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Newsletter No. 39 - December 2012

Links to previous Newsletters can be found here.

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CONTENTS

1. Introduction

2. What Will Obama Aim To Achieve In His Second Term?

3. Will Archbishop Welby Follow William Temple?

4. Mark Carney's Ambition as Bank of England Governor?

5. More about Money and Banking

6. Tax Avoidance and Basic Citizen's Incomes

7. An Upcoming Event in London

8. Website News: Two Items

 

1.INTRODUCTION

(1) Yesterday a further instalment of the continuing nightmarish farce was introduced by George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was giving his Autumn Statement to the House of Commons on Britain's financial prospects and the government's proposals. Neither he and his supporters nor his opponents were able to give us any comfort in the still developing national, European and global economic crisis following the banking collapse of 2007/08.

The fact is that the British government, like almost all other governments, is in a trap of its own making. They cannot see that "with one bound" they - and we - could begin to shake free from our present inescapable problems. They simply need to stop paying enormous sums of our money as subsidies to banks for creating the public money supply as interest-bearing debt, and to transfer that function to a public agency to create our money free of debt.

The continuing economic "austerity" resulting from failing to do that now threatens growing political unrest and violence. See http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/10/30/ swiss_army_prepares_for_euro_unrest. And the OECD global forecast of ten days ago at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001 424127887324469304578144572383450086.html is not optimistic.

But then note that the people of little Iceland had the courage and commonsense to reject uncontrolled "austerity", and have benefited from it - see the Reuters report of 12th June 2012 at http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/12/us-iceland-idUSBRE85B12O20120612.

(2) Since my last Newsletter on 26th October, three influential jobs have been filled:

(a) on 7th November Barack Obama was re-elected as President of the United States for his second four-year term;

(b) on 9th November Bishop Justin Welby of Durham was appointed to succeed Archbishop Rowan Williams - who retires in the New Year - as the new Archbishop of Canterbury and head of the worldwide Anglican Church; and

(c) on 26th November the surprise appointment of Mark Carney, now Governor of the Bank of Canada, was announced as next Governor of the Bank of England after Sir Mervyn King retires in June.

The next three items are about the possibility that during the next few years those three people may find themselves providing mutual support to one another - and increasing numbers of other people across the world - to achieve the historic breakthrough involved in the reconstruction and rescue of the money system that is now breaking down.

 

2. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

President Obama is now 51. His wife Michelle shares his previous background in professional public service and academia. He will have in mind that he will still have much to contribute after his second four-year term.

Meanwhile he has a choice. He could easily get bogged down in all kinds of national and international emergencies. Or he could make time and energy to brief himself about how we can escape the financial trap the world is in.

For example, does he know and understand the proposals put forward by Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich and the American Monetary Institute - see www.monetary.org - and similar proposals supported by other US people, including those mentioned in Appendix 2 of Future Money - www.jamesrobertson.com/book/futuremoney_appendix2.pdf?

As I don’t live in the USA, I don't feel well placed to suggest how President Obama could best be persuaded that he has an opportunity to help the people of his country and the world to break out of our present financial trap, and so secure his place in history. Any ideas?

Meanwhile, the President has said he will make no deal with the Republicans to avert the 'fiscal cliff' facing the USA in a month's time, unless they accept tax rises on the wealthiest Americans.

See http://finance.yahoo.com/news/obama-no-fiscal-cliff-deal-180722258.html.

 

3. WILL ARCHBISHOP WELBY FOLLOW WILLIAM TEMPLE?

Justin Welby will be 57 in January. The customary retirement age for Archbishops is 70. But the prospect of thirteen years in the job is unlikely to weaken his determination to achieve key objectives in his first few years.

For details of his background see

(1) www.bbc.co.uk/religion/0/19847046 and

(2) www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9664319/Justin-Welby-The-worldly-capitalist-looking-to-spread-the-Word-of-the-Lord.html.

His immediate challenge will no doubt be to preside over a fast-track solution to the question of women bishops in the Church of England. Its Synod's voting system resulted in a decision against the majority view in support of women bishops on 20th November - see www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20421576 .

Welby's supporters admire his diplomatic skills and pressure from Parliament may help him to find a solution quickly on this issue. See www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/9692489/Women-bishops-Church-is-being-held-to-ransom-by-backward-looking-minority.html

But here we are more directly concerned with Justin Welby's experience and views on banking and financial matters. As the House of Lords' representative on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, he has revealed an outspokenly critical view of banks.

He once described them as "having no socially useful purpose" - see www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-2230143/CITY-FOCUS-Justin-Welby--bringing-bankers-earth.html. It will be interesting to see what the Parliamentary Commission has to say in its planned interim report before Christmas.

But where does William Temple come in?

He was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1942-1944, during the Second World War. He had supported nationalisation of the Bank of England, which eventually took place in 1946. But he had proposed more than that, as shown in his statement of 1942.

"William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury

London, 26th September 1942

"In the case of money, we are dealing with something which is handled in our generation by methods that are extremely different from those in vogue a century or half century ago. When there was a multitude of private banks, the system by which credit was issued may perhaps have been appropriate, but with the amalgamation of the banks we have now reached a stage where something universally needed - namely money, or credit which does duty for money - has become in effect a monopoly...

"The private issue of new credit should be regarded in the modern world in just the same way in which the private minting of money was regarded in earlier times. The banks should be limited in their lending power to the amount deposited by their clients, while the issue of newer credit should be the function of public authority.

"This is not in any way to censure the banks or bankers. They have administered the system entrusted to them with singular uprightness and ability and public spirit. But the system has become anomalous, and, as so often happens when anomaly has persisted through a long period of time, the result is to make into the master what ought to be the servant."

(From Stephen Zarlenga, The Lost Science of Money, page 571, quoted from Bernard W.Dempsey, Interest and Usury [London: Denis Dobson, 1948].)

(If Temple were alive today, he certainly would not be praising the banks' "singular uprightness and ability and public spirit"!)

As Archbishop of Canterbury, will Justin Welby follow William Temple and champion monetary reform? I hope so.

 

4. MARK CARNEY'S AMBITION AS BANK OF ENGLAND GOVERNOR?

Together with a larger salary than outgoing Governor Sir Mervyn King's, Mark Carney has negotiated a five-year spell instead of the eight years offered to other candidates for the job. He is now 47 and will be only 53 in July 2018.

What does he have in mind to do after that? One possible answer is: become leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and then Canada's Prime Minister. See www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/11/26/f-weston-carney-bank-england.html

Carney's British wife Diana (Fox) may play an influential backstage part in his life and work at the Bank of England. See www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/london-life/mark-carney-and-the-cornbury-connection-8360196.html and www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/9704385/New-Bank-of-England-Governor-Mark-Carneys-wife-an-eco-warrior-who-says-banks-are-rotten.html.

Apart from his Canadian and UK concerns, Mark Carney is also a member of the international fraternity of central bankers. "He chairs the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the body that has become an executive arm of the G20, and whose previous chief was Mario Draghi, now head of the European Central Bank " - see www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2012/11/central-banking.

These various points suggest that Mark Carney might turn out to take a positive view about becoming an international advocate of monetary reform. They might, on the other hand, persuade him to play safe in order to avoid risking his reputation for reliability. The pressures of public opinon could help him to decide which way to go.

That conclusion is also true for Barack Obama and Justin Welby at Items 2 and 3 above. Well informed and strongly committed public opinion could help them to decide what to do. 

 

5. MORE ABOUT MONEY AND BANKING

(1) Monetative at www.monetative.de/?page_id=71 provides an English version of the Mission Statement on "Taking Money Creation back into Public Hands" inspired by Prof. Joseph Huber. It is the clearest two-or-three-page account I know.

(2) See www.monetary.org for news about exciting progress from the American Monetary Institute's 2012 Conference.

(3) See www.positivemoney.org/conference for details of Positive Money's Conference on "Modernising Money" on 26th January in Conway Hall, central London.

(4) For four filmed lectures on"Understanding Money" by Prof. Mary Mellor, author of The Future of Money, see www.northeastpermaculture.org.uk/resources/understanding-money. As you will see, I commend them warmly.

(5) "In Financial Ecosystems, Big Banks Trample Economic Habitats and Spread Fiscal Disease". For a scientific verdict see www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121114134658.htm.

(6) Ellen Brown explains " It’s the Interest, Stupid! Why Bankers Rule the World" - see www.commondreams.org/view/2012/11/08-8.

 

6. TAX AVOIDANCE, and BASIC CITIZEN'S INCOMES

The latest tax avoidance scandal in the UK has been about international corporations like Amazon, Starbucks and Google. They have been minimising their payments of UK corporation tax by attributing their profits and turnover to low tax regimes in other countries. This practice would best be thwarted by shifting taxation on to the ways people and businesses use common resources for their own benefit. Here are some current examples of support for that, and for citizen's incomes.

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2232532/There-profoundly-wrong-Britain-little-people-pay-taxes.html

www.prospectmagazine.co.uk/blog/land-value-tax-mansion-tax/

http://political-cleanup.org/?p=6142

www.citizensincome.org/resources/Newsletter20123.htm (click on Review essay link on left-hand navigation bar)

www.canadianprogressiveworld.com/2012/10/18/elizabeth-may-calls-for-a-guaranteed-livable-income-in-canada/ - .UMCKSs2mFUM 

 

7. AN UPCOMING EVENT IN LONDON

There’s an interesting conference in London on Wednesday 19 December. Entitled ‘Europe Beyond Growth? From material excess to human flourishing’, the speakers include Aurélie Maréchal, Prof. Molly Scott Cato, Prof. Tim Jackson and Victor Anderson.

More information can be found here - www.greenhousethinktank.org/files/greenhouse/ home/Flyer_GEJGreenHouse_London_event-2.pdf

 

8. WEBSITE NEWS: TWO ITEMS

(1) I’ve added a new page on my website - www.jamesrobertson.com/futuremoneyreviews.htm - with nineteen reviews and published comments on Future Money: Breakdown or Breakthrough, since it was published in April. I am grateful for all these good reactions. Some will appeal to some readers, and others to others. As with the "Book Endorsements", flick quickly through the list to find those that interest you most.

(2) Well over 2,000 subscribers in 75 countries now receive these free newsletters.

James Robertson

6 Dec 2012