Index

Editorial:

Interesting times. The current ongoing debate about some MPs’ dubious claims for ‘second homes’ exposes the degree of greed and self-interest outweighing ethics among our chosen ‘leaders’; but attention should now turn to the dire influence on them, of corporate sponsorship and lobbying. This is a matter of far greater importance, and explains why government so commonly favours the interests of ‘big business’ and the wealthy, working against the interests of the majority of its citizens – and of the environment and the future generations.

Its actions so far in reaction to the ‘credit crunch’ bear this out! The fundamental reform of the system so clearly needed is not being given serious consideration. Instead, every effort is being made to patch it up and get back as fast as possible to ‘economic growth’.

There is much debate about exactly what ‘quantitative easing’ means, as well as the ongoing (deliberate?) confusion between ‘money’, i.e. means of exchange, and ‘debt’, which is what banks create along with money, i.e. ‘credit’.

‘Quantitative easing’ is claimed to be ‘creating money out of thin air’ – but applying it to the wrong purposes! – yet it is claimed that ‘taxpayers’ will be burdened with its repayment for decades. If it has not been ‘borrowed’ into existence, who is it being ‘repaid’ to?? Let’s have some clarity and honesty in the reports!

One thing I must insist: ‘credit’ is money, not debt! – The debt remains with the borrower until it is repaid, including the accumulated interest; the credit circulates, without any interest burden, as money. Calling it ‘debt’ makes clarity of thought on the issue almost impossible.

There is much good material on this subject on the Internet, if you can find it among the mountain of information on everything else! Recommended ‘BlogSpot’: http://gaianeconomics.blogspot.com/

My ‘Vidcast’, MoneyMyth.org.uk continues to get many viewings from around the world, with the biggest numbers being in the USA. It continues to get high rankings on the Miro website – it was top of overall popularity for the first several weeks of its appearance.

It now consists of an introductory episode followed by six further ones. At least one further one is planned, and we have now produced a DVD covering the introduction and episodes 1-5. We are asking for £7.50 per copy, but inviting purchasers to make their own further copies for non-commercial use.

Many in the USA are successfully challenging the legitimacy of their credit-card debts to banks, on the grounds, essentially, that the banks did not have the money they ‘lent’ them.  See the website: http://thecreditcardsolution.com/Program_Explanation_Videos.html

A similar process is growing, in the UK.

 Brian Leslie

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2009/4/16: Letter in the FT

Tax the privileged and reduce the deadweight costs

Published: April 16 2009 03:00 | Last updated: April 16 2009 03:00

From Mr Chris Cook.

Sir, I am sure British correspondents will also be pointing out that it is not just the US tax code that is broken (“Mending America’s broken tax code”, Editorial, April 14), but this misses a deeper point.

The toxic combination of compound interest on debt and private property in land has once again, as it has since Babylonian times, concentrated wealth to an unsustainable extent in the hands of relatively few. The problem governments face is not the shortage of credit or money – that can be printed ad lib – but a shortage of the creditworthy. What is now needed is in fact systemic fiscal reform, and in particular a transition from taxes on earned income and corporate profits to taxes on privilege.

First, as advocated by the great US political economist, Henry George (and your own Martin Wolf and Samuel Brittan), a levy on land rental values, which is a tax on the privilege of exclusive right of occupation of the commons of land. Second, a levy on carbon use, and on other non-renewables; and finally a levy on investors’ privilege of limited liability through a tax on the gross revenues of corporations.

These levies are simple, fair, pretty much unavoidable, and likely to lead to massive reductions in deadweight costs in public and private sectors.

Chris Cook,

Linlithgow, West Lothian, UK

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