A report by Efa Wulle:
After hearing about Positive Money, some peace campaigners and Quakers in north Wales felt that the banking system had to be addressed if any progress on alleviating growing inequality is to be made. So, we got Bangor University’s Debating Society on board and organised an event of the 3rd March entitled: ‘Is Money at the Root of Today’s Big Problems?’.
Sue Holden gave a talk on behalf of Positive Money, which was inspiring because it was practical. She showed how the present banking system leads to environmentally damaging investment, housing bubbles, weapon production and war – as these are the most profitable areas for banks to invest in rather than small enterprises, which are much more ‘risky’.
She brought into perspective how much a trillion pounds, the amount of money that has been thrown at the banks out of taxpayers money, really is by telling us that one million seconds equals 12 days, a trillion seconds equals 31,000 years!
The connection between debt creation and banks’ profit was made clear and the solutions outlined in a straightforward way: A transparent, accountable body should be able to create money free of debt, which the government of the day could inject into the economy.
To make this happen, we don’t even have to have changes in the law: Robert Peel’s 1844 Bank Charter Act, preventing banks from printing money still stands. It simply needs to be updated to include digital money. We know that we are not alone with these calls. Intelligent mainstream financial commentators like Martin Wolf (of the Financial Times) and Lord Adair Turner have made suggestions in the same direction.
Tony Weekes gave a presentation about the campaign for a general Basic or Citizen’s Income. Just imagine the freedom people would experience if they were no longer dependent on soul destroying, low paid jobs that take up most of their energy. People could develop their talents and social enterprises could arise that are currently considered too risky or unprofitable to receive support. Tony answered the old question: “Would not everyone stay in bed if we all had a guaranteed income?” with a simple, effective counter question: “Would you?”.
We need to develop a vision of a new society – these ideas, it seems to me, are critical if we are going to achieve it.
We have a sympathetic Member of Parliament, Hywel Williams of Plaid Cymru, in Arfon, north Wales. He was present and expressed his wish to cooperate with the Corbyn branch of Labour on banking reform and People’s Quantitative Easing. Some discussions with them and the Green party have already taken place.
Despite the success of the event, subsequent discussions in the peace group about how to continue campaigning at a local level were not easy! Some people are wary of aligning themselves with one campaign before familiarising themselves with it thoroughly, others did not agree with specific statements, some wanted Keynes’ theory of division of labour and the threatening takeover of jobs by robots taken into consideration, and yet others said it rather went all over their heads. My appeal is to start with what we know and to expand from there.
Still, we agreed on a date to further discuss the matter. Everyone felt that there is some serious rot in the current money and banking system that needs to be addressed if a real difference to injustice, inequality and war is to be made. I would be very keen to hear from friends and Positive Money supporters if you have encountered a similar situation and how you achieved unity.
Agreement about forming a branch of Positive Money, or of Basic Citizen’s Income, or of Arian Cymru, the Welsh campaign for a Public Welsh Bank has yet to be achieved. But we have at least started the discussion and will raise the awareness of the fact that Money equals Debt.
If you are anywhere in North Wales, please join us: 13 April, 7.00, Quaker Meeting House, Bangor, Dean Street.