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11 Minutes from 29th Oct 2012 (anniversary)

Page history last edited by Peter Verity 7 years, 8 months ago


Date  29/10/12 Facilitator Peter, Susan D
Time  19:00-21:00 Secretaries Peter
Location  Quaker Meeting House  Type of meeting Anniversary Meet-up


(add yourself if missing)

14 people (including 3 newcomers)


Table of Contents



Review of past year, and vision for the future

presenter: Peter


It is one year since our first meetup. Peter presented an "annual report" Annual report 2011-12.doc  and said that much had been achieved in the first 12 months, including

  • tripling of numbers on the mailing list
  • new resources produced, including the booklet "fixing our broken economy" hundreds of copies of which have been distributed
  • links made eg. with Occupy and Quakers
  • raising public awareness during the summer events


Issues raised by Peter included

  • finance - running at a loss, but should recover next year if we stick at £3 per head donation, providing we can maintain or increase attendance. 
  • not making the best use of this WIKI. Although there are over 20 people registered as "writers", few people actually contribute
    • The question was also raised about the lack of a "forum". Possible topic for discussion next meetup?
  • attendance at meetups. With 66 people on the mailing list, and an average of 14 attending meetups, can we do something different to attract more?



  • It was pointed out that, although there are meetup groups across the country, we have probably had the most consistent organisation. As we continue to grow through public events, so the active 'core' will grow. An average attendance of 14 is something to celebrate! 
    • We are "pioneers" so we need to create our own way forward. Could we run a workshop on getting more specific campaign targets?
  • Other ideas for meetups in the new year
    • Ash confirmed that he will present his "short story" on debt-based money at the November meetup
    • A session with an "ethical banker" - Peter has exchanged emails with someone from Handelsbanken. Nothing confirmed yet, but hopeful 
      • Post Meeting Note - Handelsbanken have turned down our invite. Other possibilities being explored! 
    • Re-showing of the film 97% (or ask Ben's advice if there is something else we could show instead)
    • Positive Money national conference is in January. We could show clips in February.
    • Can Alan be invited to repeat his training session on how to explain Positive Money to other people
    • Steve might be able to do something on the IMF report, or the history of money in the US (or both)
    • Something on government borrowing - legal implications of Maastricht



Campaign update

  • The Positive Money book is due out soon (November). This should include a lot more detail on what the post-reform system will look like, and what the transformation process is. We could have a workshop on this at a meetup
  • Richard has received materials from Triodos ethical bank (available at the meeting, and future meetings). He was impressed by the three objectives
    • 100% ethical investment
    • full transparency in what they do with our money
    • only lend real money (ie. money that has been saved)
  • Mention was also made of three community share offers in Sheffield. They don't offer much interest, but they are a way of investing in the local economy
  • Steve and Sue had met with their MP Nick Clegg (well done!).
    • Nick seemed to be interested (was it feigned interest?!). He had heard of New Economics Foundation, but not Positive Money
    • He was presented with copies of "Where does money come from", "Fixing our broken economy", and the Positive Money white paper, and he promised to try to read some of them
  • There is now a page on this WIKI for "letters to our MPs". If you write to your MP, see if he/she has been contacted before, and how other people have expressed themselves.
  • Occupy are planning a "people's forum" workshop on a Saturday in March. This will bring together a number of related pressure groups, and Positive Money supporters are invited to a planning meeting on Nov 12th (6:30pm at QMH)
  • It was thought that "new energy" is going into the Occupy movement, especially in London (see this speech "A leaf being turned" by Andy Haldane of the Bank of England http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Documents/speeches/2012/speech616.pdf )


How to explain Positive Money to a friend or neighbour in 5 minutes

facilitator: Susan


Initial thoughts captured were

  • Where does money come from?
  • Who creates it?
  • Does it matter how it's created?
  • Does it matter how much?
  • Quantitative easing > banks > government [probably too deep a subject for 5 minutes!]
  • Don't attempt to explain it - just give them a leaflet [no good if you meet them in the street] 
  • Distinguish between cash (3%) and money in the banks (97%)
  • Banks don't lend money that has been "saved"
  • Who are the b****rds? Not necessarily bankers, it's the government/system


We then split into groups of 2 or 3 and tried explaining it to each other for 5 minutes each


Plenary session

  • the first hurdle is that people think cash is "real" money, and have difficulty with the concept of money just as numbers
  • start from debt - use example of a mortgage. Everyone understands that this causes debt, and that too much lending caused houses to be unaffordable
  • what if they don't believe it? how do we speak with authority?
    • many of us didn't believe it first time, but we all had to make the first step
  • need to be able to answer the question "why do you think is it so important?" 
  • can it be explained through pictures/diagrams?
  • get them to ask questions 



  • people were encouraged to go out and try it! We could include a slot each month for feedback
  • our stories could go on the WIKI
  • people were impressed by how Ben Dyson tackled it on Radio 4 (in 15 minutes). http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01ngmjr A link can go onto the email footer 



The myth of Fractional Reserve Banking

presenter: Peter


Peter said that "fractional reserve" is not a good description of the current system ("full reserve" is not necessarily a good description of the Positive Money proposals either)


He gave a slide presentation Fractional Reserve.ppt which illustrated

  • what reserves are, and how the textbooks describe "fractional reserve banking"
  • many people read these books and believe (a) the Bank of England can vary the amount of money in the economy by varying the level of reserves, and (b) the reserve ratio is about 10%
  • the truth is that mandatory reserves were abolished between 1971 and 1981. Although banks need some reserves for operational purposes, they can get away with very little. 
  • The Bank of England cannot control the money supply this way. If reserves are too low, the BoE will always step in rather than risk a liquidity crisis, and if reserves are too high, then banks are not forced to lend. Banks are not constrained by reserves, they are constrained by how much we want to borrow and can be trusted to repay.
  • The figure of 10% is just there to make the numbers easy. The truth is that it hasn't been that high since the 1970s, and fell progressively to less than 1% by mid-2007.
  • Quantitative easing has caused the reserve ratio to jump back up to 13%, but banks still aren't lending! QE is the final proof that FRB is a model which has no basis in reality
  • It's dangerous because people who have read the textbooks think that FRB is what we've got, and it's OK if it's done properly


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