News

May 2017 Positive Money New Zealand issued a press release seeking clarity from the Reserve Bank on how our money is created.  They still refer to intermediation by the banks, which is not how our banking system works.

5th November 2016 An article in The Guardian newspaper in England argued that abolishing debt-based currency holds the secret to getting our system off its addiction to growth.

5th September 2016 KPMG released a report, commissioned by the Prime Minister of Iceland, titled "Money Issuance" The report looked at money created by the Government.

28 March 2016 Bryan Gould has agreed to be the Patron for Positive Money New Zealand.

Bryan is a respected commentator on economic matters, an author, academic and Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

31 October 2015 A monetary reform group in Switzerland has enough signatures for a referendum on who creates their money supply.

14 October 2015 The Finance Commission of the Dutch parliament discussed monetary reform.

31 March 2015. The Telegraph in London reports on the Icelandic governments plan to have their central bank issue their money supply and calls it a radical plan.

22 November. The British parliament debated money creation last week, for the first time in 170 years. There was cross-party support for a proposal to set up a monetary commission

23 September. A new generation of young people, dubbed ''property orphans'' may be destined to be renters for life.

17 September. The Bank of International Settlements (BIS), the bank used by central banks, confirmed New Zealand houses are among the most "unaffordable" in the world compared to people's incomes.

6 September. Bruce Bisset of Hawkes Bay today reveals the true story behind the so called Rock Star economy.

25th April 2014 "Strip private banks of their power to create money”: says the Financial Times’ chief economics commentator Martin Wolf, who endorses Positive Money’s proposals for reform

15th March 2014 - In a historic move The Bank of England quarterly bulletin explains how money is created. Whenever a bank makes a loan, it creates a deposit in the borrower’s bank account, thereby creating new money. The bank says that this differs from the story found in some economics textbooks.

16th August 2013. The retiring head of the Financial Markets Authority apologised for the mistakes made saying “You were let down”.

 

The Earl of Caithness“… our whole monetary system is dishonest, as it is debt-based… We did not vote for it. It grew upon us gradually but markedly since 1971 when the commodity-based system was abandoned.”

The Earl of Caithness, in a speech to the House of Lords, 1997.

What is a positive money system?

The problems with our current banking system are huge. So how do we start to look for solutions?

Firstly, there's no shortage of ideas. Every book or blog on the financial crisis has a proposal to prevent it happening again, and there are a lot of experts with brilliant ideas on how to fix specific problems with the financial system. What we need now is a way to judge those ideas so that we know which ideas are a step in the right direction, and which ideas actually create more problems than they solve.

Hmm...tricky one!

To help us, let's put the technical details aside for a minute and just think about what the system of banking and money should actually be and do. Also, what should it not do?

We've thought this one through, and this is what we came up with...

A positive system of money and banking must be:

  1. Stable
  2. Sustainable
  3. Productive
  4. Fair

Let's look at those in more detail.

Stable

It's pretty inconvenient to have a financial system that collapses every 7-10 years. The current banking system is inherently unstable and actually creates the recessions that throw thousands out of work and destroys otherwise-sound businesses.

So, a positive system of money and banking must be inherently stable. Rather than being pro-cyclical, a positive system should be either neutral or counter-cyclical.

Our system of banking and money can be designed to be self-regulating and self-stabilising. In a positive money system, rising debt would cause people to slow down - rather than accelerate - their borrowing. This is the exact opposite of the current system.

There are numerous other 'pro-cyclical feedback loops' within finance that also need to be addressed (see George Cooper's The Origin of Financial Crises for more details), but the greatest of all these feedback loops is the creation of money as debt by commercial banks, and therefore this is what should be addressed first of all.

Sustainable

The current system relies on ever-increasing debt to avoid a complete economic meltdown - even though ever-increasing debt will eventually lead to complete economic meltdown. This is a completely unsustainable system. In a positive money system, the fundamental design of the system should not be so flawed that it makes its collapse inevitable.

So a positive money system must be able to function for decades or centuries without building up unpayable debts or huge financial imbalances. This requires different reforms at both a domestic (within each country) and international level. For now, the Positive Money campaign is only focused on domestic reform.

Another huge aspect of sustainability is environmental sustainability. The money system must not be a driver for ever-growing depletion of natural resources. A debt-based monetary system demands continual growth in a world of finite natural resources.

Productive

A positive money system should unlock creative and productive capacity in the economy, rather than hold it back. If there are people willing to work, raw materials, and people who want things to be done, but nothing can happen thanks to a lack of digital numbers in a computer system, then something is wrong with the money system - rather than the real world.

A positive money system also needs to channel investment to the uses that add the greatest value to society, rather than pumping up the prices of the necessities of life (such as housing).

Finally, the cost of providing a medium of exchange (i.e. money, and the payment systems that it flows through) should be as low as possible, and falling as a percentage of GDP. With our advanced technology, a truly efficient payments system would just work, and wouldn't require an army of people to make it function. If the banking sector is growing year after year as a percentage of GDP and employment, then something is wrong - it is likely that the sector is extracting wealth rather than contributing value. In a positive money system, the banking sector would first decline as a percentage of GDP before stabilising at a much lower level.

Fair

Banks should operate on the same grounds as normal businesses and workers. Any small business owner knows that if he or she messes up their financial management of the business, they'll go out of business. They have to compete in a free market. Banks on the other hand are sheltered from the consequences of their poor decisions by potential taxpayer-funded bailouts and deposit insurance.

The NZ government’s deposit guarantee scheme in 2008 effectively underwrote the risky borrowing of overseas banks and exposed the New Zealand taxpayer to a potential liability of $150,000,000,000.

There is no good economic reason why ordinary people should protect the banking sector, and asking them to do so is unfair.

The banking sector should be rewarded in line with the real value that they contribute to society, and not benefit from ‘free lunches’ conferred upon them through the structure of the money system.

The process of creating money should not simultaneously create debt. This is one of the most unfair aspects of the current system - since almost all money is created by banks when they make loans, this means that for every $1 of money, there is $1 of debt. 

A positive money system would not necessitate that people take on $168bn of debt in order for the economy to have $168bn of money to trade with.


 

 

 

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