Book Review:

3: No More National Debt

Bill Still – Reinhart & Still, 2011

This book is a first: the World's 1st 'interactive book'! It has a wealth of HyperScan QR-code images giving links to websites or images, many allowing readers to check out the latest news on the issues discussed.
Its overall theme is that we need a money supply which enters circulation by being spent by governments, after being created by a State body for the purpose; that the government should never borrow; and that the size of the money supply should be maintained at a level which causes neither inflation nor deflation. This is a somewhat arguable demand: what does 'inflation' amount to? This depends very much on its definition – what's in the 'basket'? – what changes have taken place, in quality, abundance of resources, … over time? – etc.

To support his contention, Bill surveys history, starting with the example of Guernsey, and covering the Yap Islanders' stone money, then working forward from ancient Greece, Carthage and Rome, through to England, Colonial and later America, looking also at US State-level solutions to the problems of our fractional-reserve, bank-debt money system, and to bring it right up to date, the ongoing 'credit crunch' and Iceland's rejection of demands for it to service the international debts its private banks created – with QR-codes to check the latest developments.

He ends the book with a chapter on 'Economic Disinformation', before listing some 'Bonus Videos Online'.

These HyperScan QR-codes can be scanned with smartphones or almost any QR code reader, or on a computer by using the author's URL, followed by the 4 digits of the individual code, as explained in detail at the start of the book.

Bill also argues that there is no need to oppose the existence of competing currencies, e.g. LETS or Time Dollars, but that with a properly reformed national currency, such currencies would be superfluous.

A point of some importance in the book is the author's research into the authenticity of quotes commonly used by monetary reformers; his point being that, however true the content of these quotes, if their origin cannot be proven, this can be used to dismiss the case being argued. He lists a number of these, with his findings on them, and supplies a QR code to check for any further findings.

Bill makes a compelling case in support of his theme, and it is a book to be highly recommended; however, I found it failed to address other important related issues. The 'need' for everlasting 'economic growth' and for 'full employment' is not challenged; we need instead production for basic needs and modest levels of luxury within the carrying capacity of the Earth, and fair distribution of the products of modern mechanised/automated industry by means of the introduction of Basic Incomes – or, as termed in the inter-World War period, 'National Dividends' – to free people from wage-slavery.

This brings me to: