2011 – PUBLICATION OF ARTICLE “YOU CAN’T SOLVE THE DEBT CRISIS WITH MORE DEBT” BY BEN DYSON, DIRECTOR, POSITIVE MONEY
“We cannot solve a debt crisis by adding more debt.
It`s a fact that seems to have been completely missed by the IMF, European Union and our own government.
The solution to Greece? More debt. The solution to the US government`s inability to fund two simultaneous wars from tax revenue: more debt. The solution to the high indebtedness of ordinary people in the UK? Get banks lending again: let`s have more debt. …
What we need now is not more debt, but less of it.
But for the economic mainstream and those young and inexperienced civil servants who are deciding how to fix one of the largest banking systems in the world, it seems perfectly normal to let banks create money out of nothing to lend to people who already have too much debt. The idea of taking that power away from the banks, and using newly-created money to actually reduce the indebtedness of ordinary people seems radical and somewhat dangerous to them.”
1718 – DEATH OF WILLIAM PENN, QUAKER WHO ESTABLISHED THE PROVINCE OF PENNSYLVANIA, THE FUTURE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
The wide-spread reputation for freedom and religious tolerance of the Pennsylvania British colony under Penn extended beyond Penn’s life to include monetary freedom. The legislature in 1723 passed an act authorizing the issuance of “bills of credit,” documents similar to banknotes issued by the government which was circulated as money. They were issued in response to the fiscal crises of Pennsylvania – crises endemic throughout the colonies due to a shortage of British pounds. Colonial currencies helped facilitate economic exchanges.
1863 – BIRTH OF HENRY FORD, INVENTOR AND INDUSTRIALIST
“It is well that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”
1881 – BIRTH OF SMEDLEY BUTLER, US MARINE MAJOR GENERAL (TWICE DECORATED)
“I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912 (where have I heard that name before?). I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested…
I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things that we should fight for. One is the defense of out homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.”
1912 – BIRTH OF MILTON FRIEDMAN, ECONOMIST
“If you kill the Fed [Federal Reserve] and don’t kill fractional reserve lending, you’ve done nothing.” Fractional reserve lending is the bank practice of holding a fraction of money in reserves compared to the amount loaned.
JULY [Not certain of date]
1939 – A PROGRAM FOR MONETARY REFORM RELEASED
A group of prominent economists issue a plan for US monetary reform. One of the co-authors of the plan, “A Program for Monetary Reform,” was University of Chicago professor and Quaker Paul H. Douglas (later to become U.S. Senator). More than 230 economists from 150 universities approved it without reservations, while an additional 40 supported it with some reservations.
In assessing the problem of the day, the PMR states, “If the purpose of money and credit were to discourage the exchange of goods and services, to destroy periodically the wealth produced, to frustrate and trip those who work and save, our present monetary system would seem a most effective instrument to that end.” It also stated a monetary system based on a gold standard “has had…disastrous results all over the world.”
The PMR called for government creation and maintenance in the quantity of money. “Our own monetary policy should…be directed toward avoiding inflation as well as deflation, and in attaining and maintaining as nearly as possible full production and employment.” The plan also called for eliminating fractional reserve lending – the process of banks loaning our many more times the amount of money in their possession. Back in the 1930’s the reserved requirement was 5:1. Today it’s 10:1. Some of the major banks involved in the economic collapse of 2007 had ignored this law and were loaning out 50 times their reserves. The PMR called for a 100% reserve requirement – banks could only lend the amount of money they possessed.
The document goes on, “In early times the creation of money was the sole privilege of the kings or other sovereigns – namely the sovereign people, acting through their Government. This principle is firmly anchored in our Constitution and it is a perversion to transfer the privilege to private parties to use in their own real, or presumed, interest. The founders of the Republic did not expect the banks to create the money they lend.
Their plan to reduce the national debt was simply to have the government purchase government bonds with new US debt-free money.
2012 – PUBLICATION OF “CHICAGO PLAN REVISITED” A WORKING PAPER BY MICHAEL KUMHOF AND JAROMIR BENES
The focus of the [IMF] study is the so-called Chicago plan of the 1930s which the authors have updated to fit into today’s economy. Banks would no longer be able to create money out of thin air as debt.
“The Chicago Plan could significantly reduce business cycle volatility caused by rapid changes in banks’ attitude towards credit risk, it would eliminate bank runs, and it would lead to an instantaneous and large reduction in the levels of both government and private debt. It would accomplish the latter by making government-issued money, which represents equity in the common wealth rather than debt, the central liquid asset of the economy…Another advantage is the ability to drive steady state inflation to zero…it answers the somewhat confusing claim by opponents of an exclusive monopoly on money issuance, namely that such a monetary system would be highly inflationary. There is nothing in our theoretical framework to support this claim. (pp. 55-56)
1100 – BEGINNING OF THE REIGN OF KING HENRY I OF ENGLAND
About 1100 AD, the King ordered the creation of a unique form of money. Made of wood, the currency was called “Tally Sticks.” They were polished sticks of wood declared by the Sovereign King to be good for the payment of taxes. The sticks were used as money by England for 726 years – included the period of the British Empire. It may be no coincidence that shortly after the Bank of England (a private entity) was established in 1694, it attacked the Tally Stick system. Nevertheless, the Sticks were accepted as money for another 100+ years, until 1826.
1871 – BIRTH OF VERNON PARRINGTON, AMERICAN HISTORIAN
“The only safe and rational currency is a national currency based on the national credit sponsored by the state, flexible and controlled in the interests of the people as a whole.”
1961 – BIRTH OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
The Obama administration prosecuted virtually no one for the financial crimes connected to the 2007-09 financial crisis.
“Since 2009, 49 financial institutions have paid various government entities and private plaintiffs nearly $190 billion in fines and settlements, according to an analysis by the investment bank Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. That may seem like a big number, but the money has come from shareholders, not individual bankers. (Settlements were levied on corporations, not specific employees, and paid out as corporate expenses—in some cases, tax-deductible ones.) In early 2014, just weeks after Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, settled out of court with the Justice Department, the bank’s board of directors gave him a 74 percent raise, bringing his salary to $20 million.
The more meaningful number is how many Wall Street executives have gone to jail for playing a part in the crisis. That number is one. (Kareem Serageldin, a senior trader at Credit Suisse, is serving a 30-month sentence for inflating the value of mortgage bonds in his trading portfolio, allowing them to appear more valuable than they really were.) By way of contrast, following the savings-and-loan crisis of the 1980s, more than 1,000 bankers of all stripes were jailed for their transgressions.”
Why this calendar? Many people have questions about the root causes of our economic problems. Some questions involve money, banks and debt. How is money created? Why do banks control its quantity? How has the money system been used to liberate (not often) and oppress (most often) us? And how can the money system be “democratized” to rebuild our economy and society, create jobs and reduce debt? Our goal is to inform, intrigue and inspire through bite size weekly postings listing important events and quotes from prominent individuals (both past and present) on money, banking and how the money system can help people and the planet. We hope the sharing of bits of buried history will illuminate monetary and banking issues and empower you with others to create real economic and political justice. This calendar is the original project of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee. Adele Looney, Phyllis Titus, Donna Schall, Leah Davis, Alice Francini, Deb Jose and Greg Coleridge helped in its development. It is currently updated by Greg Coleridge. Please forward this to others and encourage them to subscribe. To subscribe/unsubscribe or to comment on any entry, email firstname.lastname@example.org
To see the calendar year-to-date, go to https://monetarycalendar.wordpress.com/
A second historical calendar, the REAL Democracy History Calendar, in many ways complements this calendar. For information, go to https://realdemocracyhistorycalendar.wordpress.com/about/