"....This same disregard for real quality and value, if it fails to ease a shortage of funds or create employment, is evident in the way the Western Isles top brass have caved in over the windfarms, despite 88% of the population being against them in a recent poll..."
Can't believe they are going ahead with that windfarm in the Western Isles. I see it's the " 'socio-economic' factors associated with it" that swayed the vote. Presumably this means the jobs and money involved - though http://www.mwtlewis.org.uk/object.htm seriously questions these ‘benefits’.
All this fits in with the basic premise of Mike Rowbotham's book "The Grip of Death" (‘A study of modern money, debt slavery and destructive economics’), which is that the decision to allow banks and other lending institutions to create and, ultimately, own around 97% of the nation's money stock as a debt requiring repayment is now leading to a severe shortage of money. There is supposed to be enough money in existence to exchange all the goods and services available, but how can there be, when as fast as it’s being created (all but 3% as loans to businesses and private individuals) it has to be repaid?
When I was young, we were told that we were a lucky generation who would enjoy unprecedented amounts of leisure, as machines increasingly did the donkey work. So why hasn't this happened? Why is all the leisure foisted off onto the unemployed, who are too impoverished to enjoy it, while families now need two wage-earners, and sometimes have to moonlight on top of that, to pay the mortgage on their ludicrously over-priced houses? And why are people prepared to sacrifice the really valuable things in life (eg the environment, family closeness, community involvement) to get their hands on some ready cash/create more jobs?
Rowbotham points out that our debt-based financial system (ie, one where money is not being put into circulation free of charge by the government, but is brought into existence when businesses take on debt to invest, or private individuals take out mortgages, use their credit cards, etc) is the culprit:
"The trend towards automation, cost cutting and efficiency constantly throws people out of work and leads to the collapse of 'unsuccessful' businesses. This is where the financial system, and the lack of purchasing power it creates,” (since industrial borrowing raises prices, and the cost of servicing ever larger debts reduces disposable incomes among the population at large) "has its second critical effect. The drive towards cost cutting and automation has to be matched by a drive to provide new jobs whether or not these jobs are actually needed to produce anything, and whether or not the products they make are a genuine improvement on the existing range.” (In order to buy the products of the economy, people must have jobs, yet the automation - and, nowadays, reliance on imports from low-cost countries - that makes goods cheap enough to be afforded by a debt-ridden population destroys jobs.)
"The result is a disastrous match-up, a sort of marriage made in hell. The trend towards producing ever more, ever cheaper goods of poor durability is the perfect answer to the quest for jobs; it perfectly supports the thirst for employment in an economy capable of good quality, but totally dependent upon work to distribute incomes. Two direct effects of the lack of purchasing power combine and hideously complement each other, directing our economies against true consumer demand and against people's best interests. Lack of purchasing power (a) dictates that we should mainly buy poor quality goods, and (b) makes us totally wage dependent. Therefore, as workers we become financially reliant upon producing such poor quality goods, since cheap goods of low durability hold the promise of perpetual employment.”
This same disregard for real quality and value, if it fails to ease a shortage of funds or create employment, is evident in the way the Western Isles top brass have caved in over the windfarms, despite 88% of the population being against them in a recent poll.
If we really want to increase long-term wealth, while cutting down on the use of non-renewable resources, wouldn’t we do better to switch over to making durable, high-quality goods, and producing high-nutrition, good-quality food, rather than destroying things of lasting value in order “to provide an intermittent supply of power which will not even begin to meet the UK’s energy requirements” ?
I bought Mike Rowbotham’s book two years ago. It wasn’t that easy for me to understand some of the arguments at first, as I am not an economist, but this book repays careful study, and I’ve read and re-read it more or less continuously ever since. In fact, I’d say it’s the most exciting book I’ve ever read, a real eye-opener - yet you won’t find it in the economics sections of mainstream booksellers, and it received no publicity in the mainstream media. You can order it, or find it on Amazon, however, and anyone who is concerned at the results of our current economic system should buy it.
Review by David C Korten, author of “When Corporations Rule the World”:
“Forget everything you thought you knew about money. In terms the lay person can understand, myth buster Rowbotham fearlessly reveals deeply disturbing truths about our debt-based money system that befuddle bankers, economists, and politicians. An essential self-education tool for anyone interested in creating a world that works, pushing the issues further and posing the implications more bluntly than I have seen anywhere else.”
Review by Ed Mayo, Executive Director, New Economics Foundation:
“Today’s money system boils down to institutionalized theft. Few books have pointed to how to move forward to a money system for a sustainable and inclusive future. This is one of the best there is.”
Review by Richard Douthwaite, author of “The Growth Illusion” and “Short Circuit”:
“Most people who read this book are going to be shocked when they realize the money in their pocket or in their bank account is only there because someone somewhere borrowed it. They are also going to be shocked at the extent to which indebtedness has grown in recent years. The statistics presented here about British mortgage borrowing are frightening.” (And this was in 1997!) “This is a fascinating, well-researched book and if it makes the way our money is created the subject of public debate, it will turn out to be a very important one indeed.”
A couple more quotes from the book itself:
“The stream of money generated by people, businesses and governments constantly borrowing from banks and other lending institutions is relied upon to supply the economy as a whole. Thus the supply of money depends upon people going into debt, and the level of debt within an economy is no more than a measure of the amount of money that has been created.”
“Reform of the debt-based financial system is clearly not a minor issue. It is not a matter of fiddling around with taxes, incomes and allowances to make things apparently more equal, more efficient, or perhaps more straightforward. Changing the debt-based financial system involves gradually altering the very foundations upon which national and international economics is based. Monetary reform is concerned with attempting to determine a new principle for the supply of money to an economy - the purpose being to create a supportive financial environment in which more constructive economic trends are allowed to emerge, and in which more benign systems of overall economic management become possible.”
“What currently dominates world politics and economics is not a true conspiracy; it is a mistake. It is a conspiracy of error. We are witnessing the pursuit of an inoperable political ideal and an erroneous economic paradigm, built on a totally inadequate, misunderstood and almost unchallenged financial system. To cry conspiracy is easy; the far greater challenge is to tackle the vast number who are now convinced of the validity of conventional economics and the merits of supranational government and centralized power, and attempt to persuade them that the entire edifice of their economic and political practice is wildly misguided. And for them to realize it is false, they need to be aware of the practical alternatives.”
Practical alternatives are suggested in the book; but, as Rowbotham says, the important thing is to have the problem publicly recognized, so that these alternatives can be discussed and improved upon.
“The Grip of Death” is published by Jon Carpenter Publishing, Alder House, Market Street, Charlbury, Oxfordshire, OX7 3PH, Telephone 01608 811969.
Please, please buy it, and tell your friends to buy it too - or pass it on to them, if they’re suffering from a low disposable income …
(See also from http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~bamr1/flyermr.htm)
The Grip Of Deathby Michael Rowbotham
A study of modern money, debt slavery and destructive economics This lucid and original account of where our money comes from explains why most people, businesses and countries are so heavily in debt. It's all about subjects very close to home: mortgages, building societies and banks, food and farming, transport, worldwide poverty, and what's on the supermarket shelf.
-why virtually all the money in the world economy has been created as a debt; why only 3% of UK money exists as 'legal tender'; and why in a world reliant upon money created as debt, we are kept perpetually short of money.
-how and why mortgages are responsible for almost two-thirds of the total money stock in the UK, and 80% in the US.
-why business and corporate debt is at its highest level ever.
-why debts mean that a small farm can be productively very efficient, but financially not 'viable'.
-why national debts can never be paid off - without monetary reform.
-how debt fuels the 'need to grow', revolutionising national and global transport strategies, destroying local markets and producers and increasing waste, pollution and resource consumption.
-how 'Third World debt' is a mechanism used by the developed nations to inject ever-increasing amounts of money into their own economies, and why debtor nations can never repay the debts.
-why politicians who rely on the banks for money can't fund public services.
-why 'debt-money' is undemocratic and a threat to human rights. The author proposes a new mechanism for the supply of money, creating a supportive financial environment and a decreasing reliance on debt. Michael Rowbotham is a teacher and writer.
(UK) £15 pbk + £3.52 pp 1 897766 40 8 Published by Jon Carpenter, 1998
Jon Carpenter Publishing, 2 Spendlove Centre, Charlbury, Oxfordshire, OX7 3PQ Tel/Fax: 01608 811969. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
(US) $29.95 Available from: Paul and Company. Tel: (978) 369 3049
WHAT OTHERS SAY
"A masterpiece of controlled, logical but readable passion which draws the reader on in spite of the complexity of the subject matter." David Boyle, Resurgence
"A radical, shocking and eye-opening expos‚ of how our money system really works. . A clear and passionate writer.' New Internationalist
"A scholarly, radical appraisal of how modern money systems are squeezing the life blood out of our societies.' John Papworth, Fourth World Review
"Few books have pointed to how to move forward to a money system for a sustainable and inclusive future. This is one of the best there is." Ed Mayo, New Economics Foundation
"An incisive and readable book: it opens up in a very fresh way what money is and how it works (and doesn't work)." Rt Rev Peter Selby, Bishop of Worcester
'A powerful, well documented case for treating today's debt-based money supply system as "the single most important area of reform confronting us". A good book about a key millennial issue.' James Robertson, Turning Point
"Forget everything you thought you knew about money. In terms the lay person can understand, myth buster Rowbotham fearlessly reveals deeply disturbing truths about our debt-based money system that befuddle bankers, economists, and politicians. An essential self-education tool for anyone interested in creating a world that works, pushing the issues further and posing the implications more bluntly than I have seen anywhere else."
David C. Korten, author, When Corporations Rule the World, and board chair, The Positive Futures Network
"A trenchant analysis of the current arrangements for credit creation, a powerful indictment of their baleful consequences, and a persuasive case for reform."
Prof. Bryan Gould, Vice-Chancellor, University of Waikato