Index

2    Get back to the roots!

The Politics of Money surveys the history of the money economy, brings together the ideas of major thinkers in political economy, analyses the impacts on the social and ecological environments as a result of unbridled economic growth on a global scale and sets alternative experiments in context. Published just over a year ago, the book has drawn forth one or two substantial and complimentary reviews from experienced experts in the subject (copies available on request). This is a highly readable (according to the reviews) compendium of the life's work of major economists who have provided alternatives to business-as-usual, ‘you can't stop progress’. ‘It's the Economy, Stupid!’ mentality. Nevertheless, it has raised scarcely a ripple. The reasons are complex, but can be divided into four broad categories:

1. Through the mass media using electronic communications and advertising methods based on psychological studies and market research, the ‘manufacture of consent’ makes the philosophy of global corporatism seem ‘normal’ and opposition ‘abnormal’.

2. After a decade and more in the formal education system, the vast bulk of people acquire a deep-seated belief that the political economy operates according to principles of fundamental decency. If lessons are properly learned, laws obeyed and orders followed, progress will continue and evil will justly be eliminated by the ‘powers-that-be’.

3. Mistakes can be made — the ‘cock-up theory’ of history — and the resulting injustices can be campaigned against (or theorised about) and righted. However, it is dangerous to raise fundamental questions about the ordering of the political economy because only cranks and conspiracy theorists raise such questions. People who ask such questions are labelled ‘fools’, to be exiled from the mainstream debate.

4. The fundamental reason why people will turn away from recognising that all is not well is that the acceptance brings responsibility. It is far more comfortable to deceive oneself that all is indeed well, that minor ‘cock-ups’ are the only problem, and that no useful purpose is to be served by standing up to be counted in person.

Basically, people no longer know what to think. In the absence of a common framework of reference, there is a tendency to act like ‘Asses in Clover’, to leave the thinking to the ‘experts’, whilst enjoying the ill-gotten gains of capitalism, tolerating the exploitation of others and the natural environment until such time as the blight falls on the clover in one’s own personal field.

The silence from fellow academics, the studious avoidance of serious engagement with the issues raised in these columns by alternative writers and thinkers, deplorable though it is, remains understandable in terms of the four points made above. However, the failure to accept quality reviews of The Politics of Money on the part of editors of alternative publications, coupled with the acceptance of scurrilous nonsense bordering on libel (indeed crossing over the border) on the part of at least one refereed academic journal, is inexcusable. (Copies of an article published in Capitalism, Nature, Socialism Vol.14, No. 3, September 2003, pp99-122, entitled “Social Credit: The Ecosocialism of Fools”, can be obtained through the inter-library system, or from the Secretariat Office on request).

Over the eight or nine decades since the end of World War I a veritable mass of' ‘heretical’ writings by economists ‘exiled’ from academia (on grounds as suggested in 3. above) has circulated in the form of books, pamphlets and articles. Among these, as we suggest in these columns, the social credit/guild socialist texts of Douglas and Orage form a coherent body of thought which accords with, because it is derived from, the teachings of other leading thinkers who have critiqued the political economy of global capitalism. Additionally, however, there are a large number of variations on the theme of ‘monetary reform’, some even labelled ‘social credit’, which are confusing, inaccurate and downright meaningless representations of the views of individual eccentrics. So great is the mass of such publications that it is all too easy for the unscrupulous to trawl through for scurrilous and sensational material, such as that presented in the CNS article. At a time when the quest for serious alternatives to global devastation is emerging with some urgency, the writing and publishing of such misleading nonsense must be questioned.

As reviewers of The Politics of Money observe, conventional economics is being judged and found wanting on grounds of social justice and ecological sustainability. Anti-globalization meetings and campaigns against the World Trade Organisation policies are occurring on a worldwide scale with increasing frequency. Students at Paris, Cambridge, Harvard and other universities are calling for a new/‘post-autistic’ economics, while indigenous people straggle against the exploitation of their land and labour for monocultural cash cropping, and the green movement as a whole searches for sustainable alternatives for rebuilding local communities devastated by global capitalism. The Politics of Money represents many years of work on the part of the authors and those whose work they have studied. The authors of The Politics of Money have researched a mass of texts, orthodox and heterodox, bringing together in one work the best of alternative economic thought for the reader to weigh and judge. That they have done so successfully is borne out by the reviews. That the reviews are so small in number gives grave cause for concern.

— Editorial from the Social Crediter, Spring 2004

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