Usury, otherwise known as the debt-based economic paradigm, has progressed over the last 300 years or so from its origins as a cunning sleight of hand, to a point where private banking institutions have arrogated to themselves unfettered supra-governmental powers to be sole creators of interest-bearing credit into the economy. Usurped might be a better word to describe how our governments out of fear and cowardice, aided by a persuasive cocktail of lethal force and bribery, came to surrender their most sacred duty of being the sole issuers of our money. As soon as that particular switch is thrown, all governments are bought. Instead of faithfully carrying out the policies that we the people define as socially desirable, they tirelessly devote themselves to the task of farming the people on behalf of faceless international financiers.
The logic of democracy
We all like the idea of democracy don’t we? You know that thing ‘government by the people for the people’? That which guarantees our personal sovereignty and protects us from the things others may do that they would not like done to themselves. Democracy enshrines our collective right of self-determination without being harmed whilst placing constraints upon ourselves that we should do no harm. The internal logic of such an idea when rolled out to its ultimate conclusion embraces and protects the rights of the whole biosphere and all who sail in her.
But alas, I’m sorry to have to break the news to you, although I suspect that you may have guessed already, that our beloved democracy, the thing for which people have died and shed blood for, is but a fig leaf concealing the priapic apparatus of parasitic predators who will always be at war with us so long as we let them. Democracy and debt cannot live under the same roof. It would seem that the real agenda of politicians is to get us to cower, like them, under the idea of the ‘dreaded deficit’ as if it were a space-ship the size of 20 football pitches from the planet Zog pointing its mass extinction ray at us. We are told that the Zogians will most certainly use it if we fall behind with our interest payments. When you strip the teflon sophistry from a politician’s rhetoric, you will invariably find at the bottom of it a weaselly argument supporting the ridiculous assertion that the good life, for which we have all the skills and resources to create for each other, somehow cannot be paid for. Cuts? Cut the crap more like.
Everyone should know by now that money always was, and always will be, imaginary. It attains its functionality through our sheer belief in it. As such, there is an infinite amount of it and everything can be paid for. Economists know that bankers have been letting their imaginations run away with themselves for years. Who else had the power to swell the global money supply 8 per cent year on year for the last decade with interest bearing thin air?
The creation of more money
When you go into a bank for a loan the money never existed before you asked for it. At the click of a keyboard , hey presto there it is. When you leave the bank, the sweat of your brow, your home and your thoughts are on the line and in harness. Every loan is a deposit. A good analogy would be to see it as a kind of inflationary/deflationary fishing expedition. Create a vacuum in the money supply so that everybody has to place themselves on the bankers’ hook and line for credit in order to simply exchange their goods and services. Create another vacuum, and the nation’s assets get reeled in at knock-down prices. You’ve got to hand it to them, it is a pretty slick way of divesting the people of the world of all that they own.
Even a 12-year-old can work out that if 97 per cent of all the world’s money has been borrowed into existence, then there can never be enough to pay it all back. Here lies the genesis of eternal debt with its invisible incubus of compound interest riding upon its shoulders and getting hungrier by the day. In whose interest is this interest that drives the commoditization of all things conceivable, be it a million acres of rainforest in Brazil or a body part extracted from an abducted child in Romania?
Debt-based money systems running on economic anti-matter simulate black holes in the way they hoover up the biosphere, turning it into the digitized blips that top up the macro-economic ocean. In reality it is an ocean of tears shed by humanity for all its broken dreams in this broken promise land.
Usury needs to be identified and branded as a crime against humanity, its perpetrators dragged from the shadows and into the dock of the International Court of Justice. They would get away with it though as the crime is of such all-pervading enormity that no human mind could possibly grasp the scope of it, and even if they could, it would take lifetimes to read the charge sheet.
Wealth creation in the community
Usury breeds usurers and makes predators of us all. It creates a world where everyone sees everyone else as a mark to be preyed upon and all where all relationships are market mediated. It is therefore corrosive to human decency whilst institutionalising criminality. Debt peddlers deal in a substance deadlier than plutonium. Banks, like neutron bombs going off on every high street corner, destroy the soul of the nation whilst leaving its assets intact. Isn’t it time we demand of banks that they devote themselves entirely to the business of fostering wealth creation in the community?
And what of the children, should not their sublimity be society’s highest goal? Yet we betray them. We have mortgaged their future with the dwindling resources of the earth as sole collateral. We the progenitors of future generations are bankrolling their demise with the proceeds of their stolen inheritance. We add the further indignity of making them pay the cost of their slavery.
I’ve often scoffed at the idea of original sin believing it had no place in the philosophy of the Nazarene who taught that man is innately good. I think I would accord with that, qualifying it with the thought that we are work in progress, and that it might be some time before the lion lies down with the lamb.
But scoff ye not too soon for the theological fiction of original sin has attained new heights of meaning in the cathedrals of Mammon. The black art of money multiplication has conjured it into existence and cast its yoke upon the shoulders of the unborn. Do bankers have children? I’m not really sure, perhaps they clone them. If they did, what kind of world would they want them to grow up in?
Our religious leaders, who are charged with the protection of our souls, seem oblivious to the real theatre of war between good and evil upon which outcome the future of the planet depends.
Now that the ‘design flaw by design’ in the economic system has been exposed for what it is, what do we do about it? I might get a lot of support for an idea to have bankers ‘renditioned’ to a mildly radioactive atoll in the South Pacific. The condition of their parole being to come up with a solution to the world’s economic problems that would fit on the back of a postcard. I suspect I would receive a flurry of cards saying something like this: ‘Wish you were here. By weight of numbers bolt the revolving door between bankers and political institutions. Instruct your sovereign elected government to restore to themselves the sole right to issue interest-free credit into the economy. Yours truly, glowing in the dark, Fred the Shred.’
Politicians would no doubt jump up in the House of Commons and exclaim in mock horror ‘But printing money is inflationary!’ Not if the amount of money introduced was exactly commensurate with the value of the exchange of goods and services in a designated financial period. Governments of the past would have been hard pressed to do this on account of their limited powers of data collection and number-crunching capabilities.
Now with the advent of the silicon chip the all-important calculation can be done with a reasonably high level of precision. It could be a self-adjusting system where the amount of interest-free money introduced was counterbalanced with how much lending the banks were doing. Because we can’t trust the banks or the politicians with the issuance of our money, we’d have to establish an apolitical branch of the civil service called something like The National Credit Office to undertake this most important duty.
This singular act would put the backbone back into democracy so we that we can all at last get off our knees. It would represent an important milestone in the long march towards the abolition of slavery. Where would we put our detoxed and newly liberated money? Public sector infrastructural projects, health, education, wealth creation via new energy technologies, tax reduction, and finally the all-important basic income. Basic income is an idea that has been around for years in the social credit movement founded on the ideas of CH Douglas.Social credit proposes that every man, woman and child in the nation should be paid a basic income. Not a grudging dole, but a fair cut of the national inheritance of Great Britain plc.
How strong a nation we would be if we were empowered to fulfil our duties of care towards each other. How spiritually enriching to be able to keep our promises to the young and the old alike instead of consigning them to the wilderness as we have done.
© 2012 Michael O’Connell
For more information on monetary reform contact the following organisations:
- The New Economics Foundation
- The Monetary Reform Party
- Positive Money
- The Christian Council for Monetary Justice
- The British Association for Monetary Reform
- The Bromsgrove Group
Michael O’Connell is co-founder of Ploughshares Ltd and The Fisher King Centre: ploughshares.co.uk