Below I reproduce the content of the leaflet I wrote and then distributed nearly 2000 copies at the march to the Bank of England to protest the G20 meeting in April. (I still have some left!)

Brian Leslie

Economic Essentials for Dummies

What do we need?
A fair share of resources
An end to poverty
A system which doesn’t destroy our environment

What’s the problem?

Almost all the money we use is created by private banks. It is lent to us, including to our governments, and interest has to be paid on it.
Why does this matter?

Because the loan has to be repaid, together with the interest, there is never enough money to pay off both!

This is the driving force behind the constant ‘need’ for ‘growth’, which in turn drives the destruction of all our natural resources.

This system drives ‘wealth’ upwards into the hands of the rich, and causes the ever-widening gap between the rich and poor.

Economists distort language to support the system:
A ‘favourable balance of trade’ means that we have given more of our goods or services to other countries than we have received from them. ‘Inward investment’ means that we have sold our productive assets to foreigners.

High interest-rates to ‘cool the economy’ impoverish debtors further and bankrupt businesses, while, by adding to costs, they end up by pushing up the prices they are supposed to control. Only the very rich, and banks, benefit.

‘Consumer confidence’ means people have been persuaded to increase their debts even further, to keep the so-called ‘economy’ expanding.
‘Disposable’ means cheap, short-lived, unrepairable.

Graph of UK Personal Debt

‘Work’ means paid occupation. Unpaid occupation, however socially valuable, is not, to a modern economist, ‘work’. Their omission of consideration of all the socially valuable, indeed essential, occupations that go unpaid should cause the rejection of their theories.

‘Unemployment’ means that, regardless of the many worthwhile occupations that are needed, there is no opportunity to earn money by engaging in them. ‘Job creation’ means, not funding people to engage in these tasks, but creating opportunities to earn money, regardless of the lack of social value, or the positively anti-social nature, of the occupation offered.

What can be done about it?

We need to end this system, and instead have our money created and spent into circulation by government. This would allow it to circulate perpetually, unless there proved to be too much in circulation, in which case the government could cancel out of existence some of part of it collected by taxation.

uk debt

We need to end the banks’ power to create money, placing this instead in the hands of a public body answerable to Parliament. This body would be charged with managing the supply by creating new money as required, debt-free, to be spent by government into circulation, or when necessary, to require the cancellation of some of the money collected by Government, to reduce to total volume in circulation.

money stock

Meanwhile, both the increasingly glaringly obvious failure of the present system – its need to ‘grow’ in order not to collapse under the weight of the rapidly growing burden of debts it has created, and the impossibility of its continued growth in light of ‘peak oil’ among other problems, have led to growing support for this issue as one of fundamental importance; one which intimately relates to virtually all the other issues of concern.

The current ‘credit crunch’ is a direct result of the way this system has to grow debts, or collapse!

Some ways forward.

We need to aim for localisation. The drive to gain ‘inward investment’, and to increase our exports, due to the debt-money system, must be reversed. We should be exporting only genuine surpluses, to pay for imports only of what we need and cannot produce locally.

Ending reliance on going increasingly into debt to manage payment for needed goods and services, and gaining control of our own money supply, is a major, fundamental need.

To work toward a sounder economics, LVT – Land Value Taxation, applied to the basicsite-value – along with resource taxation, using the receipts to fund Basic Incomes, would give recognition to the claim of all to a fair share of the value of natural resources, while monetary reform seeks to make money the servant, and not the master of society.

Both issues had widespread popular support in the early decades of last century, but since then have been excluded from conventional economics and public discussion. They both threaten the powerful ‘Establishment’.

Every person, in this and future generations, should be entitled to basic material security as of right.

Giving everyone a basic, ‘Citizen’s Income’, should not be a financial problem when we can easily produce all we need with only a very small proportion of current paid employment, if this is applied to this aim.

Seeking solutions to the manifold problems we face, without addressing this issue, is doomed to failure; at best, a mere reduction of the rate of destruction of nature and society. Given this reform, solutions become miraculously simplified and effective!

To hear about this and more, look at www.Money - This highly acclaimed series is a clear explanation of the whole subject, with links to other sites. I urge you to view it.

Brian Leslie

[email protected] April 2009