pound) models in which national money is captured for the local economy lack incentives for those local pounds to circulate.

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Categories: Blogs

New Community Currency Hanbook

Beyond Money - June 12, 2015 - 04:41

The New Economics Foundation has recently announced a new handbook. Covering a variety of currency designs from time banks, LETS, and currencies issued on the basis of conventional money payment, People Powered Money: everything you need to know to set up a community currency, is a useful guidebook for grassroots exchange innovators.

The book can be downloaded from http://communitycurrenciesinaction.eu/peoplepoweredmoney/.


Categories: Blogs

More news from Africa: Berg Rand Launches in South Africa

Beyond Money - May 30, 2015 - 14:18

Will Ruddick and his team are continuing to proliferate community currencies in various places around southern Africa using their Bangla-Pesa model.

Will reports as follows:

The Berg Rand or BRAND – which means ‘Fire’ Money in Afrikaans, had an amazing launch today! The FlowAfrica team lead by John Ziniades and Anna Cowen of Meshfield spent over 6 months training local youth in topics of architecture, video creation (see their youtube channel), currency and businesses development. These youth helped mobilize a network of small businesses across 3 different towns in the Bergrivier region. The businesses formed the Bergrivier Exchange Network (BEN) and designed their own medium of exchange. Similar to Bangla-Pesa and the other community currencies in Kenya the members of the BEN must be local prosumers and guaranteed by four other members of the network and must contribute to a community fund with their BRAND for social service programs, like trash collection and alien vegetation clearing.

Read the full story here.


Categories: Blogs

Seizing an Alternative, Pomona College, June 4-7 – Free Plenary Sessions, Scholarships, and other reasons to participate.

Beyond Money - May 27, 2015 - 11:34

Here’s a portion of the latest informational brief about the upcoming conference. You’re invited:

Don’t stay away!

(I mean, really, when is the next time you’ll be able to get together with hundreds and hundreds of people rethinking civilization from the ground up?)

            Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization             June 4-7, Pomona College, Claremont, CA

ATTEND FREE PLENARY SESSIONS at Bridges Auditorium, Pomona College, Claremont, CA:

THURSDAY, June 4
Bill McKibben: 7:00 p.m. Opening Night

FRIDAY, June 5
John B. Cobb, Jr.: 9:00 a.m.
Vandana Shiva: 7:00 p.m.

SATURDAY, June 6
Herman Daly-John B. Cobb, Jr. discussion moderated by PRI’s Warren Olney (recorded):
  9:00 a.m.
Sheri Liao: 7:00 p.m.

SUNDAY, June 7
Wes Jackson: 9:00 a.m.

Southern California Edison makes ADDITIONAL STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS (limited) available. To apply, write to info@PandoPopulus.com.

Read More…


Categories: Blogs

Wave of Action to focus on central banks

Beyond Money - May 24, 2015 - 08:53

 

There are instances where demonstrations can be useful, at least in raising public consciousness. Most people in Western countries are still delusional about money and politics. As David DeGraw puts it “democracy” is an illusion for propagandized minds.

The reality is that our political systems have been captured by elite bankers who are bent on concentrating ever more power and wealth in their own hands. DeGraw is calling for a worldwide Wave of Action to focus attention on central banks, the institutions that are the primary instruments of control over money and economics. He says, “On June 20th, we will rally at US Federal Reserve banks, the Bank of England and central banks worldwide to focus mass consciousness on the crimes against humanity perpetrated by global bankers.”

Read his call and join the ‘wave” here.


Categories: Blogs

Financial hacking with Faircoin

Matslats - May 22, 2015 - 04:20

Having kept an eye on the altcoins for a good while I wasn't initially impressed by the claims of Faircoin.

There have been several coins issued attached to good causes but without a clear monetary function. The idea is usually to set up a cryptocurrency, premine some, market the brand and sell the premines for a good cause. In this, there is no consideration of what makes the coin a desirable purchase, and the coin is so useless i.e. unused and therefore unusable, that its purchase constitutes little more than a straight donation.

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Categories: Blogs

Seizing an Alternative-sign up now

Beyond Money - May 14, 2015 - 16:40
Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization
June 4-7, Pomona College, Claremont, CA This promises to be the conference of the year. Get all the details and register here.
Categories: Blogs

Peace walls and peace work in Belfast

Matslats - May 14, 2015 - 00:17

The Troubles of Northern Ireland were to a large extent kept out of the press at the time, being mentioned only when prominent people or the mainland were attacked. Judging by the lack of coverage in the media, we might still be forgiven for thinking that the troubles are over, In many ways the Troubles are over.

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Categories: Blogs

Solidarity economy silos

Matslats - May 1, 2015 - 03:52

We all have an idea of what needs to happen; we are piecing together the Transition to a better world in the ways we know how; many of us are reaching out to potential allies, although building productive partnerships is difficult.

The internet is a powerful tool that brings together people who share ideals, languages, and passions and so we spend a lot of time connecting to allies online. Where else in my life could I find people to advise me, support my work and use my software?

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Categories: Blogs

A Monetary Reform Proposal for Iceland

Beyond Money - April 24, 2015 - 10:22

I have recently received from several sources word of a new monetary reform proposal. This one, commissioned by the Prime Minister of Iceland, is titled, MONETARY REFORM A BETTER MONETARY SYSTEM FOR ICELAND, and is authored by Frosti Sigurjonsson.

I’ve taken the time to read only the Overview and summary portion, but that is sufficient to discern the crux of the Sigurjonsson proposal, which is this:

The Central Bank will be exclusively responsible for creating the money necessary to support economic growth. Instead of relying on interest rates to influence money creation by banks, the Central Bank can change the money supply directly. Decisions on money creation will be taken by a committee that is independent of government and transparent in its decision-making, as is the current monetary policy committee.

New money, created by the Central Bank, will be transferred to the government and put into circulation in the economy via increased government spending, by reduction in taxes, by repaying public debt or by paying a citizen dividend.

The Central Bank will also be able to create money for lending to banks for onward lending to businesses outside the financial sector.

Sigurjonsson indicates that his proposal draws heavily upon an earlier proposal titled, A Monetary Reform for the Information Age, by Joseph Huber and James Robertson (New Economics Foundation (2001)), which I critiqued early in 2002. That critique, along with subsequent dialog between the authors and myself, can be found at http://reinventingmoney.com/monetary-reform-information-age/.

Since both the Sigurjonsson proposal or the Huber/Robertson proposal advocate the same basic approach, I strongly believe that any serious consideration of either, should also consider my above mentioned earlier critique and subsequent dialog.

While I agree with much of what Huber and Robertson (and presumably, Sigurjonsson) say about the defects in the present money system, I believe that their proposed centralized “solution” does not go nearly far enough in solving those defects. Continuation of the money monopoly in (presumably) different hands does not get to the root of the problem. It is my view that the key to achieving more equitable and sustainable economic interrelationships lies in liberating the exchange process from monopolized money and banking, enabling the creation of competing currencies and credit clearing exchanges, and allowing the needs of traders themselves to determine the supply of exchange media (money) in circulation at any given point in time.

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Categories: Blogs

Beyond Money—Learning the basics of value exchange

Beyond Money - April 19, 2015 - 10:45

We need to get beyond the confusions and obfuscations that surround the concept of money.

To do that we need to distinguish between what money is, i.e., its essence, and what money does, i.e., its functions. Conventional definitions of money, the ones that are universally taught in schools and universities, tell what money is supposed to do, not what it is.

The essence of money is credit. It is the issuer’s i.o.u. or promise to reciprocate, i.e. to provide real value to the market and accept his currency back as payment for it.

With that in mind, we can begin to make sense of money and effectively address the problems that arise from conventional forms of money.

Conventional thinking lists money as having these functions:

  • Medium of exchange—what we use to pay one another.
  • Store of value—what we use to save our temporary surplus.
  • Measure of value—what we use to quantify the market value of all the things that we buy and sell.

But, as I have argued for almost 30 years, these are separate and distinct functions that need to handled by distinct and different means. (For more about that see my book, Money and Debt: A Solution to the Global Crisis, Part III).

Let’s focus on the exchange function, for this is the fundamental and proper role of money, and this is where attempts to solve our global financial and economic problems must begin. Anyone who has studied my work will know that I have thoroughly articulated these concepts in my books and my various presentations. But theory and practice develop together, each informing the other, and finding ways to improve the process requires that we look at both.

Over the past several decades, numerous innovations in the exchange function have emerged, including virtual commodities like Bitcoin, LETS systems, community currencies, and commercial trade (“barter”) exchanges.

Of these, the greatest market success has been achieved by commercial trade exchanges which enable their member businesses to buy and sell without using conventional money. Rather, trading is enabled by using the members’ own credit in a process called credit clearing which simply offsets debits from purchases against credits from sales. (For a more complete description of how this works, see my book, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization, especially Chapter 10).

Over the past 40 years, much has been learned from the operation of commercial trade exchanges, and while they have achieved some modest levels of success, they have barely scratched the surface of the potential market for credit clearing services. It remains for exchanges system designs and procedures to be optimized and standardized and for local exchanges to be networked together into a vast moneyless marketplace.

The trade exchange industry has two trade associations that have been instrumental in helping practitioners to share information and in promoting standards and best practices. These are the International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA) and the National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE). But over the past year a new voice, Bartertown Radio, has emerged that seeks to disseminate the knowledge and wisdom of practitioners to a wider audience. Its mission is to provide an “Educational Program for Business Owners, Entrepreneurs, Barter Exchanges, Owners or New Owners of Barter Exchanges or anyone interested in Alternative Economies.”

Broadcasts are archived and can be accessed on demand at the Bartertown Radio website. Particularly relevant is the April 18 broadcast featuring Richard Logie, a man with 20 years of experience as a trade exchange operator and software platform developer. During that interview, Richard shared his experience and knowledge about a wide range of topics including the factors he considers in allocating credit lines to exchange members, how tax issues are dealt with, and ongoing efforts to establish and enforce good standards of operation. That interview with Richard will be continued next Saturday, April 25 at 11 AM Eastern time (UTC-5). Be sure to tune in at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/educate4barter/2015/04/25/richard-logie-part-2 .

Other archived broadcasts that may be of particular interest are the April 5 interview with industry leader, Harold Rice of the American Exchange Network, and the interview with yours truly from December 13, 2014. Besides operating his own trade exchange company for almost 40 years, Harold Rice has provided consulting services for entrepreneurs and other exchange operators. He is a fount of knowledge about the details of exchange operation and has special expertise in accounting and tax issues.

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Categories: Blogs

Realising The Credit Commons

Matslats - April 17, 2015 - 15:50

Currently the vast majority of complementary currencies are local initiatives. I'm talking about real initiatives with daily trades rather than mere ideas, models, exaggerations non-starters, and dead systems.

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Categories: Blogs

The Credit Commons: Better than Bitcoin

Matslats - April 12, 2015 - 13:57

This is just a few notes about why the Credit Commons design is better than bitcoin. This is not an article and is written for no particular audience, but it could be!

We have to thank Tom Greco for bringing the phrase 'Credit Commons' to our attention. It reminds us that everything which was common is being enclosed, and that the abstract, misunderstood and very simple thing, credit is the most critical to bring about a fairer and more sensible society.

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Categories: Blogs

2015 Spring Newsletter

Beyond Money - April 8, 2015 - 15:31

In this issue:

  • Summer in Greece (and elsewhere in Europe)
  • The Greek Debt Crisis, an Opportunity for Innovation
  • California Events
  • African Currency Projects Proliferating
  • Good Reading, Listening, and Viewing

 Summer in Greece (and elsewhere in Europe)

The fates have conspired to draw me back to Greece this coming summer. I’ve recently had a lot of interesting correspondence with people in Europe who are working, in one way or another, on solutions to the intensifying global financial crisis. The eastern Mediterranean seems to be at the leading edge of the global debt tsunami so that’s the place to be.

I have been invited to serve as a Scientist in Residence at the holistic Kalikalos Summer School on the mythical Pelion peninsula near Volos, Greece. I will be there during the periods 12 to 19 June and 10 to 17 July, and possibly some other times in between or after those dates. During the 12-19 June period, Kalikalos will also feature a course, The Big Picture: Toward a new way of relating to self, community and planet, led by Jennifer Hinton and Theoharis Tziovaras, and during the 10 to 17 July period, Jonathan Dawson of Schumacher College (UK) will be offering a course, Economics of Solidarity, in which I will assist. My residency there will provide lots of opportunities for idea sharing and collaboration.

The school’s website describes it as follows: “The Kalikalos living learning centers in Pelion, Greece are dedicated to demonstrating the power of authentic community as a vehicle for building a new holistic world of peace, partnership and sustainability. Our three campuses offer an educational programme of workshops, retreats, workcamps, conferences and living-in-community guest weeks in the summer months that include healing (self, society & planet), creative arts, communication science, and Self-enquiry. For the latest information about the Centres, please subscribe to our bi-monthly newsletter at: www.kalikalos.com/eNews.”

In addition to my stay at Kalikalos, I expect to be spending some time elsewhere in Greece during June and July. Besides Athens and Volos, Crete and Cyprus are also possibilities. At the moment, August is open, but I plan to remain in Europe until early September. My return flight is booked from London, so I will be spending at least a few days in England prior to my departure. As always, I am open to visiting, presenting, and conferring in places along my routes. Proposals can be sent to me at thgreco@mindspring.com.

_____________________________________________________

The Greek Debt Crisis, an Opportunity for Innovation

Since the January elections there, and in anticipation of my summer visit, I’ve been looking closely at Greece,—researching its history, politics, and economy. A lot of media attention has been given to the new government of the Syriza Party and its populist agenda. Especially prominent in the news has been their new Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis who has been wrangling with Angela Merkel and the rest of Greece’s European creditors over restructuring the countries debt and relaxing the austerity conditions that were accepted by the previous administration.

Varoufakis has an impressive background and some unorthodox ideas about how to address the debt crisis that threatens to not only crush Greece, but to unravel the entire Eurozone. He is to be admired for his courage in standing up to the “troika” (the European Commission (EC), International Monetary Fund (IMF), and European Central Bank (ECB)), and for exposing the failures and pretense of the economics profession. Varoufakis’ blog provides links to many of his interviews and presentations, and his book, The Global Minotaur: America, the True Origins of the Financial Crisis and the Future of the World Economy, published in 2011 and updated in 2013, is now gaining wide attention.

That is not to say that he gets everything right. He may have the right approach to dealing with the immediate crisis of national insolvency, but he seems to be lacking when it comes to understanding the more fundamental flaws of money that is created by banks on the basis of interest-bearing debt, nor does he seem to appreciate the vast potential of innovative exchange mechanisms like mutual credit clearing and private currencies issued by trusted domestic producers.

He has however posted one currency idea on his blog that might be of some help if some features were to be changed. I have posted my suggestions about that as a comment to his post. You can find both his proposal and my comment at http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/2014/02/15/bitcoin-a-flawed-currency-blueprint-with-a-potentially-useful-application-for-the-eurozone/#comment-148955.

Besides accessing many web sources, I discovered, quite by accident in a local bookshop, a new book that is proving to be invaluable in providing me with essential background and insights into how things operate in Greece in the post-WWII era. The book is, The Thirteenth Labour of Hercules: Inside the Greek Crisis, authored by journalist Yannis Palaiologos (Portobello Books, 2014). Reading it has shown me the many dimensions of Greek politics and the domestic and foreign basis of the present crisis. It seems that there is plenty of blame to go around.

_____________________________________________________

California Events

I will spend the month of May going back and forth between California and the East Coast to visit family and friends. Then in early June prior to my departure for Europe, I will be occupied with events in California. On June 2, I will lead a discussion in Martinez (San Francisco Bay area). This event, sponsored the Mt. Diablo Peace Center and Friendly Favors, is titled, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea: What Greece needs to do to extricate itself from its economic and financial predicament. We will discuss the various options that Greece and other debtor nations might employ, both in dealing with their immediate problem of insolvency, and in rebuilding their sovereign domestic economies. Please see Details and RSVP at the Events page of www.favors.org.

Then, from June 4 thru 7, I’ll be participating in the conference, Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization, to be held at Pomona College in southern California. This is shaping up to be a huge event with 12 sections and 80 tracks. I’ll be playing a major role in Section 1, The Threatening Catastrophe: Responding Now, Track 6: Political Collapse (http://www.ctr4process.org/whitehead2015/section-1-track-6/). I will be providing input on how the geopolitical order is determined by elite control of money and banking, and outline some promising strategies for empowering people and communities by reclaiming the credit commons.

_____________________________________________________

African Currency Projects Proliferating

We are finding great cause for optimism as we see successful programs in Africa being replicated and expanded. Will Ruddick and his team are continuing their excellent work, helping people to discover their own power by collaborating to establish exchange mechanisms based on the value of their own production. In a recent message Will reported that, in Kenya and South Africa, they are “in the process of implementing 8 community currency programs effecting [sic] well over 100,000 people.” Building upon their success with the Bangla-Pesa currency in Mombasa and the Gatina-Pesa in Nairobi, they expect these community currency projects will unlock the potential for local producers to greatly expand their trading with each other and to pull themselves up out of poverty. Will says, “We will be launching a 2nd community currency in Nairobi’s slums (Kangemi-Pesa) on April 4th… It will be a large event with marches through that area…These programs represent the foundation of what is rapidly becoming a global movement toward democratic and decentralized monetary systems. Creating resilient networks of markets across Africa is the path toward truly sustainable development”

Will also reports that they “have recently made the move to develop a non-profit foundation called Grassroots Economics to house these programs, and are looking for partners that really understand the seriousness of the monetary problem and the urgent need for community based solutions.” A quick update on the currency projects can be found here.

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Good Reading, Listening, and Viewing

Richard Werner is one of the few academic economists worth listening to. I recently read his

paper, How do banks create money, and why can other firms not do the same? An explanation for the coexistence of lending and deposit-taking. This is an excellent and clear explanation of the accounting sleight-of-hand that enables banks to create deposits (money) without the vast majority of people, even most bankers, realizing what is happening. Of course, many of us in the alternative exchange movement have long recognized that banks do this, but Richard’s explanation of HOW they are able to do this must be compelling even to his academic colleagues. This paper is a very important contribution to the literature of monetary and banking reform and transcendence because it also outlines the positive implications of some small changes in banking laws and regulations that could be made if there were the political will to do them.

Of course, understanding how the flawed money system operates is only the beginning, and political approaches to reform seem very unlikely. That knowledge must be used as a departure point from which to design and implement innovative market oriented approaches to extra-bank exchange. Mutual credit-clearing circles and private currencies spent into circulation by trusted issuers, can be organized by businesses and communities to provide “home-grown” liquidity. To my knowledge, there are at present no major legal obstacles in most countries that would impede such innovative technologies from being widely deployed. The Swiss WIR and the existing commercial “barter” exchanges are imperfect models that provide proof of concept. In the US at least, commercial barter exchanges are officially regarded as “third party record keepers” which are not subject to banking and money transfer regulations.

You might also enjoy viewing the documentary video, Princes of the Yen, which is based on Richard’s book by the same name (subtitled, Japan’s Central Bankers and the Transformation of the Economy). It makes me wonder if there might be a place for directed investment and allocation of credit by central governments in temporarily addressing the worst effects of the European debt crisis (other than bank bailouts, that is).

Students of innovation will be interested in The Innovators: How A Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson. The audio version, which I have just finished, held my attention throughout the entire 15 CD set.

Since listening to his Black Swan in audio format a few years ago, I’ve been a fan of Nassim Taleb, so I’m now in the process of listening to his book, Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder. This is another work that is both iconoclastic and filled with original ideas. Highly recommend.

Finally, if you really want to understand what’s happening in the world, you need to follow Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. Dr. Roberts is one of the few commentators today who see what is really going on and is willing to tell about it. His recent interview by Greg Hunter is especially timely. View it in my post at BeyondMoney.net.

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Categories: Blogs

Clearing away the fog–Paul Craig Roberts on geopolitics and the American economy

Beyond Money - April 2, 2015 - 10:46

Here is another great interview of Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. I think even the interviewer, Greg Hunter had some scales removed from his eyes. Dr. Roberts is one of the few commentators today who see what is really going on and is willing to tell about it.


Categories: Blogs