Economics to Save Our Civilization

(This is the eighth in a series of posts about ending the role of private banks in issuing money)

“Somewhere in our history we took a wrong turn and today we are reaping the consequences. If we don’t step back to evaluate the root causes of the rolling economic crises, our civilization is in danger of collapse.” – Clive Menzies

A few years back, Clive Menzies, president of British Fund Building and member of the Free Critical Thinking Institute entered into an ongoing dialogue with the London Occupy movement. The result is a radical monetary reform proposal to fix the global economic mess. In the video below, he is presenting it to the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (translation: a high-powered group of investment bankers and stock brokers).

In his presentation, Menzies attributes the current crisis, as well as capitalism’s recurrent boom and bust cycles, to the alienation of the vast majority of the global population from the commons (i.e. communal ownership of land and natural resources that ended with the Enclosure Acts) and the prohibition of any discussion of this catastrophic event in contemporary economic discourse. (This is a topic Fred Harrison discusses at length in The Traumatised Society.)

Most of Menzies’s talk focuses on the urgent need to abolish our current debt-based (bank-controlled) monetary system. For five main reasons:

  • It drives systemic inequality by allowing those with more money than they need to exploit those who need money.
  • It drives unsustainable, exponential debt growth because the interest cost rises faster than society can create wealth to pay it.
  • It discounts the future, driving environmental destruction – it makes a forest worth more as sawed timber than as an ecosystem preserved for future generations.
  • It demands exponential GDP growth, rapidly depleting finite resources – 3% GDP growth means the economy doubles every 24 years which means extracting resources at twice the rate and throwing twice as much away.
  • It drives inflation.

He also demolishes the prevailing myth that a person’s existence on this planet is only justified by paid work. In a way it’s deliberate falsehood more than a myth. There is only enough “productive” work for 50% of the adult population and the vast majority of income in contemporary society is generated via “rent-seeking” (i.e. charging interest or rent or extracting and exploiting publicly owned natural resources).

Menzies lays out a monetary reform proposal that would abolish interest exploitation by the private banks who currently issue and control global currencies. Instead it would empower governments to issue interest-free sovereign currency.

7 thoughts on “Economics to Save Our Civilization

  1. I like the Zeitgeist resource based economy solution, but someone else called it Marxist. I don’t see any Marxism anywhere in their solution, it Utopian but not socialism. What do you think?

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  2. As I understand it, this proposal calls for goods, information and services to be free rather than distributed through a price system. It’s quite similar to the proposal Henry George advanced in 1879 in Poverty and Progress calling for a restoration of the Commons – i.e. communal ownership of land and natural resources.

    For most of European history, our ancestors were guaranteed access to communal land to grow crops and graze sheep. All this changed with the Enclosure Acts at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, when people were driven off communally held land.

    John Locke (whose ideas inspired the Declaration of Independence and Constitution) called for this right to communal land be restored. He said that all men were born were born with the inalienable right to life, liberty and land. Thomas Jefferson and his cronies changed this to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

    Henry George proposed to restore the commons, not by confiscating land (which would be socialism), but by instituting a Land Value Tax that would encourage landholders to break up such of their large landholdings. George had never heard of Marx, but Karl Marx read Poverty and Progress and attacked it as not being consistent with socialism.

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  3. Stuart,
    Thanks for posting such a fascinating, relevant talk. What Mr. Menzies says makes perfect sense and the proposals would solve a great deal of the economic problems on Earth. The information presented is delivered very well, is relatively straightforward, understandable, and offers a realistic alternative.
    Jerry

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