Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Meaning of Money

[Note: edited “rent” to be “credit/debt contracts, collateral”, 24.05.2013]

I’ve decided to risk outlining the basic thesis of the book I have been working on these last four years or so. When I started writing it, I knew roughly that I wanted to take a systems theory approach to money and money’s effects on society, and knew too I did not know where my research would take me. Years later I feel like there’s something solid and clear to be expressed. The book – which is about two-thirds finished – currently runs at just shy of 100,000 words, so what follows here is the briefest of synopses. However, because I get good critical feedback from my generous readers, and because I believe the basic thesis is now solid enough to be expressed clearly and briefly, I’m testing the water here at Econosophy.
First up, systems theory. I use Fritjof Capra’s definition of a system: “an integrated whole whose essential properties arise from the relationships between its parts” (1997: 27). The key words are “arise” and “relationships”. Systems theory is an attempt to go beyond the causal linear chains of Newtonian physics and the binary dualism of the Cartesian paradigm. Instead of A-->B-->C-->D forever, systems theory sees loops, more exactly positive or negative feedback loops, consisting of relationships between ‘parts’ that form systems which give rise to new properties that cannot be predicted by looking at the ‘parts’ in isolation. A negative feedback loop is ‘good’ as it is self-correcting, a positive feedback loop is ‘bad’ as it self-destructs. So, in systems theory nothing makes sense in isolation in a universe composed exclusively of systems/networks, right down to the sub-atomic level: “An elementary particle is not an independently existing unanalyzable entity. It is, in essence, a set of relationships that reach outward to other things” (Henry Stapp, 1971). Thus there are no discreet things, no objects per se, only networks of relationships. In place of causal linear chains of discreet objects impacting each other like billiard balls on the baize of time, we have in systems theory A-->B-->C-->D-->A, a closed loop that creates a system, an “integrated whole” in which each ‘part’ is itself a system of further relationships, no matter how deeply down we drill. And we cannot really say where the system starts. I could equally well express this loop as C-->D-->A-->B-->C. That said, this does not imply pure randomness. There is progress; there is crawling before walking before running, etc.

Classical and neoclassical economics are Newtonian-Cartesian in their thinking. They posit a fundamental building block, termed homo economicus, hard-wired by nature to maximise profit via “truck and barter” trading in a universe characterised by irresolvable scarcity and “red in tooth and claw” competition. Homo economicus is infinitely greedy, too, so unless we want a Hobbesian “Warre of each against all”, we need things like money and markets to produce civilisation. Homo economicus is intelligent and inventive, so was able to solve the problems of inconvenient barter (the instinct to barter is in his DNA) by inventing money. Barter is mighty awkward. How many eggs for a course in cabinet making? How many pounds of pork for a new roof? Life was hard and primitive, then came money. Since then, albeit with bumps along the way, things have been getting better and better. In short, money makes civilisation possible. No money, no civilisation.

The conventional view is a fiction. The real story is far more complex..
The definitive anthropological work on barter, by Caroline Humphrey, of Cambridge, could not be more definitive in its conclusions: “No example of a barter economy, pure and simple, has ever been described, let alone the emergence from it of money; all available ethnology suggests that there never has been such a thing.” 
(Graeber, 2011: 29)
At root, [findings from ethnology and history] tell us that profit-seeking exchange does not exist [in pre-money societies], that such cannot therefore be a property of the human species. 
(Heinsohn and Steiger, 1996: 40)
Homo economicus is thus simply an unproven assertion, a purported foundational building block required by orthodox economic theory. Without this foundation, the entire structure built atop it crumbles. So, how did money emerge? It’s not easy answering this question, because the past is dead and gone, but it seems the systems money’s emergence requires as pre-conditions are: equivalence as established by numbers and counting, the state, private property and interest (usury). Graeber would add warfare and slavery, and he’s probably right, but for brevity I’m going to keep it simple. In this simple view, a systems theory take on the emergence of a money-based system (or property system, or state system) might be this:

Private property-->state-->usury-->money/markets/price-->private property (where numbers, counting, equivalence, slavery, justice and war/expansion/conquest are in the mix too)

Note that markets arise with money and property, that the fundamental State-Market (Left-Right) antipathy the status quo propagates is thus Kabuki theatre. State and market are joined at the hip, by money and property, are thus part of the same system. We do not have truck and barter (primitive markets) until after human societies have passed through all sorts of stages to arrive at some form of state, in which private property (as distinct from ownership, a critical distinction to do with credit/debt contracts, collateral and interest) has emerged and is used for increasing one’s own wealth and security. Probing into what comes first isn’t as helpful as understanding that these interrelationships are vital to sustaining each ‘part’ of the system. To quote Fransisco Varela, “World and mind arise together.” It’s not that world causes mind or vice verse. They co-create each other. 

There is something about the process of an intelligent animal with opposable thumbs experimenting with fire, planting seeds and taming animals that leads to home and hearth, which leads to tribes, then chieftaincy, which leads to state, property, interest, money and markets. Yes there is a certain progressive linearity to this process, but it is also true that not all human societies develop in this way. However, if there is money, there will be private property if that money is going to be helpful to the functioning of that society. For example, Heinsohn and Steiger (1996) argue, and cite research which clearly shows that state communism failed because it had money and banks, but no private property. An essential ingredient was missing and thus the system fell apart. There are of course other factors in the collapse of state communism, but this deep systemic incongruity was instrumental in that system’s demise.

To repeat, a systems theory look at money and economics, in conjunction with ethnography and history, shows that money is not an invented, discreet thing that possesses value and that makes previously awkward market trading (barter) efficient and profitable. It is an emergent property of societal development on the trajectory of increasing control. This trajectory is what Eisenstein calls Ascent, but that is the topic of other blog posts (and of course Eisenstein’s The Ascent of Humanity). Money’s continuing existence requires the continuing existence of private property, state and usury, and vice versa for each of them with equal weighting. Each ‘element’ sustains and require the others. They co-create each other, where each is a complex system too, with further interdependencies bleeding into and out of them, such as war, fear, scarcity and greed. Property-based societies are also, in my opinion, fear-based societies.

What we do not see is evidence that homo sapiens sapiens has a market-trade gene, so to speak. Pre-state, pre-tribal societies, or hunter-gatherer societies, are characterised by egalitarianism and sharing. This does not mean some hippy, airy-fairy Nirvana; there was fighting, murder, etc. Gorillas and rhinos are not predators, but will smack you up good if you threaten their safety. My point is that humans are not hard-wired for greed and profit maximisation via market trading. There’s no good evidence to support this assertion, and plenty pointing at the opposite conclusion. We adapt to the society we are born into. For most humans today, that means a nation state of one flavour or another, with money and markets and usury running the show, more or less.

In “The Early State” (eds. Claessen and Skalník, 1978), approx. 20 historians examine the birth of the state in various parts of the world to determine which properties are common to them all. Their combined work attempts to define the state, which exhibits many common qualities regardless of the form it takes: monarchic, fascist, democratic, etc. One is that it is necessarily hierarchical or class-based, with an elite ruling a non-elite. Another is that the state is expansive. States seek to expand their territory, probably because they are productive; humans bred into the security offered by future expectations of sufficient amounts of food and shelter (in the absence of women’s rights, education and other factors), and population growth requires more territory. The state is thus ‘wired’ to grow as a direct consequence of this biological tendency and the fact of the state’s hierarchical structure and productive capacity. Because it is hierarchical, it primarily benefits, in terms of distributing the wealth it produces, those at the top of its hierarchy, leading to tension, envy and repression, and thus there is a constant need for an external enemy, for dehumanising some convenient Alien Other as a way of redirecting the violent potential this tension gives rise to. This may seem like a Marxist analysis, but that doesn’t interest me too much, though this aspect is vital when debunking state propaganda. What matters to my thesis is the neat fit of usury, private property, money and state as co-contributors to a growth-based, acquisitional and rapacious system. Recall too that usury/interest is exponential growth by definition. On a finite planet, the state therefore has a sell-by date. We are, in my opinion, living through by that sell-by date today.

In this thesis, then, there can be no money without state, private property and usury. Logic then suggests that when growth has to stop for environmental reasons, state, property, money and interest may have to stop too. 

And there’s the rub. We are the state. The state is made of us; without humans, there can be no state. Our entrained habits of thought mean we can barely imagine anything different to today’s system. Nevertheless,  transitioning from property-based social organisation to resource-based social organisation requires a new paradigm, new thought patterns, new perceptions, new consciousness. And on top of this inexorable pressure towards fundamental change we have technological unemployment, which slowly renders humans less and less relevant in money terms; our labour becomes less and less ‘valuable’ over time. Exacerbating this piece of the puzzle is our stubborn cultural sense of value. Because of money, we have money-based ideas about what is valuable and what is not. Money is, in part, a nothing that happens to commoditise everything, including human work and itself. This inescapable commodity effect has helped induce us to conflate money with wealth. Society today is about making more and more money in the belief that doing so produces the best of all possible worlds. Money ‘decides’ what gets done and what doesn’t, even though society, on the whole, does not even understand what money is.

Money and price are of course inseparable. Prices appear to tell us the values of things, but value is far more complex than a number adjacent to a symbol (e.g. $) can possibly convey. And yet we grow up and live in a system which prices/values our contributions (labour) using money. We believe, typically speaking, that we are as ‘valued’ as our money-worth suggests we are. This unfortunate correlation means that people Just Know e.g., no one would do any work if there were no money offered in exchange, that work must therefore be unpleasant. We seem to viscerally believe that money makes the world go around. It certainly helps make this system go around. Can we imagine a system without money and price? That daunting task is the beginning of surviving the demise of the property-money-state-usury system.

The system we are is in the depths of a fundamental and final breakdown. The deep change required of us by the end of growth is, I suspect, the most profound humanity has ever faced. We must upend and rethink almost everything we think we know, to have a chance of dealing with this new set of circumstances. Let me repeat; we must change the way we think about and perceive reality to survive. That is a very tall order. Sadly, our education systems produce bickering children. Our politicians and other ‘leaders’ are either ignorant or psychopathic or too busy/afraid/locked-in to push for change. We children, we emotionally immature physical grown-ups are tasked with redefining our very way of being. People say Occupy failed. Occupy is the merest beginning of what we have to accomplish as a species, globally, if we are to survive. The Zeitgeist Movement and The Venus Project represent an analysis (and perhaps a plan in the case of the latter) that could offer a basic methodology around which real change can be put in motion. There are other efforts out there pushing for change too, but little agreement among them, and more importantly, little opportunity to work together.

It can be no other way. We’re not ready for this. But then, I was not ready to become a father. How can you be ready for something you’ve never done before, let alone something so new no one even knows how to start? Franz Hörmann’s “information money” is one proposal among many. Strictly speaking, “information money” would not really be money as I have laid out here. I see it more as an idea-crutch to help us transition towards the new. Something like it is needed. Whatever it is we contemplate and propose, my hope is that we properly understand the ramifications of what is afoot. If we underestimate the enormity of the challenge, our chances of success, currently slim at best, become vanishingly small.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

“The root of our problems is neither Europe nor the euro” – An Interview with Professor Franz Hörmann

By Ursula Pidun  /   19. April 2013 [] (translation: Toby Russell, April-May 2013, original article here)

Professor Franz Hörmann, the Austrian financial expert who was provisionally suspended from his post last year after accusations of anti-Semitism, is lecturing again at the University of Economics and Business in Vienna. His criticism of the existing money system is still acute – as is the euro crisis. We wanted to find out more. 

Two years ago, we conducted an interview with Professor Franz Hörmann, a financial expert who was at that time and is now again lecturing at the University of Economics and Business in Vienna. We discussed his views on: “The absurd money system” [German]. The euro zone has been buffeted by considerable turbulence since that time. Harshly prescribed austerity measures for the weaker EU states have led to worrying social unrest, while ever rising unemployment is destroying Europe’s hopes for a better future. We discussed these issues and their causes with Professor Hörmann.

Professor Hörmann, you are and were no friend of the existing money system, but we all have to live with it. Is everything currently slipping out of control?

It is now becoming apparent to the broader pubic that something is fundamentally wrong with our system, that the problems confronting us cannot be explained away with reference to ‘business cycles’ or to the ‘incompetent economic policy of particular countries’. Standard explanations are no longer sufficient in view of the comprehensive nature of societal indebtedness (companies, states, banks and individuals); the simple logic of double entry bookkeeping requires that each liability is balanced by an opposing claim of an equal amount.

Austerity is nonsensical because numbers in bank computers don’t have to be ‘saved’. Social unrest could be ended immediately if the public were provided with purchasing power instead of jobs, although here the question of sustaining money’s value arises if we think of money as a scarce medium of exchange and not as individual (personalised) vouchers. If, further, we were to cooperate within individual business sectors instead of competing, we could free ourselves from unwanted work via increasing efficiencies from the resultant synergies while preserving purchasing power and standard of living.

Many of your contemporaries (including politicians) talk freely of a crisis in Europe, but isn’t it rather that we have a euro crisis or, a bank debt crisis?

Exactly. The true root of our problem is neither Europe nor the euro (as a currency), but can be traced directly the booking method used by banks to extend credit: claim (of the bank on the borrower) on liability (of the bank on the same borrower). This is how a double entry debt is created, in which the bank’s debt corresponds exactly to the borrower’s credit in his/her bank account. We use this bank money to ‘pay off’ bank debts which – assuming we don’t withdraw the money as cash – are never actually paid off, but are used over and over again, indefinitely, as a means of payment. That bank balance sheets do not survive this process over the long term is a matter of simple logic.

Will the banks be brought sufficiently to account? And if not, how might such be effected?
I don’t feel that the expression “brought to account” is entirely appropriate. We would only need to pursue such a course of action if someone had knowingly transgressed clear (accountancy) rules. This hasn't happened. What we do have is a standard accountancy procedure which happens to be inappropriate and whose broader effects are understood by only a small fraction of bank employees. Those who have understood it often leave their jobs. So I don’t really believe that we would gain from pursuing legal action. Far more helpful would be a fundamental system change, as proposed for example by “positive money”, that is, the creation of money as purely electronic equity and not as borrowed capital (e.g. booked as ‘cash on equity’) under transparent, democratic control, i.e., not in the hands of private, profit-seeking companies (see e.g. Money is currently (at least conceptually for most people) an essential component of the real economy. Its (artificial) scarcity, as a way of maintaining value or justifying interest rises (e.g. due to ‘increased risk’) should really be seen as extortion.

Savers have been asked to pay up (at least in Cyprus) for the failed speculative business activities of their financial institutions, although this was in fact a cloak and dagger action. Do you think it was legitimate?

Your phrasing, which reflects the public’s impression, expresses several inaccurate conceptions of the affair. First of all, this has very little to do with “failed speculative business activities” as the true cause of the ongoing banking crisis. If failed speculation were the cause, then according to the logic of double entry bookkeeping each speculative loss would be balanced by another player’s speculative gain of an equal amount. This is obviously not what is happening. All banks are irredeemably indebted for the same systemic reason; bank money creation as bank liability accountancy entries, not “speculative business activities”. The official explanation serves merely to distract and confuse politicians and public alike. Secondly, savers weren’t invited to pay, their ‘credit’ was written off. Basically, bank debts (i.e. savers’ money on account, a.k.a credit, is just bank debt, see above) were reduced using accountancy procedures. This ‘money’ is actually the property of the banks.

Money that people hand over to banks becomes bank property. In return, the ‘investors’ receive claims against the bank. Neither politicians nor the public are sufficiently aware of this. As long as ignorance on this matter prevails, the necessary reforms will not be pushed through. So while this action is, in my view, systemically legitimate, it was of course an imposition on bank customers. It is precisely this effect (system legitimacy to the considerable disadvantage of individual parties) that demonstrates amply how today’s banking system (i.e. the system of bank money creation) simply cannot work (to the satisfaction of all)!

How likely is it that this sort of action will be carried out in other European countries, despite the earnest denials of those in charge?

It's not really a question of probability. This sort of thing is going to happen in the near future with absolute certainty in all other countries. The reason is simple; bank money creation as laid out above is practised everywhere. Irredeemable bank over-indebtedness is thus just a matter of time, and a question of how creative accountants and regulators can be.

Banks have systemic relevance for all citizens, as we live in a cashless money system, more or less. Is it legitimate for financial institutions (as happened in Cyprus) to shut down their services, for weeks, to prevent a bank run? 

In my opinion, this was either a badly planned (panic) action by the responsible banks and politicians, or a test to see how the population would react. But both possibilities erode trust in the existing system. A deeper objective could of course be the promotion of a purely electronic money system, which would render bank runs a thing of the past. But for democratic and political reasons such a system may not be owned and run by private monopolies.

All manner of experts are popping out of the woodwork with countless proposals and recommendations for the euro crisis. Whether debt jubilee or Eurobonds, the hope is the same: sort out this self-made mess. Do you see in any of these proposals any possibility of success in the current circumstances?

All of these proposals will at best win a few months more growth before the debt money system implodes. None get at the root of the problem, nor make any attempt at a sustainable solution. Instead they all preserve bank money created as bank debt. This reluctance to address the root cause is dragging us closer and closer to the edge of the abyss. A truly effective method would be one which is standard for any company reorganisation: the conversion of borrowed capital into equity. Because owners of bank money only really possess claims (i.e. their money is also the bank’s liability), it would be reasonable to make them co-owners of the bank instead of simply writing the money off (in other words, destroying it). Put another way, from the point of view of the bank, borrowed capital would be converted into equity. As co-owners they would then automatically have a voice in the business activities of their bank.

What will it mean for European Union stability if effective measures for putting an end to this lasting crisis are not implemented soon? 

Society will split into two groups in the foreseeable future. One will consist of those who have understood the principles of bank debt and thus refuse to accept accounting entries as legal tender or as legal ‘debt’. The other will consist of those who have not understood the bank debt system and thus persist in seeing money as a thing of value, as a tool well suited to effecting transference of private property. At some point, the former group will, in large numbers, begin to inform the rest of the population about the existing system, after which reform will be possible.

What, in your view, would be the best and most sustainable way forward out of the current chaos?

I believe there are three necessary steps that could easily be followed with a minimum of mutual understanding and cooperation between all participants (i.e. bankers, politicians and the general public).
  • Positive Banking: The financing of companies using registered securities whose interest is created for investors ‘out of thin air’ but at an amount backed by the real economy. If real returns decline over a period, the investor can at any time, for example, be paid off at 125% (with freshly created money) which reduces the investment risk to zero. Because the securities are registered, there can be no speculation or associated market manipulation. The banks can earn more in this system and be more secure than with today’s investing in shares and bonds.
  • Positive Money: The creation of purely electronic money (“full reserve banking”) via the accounting entry “cash on equity” throughout the entire banking network on behalf of the state and monitored by democratic processes. The electronic payment units represent legal tender as the property of bank customers. The creation of bank money includes both a democratically legitimated guaranteed income, and a legally founded and transparently organised democratic price control system for guaranteeing the ‘value’ of this money (for as long as we still need a medium of exchange).
  • The end of the exchange system and the transition to a cooperation-based society through “Information Money”: if we progress our thinking a little further, we see that we don’t actually need to conclude contracts with each other (out of which claims and liabilities then arise) to be able to cooperate economically. In today’s system (money as a medium of exchange) we have an abstraction of an exchange medium. We behave as if we are passing valuable (gold) pieces around in a circle, even though what is being ‘moved’ are valueless digits in bank computers. Nothing is really being passed around. Numbers are simply created and deleted. If all citizens were to conclude their (life) contracts with the whole community (the network or the “democratic central bank” responsible for creating legal tender as an abstraction of the exchange partner), prices could be established asymmetrically. In other words, a seller receives e.g. 10€ for each widget sold, an amount that is then booked/created as an accounting entry under “cash on equity (at the democratic central bank)”, e.g. via a UID such as a social security number. But his/her customers pay individual prices; one pays say 5€ for the widget, another perhaps 20€. These ‘prices’ belong to their personal life contracts (booked as “expense on equity”, but this ‘money’ remains in their individual accounting circuit from which it is also destroyed).
That sounds highly theoretical. What happens in practice, for example with regards all important purchasing power? 

Well, we don’t need to concern ourselves with awkward questions on money supply and circulation, positive or negative interest rates, inflation etc. Prices, wages and baskets of goods can be individualised for each person. “Information money” is thus not a medium of exchange. It is purely a measure or reflection of an individual’s social activity which only has relevance within the biography of each individual. “Information money” only serves as a personal comparison within an individual’s timeline, not as a medium of exchange. It’s like your blood pressure data; it’s not used for exchange, not really compared with others’ either, but is indeed very relevant to your personal history. “Information money” makes possible the political transition from collectivism (in which baskets of goods, prices, inflation, wages etc. are “regulated” collectively for everyone by the free market) to individualism (each person develops according to his/her personal abilities and passions) as a basis for sustainable and exchange-free cooperation.

And in your opinion this would then lead inexorably to a more just society?

What I find particularly attractive about this system is that it would give rise to a society free of redistribution. Information money is created for each individual in accordance with their unique needs and then destroyed on payment. The two great sources of social conflict, namely exploitation and expropriation, are impossible in this system. Land and productive capital could be purchased from their owners by the democratic central bank (using freshly created money) at simply and transparently calculated prices, a purchase that would bring land and capital into cooperative, moneyless production. Only goods and services (while they are still ‘scarce’) would be ‘bought and sold’ (distributed) in accordance with information money rules.

Goods and services that are already available in abundance would simply be ordered and distributed with no need for any symbolic ‘service in return’ (payment). Premiums (in the form of vouchers, but also perhaps as personality shows, i.e. as immaterial values) would function as an incentive for innovators to improve existing methods of production so as to produce still scarce goods and services in sufficient quantities to meet total demand. So while today’s owners of resources and means of production would be reimbursed with freshly created money in payment for use of their property, the lower echelons of the income pyramid would be furnished with purchasing power (likewise with freshly created money) in the form of a guaranteed income, but all without any need to take these amounts away from anyone else. We would be leaving the zero sum game of today’s system behind us and entering a “plus sum game”, in which all participants can win simultaneously, as one person’s win would never be to someone else’s cost.

Which other factors contribute to this “plus sum game”.

Because prices are individually regulated, the purchasing power of information money is sustained. This money is no longer a medium of exchange that only retains its value by virtue of being kept scarce. Information money therefore represents a record of personal social activity, and is not a medium of exchange. It is created at the level of the individual (‘out of thin air’) and then destroyed, echoing what we see as quantum noise in the vacuum where virtual particles endlessly appear and disappear. Moreover, because this money is bound to a personal basket of goods and a personal price and wage system, it is also no longer comparable between people, just like blood pressure data. It is thus an entirely relative ‘money’ that can only be meaningfully interpreted within each person’s biography. We would thus be mapping quantum and relativity theory to economics. This advance would free individuals to cooperate in a self-determined way.

For you, a radical rethink or a totally new financial and social system has priority. Is your approach felt by other lateral thinkers as an attack, and to what extent are some trying to undermine you?

Defamation, denunciation and intrigue are sadly part and parcel of the old rule set, at least in the minds of some. But if you keep your head while also continuing to behave in a friendly and cooperative manner, then I think you have a better chance of convincing those who no longer want to fight to maintain this defunct system (spiritually or mentally), that we can at any time transition to a win-win situation. We need only talk honestly about our true concerns and feelings (standard of living, feelings of power, socialisation, fears etc.), instead of continuing with disproved theories or personal antipathies as the basis of our communication.

After the denunciations and subsequent suspension from the University of Economics and Business in Vienna, [German] you are back at your old post. Does the justice system work?

As they could not prove any infringement of the law on my part, and as words and expressions were attributed to me that I had in fact quoted from other sources as examples of divergent opinions, against which you should be arguing vigorously (assuming you’re passionately interested in these particular historical details), the reaction on the part of the judiciary was predictable. But of course the damage to my reputation remains. There are still those who, due to the fear of being associated with any hint of right wing extremism, are afraid of contacting me or my fellow campaigners. So I believe that was the real intention behind the accusations, to keep my purely factual ideas out of the political debate.

Your ideas are still controversial. Are you fully rehabilitated, or has some of that mud stuck?

Every reformer or innovator remains ‘controversial’ right up until the practical implementation of their idea proves it valid. I like to remember the story of the Wright Brothers. They were simple bicycle mechanics not blessed with any particular academic acumen, and yet, at the turn of the twentieth century, were the first to build a functioning flying machine. Only five years before, the recognised scientific luminary, Lord Kelvin (founder of the famous temperature scale) had the following to say about machine flight: “Heavier than air flying machines are impossible!” Social methods, or elements of the information structure of the economy (and ‘money’ is nothing more than that from a purely technical perspective) must not be organised as monopolised business models by private concerns. Imagine for a moment that a small group of people succeeds in seizing ownership of all of the earth’s atmosphere. They could then arbitrarily decide who was allowed to breathe clean air, and who was allowed to breathe polluted air – and at what prices. The power of the privately run debt money system is today almost as extreme as this imaginary example!

As mentioned above, the uninformed section of the population still has its reservations. But, if they were to familiarise themselves with the facts, they would soon learn that control of the money system has nothing to do with right or left wing politics. It’s a fundamental question: democracy or dictatorship?