11   The Need for Monetary Reform

Stephen Zarlenga

Monetary reform is the critical missing element needed to move humanity back from the brink of nuclear disaster, away from a future dominated by fraud and warfare, toward a world of justice and beauty.

The power to create money is an awesome power at times stronger than the Executive, Legislative or Judicial powers combined. It's like having a "magic checkbook," where checks can't bounce. When controlled privately it can be used to gain riches, but more importantly it determines the direction of our society by deciding where the money goes what gets funded and what does not. Will it be used to build and repair vital infrastructure such as the New Orleans Levees to protect major cities? Or will it go into warfare or real estate loans, creating asset price inflation - the real estate bubble.

Thus the money issuing power should never be alienated from democratically elected government and placed ambiguously into private hands as it is in America in the Federal Reserve System today. Indeed, most people would be surprised to learn that the bulk of our money supply is not created by our government, but by private banks when they make loans. Through the Feds fractional reserve process the system creates purchasing media when banks make loans into checking accounts, so most of our money is issued as interest-bearing debt.

We are borrowing this money system from private banks when instead we should own the system, not rent it. Under the Constitution, Article I, Sec. 8, our government has the sovereign power to issue money and spend it into circulation to promote the general welfare through the creation and repair of infrastructure, including human infrastructure - health and education - rather than misusing the money system for speculation as banking has historically done. Our lawmakers must now reclaim that power!

Money has value because of skilled people, resources, and infrastructure, working together in a supportive social and legal framework. Money is the indispensable lubricant that lets them "run." It is not tangible wealth in itself, but a power to obtain wealth. Money is an abstract social power based in law; and whatever government accepts in payment of taxes will be money. Money's value is not created by the private corporations that now control it.

Unhappily, mankind's experience with private money creation has undeniably been a long history of fraud, mismanagement and even villainy. Banking abuses are pervasive and self-evident. Major banks and companies focus on misusing the money system instead of production. For example, in June 2005, Citibank and Merrill Lynch paid over $1.2 Billion to Enron pensioners to settle fraud charges.

Private money creation through fractional reserve banking fosters an unprecedented concentration of wealth which destroys the democratic process and ultimately promotes military imperialism. Less than 1% of the population claims ownership of almost 50% of the wealth, but vital infrastructure is ignored. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives a D grade to our infrastructure and estimates that $1.6 trillion is needed to bring it to acceptable levels.

That fact alone shows the world's dominant money system to be a major failure crying for reform.

Infrastructure repair would provide quality employment throughout the nation. There is a pretense that government must either borrow or tax to get the money for such projects. But it is well known that the government can directly create the money needed and spend it into circulation for such projects, without inflationary results.

Monetary reform is achieved in three parts which must be enacted together for it to work. Any one or any two of them alone won't do it, but could actually further harm the monetary system.

First, incorporate the Federal Reserve System into the U.S. Treasury where all new money could be created by government as money, not interest-bearing debt, and spent into circulation to promote the general welfare. The monetary system would be monitored to be neither inflationary nor deflationary.

Second, halt the bank's privilege to create money by ending the fractional reserve system in a gentle and elegant way. All the past monetized private credit would be converted into U.S. government money. Banks would then act as intermediaries accepting savings deposits and loaning them out to borrowers. They would do what people think they do now.

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Stephen Zarlenga

American Monetary Institute (USA)