Index

1   Editorial:

The Green Party’s Autumn Conference had a motion proposing a return to the early post-WW2 situation, when banks were tightly regulated and government created about 40% of our money, to counter the ‘credit crunch’. There was a lively debate at its workshop, with objection to its reference to ‘seignorage’ without definition, and to the specification of ‘around 40%’ as being arbitrary.

However, when it came to plenary, after only brief debate, a motion to refer back was proposed and passed – despite the clear urgency of developing policy on this issue! It will be interesting to see how the ‘economy’ fares over the time to next year’s Spring Conference, which is the next opportunity for the Party to adopt policy on this.

A Conference highlight was the debate on A Green New Deal, a report published in July and put together by those on the platform as below, plus Richard Murphy (Finance for the Future), Charles Secret, and Andrew Simms (NEF):

It was addressed from the platform by Caroline Lucas, Jeremy Leggett (of Solarcentury), Ann Pettifor, Tony Juniper (Friends of the Earth), and Colin Hines. Ann Pettifor gave an impassioned speech pointing out that money was abstract, and its nature could be changed by demand. Debts should be cancelled!

Overall, A Green New Deal aims to shift spending onto ‘Green’ production, training and services, calling for a windfall tax on energy profits as part of the means to pay for it – "Just three companies – BP, Centrica, and Shell – together made £1000 profit every second over the first 6 months of this year", and, essentially, returning to the financial policies introduced to cope with the ‘depression’ in the USA in the 1930s by Roosevelt and then generally adopted around the world until gradually overturned in the 1970s and ‘80s: ‘Green Keynesianism’. Overlooked is the fact that the depression dragged on for years; it was only ended, as money reformers of the time had predicted, given absence of their reforms, by the advent of WW2.

The changes advocated are urgently needed to cope with ‘Peak Oil’, climate change, etc., and a move in the right direction; but do not go far enough. I well remember reading, in about 1947, of the ‘great new idea’ from the States: ‘planned obsolescence’, dreamed-up during WW2 to cope with the potential explosion of goods for sale on the domestic market due to the huge increase of productivity generated by the demands of war, once this was redirected to peacetime. It threatened to ‘saturate the markets (i.e. supply all needs) and so collapse the ‘economy’; finance-capitalism cannot tolerate abundance!

Instead of planning to distribute that potential abundance, so ending poverty and need, by changing the rules, the decision was made then to squander the world’s resources to maintain and increase the wealth and power of the elite few – with the multiple disastrous consequences now climaxing.

Worth a look on the web, on this issue, is a Guardian article recommended to Janet Alty by Tom Hellberg; as he wrote:
At last, someone honest tells us what has happened - Nick Leeson - inside trader no 1!
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/sep/19/banking.creditcrunch

--though he does not go that final step and question the advisability of allowing the banks to create our credit-money.

– Brian Leslie

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