Friday, 23 September 2011

Monetary reform

The monetary reform movements and groups I have encountered all call for an end to the ability of commercial banks to create money out of thin air with no realistic limits on how much they create and no constraint on the purpose they create it for, other than their own profit.

The reform groups call for the money supply to be regulated by a government appointed or constituted body rather like the Monetary Policy Committe that sets the base interest rate.

A change to this system may remove some of the worst mechanisms for boom and bust, but still seems to me to leave the problem of the basis on which money supply will be increased or decreased. In some reformed models, banks will still be in offering loans and interest on deposits. How will the banking system as a whole ensure that it meets human need and does not ignore the oversall constraint of our finite ecosystem.

Will the banking system look to create jobs that the system will require people to have n order to access the resources they need? If so, it will have failed to address that key element of a resource based economy.

'Bank to the Future' seeks to combine social networking and peer-to-peer lending. Nice, but if a project is making money by liquidating natural capital, it doesn't make it better becuse the £ raised to start up the project was raised by crowd funding rather than fractional reserve lending. The CEO of BttF speaks engagingly about projects that interest or excite potential investors, but if these are not sustainable projects that benefit human need then they should not be done, however eciting they are.

Apart from ensuring that the reformed baming system meets the sustainability and human neeed focussed criteria, would it not be better to step over this development and use the technology and ingenuity we have available to solve problems directly and account for the resourcces we actually have available at a planetary level. No committee can decide how much of a natural resource the eco system should have, but scientists can measure how much it actaully does have, and work out ways of using resources efficiently so as not to deplete them, and find alternatives to resources in short supply. In a monetary system, resources in short supply have a high price, and the money will follow such resources. The monetary system likes shortages, even needs them, which is why we see  set aside in agriculture and food being thrown away while people go hungry for lack of money.

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