03 December 2014

How To Waste £375 Billion - Positive Money - Apologia

I have been looking into and communicating with some of those involved with PositiveMoney.org of late.

The Princes of the Yen documentary that was featured here the other day was produced by some fellows that are also involved with this movement, although that Positive Money message did not permeate the documentary. There was no clear solution promoted, and most of the documentary was devoted to exposing how Central Banks shape policies and real world economies, not only in Japan but around the world through the IMF.

The Positive Money movement is based in the UK. Their idea is to change the manner in which money is created, taking it out of the hands of the private banking system and putting it back into the hands of the government, to be brief.

Their proposals are a bit lean in some aspects. They posit a transparent authority to determine the creation of money. But in the light of the abuses of the BOJ in the Princes of the Yen piece, it is obvious that such an enormous power must be safeguarded by something a little more stringent than 'transparency.'  But it is a step in the right direction.

And it is not lost on me that this movement sounds so similar to the Modern Monetary Theory group in the US. Both would like to remove the money power from the central banks and their affiliates and return it to the government/people.

But it is often lost on the MMT crowd that this is within the essence of Jacksonian Democracy, which is also adamantly opposed giving the sovereign power to create money to a cadre of 'independent' bankers.

Why then cannot these groups find common ground and unite in their efforts?

I think it comes down to power and ideology. 
Much of the nonsensical we are reading these days about gold from economists is because they are arguing from a pre-established premise.  That premise about the characteristics of gold refuses to allow their mind to go where reason might lead them.  And so in their gyrations to avoid an external standard, to not potentially limit their power and discretion while maintaining some sort of ongoing discourse, they appear almost comical.  It is the credibility trap.  And they are like Lewis Carroll's Humpty Dumpty, wishing only for the power to form reality to their liking.
`The question is,' said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

`The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, `to be master -- that's all.'"

 In the States, the MMT crowd go several steps further, and even add on the tenet to their doxology that the State can never print too much money, since their obligations are denominated in their own currency. This is of course at odds with most of recorded history, so it is no wonder that some might blanch at it as a tenet of a new economic faith.

And alas, everything in the States these days comes down to power politics and cliquish tribalism it seems. You must support MY proposals, or you are not one of us. And you must not speak ill of anything we propose, or we will label, and then exclude you. This is politics, not as usual, but as life imitates high school.

I was informed by a visitor that a 'liberal site' that heavily promotes MMT had quietly removed its references to my own café, and refused to link to pieces here that support their very same causes, because as it is well known I have some serious objections to sovereign money, American style. And I attempt to articulate those objections as best that I can, and on occasion with some pointedness when they are overreached and dismissed.

I mean no particular criticism to anyone by this. As a progressive I am anathema to many of the hard money people with whom I also have a common cause, because they often tend to be austerity driven, Austrian conservatives. 

And so there are similar de facto boycotts ongoing based on strictly unrelated matters.  I cannot get a link out of a major hard money organization because of it, for example.  Even though they can use all the friends and intellectual support that they can get.

I will not even get into the guff that one might take for standing up for any of their faith based beliefs and witnessing in their actions, even if it is done in what one might hope is a civil and accepting manner.

It is not easy to be a centrist, following your conscience and reason as it leads you, even with all due caution and self-examination, these days.  But that is what we must do, if we are to be true to ourselves.

And I confess to being no milquetoast, seeking to please all and thereby stand for nothing.  I know I have a fire in my heart at times when seeing injustice and suffering inflicted up on the innocent and the unsuspecting.  And I hope to never lose that to the apathy of well-worn care or cynicism.

One person I wish to acknowledge right here is Ted Butler.  I have strongly objected some of the things he has said, on rare occasions, but done so with as best an approach as one can strive for with regard to an acquaintance who in general is of a similar frame of mind.  
And I let him know about it, so it is not given to him in some distorted manner by a third party being mischievous.   To his credit he accepts this as constructive criticism and we talk about it, and sometimes agree to disagree.  Ted and I still talk and are friends, and he shares his information with me freely, and we engage in no infighting or polemics.  And we both draw comfort from our fellowship.  At least I do.

I have some similar arrangements with people of note who would probably not wish to be named here publicly.  But it is one of the many consolations I have received from this café, and I am grateful for it.

Too often these days, when people take positions, all thinking stops, and it starts coming down to a struggle with tricks and rhetoric for raw power.  And this is a sickness brought about by our culture of winning.

There should be no doubt that I think our current financial processes are misbegotten and riddled with fraud, and that this trickle down approach to stimulus is little more than corporatized and organized theft of public money by powerfully connected insiders. 

And the Fed has proven clearly that it is not capable of fulfilling its obligations as monetary authority and regulator under its current arrangements. It lacks objectivity and transparency. It has been captured by the Banks, and in looking at its structure, it would be foolish to think that over time there would be any other outcome.  For all its window dressing, the Fed is a creature of the Banks.
So I wanted to let you know where my thoughts might be going, less you think I have lost my mind.   Or my position, as it means the ground on which I am currently standing, while on a longer journey.   
There is only one real position that I hope to never lose, because at the end of the day, it is the only one that really matters beyond the comedy of our world as it is.   It is that affirmation with which I cup my hands together, and hold whatever it is that is me, the soul of me.  Enough of it slips over and away with the jostling of life as it is.  But if I ever open my hands wide for the sake of political expediency or gain, I may be lost.
Is this a kind of pride, of egoism?  Perhaps it may seem to be. Perhaps this is why God allows the storms to beat on us, and knock us down so often, as we struggle against the servitude of the dark powers in high places of this world.  And this may be why He allows for desolation to creep into the hearts of His own, and test them, and modify them.   So that we may realize that we are never standing alone, as gods on our own power, but in fear and trembling, proceeding slowly against the tides and the darkness, always seeking the light.
"To be dispassionate and cautious, to be fair in discussion, to give to each phenomenon which nature successively presents its due weight, candidly to admit those which militate against our own theory, to be willing to be ignorant for a time, to submit to difficulties, and patiently and meekly proceed, waiting for farther light, is a temper (whether difficult or not at this day)... in which we can hope to become interpreters of nature, and it is the very temper which Christianity sets forth as the perfection of our moral character."

J. H. Newman