The coming year will be critical for the campaign to reform our monetary system in the public interest. With European finance in chaos and the prospect of another global banking collapse we’re determined to be ready to make the strongest possible case for reforming our debt-based, bank-controlled monetary system.We need to step up our research efforts and build on our communications resources, which now include in-house video editing capabilities to maximise the impact of our educational and campaigning material.
Ongoing research is essential for:
- building the knowledge capacity of both ourselves and our supporters
- helping us to educate others who don’t know about these facts, and
- creating events around which we can “hook” the media and get it on board.
Because mainstream economists, and the major well-funded (but financially not-independent) think tanks, have ignored the whole issue of banks creating money for decades, we’re having to do a lot of the research that they have neglected. We are forging new ground here! There is literally no one else doing this research.
Unfortunately, we are meeting a fairly cool response from some of the biggest sources of funding relevant to this issue (including a trust that describes itself as ‘tackling poverty and inequality’, who declined the opportunity to support research to measure how leaving it to banks to create money as debt itself contributes to poverty and inequality!). So we really rely on individual donors to keep this work going. (And that includes our team – my colleague Andrew Jackson, for example, works for less than half what he could expect from a similar research job in the City or with a major think tank which wouldn’t have the financial independence to do this kind of work.)
“Who’s funding you guys, at present?”
We run a tight ship, with minimal salaries, some amazing volunteers and costs that are a fraction of other campaigns and charities. In fact we spent as much on the whole campaign in 2011 as one well-known campaign spent on its website alone!
Here’s a story. Last year I was speaking at one of our MeetUps in Scotland. One of the people in the audience was clearly impressed with the event, and its professionalism, and wanted to know “who’s funding you guys?”
The answer – we are largely funded by our staff here, myself, Mira and Drew, who take wages well below the national average, and well below the rate at which our qualifications and ability would normally expect. The second core of funders is the direct debit donors – that’s people like you. The third tier of funders is the small group of sympathetic organisations which we list on “Our Funders” page – but, here’s the thing, we cannot rely upon these organisations in the long term. They are not a bottomless pit. They are keen to get us started, but they expect us to become sustainably funded by our direct debit supporters.
What Have We Done So Far?
It is remarkable to think of everything we accomplished in 2011 … a major conference in Central London, speaking engagements throughout the country, an article on the Guardian website which generated over 500 comments in 48 hours, and since the summer, meetups in more than 20 different towns and cities across the UK – which are continuing.
On the research front, for example, Andrew Jackson has done some incredible work over the last year. He first spent 4 months (working for free) on the research for the book Where Does Money Come From?, wading through piles and piles of Bank of England documents to figure out exactly how the modern banking system works.
He then spent a further 4 months (supported by the James Gibb Stuart Trust) dispelling the counter-arguments that banks and economists use to defend the current banking system. We’ll be releasing this work as a 60,000+ word book (about as long as the first Harry Potter book!) in the next 2-3 months, and will invite all direct debit donors and regular financial supporters to the launch event.
On top of that, he’s also undertaken research into the shift of power from Westminster to the City of London, discovering that, for example, of the 36 current FSA board members, 9 still hold positions on the boards of financial institutions, and that the banks actually have more ‘spending power’ to shape the economy than the whole machinery of government. We’re pleased to say that this report will be released in the next few weeks.
There’s More Research to Do
There are 3 areas we want to be concentrating on this year.
Firstly, most economists and senior politicians believe that unaffordable housing is simply a supply and demand issue (too many people, too few houses) and completely ignore the fact that over the last ten years banks have created – out of nothing – hundreds of billions of pounds and pumped them into the housing market.
Secondly, we need to show, conclusively, how a debt-based system forces much of the population into debt and fuels poverty, so that we can get the major charities to realise that changing the monetary system is a first step towards dealing with these problems.
And of course, thirdly, we want to show conclusive proof that the current debt based system is accelerating our unsustainable use of resources and destruction of the environment.
We are on the move and, with your help, we will continue to build momentum in 2012.
“So What are You Asking For?”
We’re looking for 100 new people in the next 2 weeks to donate monthly to support the 3 research programmes, as above, that will be essential to make our arguments for reform and to help us take this message to the world in 2012.
What Will You Be Funding?
You’ll be funding a third of Andrew Jackson’s time to do the research, and coordinate our other excellent research volunteers.
The other two-thirds will fund Andrew’s time ‘on the road’, speaking about this research to other charities, policy makers and academics, to get them to start looking at the money system as a root of their problems.
Please help us to do the work which the financially not-independent think tanks are unable to contemplate, let alone undertake!
Of course we understand that not everyone is in a position to help in this way, and that’s OK, but if you are in a position to support us financially, then please know that we need, and are very grateful for, your help. Please set up a monthly donation here:
As a thank you, the first 25 donors who donate £4 a month or more will receive a copy of our DVD All About the Money? through the post! As a direct debit supporter of Positive Money you’ll also get advanced invites to limited space events – such as our talk in Parliament, and to the official launches of our Reports.
With thanks for your ongoing support,
Ben Dyson and the Positive Money team