Disillusion among the general public about the lies and misinformation in the public media on the subject of debt and the financial 'industry' is growing fast; and challenges by the World Development Movement, Jubilee Debt Campaign and others are encouraging debate on causes and solutions; but while 'excessive' interest charges are condemned, the basic origin of the debts, in the creation of money by banks when they make loans (with or even without charging interest on them), attracts almost no attention.

Among monetary reformers, there is growing debate on the need to have simply interest-free money issue, or debt-free issue. The former might end the growth of debt, but would not reduce its total, nor the power of banks over society, to decide who can have loans, of how much and for what purpose, on what terms, and also, collectively, to control the volume of supply – while this supply would still have to be accompanied by an equal amount of debt. Debt-free issue by the State would transform the situation, allowing for a permanently-circulating volume of money, without any need for debt-creation. Very few debts need then exist.

The task of spreading the public support needed to force through this fundamental change in the financial systems of the world is greatly aided by the internet, with a growing number of websites offering education on it, some of which are listed on the back of each issue of this newsletter. Please take a look, and encourage all your friends and colleagues to do so!

Calls for a 'Tobin tax' are justified, to limit or end the gambling on stocks and shares, foreign exchange, and 'derivatives', which is adding to the banks' extraction of wealth from the rest of society, which has led to the now-obscene concentration of wealth among a tiny, powerful elite bet on control of the world; but even with the ending of banks' power to create money and its return to the State, to be issued without the creation of debt, other fundamental problems would still remain.

Academic research confirms the obvious: societies with fair and reliable distribution of access to basic needs, at quite a modest level of supply, give rise to far higher levels of happiness, sociability and contentment – and absence of aggression – than those with less secure and more unequal distribution of wealth.

While many advocates of reform of money creation see this as the fundamental reform – and I have to agree – I believe that to make the urgent changes needed to achieve a peaceful, sustainable society, this must be accompanied by pressure for fair, secure distribution of entitlement to basic needs.

This would be achieved by the introduction of Basic or Citizens' Incomes, freeing the population from wage-slavery, to choose their own path through life – 'economic democracy'.

This case was argued nearly a century ago by C H Douglas, with his advocacy of 'National Dividends' as representing the right of everyone to their due share of the 'common cultural inheritance' of knowledge, infrastructure and applied technology which gave rise to the current high level of productivity. This is in addition to their right to a share of the natural resources of the world, as argued by the advocates of Henry George's ideas on Land Tax, extended to include all of these natural resources. The support for these reforms was fast growing in the 1930s; what a tragedy that the 'depression' was 'cured' instead by a second World War, with its continuing and escalating post-war problems!

As the problems arising from the growth of debt were, in the last few decades, being 'solved' by governments around the world, we have been fast descending into totalitarianism, with a mushrooming of rules and regulations; but there are rays of hope in the UK in some of the actions of the new 'Con-Dem' government, as in the recent statement in Parliament by my local MP, Greg Clark (Minister of State (Decentralisation), Communities and Local Government; Tunbridge Wells): "I am today placing in the Library of the House two items. The first is the documents associated with the south-east regional plan, which consists of 3,000 pages and weighs 2 stone. That has been replaced by the second item, which consists of six pages of guidance weighing 1 oz. If anything encapsulates the difference between this Government's approach and the previous Government's approach, it is that we are freeing local authorities from that burden." I hope that this indicates the coming trend!

Brian Leslie