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140728 Steve "Campaign on the threshold"

Page history last edited by Peter Verity 6 years ago


Date  28/07/14 Presenter Steve
Time  19:30 Secretaries Peter
Location  Quaker Meeting House  Type of meeting Meet-up


(add yourself if missing)

11 present (of whom 3 had not been to a meetup before)


numbers were slightly down, probably due to summer holidays


Positive Money - on the threshold


Steve gave a 30 minute run-down on the history of Positive Money, bringing us up to date with recent milestones including -


Steve then invited discussion, and posed several questions for us. I have tried to capture some of the arguments below.




Is Positive Money too radical. or not radical enough?

  • It tells it as it is, it's not political.
  • But sooner or later it will face a split between right wing supporters (who want to reform the system sufficient to keep capitalism going), and left wing supporters (who want to see greater public spending).
  • There is public fear of "money created by government", and mistrust of the Bank of England. It was noted that Positive Money no longer talks of a reformed MPC but simply a "new democratic body". Do we need the Bank of England anyway, or will most of its role disappear once the two-tier system is done away with?
  • Positive Money never mentions wholesale/shadow banking, which is a whole lot bigger. However, one of PM's strengths is that it homes in on a small, but understandable and tackleable subset.


What is the future of monetary reform?

  • The City of London won't allow it. However, reform could start in another country first and start a domino effect.
  • There has already been a big reduction in investment banking, with 10s of 1000s of jobs lost. The City could be weakened further by fines, distrust, and alternative models.
  • Where will the change come from? One person suggested it would only happen when enough people in power come on board (academics, politicians). However another person suggested that a grass roots campaign will keep the 'experts' on the ball.


What is Positive Money's response to the national debt?

  • PM tends to focus mainly on high street banking, and the creation of credit/debt in the private sector. It largely ignores the role of BoE reserves, and thinks that reducing the national debt is relatively low priority.
  • MMT seems to be the opposite - focusing on reserves and the 'public deficit = private surplus' argument. It thinks that national debt is not only important, but a necessary and good thing. However it has little or nothing to say about high street banks, believing that private debt and private surplus cancel out.
  • The bigger picture probably requires a synthesis of PM and MMT


Reaction to the Sovereign Money campaign

  • The govt doesn't need to borrow from others - it could 'borrow' directly from the BoE. This would not be inflationary if there are spare resources in the economy (which there are).
  • The general public perception would see it as "printing money" and counterfeit - they don't understand what a bond is. 
  • In the short term, Sovereign Money could have a better chance of success than total reform, as it doesn't require any structural changes, only the political will. It could be done tomorrow.
  • However we are (apparently) in recovery so there is no political appetite for expanding the money supply at the moment. In fact, the BoE might soon be clawing back QE and/or increasing interest rates.
  • PM recognise that reform won't come soon, we're sowing the seeds of a solution ready for the next crisis.


What inspires you?

  • We have total lack of trust in banks and politicians. Positive Money is a chance to do something about it.
  • We are told the economy is improving, but we don't believe it.
  • The challenge is to make it simple enough for people to understand it
  • New technology (eg social networking) is having a huge effect on how campaigns move forward. eg 38 degrees.


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