Swiss citizens’ initiative collects 105,000 signatures, triggers referendum on Money Creation

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The Swiss population will be the first in the world to vote on their banking and monetary system, thanks to the tireless efforts of a pro-Sovereign Money campaign.

The “Vollgeld Initiative” (Sovereign Money Initiative) has successfully managed to collect 100,000 signatures –  the number required to trigger a nationwide referendum on the issue.

The campaign has been coordinated by Modernizing Money (MoMo) and launched on June 3rd 2015. It involved over 100 activists collecting signatures in the street for the past year and a half.

“It is amazing that we were able to collect so many signatures in favour of Sovereign Money in Switzerland, we are very happy! The success of the Swiss campaign is a major milestone for the growing international movement for monetary reform”, said Raffael Wüthrich, member of the campaigning team.

The signatures will be formally delivered to the Swiss Parliament on 1st December. The organisers hope that even more signatures will be collected by then.

Under the Swiss Federal Constitution, if a petition gathers at least 100,000 signatures within 18 months, a referendum is held on the issue a few years later.

The Vollgeld Initiative proposal is very similar to the one we are advocating at Positive Money UK. It aims at granting the Swiss National bank the exclusive power to create new money.

In a nutshell, the proposal extends the Swiss Federation’s existing exclusive right to create coins and notes, to also include deposits. With the full power of new money creation exclusively in the hands of the Swiss National Bank, the commercial banks would no longer have the power to create money through lending. The Swiss National Bank’s primary role becomes the management of the money supply relative to the productive economy, while the decision concerning how new money is introduced debt free into the economy would reside with the government”, reads the official website of the initiative.

In Switzerland, referendums are usually organised 3 to 5 years after a popular initiative succeeds. The proposals first have to be debated by the Federal government and Parliament. In case the Parliament decides to adopt a proposal into law immediately, the organisers of the initiative have the right to renounce the referendum, hence speeding up the implementation of the proposal. However, this is very rare case, as most initiatives are ultimately submitted to a nationwide referendum. 

The success of the Swiss campaign is a major milestone for the growing international movement for monetary reform, which has already catched the attention of the international media. However a lot of work remains to be done, says Raffael Wüthrich: 

“Our work doesn’t stop here. On the contrary, now, we have to convince the swiss population of the importance of Vollgeld. We expect this will be an even greater challenge. As we don’t have a big sponsor so we have to be creative in the next years to reach the swiss people with our messages. Please donate to our cause and help spread message to help us make the most of this incredible opportunity. Thank you so much for your support!”

 

 

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Stanislas Jourdan

Stan joined Positive Money in August 2015 as International Coordinator. Before joining us he was lead organiser of the movement for basic income in France and at European level.
  • Marco Saba

    Here an Italian MP yesterday commenting on the Swiss referendum and on imposing taxes on bank money creation: http://seigneuriage.blogspot.it/2015/11/carlo-sibilia-m5s-le-banche-sono-i-veri.html

  • Jerome Brown

    Any incentive that removes control of the money system away from Private Financial Institutions, including privately owned banks, is a good thing! In fact complete nationalisation of the world’s banking system would solve most of the world’s problems!

    • RJ

      I don’t think it would. In fact giving Govt this amount of power could make it worse.

      And Govts have all the power now anyway but pretend they don’t. We elect corrupt leaders based on misinformation and indifference and pay the price. Giving these same controlled politicians even more power is unlikely to improve matters.

      • FWHMyers

        RJ
        I think you are confusing two issues here. The first is the desirability or otherwise of a nationalised banking system, the second is the state of our pseudo-democracy.
        That our political system has fallen from a state of poor representation to one of corrupt parallel reality is arguably grounds to make a case that we shouldn’t give those in Westminster more power without demanding fundamental democratic reforms as part of the proposals. However, this doesn’t necessarily undermine the case for a nationalised banking system per se.
        There is an argument that real democracy is not possible without a democratised money system, and that the change in role of our politicians over the past forty years does actually reflect the fact that the power of the market and finance has eclipsed that of national parliaments. Adam Curtis’ documentary series, The Mayfair Set makes this case, and I agree with him: governments only really exercise their power to further the interests of corporations (esp. financial ones). Those who emerge within the political system to challenge the current order are crushed before getting near to the reins of power (Corbyn will get nowhere without a huge and constant mass mobilisation of millions of people).
        Is this not contrary to saying that ‘Govts have all the power now anyway but pretend they don’t’?
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfzdXaLR8sQ

  • Tony Harvey

    I agree with Jerome though do defer to PM that an agency of the nationally owned and parliament overseen (not executive overseen) central bank should decide how much money to create and give it to democratically elected governments debt free to spend, or as a less favourable- even to lend to private banks). With countries where their central bank is private or privately owned it should be nationalised. The shady Bank of International settlements (Central bankers central bank) I think should be done away with or drastically reformed to be accountable to parliaments. Ellen Brown has lots of interesting things to say about the shady BIS.

    • RJ

      But you don’t agree with Jerome.

      He wants to give more power to Govt. You want to take it away and give it to an agency. Just like the Euro countries have. Where the Govt has lost their power to “print money” to fund spending and now must get it from the markets first, or the ECB.

      The ECB = PMs agency. And in most countries in the world the Govt control the central bank including the US. The issue is who controls the Govt. hint its not the public.

      • FWHMyers

        It doesn’t matter if you call the body which creates money ‘an agency independent of government’ or a part of the government itself (treasury, or reformed central bank under government control). The point is that it should be accountable, transparent and acting in the democratic interests of the populace. How do we go about achieving this? – that is the tricky question.
        Central banks (private or government owned) have a history of being opaque, unaccountable and of acting against the interests of the people at large, but rather, acting for the interests of international finance. There is a strong critique of the Fed that questions its ‘control by government’, its private ownership, its relationship to large banking firms like Goldman Sachs. The Bank of England, we all should know has a past that is -to say the least, shady and has been implicated in international scandals right up to handling funds for the Third Reich, (the BIS even more so). These things should be borne in mind when designing a reformed system.
        Governments at least have the principle of democratic accountability, even if it exists in a degraded or partial form. I have argued for some time that money reformers need to get a grip on the issues of democratic reform, i.e. that the two are so inextricably linked that to consider one without the other is all but meaningless.

        • Volkan

          Maybe we should look on positive central banking examples in history. Richard Werner already has pointed out that the German Bundesbank in the post-war era in Germany has done a very good job until it had been substituted by the ecb. Why is that?
          Because the decision power was not concentrated on the top director but on a board whose members came from the single federal states. Their incentives was to ensure a fair financial base for the federal banks and the local economy. And in addition, this way it is harder to corrupt the cb and its decision power.

          It also was independant from government but accountable to the parliament! (e.g. see magic square “Magisches Viereck”)

          Complete cb “independancy” sounds positive but means in this case no democratic control. Best example is ecb. It can turn a wonderful sovereign money reform into a desaster and that is what I fear for Switzerland and the money reform movements in general.

  • Frederick Malouf

    I think we all make the mistake of connecting money with wealth. Money is not wealth, nor is it a motivator to create it. Human nature demands we create to show our distinction anyway, and this is qualitative. The question is on what parameters do we compare this.

    We get money from banks because they have been give authority to give money. If you haven’t noticed already, there are lots of new banks and financial institutions starting up: Me Bank. Australia Bank, Coles and Woolies with their branching into insurance. Why this is happening is a way increase the money supply, but this is solely created out of debt. The debt can never be repaid, EVER, but that is how our current money model works. Banks really create nothing. If we didn’t create, none would not exist. So it is really important to design a currency that supports human nature being a creative being. This cannot be exclusive between people as nothing is created unless we collaborate. Money in its current form doesn’t support collaboration. It divides and conquerers. Conversely, there is the adage to unite and rule, but what type of ruling in this case does not have to centre on one person or body.

    That money costs to use is a fallacy of wealth. That banks exist to lend money is the dumbed thing we could possibly have created. I am surprised that this referendum is beginning is Switzerland as they have the WIR, which is their version of a community currency, but still costs, I think.

    What type of currency allows us to collaborate and exchange the highest quality we can all create, in the most sustainable way? To bring the focus of what we create to this, money HAS to be free, be stable, and based on ALL we create, not something that reduces a resource to a commodity, as this offers the opportunity to control the commodity, which, in the days of gold, happened.

    Disconnecting gold from money though offers the opportunity to create a shitload of centralised money, which explain why the volume of currency has gone up so much since the 70s. This is not wealth, just changing numbers to exchange wealth. What have we made, supported, created in that time? We may be innovating, but we also build obsolescence in, too.

    Money is very powerful, but we can make any type, so long as it is accepted. We accept today’s type because we are used to it, have always known money to be like this, but there are so many others that change how we interact with each other. Look at demurrage, time, bitcoin as examples. Accepting the parameters of new currencies can change a lot! Not the same type, different designs. But we only need one type, if any, not many different ones. If we have many, the focus comes back to the money as wealth, not what we create.

    Bitcoin for me is the most ingenious not for the fact it is the answer, but it is leading to the best answer. Long story short, it leads to perpetual deflation, inverts the price mechanism, leading to the realisation that money is incidental to wealth, can never measure wealth, that price, therefore money, is meaningless and irrelevant, and the best thing to do is create the best in the highest quality ith minimal resources in the shortest time, and gift it. This still supports a free market, but you no longer BUY people to work for you. You have to be the best to warrant people wanting to be a part of your creativity, and to leverage that to them, too.

    Instead of money being the god of wealth, sustainable innovative production is. This is ALWAYS diverse, dependent on locality, but then so is nature; so is culture. This is what makes life interesting. At the moment, we are reducing culture to one, very destructive type, driven my the money we use. Change money, change the world.

    I do not know the type of reform they are looking into, but ultimately, money has to become free and stable. Even all the designers of currency I have spoken to say no currency can be stable, so just get rid off the shit. The ROI of gifting far supersedes that of money. We think we need money to motivate people but we don’t. Money OWNS creation, not facilitate it. We are perpetuating this delusion with startups. Not that they are bad, but SYSTEMISING it is not good. In the current none model, it is a delusion of power, not a real game changer unless we change the money model entrepreneurship runs in.

    Does this make sense? Money and sustainabilty are currently polar opposites, like a magnet. We need to design a model that supports sustainable innovative production, to share it as much as possible, and the status to facilitate that. The only design I know to achieve that is gifting, but if someone comes up with a quantified way to do that, as Copiosis and Individual Activity Accounts, then so be it. I don’t care, just so long as we forget money as a measure of status and make sustainability the new god.

    Tune in tomorrow 8-9pm AEDT through this link where I present the case for this: https://www.thinkdif.co/…/the-inevitable-trajectory-to-a-gi…

    And feel free to connect at facebook.com/theqse or theqse@gmail.com with any questions you may have.

    • RJ

      Does this make sense?
      Not to me it doesn’t. I’m not sure what you are trying to say.

      I assume you define wealth as physical assets. like a house or car or clothes etc. Or land or oil in the ground. Now if this is correct of course money is not wealth. It’s a financial asset. Where these asset are not supported by a physical asset like a car or house. But rather a promise by another party to make good in the future. The party that holds this obligation refers to it as a DEBT.

      This system could work well. It doesn’t because of ignorance about what money is. Like thinking money must be backed by gold. This creates only problems. Or referring to bit coin which is a complete sham. Or gifting that is just fairy land stuff.

      Money is a financial asset always backed by debt. Understanding and accepting this is the starting point to freedom. And we (the 99%) can control the supply of money if we want to. By either Govt ownership of banks. (Or a mix of Govt ownership and private ownership that I prefer). And by Govt deficit spending. By using the reserve bank to buy Govt bonds at zero or very low interest. But we must understand what debt is, why its needed, why in many cases its a good and essential aspect of our lives, and why we currently need a lot more UK Govt debt. For one thing to back our savings as we age. And to finance Govt spending to help the poor, elderly, and to fund essential Govt ASSET spending like housing and clean cheap energy etc.

      But we need to see the world as it is and not fall into a make pretend sustainability is the new god fantasy world.

      • Frederick Malouf

        You want to build a currency backed by debt? Are you kidding? Look around you and see how destructive that is. What you are saying is you TRUST money, and the people giving it to you. You also think it motivates people to create something. It doesn’t. We create to build status over others and be as high a leader as we can.

        You think I am not seeing the world as it is? You limit your vision in saying this. Do you want an unsustainable world? Do you want to reduce your leveraged creativity to a price? You can, but you aren’t going to take me with you. Think about how may people have build faiths that people TRUST to believe in? Instead, I am building a model that defaults to having to believe in yourself, or not. This HAS to be sustainable. There is no other option as anything else is less than this highest capacity that respects yourself and others.

        If you think I am living in a fantasy, understand where money comes from, and who wants to live through debt. I don’t. Does that make me inhuman?

        Understand the TYPES of money out there, and get back to me. In the meantime: https://facebook.com/theqse/videos/10153396718935817/

    • Stephan Flach

      What a sovereign “democratic” source of money could do to switch us back to collaboration? Money is a means of communication in my perspective, the materialization of our life-time /energy. What money communicates now, and I’m totally with you that it’s broken, is that:

      “You can have an alter ego, your bank, which formally protects you from identification and liabilities; arising from you playing the system in a creedy and destructive way.
      On top, your alter ego, is granted the right to force the society to hand out “bonds” (cash) in a ratio of nine to one (9:1) of what you own.
      By the simple act of writing it in your alter ego’s book.
      The sole justification being your business risk to lose that 10% you actually had.
      Cut even that if your alter ego made it on the ‘too big to fail’ list. ”

      Money was the first global language, as the deduction of the body of trade. Right now it’s grammar is starkly missing the future tenses. The vocabulary is full of war-terms, threats and insults. The sole syntax comparative.
      That’s why it’s messed up. It is what happens when you let down whole parts of the community, you shouldn’t wonder being insulted and ripped of going through there.

      It’s the mindset that emerges when we lose focus on the importance of the hygiencs of communication / language / money.
      Hasn’t always been like that.
      There were times when a contract could only be made between living individuals.

      What I intended to point out is, having a language isn’t the problem. It’s reintroducing a tone that makes up for a worthwhile standard.

      • Frederick Malouf

        Hmmm … I would say love is the first global language, not money. And there lies the problem. One is collaborative, one isn’t. Money can be a means of communicating, but what are you really communicating in using it? What I question is the type of money itself, not money itself. I’d be happy if you chose to use Bitcoin instead of any centralised debt-driven currency.

        You can hope to bring back the good times with money, but the core of the model we use will not being that back. That requires a stable currency. I am working on building one, but it doesn’t look good. Once it’s stable, it becomes redundant to use. Bitcoin included.

        Think of what you want of yourself and humanity, and design a currency around that and see what you come up with. If you think money has to cost to be used, then you missed the point.

  • A.IN.Canada
    • The vast majority of people confuse coincidence theory and conspiracy theory the majority of the time.

  • ZIN DAHARI ZA

    We all know that current global financial architecture is no longer sustainable. Only more and more Wars will keep it alive. Damn!

  • prolibertate

    That is absolutely HORRIBLE !!!

    MORE power to the government? Are you people out of your minds?

    We must REDUCE the power of the government!

    Besides, government already has 100% of the power to create Swiss Francs (it is, fortunately, legal to create other forms of money, privately!).

    Commercial banks do NOT “create money”.

    What you criticize is not “money creation”, but fractional reserve banking. That does not create money, it simply increases the amount of debt, but every single franc of debt is covered by a corresponding credit.

    It is risky, if too many people start defaulting, but it does not create the least bit of inflation.

    The only way to create inflation is by creating more currency.

    Please get an education about economics, before you launch initiatives that would totally f*k up the economy.

    If anything, the gold initiative should have been accepted. Sadly, the lack of economic education mislead Swiss people into rejecting it, thus granting government the power to create unlimited amounts of currency and thus to destroy our savings and our economy.

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