in the Form of Two Petitions
to Stabilize the Monetary System
Carmine Gorga, PhD
With a Response from the Fed
DECEMBER 3, 2015
THE SOMIST INSTITUTE
Summary …………………....................................................... 3
1. The World of Economics Since 2008 ………………………...... 5
2. (Rationale of Two Petitions): Curb the “Animal Spirits” of Mankind?..... 12
3. Expected Effects of Two Petitions ……………………………………… 18
4. Toward a Systematic Reduction of Debt ..……………………………… 27
About author .…….......................................................................................... 30
APPENDIX (September 2021) ........................................................................ 33
in the Form of Two Petitions Designed to Stabilize the Monetary System
Technically, the first petition proposes that the Federal Reserve System—and other central banks—create a new facility to be called National Credit Notes (NCNs). This facility will issue loans only for the creation of real wealth, such as tables and chairs and professional services; loans at cost; loans to benefit all inhabitants of the land. These are loans, vetted by local banks and issued through local banks, at the request of individual entrepreneurs, co-operatives, corporations with Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) in their constitutions, and public institutions with taxing power.
The second petition calls for the introduction of the Mosaic Jubilee Solution into the modern world. Technically, this petition proposes for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to create an international facility to account for the Systematic Reduction of Debt (SRD). Local central banks are invited to reproduce this facility within national borders to take care of the systematic reduction of debt within each nation.
The purpose of the two proposals is to hopefully avert the next financial crisis and, if the crisis occurs, to be in a position to set things right in relatively short order.
Keywords: money, monetary policy, richness, Keynes, Milton Friedman, Ben Bernanke, Adair Turner.
Two petitions circulating on the Internet are designed to stabilize our monetary system. Their purpose is to hopefully avert the next financial crisis and, if the crisis occurs, to be in a position to set things right in relatively short order. The first petition incorporates the following principles:
The Federal Reserve System (the Fed) in the United States, and any central bank in the world, creates money, not out of thin air as it is commonly believed, but on the basis of our national credit—the credit, the creditworthiness of the people.
The value of the money created by central banks is given by the blood, sweat, and tears of the people of the nation. Therefore, that money, by right, belongs—not to bankers, not to financial speculators—but to the people, as it is recognized by the United States Constitution. Democratic sovereign people of a nation have the right of access to national credit, not as a grant, but as a loan. National credit is a pool of common wealth; it is our common wealth. The integrity of the pool must be re-established by returning to it the money we have borrowed.
After doing its good work, by repaying the loan we destroy the money that was first created. This is an important distinguishing feature that separates this proposal from other similar-looking “money creating” proposals like those of Milton Freedman, Ben Bernanke, or Adair Turner.
The ordered destruction of the money created as loans is one fundamental reason why the call to exercise our right of access to national credit will not create inflation. Another reason flows from the conditions of the loan, conditions that form the suggested new regulatory procedures of the Fed.
By its own will, the Fed can issue: 1. Loans only for the creation of real wealth such as table and chairs and professional services; 2. Loans at cost; 3. Loans to benefit all people of a nation. Hence, loans, vetted by committees of local bankers, can be issued through local banks to individual entrepreneurs, co-operatives, corporations with Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) in their constitution, and public institutions with taxing power, so that they can repay the loan.
Just as banks use our credit to give us a loan, so the Fed can use our national credit to issue loans that will be repaid by us, thus making good on our credit/credibility.
Unlike other money creating programs, this proposal is distinguished also by the fact that the initiative for the creation of new money in the form of loans resides, not with the Fed or the central bank or the Treasury Department, but with the people. Thus it is very unlikely money creation under the proposed regimen will be influenced by political factors and favoritism and corruption in high places.
The last but not least distinguishing feature is the call for the creation of new money, not on the basis of arbitrary hunches and figures, but in response to real needs, real needs that are expressed as real resources to be energized by the pointed infusion of money into the economy.
A chain reaction of positive events is thus expected to be set in motion: innovation and entrepreneurship will be unleashed; human beings will reach their full potential in freedom and dignity; needs will be satisfied; a fair distribution of income and wealth will ensue; calls for redistribution of wealth will cease; infrastructure will be improved; politicians will no longer be subjected to inherently conflicting demands; citizens will act as sovereigns. Money will get out of politics, because people will get into politics.
The monetary system will be placed on a most stable and just basis: Federal Reserve loans will be issued through local banks, the banks that nearly never failed during recent financial crises. And the world can let the too-big-to-fail operations fail, if they fail, without tearing the national monetary system apart. The taxpayer will no longer be pressed to bear the cost of market failures: no need for bail-outs; no need for bail-ins.
Let The Market rule, as it is supposed to do in theory. Let The Government rule over a legal framework designed to foster an economic system that serves men and women, rather than enslaving them.
This proposal results from much history and respects the very dictates of the United States Constitution.
Debt that benefits both creditors and borrowers is a wondrous thing. Debt that crushes the borrower is a destructive thing that benefits neither the lender nor the borrower. The community, just as the Israelite community of old, ought to be aware of this distinction and act accordingly.
If zeros are systematically destroyed in financial accounts in a way to preserve relative relations among lenders, no harm is done to anyone; indeed, much good is done to everyone.
Strong support for these proposals is expected not only from staunch secularists but also from faithful people of all three monotheistic traditions. They will find here the means for the realization of their deepest aspirations. Members of other religious communities are expected to help unite the world around the programs of action contained in these two petitions.
1. The World of Economics
With the welcome addition of billionaires to the chorus, nearly everyone ag rees that we are on the verge of a new financial catastrophe. The question that is still open is when, not if. What is the state of preparedness of the economics profession?
The state of preparedness of the economics profession
Unless they are keeping it a secret, or the journals are not publishing it and the press is not reporting it, nothing has changed in academia since 2008. The world of economic theory is still where the renowned Nobel Prize Laureate and New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman, found it in 2014: ‘The economics profession has not, to say the least, covered itself in glory these past six years. Hardly any economists predicted the 2008 crisis — and the handful who did tended to be people who also predicted crises that didn’t happen. More significant, many and arguably most economists were claiming, right up to the moment of collapse, that nothing like this could even happen.” Professor Krugman added: “Furthermore, once crisis struck economists seemed unable to agree on a response. They’d had 75 years since the Great Depression to figure out what to do if something similar happened again, but the profession was utterly divided when the moment of truth arrived.”
This is not an idiosyncratic position. More surprisingly perhaps, due to his voluminous investigations, and perhaps just because of them, Thomas Piketty has forcefully made the utter truth explicit: “There is no such thing as an economic science.”
What is indeed the status of economic theory? Too many discussions of public affairs are driven by the assumption that grave economic decisions are taken on the basis of sound economic theory—certain, overpowering economic theory, as opposed to pure ideology. This is an assumption as widespread in secular as in religious corridors. It is a fundamental misconception.
A continuing state of crisis
The naked truth is that economic theory has been in a state of crisis ever since the publication of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations in 1776. What else do major upheavals
in the history of economic theory since then signify? Why did we pass from classical economics to neo-classical economics to the marginalist revolution to the economics of Keynes to Keynesian economics to post-Keynesian economics to monetarism to neo- neo-classical economics to real business cycle theory to behaviorism—let alone Marxist economics or Austrian economics or Georgist economics or Kelsonian economics; indeed, let alone the splinter programs of research within each major school of economic thought?
These efforts are not accretions to basic scientific knowledge; they are revolutionary attempts to start the economic discourse anew ever and again. They are failed attempts to describe the mechanics of the economic process.
Philip Pilkington has nailed this complex issue down: “Mainstream economics moves forward not through logical development and integration, but through forgetting.”
These quotations confirm the validity of steady accusations of irrelevance launched at mainstream economic theory from within and from without the economics profession.
Intellectual irrelevance has not yet translated into political irrelevance. Quite the contrary. If so many economic doctrines come and go, it is because—in accordance with the winds of the moment—they tend to justify the status quo from the right or the left or even the center of the political spectrum. They invariably seem to rationalize the economic behavior and policies of the “powers that be.”
We are at a breaking point
But we have now reached a point in which the system is not working for the powers that be either. No one is benefiting from the workings of the system in which we are entrapped. Certainly, the system is not serving the poor; and it has undoubtedly caused a collapse of the middle classes. It is hard to conceive of the case, but we have reached a point at which the rich, perhaps, suffer most from the breakdown of the system—at least from a purely psychological and arithmetical point of view, the rich undoubtedly suffer most.
The rich deserve more attention than they have been given during the last couple of hundred years. As against the general scapegoating of the rich, there is the Biblical assertion that the creators of poverty are, not the rich, but the “wicked.” What a politically liberating verity.
From a practical point of view, here is a little parable to unpack. You go to bed with the assurance that your portfolio is worth $3.0 million—not too much money, by today’s standards. You wake up in the morning to discover that, because of shenanigans in a far away land, your portfolio is now worth $1.5 million. How will you feel?
And what if, as the rich frequently do, you had borrowed $1.5 million yesterday. That is the condition that pushes some rich through glass windows. Isn’t that true?
Wait. Do the poor, do members of the middle class, ever lose $1.5 million overnight? They—we—are blessed with not having that much “capital” to start with. We are not in such danger. Our harts tremble less at gyrations of the Stock Market.
There must be a better way to run the country. And, in fact, there is. But alternative ways to run the country cannot be discovered from within the strictures of mainstream economics. One must abandon that paradigm.
As we have seen above, mainstream economics has repeatedly been proved to be a faulty system by the very academic profession that tries to sustain it. Why wallow in error? Einstein put it straight: To expect different results from repeatedly taking the same steps is not rational; actually, he said, it is “insanity.”
The difficulty, of course, resides in choosing the alternative to mainstream economics. The difficulty is that there is a wealth of alternatives, some more serious than others; some better grounded in reality than others; some experientially proven to produce more positive results than others, even though necessarily piecemeal results, for not being thoroughly and consistently applied. And we are all biased toward our own personal preference.
We confuse ourselves and, what is worse, we misdirect our representative politicians by sending them in a hundred different directions. We are clearly at an impasse. To say the least, the impasse is created by analysis paralysis.
How can we ever get out of the current spectrum of opinion?
The most dangerous opinions are these two, and unfortunately they occupy a large sphere of the center of the political spectrum of opinion: Most people are somehow satisfied with the status quo; with much overlap, most other people, while spending huge amounts of energy, seek tiny changes to the system. They do not yet see the wisdom of William Jennings Bryan, whose words resonate even more strongly today: “When we have restored the money of the Constitution, all other necessary reforms will be possible, but until this is done there is no other reform that can be accomplished.”
Then, of course, there are the realists who believe it is a waste of time talking truth to power. The subset is composed of people who are afraid of talking truth to power.
A special niche is occupied by the small subset of fanatics who will not lift a finger to avoid the impending disaster because they believe that, amidst the eventual rubble, they stand a better chance to concentrate the people’s attention on their pre-selected solution.
Even granted by the relatively few that we must concentrate our efforts on the weaknesses of the monetary system, efforts are still splintered arou this inner circle of ideas: some want “to end” the Federal Reserve System (the Fed), the central bank of the United Sates; many others—intentionally or not—want to subvert its might by creating competitive, local currencies. Two such currencies close to this writer’s home are BerckShares and rCredits. There are about 6000 local currencies in the world, at last count. Many want to add one more currency, the one on which they have spent months if not years of effort.
Those who want to “end the Fed” ought to consider what do they want to replace the Fed with. Many of them say: “The Gold Standard.” The Gold Standard by itself does not necessarily deny the necessity for a central bank. The major reservations against the gold standard are two: Gold has been and is constantly subject to abrupt changes in valuation; gold is scarce. We need stability in the monetary system; we need sufficiency in the monetary system.
If there are real resources available, if there are real needs to be met, why are resources not utilized? Why are real needs not met? The common explanation is “For lack of money.” Well, no. The real explanation is, “For lack of a well-functioning monetary system.” The money supply is capable of expanding to meet the availability of real resources. Indeed, in a well-functioning monetary system the money supply is always sufficient to meet the real resources of a country.
Those, on the opposite pole, who want to create a new local currency ought to consider whether any local group has the intellectual and financial resources to create, administer, and safeguard a better physical currency than the state’s currency. And yet, the growing call for the creation of local currencies must be encouraged, not only because of the incomparable ability of local currencies to teach the “nature” of money, but especially because—if and when the financial collapse of state currencies occurs— our lives will rely on barter and local currencies.
What is amiss with all current national monetary systems?
That said, we must be certain about what is amiss with all current national monetary systems. The answer lies, not in the administration of monetary policy, but in the inner conception of monetary policy. The two key questions concern the creation and distribution of the money supply. This is an area in which two diametrically opposed conceptions prevail: one is the European conceptions in which money is assumed to be created and hence to be controlled by bankers; the other is the American conception which assumes that, since the value of money is created by the blood, sweat, and tears of all the people in a nation, the process of creation of money ought to be controlled by the people, and its distribution ought to benefit all the people. New money created on the basis of national credit ought to benefit the common good. New money created by central bankers is not their money; it is our money. Within duly specified conditions, we as sovereign citizens—on a decentralized, democratic basis—have the right of access to national credit and the responsibility to repay the loan.
On this basis, the monetary policy advocated here by Concordian economics, and the fiscal policy advocated elsewhere, does not call for even one cent of redistribution of wealth.
The beginning of wisdom seems to suggest the fastest possible implementation of the following two petitions that are currently circulating on the Internet. They are designed in accordance with the American conception of money—with its deep roots in the Mosaic conception of the Jubilee. They evolve from Concordian economics, whose essential elements have recently been published or republished in the pages of Mother Pelican.
The first petition especially is in full accordance with the best thought of John Maynard Keynes, the British economist of world-wide renown who tried in vain to have the idea of a public bank operating in the common interest of the nations implemented at Bretton Woods.
1. A patriotic petition to restructure (procedures) of the Fed
To be delivered to Janet Yellen, Chair, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
In order to function as a public bank, the Fed should
(1) Issue loans ONLY to create real wealth, such as tables and chairs and professional services;
(2) Loans at cost;
(3) Loans to benefit everyone (by funding—through local banks—individual entrepreneurs, cooperatives, ESOPs, and public entities with taxing power, so that loans can be repaid).
The monetary system is broken—the world over.
It is not working for the poor.
It has led to the collapse of the middle class.
It is not working well for the rich, except in an illusory and transitory way.
We have to turn the Fed from serving the few, rather badly, to serving everyone well.
If the proposed structure is in place, let Wall Street tremble or financial behemoths collapse, Main Street will continue to prosper.
To sign this petition, please go to the petition website
In theory and practice, we are so far away from the American conception of money, with its deep roots in the Mosaic conception of the Jubilee, that it is worth spending a few
words and dedicating some attention to the topic. In addition to the restitution of the land to the original owner on the 50th year, the year of the Jubilee, Mosaic Law prescribed the cancellation of debts among Jewish people every seven years. The reasons are many, and all valid. The most important one can be found in the very nature of money: money has real value only at the moment of the exchange; money in my pocket is just paper. If money is concentrated in a few hands, the circulation of money is reduced.
When the circulation stops, namely when there is a financial crisis, the value of money is reduced to zero. Chaos ensues. Is not so much more rational to face these issues in a timely fashion in order to avoid certain disaster?
2. The Jubilee Solution: A systematic reduction of zeros
To be delivered to Every creditor of the world and Every Government of the world
Reduce all debt to zero in seven years.
Start with a 30% reduction the first year, and reduce all debt by 10% per year every year for seven year(s).
At the end of the seventh year, start the process anew.
THIS PROPOSAL TRULY CALLS FOR A SYSTEMATIC REDUCTION OF ZEROS.
Wealthy people will remain wealthy, as at the beginning of the escalating creation OF ZEROS to their accounts -- because wealth is a RELATIVE thing.
Just be alert: Find ways to isolate the smart ones, who might not join you at first.
The next financial collapse is going to be dreadful. Knowledgeable people are talking of the collapse of $100 trillion. It is the MONETARY system of the world, not the financial system involving a few corporations, which will collapse.
The modern, prevalent solution of letting the taxpayer come in and save the “too big to fail” corporations might not be available at the next meltdown.
Sequestering the deposits of individuals and perhaps even corporations in banking institutions might not be sufficient for the creation of money to run apace with the growth of interest.
General knowledge is gradually growing that charging interest on a loan sets up an impossible race between growth of real wealth and growth of financial wealth.
No matter how much new money is ever created, it is never enough because interest— especially in the form of compound interest—grows inexorably at a faster rate.
Money can never keep up. Interest always wins. But its victory is ephemeral. Bankruptcies result.
Next time around, not even the Fed might have enough latitude to fill the gap.
To sign this petition, please go to the petition website
Please, analyze these petitions. If you have questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you feel you can, please add your signature to them—and ask your friends and relatives to do the same.
To put it very briefly, with the implementation of these petitions, we might avert the impending financial catastrophe that we all know is coming—or at least be in a better position to pick up the pieces afterwards.
http://www.pelicanweb.org/solisustv11n09page4.html Reprinted with permission.
2. (Rationale of Two Petitions) Curb the “Animal Spirits” of Mankind?
Free capital from the capitalist who is wicked; the wicked are the creators of poverty.
Curb the “animal spirits” of mankind? Spirits that in the short term lead to inflation or deflation and fabulous financial crises in the long run? Is that what we expect of the Fed? Is that the ultimate aim of economic theory? Is that the task of a “civilized” society?
If that is what we want, we fail. And we fail miserably, because we want to change human nature. This is an impossible task; it is not a task for humans.
No sooner was my piece calling for a restructure of Fed’s procedures published in the pages of Mother Pelican last month that this realization appeared to me limpidly and forcefully. After many years of working, primarily in economics, I abruptly realized that society is imposing an impossible task upon the Fed, the task of curbing the “animal spirits” of mankind. The existence of this Darwinian conception, of course, has been fully discredited in most disciplines, but it still seems to reign supreme in economics.
As usual in cases like this, as soon as I searched, I found solid evidence to support the validity of not giving such a task to the Fed. A brand new report published last May by the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, titled Wired for Imprudence, explores six “behavioral hurdles” that make it hard for us to manage money well. The report emphasizes that “Cognitive overload, empathy gaps, optimism and overconfidence, instant gratification, harmful habits, and the influence of social norms can all be problematic for financial capability.”
Into this socio-psychological din do we want to throw the Fed? Is that what we really want? If the Fed wages this fight, the Fed is doomed to fail—again and again. There is another way. Concordian economics research suggests that the Fed will have a much better chance of success if it administers national credit on behalf of the nation as a whole. The essence of these recommendations is contained, among other places, in “The World of Economics Since 2008.” You can find it at www.pelicanweb.org/solisustv11n09page4.html. They call for the issuance of loans, not grants; loans at cost; and loans for the benefit of all members of society.
You will find there a procedure that would allow the Fed—not to work alone against, as Keynes branded them, the "animal spirits" of people. But to work together with its natural allies. Natural allies are individual entrepreneurs, cooperatives, corporations with
Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) in their constitution, government entities with taxing power, and especially local community banks. These entities are all interested, as the Fed constitutionally is, in the stability of the monetary system: steady credit at steady cost. There are many consilient reasons on which to base these recommendations.
The Reason of Customary Praxis
The Fed already works with these entities, but on a last resort basis. It should be the first resort.
The Reason of Order
The rule today seems to be “first come, first served.” This is a rule that, engendering fears of scarcity, naturally leads to disorder. The proposed procedures are rules of order.
The Commonwealth Reason
National credit is our common wealth.
The Historical Reason
HEAR YE, HEAR YE
ü The Massachusetts Bay Colony was the first public organization to issue paper money in the Western world in 1690. In China, paper money was made by the Tang Dynasty in 740 B.C.
ü Benjamin Franklin explained the rationale for the issuance of paper money in 1729.
ü As Zarlenga especially emphasizes, the American Revolution was waged to assert this right of the Colonies.
ü Lincoln and Kennedy are two American Presidents who made use of this right.
ü The Populist Movement worked strenuously for a reform of our monetary system.
ü "Depression Money ” was formed as local currencies that kept many communities afloat during the Great Depression.
All this history points to the surging of an innate right to national credit in the spirit of every true American.
The Legal Reason
The proposed recommendations spring directly from the intent of the framers of legislation that established the Fed in 1913. At Paragraph 2, Section 13 of the Federal Reserve Act you find the straightforward injunction that the Fed has to satisfy the financial needs of the nation by “discounting” eligible industrial, commercial, and agricultural paper. There is no eligibility for faltering financial paper there.
How, when, and why the Fed lost its way is a rather well-known story that cannot be recounted here. Here it is only important to realize that in implementing the proposed recommendations the Fed would respect fully the legislative intent of the United States Congress—and might open the road to monetary reform in many other countries of the world as well.
The Constitutional Reason
That legislative intent, in turn, is in full agreement with the Constitutional mandate of Article 1, Section 8, which maintains that, in the United States, the power “To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin” belongs to the people, not the bankers.
The Reason of Unity
If its natural allies are steadily provided with credit, the job of the Fed is done—and done well. A huge sigh of relief will be heard on Main Street. Our communities will be united.
The Political Reason
Our country, and most of the world, is ideologically split as never before. At bottom, the reason is money. It seems that people on the left of the political spectrum want to take money from some people and give it to others. They make an appeal to compassion.
The right answers with undeniable issues of justice and efficiency. Neither position is amenable to compromise. And yet, full agreement can be developed on monetary ground. Concordian economics advocates that new money, money created by the Fed be allocated—not as a grant—but as a loan to all qualified “natural allies.” National credit is like a lake; it needs to be replenished. Once the issues are thoroughly examined, both the right and the left will agree that this is the right and just way to proceed. Most factions will disappear.
The Neutral(ity) Reason
Money should be created and allocated by the Fed without political interference; this is well-agreed upon in our society. And it is confirmed in Concordian economics. In the proposed restructure of the procedures of the Fed, the call for a loan is initiated at the local level; it is vetted as any other loan by a committee of bankers well-experienced in dealing with fiduciary issues of money. Neither the Fed nor any other government agency has any right to deny or to approve the loan. There is no possibility of “political” influence on the issuance of such loans.
The Economic Freedom Reason
Political democracy is empty without economic democracy. That is why the political class is in such low repute today.
If new money created by the Fed is indeed allocated on the basis of economic meritocracy, a huge step will be taken toward establishing economic democracy in this country, and eventually in the world. Democracy means freedom—freedom for all, not only for the few who know how to play the political game. Make no mistake, no monopolies and no outrageous aggregations of wealth in a few hands would be possible within the sphere of true economic democracy. The ownership of any "natural" monopoly, for instance, will be fully shared among all the participants to their economic success.
The Political Freedom Reason
Do we want political freedom for all? Let us start with the assertion of the right to a fair allocation of the new money created by the Fed. And when that is done, let us have a thorough review of the need for governmental regulations of economic affairs. That is the road we have to travel to regain the political freedom we have lost in this country.
The Sovereignty Reason
Who issues the money is the sovereign.
The Justice Reason
The reason for the existence of so many important and concordant foundations of the proposed recommendations is that their ultimate source is justice. The value of money is created by all the people in a nation—yes, all the people, consumers included. Hence
it is right and just to allocate the new money on the basis of rights rather than privilege. Rights unite; privileges divide.
The Virtue Reason
Only virtuous people can create and keep their money in a virtuous way. In time, the Fed will accommodate the virtues of the right as well as the left of the political spectrum, and thus ease the dangerous political impasse that has lately enveloped our country— and, indeed, the world.
The Practical Reason
Einstein pointed out that it is insanity to pursue the same course of action, again and again—and expect a different result. Whether knowingly or even fully unknowingly, the Fed has tried to curb the “animal spirits” of mankind for over a century now. We have had one worse financial crash after another. Is not time now to change approach?
The Concordian Reason
Chief expected benefit of the proposed recommendations is that the next financial crisis would not threaten the stability of the monetary system, a scary event indeed in a monetary economy. At the same time, the Fed would allow the forces of the market to play themselves out, and thus the Fed would work in accordance with the best available economic theory. No need to curb animal spirits any longer. "Animal spirits" should be left free to roam the country and the world. No one should interfere with the use of PRIVATE money. No one can.
Thus we would move along the road to the creation of a Concordian world in which we do not vainly attempt to curb the animal spirits of mankind. Our purpose is much more modest and achievable: Free capital from the capitalist who is wicked; the wicked are the creators of poverty.
In fact, these recommendations are rooted in Concordian economics, the result of 50 years of research and publication—27 of them assisted by Professor Franco Modigliani, the eminent Nobel laureate in economics at MIT. In addition to the papers published mostly in peer-reviewed journals, a current paper titled "The Concordian Challenge" that summarizes this new paradigm is available upon request.
Needless to say, these recommendations will not be implemented without much discussion and vetting. Your assistance, O Reader, is essential. Many indications also suggest that time is of the essence.
Jesus threw the money changers out of the Temple; and they came back; and they came back. They will stay there until, not Jesus, not any external force, but we the people will throw them out. But how? By exercising our rights, our political and economic rights. Let us exercise our right to national credit; let us take money out of politics through people, informed people, as Dr. Peter Bearse recommends, entering the political process in force.
Afraid of the wrath of old economists and bankers, perhaps, because these recommendation are not coming from their ranks? Be more afraid of the wrecking they are inflicting upon the economic system. Economists know economic theories; they know nothing of the economic process. They believe the economic process is mainly made of money; they do not recognize that even in the sale of a car there are three elements: the car, the money, and the deed of ownership. Bankers, on the other hand, know how banks operate; but they know not the interactive cultural system in which banks operate.
Do not wait for the approval of old economists and bankers. We might wait in vain and until it is too late.
Old economists and bankers are not openly against a Concordian world either. They cannot be. They would not be able to defend their positions. In fact, quite a few economists and bankers who have entered the Concordian world are all for it.
Reprinted with permission
3. Expected Effects of Two Petitions to Improve the Present Monetary System
Two petitions that are now circulating on the Internet are designed to restore the money to the Constitution, meaning that they are designed to reconnect with the best in the American-Judeo- Christian tradition, and they are designed to transform the present monetary system in such a way as to assure us all a future that is stable, lasting, and just.
William Jennings Bryan’s words are as true today as they were when first uttered more than one hundred years ago: “When we have restored the money of the Constitution, all other necessary reforms will be possible, but until this is done there is no other reform
that can be accomplished.” The two petitions that are now circulating on the Internet are designed to do just that. They are designed to restore the money to the Constitution, meaning that they are designed to reconnect with the best in the American-Christian- Judeo tradition, and they are designed to transform the present monetary system in such a way as to assure us all a future that is stable, lasting, and just.
The mechanics are as simple as they can possibly be. They are simple, but not simplistic at all. A few of the expected results are given below. A much longer list, affecting many more aspects of our social, political, and cultural life, could easily be provided.
With the first petition, the Federal Reserve System (the Fed), the organization that performs the task of a central bank in the United States, is expected to create money by issuing loans in accordance with these procedural specifications: a. Loans only to create real wealth; b. Loans at cost; c. Loans to benefit all members of society.
The content of the second petition is outlined below.
EXPECTED OVERALL EFFECT
Signing the two petitions and gradually implementing them will cause a deep cultural change: From the worship of power and money, we shall pass to the practice of love and justice. Deep cultural changes are organic; they gradually affect each and every nook and cranny in society; therefore, they are impossible to predict. But here are some of the most likely effects to occur. We shall focus on financial affairs.
On the Meaning of Money
Of course, we cannot even talk of justice in financial affairs unless we truly understand what money is. Technically, money is not wealth; it is a representation of wealth. But this technical definition barely scratches the surface of what money is for us.
Money is so powerful that, to create a new and better world, some want to do away with it altogether. They confuse the thing itself with some of the nefarious uses that are made of it, chief among them is the use of money to control people. This use is not inherent to money but a consequence of the scarcity of money, namely, inherent to the conditions under which money is created and distributed; and these are the conditions that we aim to change with the proposed changes in the procedures of the Fed.
Money, as my barber told me, is the best labor saving device. If you have money, you can pay people to do work for you—and people will find you even if you live in the North Pole. That is indeed important: Money is a store of value. It is this word "value" that gives us an opening into the true meaning and use of money,
Remember when we bought "pet rocks"? We did. And what did we exchange in the purchase of pet rocks? As Rudolph Steiner pointed out, in any exchange we exchange values. We gave our money in exchange for what? Rocks? No, we gave money away, because we loved pet rocks.
Money then is converse a representation of what we love—and not only that. Money is at the same time its converse. Money is a protection against what we fear most.
And what is that? We each have our personal fears, and money unifies us in that as well. Money allows us to purchase economic security. Its loss is what we fear most.
And here the issue gets tricky and technical. As individual persons, we can never purchase economic security. Economic security comes as a result of what we do for our community—and what our community does for us.
Money then is the most syncretic expression of our most varied relationships with other people.
Individually, we cannot either acquire or give economic security—to ourselves or to others. It is only an organized community that can give economic security to individual persons.
On to money in politics, then.
Expected Effects on Politics
Today, money controls politics. No, that is a wrong impression: Money attempts to control politics.
And we attempt to take money out of politics. As Dr. Peter J. Bearse points out, that is an impossible dream. Money will get out of politics only when people get into politics.
Hence, a citizenry always gets the government it deserves. If we think we deserve better than the government we have today, we have to get involved in politics.
To get involved in politics is the same as to learning how to live in concord. There we are then. That is our most difficult task. But if we do not get this goal into our range of expectations, we will never achieve it. Today, this seems to be an impossible task. Too many communities are broken; too many are in a state of war. And money, of course, is the source of much political grief. Love of money is the source of all evil. But there is another way to approach the issues.
Money is a common good. Once we truly understand it, money offers us our best last hope to live in harmonious relationship with each other.
The day in which the Fed transforms the privilege of access to national credit reserved for the few to a right available to citizens, that day many consequences will follow one from each other.
First of all, that day we will give wings to our entrepreneurship and innovation.
Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Let us free the twin angels of entrepreneurship and innovation and, in a very short time, they will create an amount of new real wealth that will dwarf all the wealth created in the past.
On the Prevention of Accumulation of Wealth into a Few Hands
If new money created by the Fed will be spent only on the creation of new real wealth, many of the existing conditions that favor the Pac-Man Economy will be altered. The Pac-Man economy is that social organization in which money is used to purchase existing corporations, mostly to the detriment of present workers and future owners. If the public money created by the Fed will not be permitted to be used for this purpose, much stability will automatically be added to the economy. The right to the protection of one’s wealth will be enhanced. And liberty will be preserved because such operations can still be carried out with private money, but at greater interest costs.
Fair Distribution of Wealth
And the wealth will be fairly distributed, if we tie fresh loans to ESOPs and co-peratives.
The Work of Unions in the Future
What benefit does the worker receive, if the day after the minimum wage is raised by law the market raises the price of goods and services? While people on fixed income suffer immeasurably, room is made only for lower-priced regions and countries to enter the market. Unions, to be effective in the future, will have to learn to tie their dues, no longer to higher wages, but to a fair distribution of the profits—a distribution of equity, a distribution of shares of ownership stock.
And Inflation? Will not there be inflation with the creation of new money by the Fed? There will not be any inflation with ESOPs and cooperatives in action. Wages are distributed ahead of market decisions; profits are distributed after the market has decided in favor of the product or service being provided.
Besides, under this proposal new money will be created only in correspondence with the creation of new real wealth. The balance between the two will be dynamic and continuous; hence, no inflation will be possible.
Finally, there are substantial differences between the present proposal and similar- looking ones such as the “printing money” of Milton Friedman, Ben Bernanke, Adair Turner, and the adherents to Modern Monetary Theory. These are all varieties of arbitrary grants issued by the monetary authority. The present proposal is based on citizens’ rights, it is initiated by citizens, and citizens assume the responsibility to repay the loans. To say the least, this proposal does not carry with it any danger of inflation, because as soon as the loan is repaid, the new money is destroyed. It has been absorbed into the economy.
Continentals and Greenbacks created in the past as cash were effectively grants that the US Government awarded to itself; interest currently paid on bank reserves are effectively grants awarded to private interests.
Buying and selling bonds from and to the US Treasury and the public, the Fed creates—or destroys—money as debt. Cash on Federal Reserve books is accounted for as debt (borrowed from US Treasury).
The petition calls for the creation of money as an asset: The proposal is for the Fed to create a new facility, if need be, a facility preferably to be named National Credit Notes (NCNs); carrying these notes as assets on its books; these note are to be exchanged at par with existing Federal Reserve notes, in the form of cash (or digits); and creating these notes exclusively as loans, as loans issued at cost, and as loans to benefit all inhabitants of the land.
No More Waste of Technological Innovations
To make our life easier we produce technological innovations. But of what use are they, if their ownership gets concentrated into the hands of existing owners of capital? The majority of us will have to work at two hard-to-get jobs, just to keep pace with the increasing cost of living. The solution to the problem of concentration of wealth into a few hands does not lie in overturning, violently or otherwise, the legal system of the country, but in using the existing laws to benefit the largest number of people possible.
How? It is at this juncture that the future work of unions comes into play: By gradually and legally transforming workers into owners (nmpsey, capitalists), the stage will be set for a broader distribution of the profits of innovation among as large a number of people as possible. Indeed, when more people, through a fair distribution of equity will obtain more income, there will be less need for more jobs. With a less frantic need to create jobs under pressure from nearly all sectors of society, less destruction of scarce resources can be expected—and, indeed, even less damage to the environment.
Also, if the frenzy of the Pac-Man economy is somewhat restrained due to the prohibition to use public money for the purchase of existing physical (and financial) assets, we are going to live a much quieter life.
From a fair distribution of wealth and income, another benefit of inestimable value will ensue: We will need less consumer credit.
Less Consumer Credit
If we earn a living out of our capital and our work, there will less need for consumer credit.
No more work to earn money to repay debts, but work to create the amount of wealth necessary for healthy and “rich” living; no more ecological waste; no more exploitation of human resources. As Emerson realized, from consumers we need to become producers.
The current insatiable need for consumer credit can be abated with a widespread use of Consumer Stock Ownership Plans (CSOPs).
Consumer Stock Ownership Plans (CSOPs)
Consumer Stock Ownership Plans (CSOPs) will be the cherry on top of our future social organization. As pointed out on another occasion, what is never realized in a modern economy is that the poor are an essential component of the economic process. The rich get richer with the increase of production and consumption of the Gross National Product. The rich do not have the numbers to consume the Gross National Product; it is the poor who by their numbers perform this essential function. Should the poor not be compensated for performing this essential function for the rich? Certainly they should.
But how? Certainly not with another demeaning hand-out program. Consumer Stock Ownership Plans are perhaps the best possible tools to be used in the near future. The Harvard University Cooperative Store has done this for years. With the development of computers today, it will be an easy taasknto administer such plans. Can you imagine
the world in which McDonalds, Stop and Shop, and Macy’s at the end of the year distribute a fair portion of their profits among the consumers who have been keeping them alive all year long?
So far we have looked at private personal wealth. By allowing access to national credit to public institutions with taxing power, we will also positively affect our public communal wealth.
Public Money for Public Works
Of what benefit is personal wealth amidst public squalor? Of what benefit is private wealth amidst a crumbling infrastructure of roads and bridges and schools? Certainly, the door to national credit ought to be open to satisfy these needs as well: Public money for public works. Public money for public works should be a refrain to cascade harmoniously from the mouths of economists, financiers, politicians, and administrators of the public treasure.
And We Will Add Fiscal Stability to Cities, Towns, States, and the Nation as a Whole
With public money for public works we will be able to repair our crumbling infrastructure here in the United States of America, still one of the richest countries in the world. We will be able to do that because loans out of our national credit will be issued at cost. Let the private sector get rich in due course, out of executing these public works in the most efficient possible way.
Not only will we be able to refurbish our public infrastructure; not only will we be able to create all the jobs that we need and we want; we will also add fiscal stability to cities, towns, states, and the nation as a whole.
Lest the message be lost, opening the channels of national credit to satisfy personal and public needs is the way to gain a stable monetary system; more than that, that is the way to gain monetary stability for the nation as a whole. The difference is sectoral stability vs. overall stability. Systems cannot be cured part by part; their immune system rejects temporary and partial remedies. Systems have to be cured systematically as a whole complex entity.
THE IMPORT OF THE SECOND PETITION
The attempt to cure the financial system as a whole is the import of the second petition. This petition calls for a systematic reduction of debt through a systematic reduction of zeros. Let us repeat the gist of the issue.
You and Joe have one million dollars each. You are equally rich. Joe’s wealth eventually grows by leaps and bounds to 10 million dollars. Clearly, Joe is now ten times as rich as you are. But, by hook and by crook, you raise your financial wealth to 10 million dollars as well. You are now again as rich as Joe.
What has occurred—from a purely financial point of view—between the initial and the final position? Nothing has occurred. There has been only an accumulation of zeros. Hence the second petition on the Internet: To avoid a cataclysmic reduction of financial wealth by financial crisis, the petition calls for an organized voluntary systematic reduction of zeros. This is nothing more than a suggested reproduction of the Mosaic Jubilee Solution.
Financial wealth is a pure accumulation of zeros. This is true for the global economy, not only the American economy.
THE DEEPER MEANING OF THE TWO PETITIONS
The implementation of the proposed petitions to straighten out our monetary system has a deeper intent than just fixing our financial “mess.” They go to the core of values of inestimable worth.
What do we gain through the implementation of a rational plan of systematic reduction of debt coupled with the gradual transformation of privileges into rights? Apart from all economic and financial benefits, we gain a whole set of values of inestimable worth.
Rather than using power to crush human beings under a mountain of debt, we use rational solutions that turn to mutual benefit.
When we transform the privilege of access to national credit reserved to the few under the current prevailing monetary system into a right belonging to each and everyone of us, we foster the personal dignity of each and every human being.
Personal Economic Security
And personal dignity will be built on economic security for everyone: the poor, the middle classes, and the rich. Even the few will live in a regimen of steady security, rather than under the threat of the pitchforks. No more threats of redistribution of wealth. Thus, there will be certainty of protection of personal wealth for everyone. No more fear of losing one’s wealth overnight; no more fear of a financial collapse that will unravel all commercial relationships at once.
Economic Freedom for Individual Human Beings
Economic security built on the basis of the dignity of each and every human being automatically leads to economic freedom for all.
Justice to the Economic System
In turn, economic freedom for all will insure that the social and economic system works with a maximum of social and economic justice for all. We have largely been reduced to a catatonic state in which we do not know any longer what is just; and most certainly we are intimidated from asking that political and economic justice be done to us and to every human being.
Morality to Economics
Thus shall we restore morality to economics: not by preaching; not by practicing methods of moral extortion; but by allowing people to exercise their God-given rights.
Economic Freedom to the Nation
Once we restore morality to economics, we will have automatically assured economic freedom to the nation as a whole. And the chain does not stop there.
Freedom to the Political System
With justice in our social organization, we shall also have freedom in our political system. Money will get out of politics because engaged and knowledgeable people will enter the system in droves. Most of all, we shall abstain from asking our representatives and politicians to play Robin Hood, to steal from the rich to give to the poor. While preserving the right of the rich of access to national credit, we will most assuredly allow the poor and the middle classes to exercise this right as well.
FEAR OF SCARCITY IS THE MOTHER OF ALL EVIL
Fear of scarcity is the mother of all evil. When the Fed creates money, not in relation to gold, not in relation to the hunger of voracious bankers but in relation to the real needs of the country, scarcity will be replaced with sufficiency. And all the potential beneficial uses of money will be unleashed within the nation.
Love and Justice
We do much disservice to ourselves when we forget two essential things: 1. Love is a virtue, a characteristic of our human make-up—just as Justice is a virtue. 2, One cannot be implemented without the other.
Hence, we are going to betray them both when we keep them separated from each other. Indeed, the work has to be extended in the other direction; We must not separate them from all basic virtues such as prudence, justice, temperance, courage, wisdom, science, understanding, hope, faith, and love. Indeed, the practice of all the virtues has to be integrated into one solid unit, in order to become powerful tools of action and thought.
This is the minimum: It takes love to give—and to receive—economic justice.
Reprinted with permission.
4. Toward a Systematic Reduction of Debt
Do we prefer a reduction of debt in a systematic, rational, purposeful way?
Or do we prefer to entrust our fortunes to a catastrophic financial collapse of the monetary system?
Today, I would like to focus on two aspects of a petition that is now circulating on the Internet calling for a reduction of debt in a systematic, rational, purposeful way, rather than through a catastrophic financial collapse of the monetary system. This petition calls for the introduction of the Mosaic Jubilee into the modern world.
A Bit on the Rationale
Debt that enriches both creditor and debtor is a blessing. This practice has perhaps been engaged in ever since the dawn of civilization, and it is not going to be extirpated from society any time soon. Nor ought it to be so extirpated. Why? Why should it be?
As soon as debt crushes the productive ability of the debtor, that debt changes its nature from a beneficent to a maleficent reality—and rational people ought to be able to identify that difference and take appropriate action to ameliorate the ensuing harmful conditions from which nobody gains and everyone suffers in one degree or another.
This proposal, which is circulating on the Internet, attempts to adjust the ingenious Mosaic invention of the Jubilee Solution to the complexities of the modern world. The proposal calls for the systematic reduction of zeros in seven years: Start with a 30% reduction the first year, and reduce all debt by 10% per year every year for seven years. The petition goes on to suggest that wealthy people will remain wealthy, as at the beginning of the escalating creation of zeros in their accounts—because wealth is a relative thing. If you and the Joneses have one million dollars each, you are equally rich. Your neighbor’s estate grows to 10 million dollars; they are ten times as rich as you are. Yet, once you have increased your wealth to 10 million dollars, you are again just as rich as your neighbor.
The petition recommends further to be alert and find ways to isolate the smart ones, who might not join you at the outsets.
A much longer discussion can be had on the analysis of the economic worthiness of the content of financial estates. For instance, if billions of dollars are evaluated, the difference will be found mainly to reside in bank accounts with more zeros. There was no addition of one chair or one
table or one service in the real economy. There was only an addition of zeros in financial accounts wherever they were held. In a regimen of low interest rates as at present, there is no economic value to those zeros. Even with high interest rates, once the reduction of zeros is systematic, the relative value of any two accounts remains the same.
The Seven Year Solution
Ancient Israel created the institution of the Mosaic Seven Year Jubilee. At the coming of the seventh year, all debt among the Israelites, but not debt involving foreigners, was extinguished. The slate was clean, and business relationships came alive again. It might be wise to use the same structure today, at least until better structures are designed and proven effective. There is nothing to prevent a study of eventual effects that might suggest an improved structure.
A Bit on the Mechanics
It is assumed here that there are many ways to reduce the debt, and if more ideas are proposed and implemented, that would be splendid. I will concentrate on two possibilities, one at the international level, the other at the national level.
Technically, this petition proposes for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), or a new institution created specifically for this purpose, to create an international facility to account for the Systematic Reduction of Debt (SRD) between nations.
Local central banks are invited to replicate this facility within national borders to take care of the systematic reduction of debt within each nation. Whenever the central bank might refuse to perform such function, a new institution—or institutions— could be created specifically for this purpose.
Some Cultural Conditions
Among the cultural conditions necessary to make the present proposal ready for practical application, we need to be concerned with at least two sets of values. The most important is knowledge of all that distinguishes consumer credit from capital credit: In the most stringent expression possible, consumer credit enslaves us, while capital credit has the potential of making us economically and financially free and independent
human beings. Hence the recommendations included in the first petition to channel new money on to Main Street.
But there is another no less important set of values implicit in these petitions: To ask for a loan is to make a commitment to repay it; to default is to renege on that commitment.
The converse is less commonly brought forward: To make a loan, to obtain as much return as possible while knowing that the debtor will eventually default because he or she cannot possibly meet that commitment, is fraudulent.
To enter into a creditor/debtor relationship is a two-way responsibility.
Who Are the Potential Supporters of This Proposal?
Many people and many institutions come to mind. Potential supporters are expected to come from Jewish organizations, whether they are public or private, secular or religious.
Pride of place is not a silly or boastful position to occupy. The expression “Why didn’t I think of it” is a glorious recognition of the exceptionality and necessity of any breakthrough like the design of the Jubilee Solution that offers much to be celebrated. To fully understand the reasons for the development of this idea by the ancient Israelites, rather than Egyptians, or Greeks or Romans, requires an in-depth knowledge of the religious, social, political, and especially international constraints/opportunities of ancient Israel. In addition to the idea of one God, ancient Israelites were the first to come up with the idea of the Jubilee Solution. To this institution, in no small part is due the survival of the Jewish people as a nation, an outward manifestation of a coherent set of shared values, no matter how distant in time or place people happen to be.
The Jewish community may be expected to support this proposal to reduce national and international debt in a systematic, rational way. Yet, Christians of all denominations should not fall that far behind. They are also expected to endorse this proposal for many reasons. Is it not enough for them to do so as reverence for the first public act of Jesus, the expulsion of the money changers from the Temple; his Parable of the Talents, in which hoarding is punished in no uncertain terms; his request of alms for the poor as gifts to himself? Then, even though the unremitting struggle against the ravages of usury was eventually given up as recently as 1971 in the Unites States, this Christian tradition is something to be proud of; it is something that a spark of spirit will revivify in enlightening splendor.
Muslims, of course, are the only religious people who keep the faith against usury alive and well.
It is to be noted that they keep such faith, no matter the practical difficulties and the demeaning snickers from those who know-not. It is equally to be noted that their faith is being rewarded in their creativity in financial affairs. Professor Muhammad Yunus, the creator of modern microfinancing and eventually a Nobel Peace laureate, is by faith a
Muslim. Those analysts who are fond to point out the minimalist aspects of microfinancing, whether they are Christian or not, ought to remember Jesus singling out the poor woman who gave only two cents to the temple/community—yet, those two cents were all she possessed. The few pennies involved in microfinancing often keep a family alive, productive, and living a dignified life. Is there need to contrast the results of billions of dollars spent in corrupting people and creating too often unnecessary and inefficient public structures?
There is much that needs to be investigated. There is much to refine before these proposals can be implemented. Ideas that fail practical tests are not worth implementing. They sap the energies of people. So, onward with stern criticism; onward with practical or theoretical suggestions to make these germinal ideas come live and bear fruits in the world for many years to come. But enough of analysis/paralysis.
Onward with implementation.
http://www.pelicanweb.org/solisustv, forthcoming, January 2016
Reprinted with permission.
A heartfelt thank you to all those who have signed either one or both petitions that are highlighted in these pages; thanks to those who will sign them in the future.
Thanks to those who have helped spread the word about the two petitions; thanks to those who are working on spreading the word about the two petitions.
I would like to thank MoveOn.org for playing Internet host to the two petitions.
I would like to thank Mother Pelican, a Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability for playing host to most of the writings that attempt to explain the import of the two petitions and much of the economics that supports them. I am especially indebted to Dr. Luis T. Gutiérrez, its editor, for his infinite patience and readiness to accommodate my last minute pentimenti.
A special gratitude is owned to my collaborators, critics, and editors of many years: David S. Wise, Dr. Peter J. Bearse, and my wife Joan M. Gorga.
About the author
Ever since the preparation of this document, I have explored some of the ramifications of Concordian monetary policy. I am especially fond of these essays: