We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Need For Monetary Reform

Click here to access article from the American Monetary Institute.
Money has value because of skilled people, resources, and infrastructure, working together in a supportive social and legal framework. Money is the indispensable lubricant that lets them “run.” It is not tangible wealth in itself, but a power to obtain wealth. Money is an abstract social power based in law; and whatever government accepts in payment of taxes will be money. Money’s value is not created by the private corporations that now control it.
This Institute is focused on bringing the issuance of money under complete government control:
...the money issuing power should never be alienated from democratically elected government and placed ambiguously into private hands as it is in America in the Federal Reserve System today.
I see this as a worthy objective, but there are several problems I see with this limited objective. First, bringing the issuance of money under full government control does not in the least provide for a genuine "democratically elected government." A privately owned and controlled economy cannot provide for a meaningful democracy. 

An economy supports a society with all their material needs. Hence, it is a vital part of any society. To have an economy controlled by private parties clearly functions to undermine any kind of genuine democracy. Clearly, this is obvious from the history of capitalist countries during the past 300 years.

Capitalist rule is just another form of class rule that American revolutionaries thought they had defeated back in 1776. Unfortunately, the Revolution was a sham. It was immediately undermined by the new class of capitalists and financiers led by Alexander Hamilton and Robert Morris who merely wanted to take control from the British Crown so that they could exploit the vast resources of this continent. Because labor is always need to create wealth, they imported large numbers of slaves from Africa and cleared the common lands in Europe of its farmers. (Read The Great Transformation by Karl Polanyi.) As Charles Beard, the noted historian and political scientist of the early 20th century wrote in his seminal work, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution:
Instead of being a document drawn up by patriotic men for the protection of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the [US] Constitution was the work of consolidated economic groups--...property interests....
But, I agree completely with the Institute's objective of bringing the issuance of our money under complete government control, but we must not stop there. We must bring the whole economy under genuine democratic control.