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02 Minutes from 21st November 2011

Page history last edited by Peter Verity 8 years, 8 months ago


Date  21/11/2011  Chairs Dave Jefferies
Time  18:45 - 20:45  Secretaries Peter Verity, Jonathan Chambers
Location  Quaker Meeting House  Type of meeting Meet-up


(add yourself if missing)

Dave, Peter, Sue, Dermot, Alan, Katherine, Ivor, Mike, Aaron, Ash, SteveJohn, Richard, Jon C 


Table of Contents



Introduction and report from previous meeting

presenter: Peter

There are currently 19 people subscribed to the email group. Four people who came to the first meeting did not subscribe.


Report back from previous meeting


1 DVD too long –response from Positive Money:

In the following blog entry, PM indicated that they would be producing some new videos http://www.positivemoney.org.uk/2011/10/flyers-video-editing/

Ben Dyson has also said they will be replacing the existing DVD with the talk he gave at the Oct conference. “The total content will be longer but it’ll be split in such a way that a shorter version could be watched”


In the absence of a suitable length DVD from Positive Money, we could perhaps use “Money as Debt” video.


2 Taking copies of the DVD

Ben has no objection to this providing PM get some income. Buying the DVD helps them a bit financially, but regular donations are better.


3 Text form of proposals

Ben agreed it would be a good idea, but could not give a timeline.

Peter said that he was working on a ‘pamphlet’ form, which would be suitable for eg. sending to MPs, or for giving to people who have perhaps seen a flyer and want to find out more.


4 Convincing MPs that banks really create money

There are useful resources on the PM website. Follow the links GET INVOLVED > EDUCATE YOUR MP. This gives advice on meeting, writing to, and emailing your MP. Also on this page is a link to “Do banks really create money” and a letter from the BoE which states “when banks make loans, commercial banks do indeed create much of the money in the economy”






Action Items


  1. Complete 'pamphlet' - Peter (sense-check with Alan)


The Vickers Report

presenter: Peter


PRESENTATION: Vickers report slides.ppt


Peter gave a talk on the Vickers report, saying we need to understand its strengths and weaknesses, because it is the closest thing we have to a government policy on banking reform.


He identified the strengths as

(1) protecting retail banks with a “flexible” ringfence - this will help get taxpayers "off the hook"

(2) retail deposits of up to £1trn of credit could become available to the domestic economy, instead of going to casino banking

(3) greater capital requirements to protect the banks against defaults

(4) increased competition and ease of switching banks.


The weakness is that it is about BANKING reform, not MONETARY reform. It does nothing to stop the money supply expanding or contracting, as this occurs within the retail banking sector. Conclusion - "mission incomplete"


Peter recommended members to look at two important resources -

a) The Positive Money proposals – this is the best document to understand what PM is about



b) Sir John Vickers opening remarks, summarising the report.



[Post-meeting note: George Osborne promises in the following clip that the government will give a response by the end of the year, and will introduce legislation within this parliament to put the proposals into practice. We wait and see!







Action Items



Aims of the Sheffield Positive Money Group

presenter: Jon C


PRESENTATION: Aims of the Sheffield Positive Money Group.ppt


Jon presented a few ideas for what the group might reasonably aim to achieve:


  • A better understanding of the current financial crisis and how "Fractional Reserve" banking may relate to it e.g.
    • collaboratively dissecting the PM proposal
    • exploring counter-proposals 
  • A better world through action leading to monetary reform e.g.
    • protest
    • rasing awareness through
      • media
      • distributing educational material 
    • political lobbying 




  • STRUCTURE: There was an open discussion exploring to what extent members are seeking:
    • education and/or
    • action 


    • Richard asked if we could bring in eg. a university economics lecturer to get the “classical” response to our proposals 
    • Dermot made the point that there isn't a generally accepted theory of economics and so educating ourselves could prove problematic
    • Dave agreed, adding that:
      • "... [contemporary economic models] can't even predict the past!" 
    • Jon made the counterpoint that despite the sorry state of economic theory, as a group, we probably need a common "hymn sheet" if we're to make a coherent argument to others
    • Steve, Richard and Sue indicated that they were in favour of a "hymn sheet"
      • Sue added that she thought some sort of reading group was a good idea 
    • Aaron added that he would like to attain a baseline understanding so that he can confidently explain the issues to others 
    • Katherine added that understanding the "keystone arguments" is critical
    • John recited a quote (St. Augustine???) making the point that you can't practice a 'faith' until you understand it 
    • Ash also supported the idea of educating ourselves to a baseline level
      • NOTE: he also revealed that he has a background in campaigning (useful...)


    • Steve made it very clear that he wants to take action
      • There was some reference to hanging bankers...
    • Alan supported this - the action part (and maybe the hanging part?)
    • Ivor indicated that he would like to learn more about things that we and others can do with our own money by way of protest
      • Peter flagged up: Simon Dixon's "Bank to the future"
      • Aaron revealed that the US-based occupy movement has had considerable success in persuading people to switch to local credit unions
    • Sue stated her belief that getting politicians on-side is key 
    • There was a general consensus that we all ultimately want to take some form of action


    • There was general agreement that this wiki would be useful for collating educational material among other things
      • it was agreed that this would be private in the first instance
      • but we might expose certain pages to the public in the future e.g. our media list
    • Katherine asked whether the deregulation of banking in the 80s marked the point in history at which the mass creation of electronic money started
      • Peter said it was. Mandatory reserves were abolished by the Thatcher government in 1981
      • This apparently led to a near instant increase in money supply
      • Dave mentioned a graph that clearly shows this (do you a have link Dave?) 




We concluded by agreeing that we have 3 principle aims:


  1. To bring about monetary reform (long term plan)
  2. To educate ourselves as a group (about monetary reform)
  3. To educate others 


Action Items


  1. Jon C will set up a wiki for the group ASAP - DONE
  2. Jon C will share his slides - (under the files section of this wiki, and in these minutes) - DONE
  3. Dave will add Professor Danny Dorling's material on social justice to the reading list (Do you mean these Dave...) 
    1. http://www.shef.ac.uk/geography/staff/dorling_danny
    2. http://sasi.group.shef.ac.uk/fairplay/Homepage.html
  4. Jon on behalf of Steve will also add a reference to the writings of Bill Bonner in "Money Week" - DONE 




Possible activities / Future actions of the group


These discussions blended into the end of the aims discussion...




  • Alan is meeting his MP (Paul Blomfield) this Friday 
  • Peter mentioned that the Occupy Sheffield protesters are interested in receiving a presentation about Positive Money
    • Alan said he is planning to do this (date?)
  • Peter also mentioned the November 30th Public Sector strike
    • suggested leafleting strikers at the Town Hall or other locations where they gather
  • Reading group
    • Peter suggested Positive Money's own Where does money come from? book as a first book for the group
    • Aaron supported this
    • There was some grumbling about the £17.49 price tag :) 




  • Did we have any...?


Action Items


  1. Jon will grab an .AVI version of the short Positive Money video for showing to the Occupy people and others
  2. Alan was asked to post to the group the materials he uses with Paul Blomfield and the occupiers



Other business




  • Next meeting announced for 23rd Jan 2012
  • Upstairs in Quaker House
  • Dave to chair
  • Decided to try a circular seating arrangement


Open question: How often do we want to meet?


  • There was talk of a less formal fortnightly meetup in the pub 
  • Feel free to contribute your thoughts here (in the comments below) 



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