Notes from the Learning Curve
Bob Welham, PhDBromsgrove 2008
Being retired from a varied work history involving mathematics, philosophy, artificial intelligence and yoga teaching, I have found during the past couple of years both the time and the curiosity to discover more about our debt-based, commercially issued money system. Some questions nagged at me. We baby-boomers had added much real wealth to the global economy, so why were our children worse off than we had been at a similar age? How was it possible for the whole world to be massively in net debt? To whom was it all owed – the Martians? I saw that I didn’t understand money at all.
I read Michael Rowbotham, James Gibb Stuart, and others. Then, to learn more and to test my understanding, I began to contribute to forums on the popular websites pricedout.org.uk and housepricecrash.co.uk . I was soon embroiled in heated discussions about whether or not commercial banks created money and I was amazed at how difficult it was to dissuade people from their illusions. Fortunately, during this educational activity, I came into contact with Anne Belsey, contributing as Money Reformer, and I learned of the Money Reform Party and of Bromsgrove, which I attended last year for the first time.
Most of us understand money well enough at the local or personal level. It comes and goes through our bank accounts in a linear and orderly fashion, it obeys the laws of arithmetic, and so on. It seemed to be the emergent properties of the whole banking system, such as total bank debt necessarily exceeding total money, supply that many people on the websites found so difficult to grasp. Also, they often insisted that each bank had to borrow all the money that it lent, either from depositors or from other banks. Though true in a technical sense, this does not of course, due to the inter-bank clearing process, preclude the expansion of the money supply by the banking cartel.
The ambiguity and obfuscation between money and credit, between physical legal tender and electronic bank money, between inter-bank competition and banking cartel collaboration, engender widespread confusion which I suspect is deliberately encouraged and exploited by the banks. To try to cut through this confusion, I think of the banking system as a set of unambiguous numbers, a mathematical system operating under strict rules. Positive numbers are deposits – assets to the depositors, liabilities to the banks. Negative numbers are loans or debts – assets to the banking system, liabilities to the debtors. How do these numbers originate? How do they change? Under what rules and constraints, formulated and imposed by whom?
Why do we pay the banks so handsomely for the mere existence of our commercially issued means of exchange, when collectively we could so easily provide it for ourselves, free of cost? This I call the Rent-a-Currency scam, which unfortunately is invisible to most folk, hidden in plain view. I seek to find ways to show more people, more clearly, the absurdities and the all too real dangers of our present money system.
Debt-based, privately issued money: the ultimate numbers racket. Who needs it?
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