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Forum Post: money and debt

Posted 3 weeks ago on Aug. 28, 2017, 8:42 a.m. EST by flip (7101)
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lots of back and forth about money and debt and "the money masters." seems to me there a fundamental misunderstanding of money and its uses. this is one of the big questions of our time since we are constantly told by our "rulers" that we don't have the money to pay people well etc. so i am going to put up a few points by others who explain things well - i hope!

first is Alan Watts - - on the fundamental confusion between money and wealth: Remember the Great Depression of the Thirties? One day there was a flourishing consumer economy, with everyone on the up-and-up; and the next, unemployment, poverty, and bread lines. What happened? The physical resources of the country -- the brain, brawn, and raw materials -- were in no way depleted, but there was a sudden absence of money, a so-called financial slump. Complex reasons for this kind of disaster can be elaborated at length by experts on banking and high finance who cannot see the forest for the trees. But it was just as if someone had come to work on building a house and, on the morning of the Depression, the boss had said, "Sorry, baby, but we can't build today. No inches." "Whaddya mean, no inches? We got wood. We got metal. We even got tape measures." "Yeah, but you don't understand business. We been using too many inches and there's just no more to go around."

A few years later, people were saying that Germany couldn't possibly equip a vast army and wage a war, because it didn't have enough gold. What wasn't understood then, and still isn't really understood today, is that the reality of money is of the same type as the reality of centimeters, grams, hours, or lines of longitude. Money is a way of measuring wealth but is not wealth in itself. A chest of gold coins or a fat wallet of bills is of no use whatsoever to a wrecked sailor alone on a raft. He needs real wealth, in the form of a fishing rod, a compass, an outboard moter with gas, and a female companion.

Stephanie Kelton - “The government, when it issues its own currency, and goes into debt in that currency can always pay its debt, can never go broke, can never run out of money. It can afford anything that is for sale in that currency. It doesn’t need to borrow its own currency. And it can set its own interest rate. It does not have to pay what markets want. It does not become a victim to speculation, to bond vigilantes. It has additional policy space. It can do things for its economy and for its people that a government that does not have a sovereign currency cannot do.

(c. 12:18) “Think about what the hierarchy would look like under a gold standard. Many governments operated under gold or silver or both for some period of time in our world history. Under a gold standard, the government promises to convert its currency into gold. In that situation, what sits at the top of the pyramid is not the state’s currency, but the gold reserves. This means that the government must be careful about how much it spends. If it spends too much of its own currency, it can jeopardise the entire system because it may not be able to convert currency into gold as promised. You have to limit your spending and limit what you do with your policies. Governments operating under a gold standard do not have sovereign currency.

c. 17:12) “Abba Lerner was an economist, a contemporary of John Maynard Keynes. He saw this very clearly. He said: “‘By virtue of the power to create or destroy money by fiat and its power to take money away from people through taxation, [the State] is in a position to keep the rate of spending in the economy at the level required [for full employment].

Hudson - (c. 23:03) “I’m going to elaborate in a different direction from what Stephanie has said. I’m going to discuss the difference between central bank credit, or money, and commercial banks. Central banks create money, you can say. And commercial banks create credit. The last three years since September 2008 have seen the largest money creation and credit creation in history in the United States. And, yet, prices have not gone up at all. That is, consumer prices have not gone up since 1980. Wages in the United States have drifted downwards for 30 years. And consumer prices and commodity prices have been stable. But there has been an immense inflation; the largest bond market price increase in history has occurred, as interest rates have fallen from 20% to only one-quarter of 1% today. What has gone up is the price of real estate, the price of bonds, the price of stocks. So, the result is that the value of wealth—and most wealth is held by the wealthiest1% of the population—wealth has gone way up relative to wages. The result is a new kind of class war, as I said last night. It’s not the typical kind of class war between employers and employees. It’s a war of finance against the economy.

“So, when we talk about government money. We talk about government spending that is, indeed, to spur the economy, to spur economic growth, to spur new investments. The function of government investment and government central bank money creation is very different from the private banks. The government money is, indeed, debt, the lira that you have in your pocket are debt. Paper currency is debt. But it’s debt that nobody ever intends to be repaid because, if government currency is debt, than to repay it would mean that you would not have any currency left in the pocket.

(c. 30:00) “The commercial debt is expected to be repaid; and it bears interest. And, as this commercial debt has grown—the mortgages, the bank loans to companies, the corporate raiding debt—this has loaded down the economy with an enormous debt overhead. The more money commercial banks lend, the more interest has to be paid to carry this debt overhead. And the problem is that money that is spent on paying banks debt cannot be spent on goods and services. So, the result is that when commercial banks create debt, you have a diversion of income away from spending on goods and services—to pay debt service—and that is known as debt deflation. And when debt deflation proceeds as long as it has today, we move into a late stage of finance capitalism, which is the debt deflation stage—the austerity stage. And that’s the stage that Europe finds itself in today.



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[-] 2 points by ImNotMe (1488) 3 weeks ago

What I was ''trying to say'', was substantively in support of what (I think) you are saying. I concur with Dr.David Graeber that money is .. Bank Credits - then double entry booked as Debt by the lender. All money is ''fiat'' .. including the hard physical currency - as it is something we give value to by fiat. Re. ''Money Masters'' Doc. ... it may be ''misguided'' in parts but its history of Central Banking in USA - is not to be sniffed at. It does not ''argue against a central bank'' ... as in my perspective .. it just argues against A Private Central Bank - as do I .. and thus, in the regard of ''under democratic control'' ... we are all substantially in agreement, I suggest.

Wall Street exists only for the benefit of Wall Street! Modern Banks are Institutions that ''Hoover Up'' NOT ''Trickle Down'', anything other than shit!! The World Bank & IMF are organisations set up after WW2 to reconstruct Europe but after inception of Cold war they have become part of the tug of war between Capitalism and Communism and are now part of .. The Global Banksterocracy & consider Automated Algorithmic High Frequency Trading is a massive problem! Also for information of us all:

per ardua ad astra ...

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 3 weeks ago

nice job as usual - i'm still crabby though. my grandchildren - call me "crabus alotus" - yes they have learned latin at an early age. ok so we seem to be on the same page about most of this. the railing against inflation gets my antennae twitching. i have heard it for too many years and it is wrong. we have had tremendous inflation since a pizza was $.25 and we are much richer today so that cannot be the problem. it is a problem for those holding all the gold for sure.

of course the system is set up to benefit those with the gold - that is the golden rule. again the solution is democratic control over these institutions. all of these people who talk about compound interest and inflation are misdirecting us i think. i discussed the issue with many at the original ows and they were all rand paul libertarians and seemingly religious zealots. they talk hayek and von mises and insanity.

not sure about the money masters - i started watching it years ago and shut it down at some point. i think they got into rothschild and conspiracies or some such nonsense and pushed me over the edge. seemed to have an anti semitic tinge. maybe i will watch it again but i just don't have the time or energy in the age of trump.

anyway thanks for the thoughtful reply and keep up the fight

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 2 weeks ago

Thanx and your grandchildren "love you alotus" for sure and you do what you do here, with them at the forefront of your excellent mind. Ergo - for you and possibly them, to read later ... please consider this:

Your points about the nature of inflation are strong. My own Dad (RiP), regarded a little, as good & as a incentive to invest for producers. For sure the Golden Rule in Economics is: Those with the gold - get to make the the rules .. BUT the The Golden Rule in Philosophy is: "Do unto others as you'd have done to you" & perhaps ONLY "democratic control" over the means of production AND The Means of Exchange can provide this. ''Democracy'' - is the least worst form of Govt. but it does need an engaged population.

Re."compound interest'' - well that's something else altogether & it is the mechanics of Bankers Perfidy and Parasitism - imo. All three great monotheist faiths condemn it unequivocally. In the Old Testament, the ancient Israelite Elders devised ''Jubilee'' to stop the very worst aspects of C.I.

I have NO time for Ron Paul Libertarians or Hayek or Von Mises & re.''Money Masters'' - yes it does go into The Rothschilds but I'm not sure how any talk of the establishment of Central Banking can happen without reference to them but that can NOT be allowed to be ANY kind of excuse for vile anti-semitism! Trump is sapping us all of energy btw - so I do get what you say. Solidarity to you, mayda and clan flip.

pax, amor et lux - hic, nunc et semper ...

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 2 weeks ago

we agree i am sure on all of the main points here - the fire sector of the economy is out of control and must be reigned in. one of my main thoughts is that we have to work within the system as it is now. i am all for changing it and even overthrowing it but if that happens tomorrow we will see chaos and destruction like never before.

i think we start by getting money out of the system and moving in the bernie direction - which in the usa means going back to a 1965 style economy. whats next who knows - moving towards a european social welfare state and beyond but we will not have pure socialism overnight.

having said that i am not sure compound interest is the ultimate evil as portrayed. maybe i am not clear what we are talking about. banks could still be private and regulated like utilities were years ago no? for me to be able to put money in a cd at 5% interest and get a mortgage that carries a 4% interest rate is not the problem is it?? for the wealthy to suck all of the money out of the system for doing nothing is problematic but that could be handled with the 92% top tax rate of the eisenhower years - no? i am interested in your thoughts on this.

lastly i don't really understand why the rothschilds need to be part of the picture when we try to fix the problem of central banks - here is the headline when i tried to look up a transcript of the money masters - The money masters : how international bankers gained control of America : now this is a sick joke. international bankers do not control america. they have power no doubt but our own rich control america. the rothschilds did not send us into vietnam or iraq. anyway i am sure you get my point - on that note i am sending a bit of william greider and what i think is a much more important topic than money masters or inflation is the evil - seems to me to be a much more real world issue

here is the link - https://www.thenation.com/article/why-federal-reserve-needs-overhaul/

and now a bit of it in case you don't want to read it all - This hybrid institution, in which private economic interests share power alongside the elected government, was founded on an absurd pretense. Decisions at the Federal Reserve, it was said, should be made by disinterested technocrats, not officeholders, and deliberately shielded from the hot-blooded opinions of voters as well as politicians. Representative Carter Glass of Virginia, a leading sponsor, promised “an altruistic institution…a distinctly non-partisan organization whose functions are to be wholly divorced from politics.”

Of course, the claim was ridiculous on its face. Given the enormous size of the Fed’s power to affect economic outcomes and people’s lives, the central bank’s decisions inescapably favor some interests and injure others. By controlling interest rates and the availability of credit, Fed governors necessarily referee the conflicts between lenders and debtors. Whatever you call it, that’s the realm of politics.

The remnant Populists still in Congress in 1913 were not fooled by the talk of political neutrality. Representative Robert Henry of Texas described the new central bank as “wholly in the interest of the creditor classes, the banking fraternity, and the commercial world without proper provision for the debtor classes and those who toil, produce and sustain the country.”

A hundred years later, the country seems to have circled back to the very same arguments. We are confronted again by the financial destructiveness the Fed was supposed to eliminate. Despite some worthy reforms that centralized power in Washington, bankers still run wild on occasion, ignoring restraints and spreading misery in their wake. The Fed still rushes to their rescue with lots of money—public money. And people at large still pay a terrible price for official indulgence of this very privileged sector.

So this is my brief for fundamental reform: dismantle the peculiar arrangement and democratize it.

[-] -1 points by flip (7101) 2 weeks ago

and here is greider's take on the history and founding of the bank - no need to mention the rothschilds -

"But in a sense the central bank was born in the autumn of 1907, when another devastating financial crisis swept the nation, destroying banks, businesses and farmers on a frightening scale.

J.P. Morgan and his fraternity of New York bankers intervened with brutal decisiveness in the efforts to halt the Panic of 1907, choosing which banks would fail and which would survive. Afterward, Morgan was hailed in elite circles as a heroic figure who had saved the country and free-market capitalism. The nostalgia for Morgan was misplaced, however: as insiders knew, the real story of 1907 was that Washington intervened to save Wall Street—the twentieth century’s own inaugural bailout.

When Morgan’s manipulations failed to heal the hemorrhaging banking system, the Morgan men turned to Treasury Secretary George Cortelyou and implored him to send money—lots of it. The next day, some $25 million in emergency federal deposits were sent to New York, and the Morgan team spread the money around among the desperate banks. About the same time, Morgan dispatched two industrialists from US Steel to meet with President Teddy Roosevelt and get his assurance that the government would look the other way as they executed a corporate merger likely to violate anti-trust laws.


The government saved the day, but it was a close call. Wall Street’s wiser heads recognized that the country’s banking system had become dangerously unstable, prone to reckless excess and recurring panics and depressions. Banking needed a safety net. Leading financiers designed one: a central bank empowered to stabilize the financial system and rescue it in times of crisis.

The bankers not only wanted access to the Federal Reserve’s money but insisted on controlling this new institution themselves. They pretty much got what they wanted. The Federal Reserve Banks in twelve major cities would literally be owned by local banks, which would function as private shareholders (they still do). The Federal Reserve Board in Washington, with governors appointed by the president, was a modest concession to democratic sensibilities.

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 1 week ago

Yes, we agree re.''the fire sector of the economy is out of control and must be reigned in'', but we may differ a little re.''one of my main thoughts is that we have to work within the system as it is now.'' .. tho' that need not be overly examined here right now.

Re.''Compound Interest'' - well, this is the real root of Rentierism and Usury and I'll merely quote Albert Einstein on the matter when he says: ''Compound Interest is the Eighth Wonder of The World: He who understands it .. earns it - he who doesn't .. pays it''. Compounding Interest to savers is fine by me but it's the Compounding of Interest by lenders, thereby increasing the total amount owed by borrowers, is the root of usury and it ends with the transfer of tangible assets to the lenders. Ergo, Consider Jubilee!

Furthermore, I can see why you say .. ''i don't really understand why the rothschilds need to be part of the picture when we try to fix the problem of central banks'' re.The Fed. My bad really .. as I meant my previous answer to really pertain to establishment of The Original Central Bank .. namely The Bank Of England. Central Banking is now really just a Cartel of Private Banking Interests, wherever it manifests.

Re.your''international bankers don't control america. they have power no doubt but our own rich control america.'' - this is true to a large extent but many of ''own rich'' are from banking interests and the 2008 Banking Bailouts and repeal of Glass Steagall; neutering of Dodd Frank; abject failure to use Sherman Anti-Trust Act or the RICO statutes etc.,shows that both The Ultra-Rich AND Bankers control the U$A!

Thanx for your excellent link ~[ https://www.thenation.com/article/why-federal-reserve-needs-overhaul/ ] and the excerpts from it, as well as the extended quote from William Greider.

Finally, I'm in TOTAL agreement re.''dismantle the peculiar arrangement and democratize it'',so fyi:

radix omnium malorum est cupiditas ...

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 1 week ago

right as usual - no doubt the banking sector has gained much power and should be called out. reagan put 1000 bankers in jail - clinton and obama put hundreds of them in power and none in jail?? where is our fact based democrat on that one? i am completely on board with criticizing goldman and the rest of the "vampire squids." i think a great education can be had by watching the movies "the big short" and "too big to fail."

what i was trying to point out is that fiat currency and inflation are not really the problem. they can be problems but the core issues lie elsewhere. not sure if my explanation was poorly done or just could not be heard by those who don't want to see it. oh well not the first time i have had a discussion that went south.

i did a bit more looking at the money masters and found support for trump on their homepage - not really surprising to me. also there is for sure more than a tinge of anti semitism in the whole presentation.

i do wonder about compound interest. the north dakota state bank makes loans and provides cds with interest. is that by definition bad? if so what does a good financial sector look like? i do think i am capable of reasonable discussion and even disagreement. you seem to be one of the few here that i can do that with and i am grateful for it!

and lastly what about our alaska alt banking boy?? where is he - i thought he might jump in - maybe i will try to contact him.

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 1 week ago

Re. ''Goldman Sachs - Vampire Squid'' - it is worth having that famous piece by Matt Taibbi here, so

I watched ''The Big Short'' & I too recommend it, alongside ''Margin Call'' maybe. I get what U say re.''fiat currency & inflation'' not being necessarily bad & re.compound interest .. well there's a good reason that All Three Great Monotheist Religions rail against its iniquity. I think - ''a good financial sector'' is a small, tightly controlled Financial Sector ... acting like the utility that it actually is. Casino gambling can be left (in so far as it is needed) ... to a CLEARLY SEPARATED & SEGREGATED; Merchant Banking Sector!

Good point re our "alaska alt bank" friend. I left a word on his Forum-Post re. 3rd Party but no response & had an e-mail which said he'd been ill but was on the mend but he didn't (yet) reply to my reply. I'll try again soon & tag team with you in trying to get him back here. Adios for now. Solidarity to U+M and fyi:

pax, amor et lux ...

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 1 week ago

ok so i am in agreement here but i do wonder about the north dakota state bank. it charges and pays interest - is that bad? if i give them my savings and they pay me 2% then lend it to you at 2.5% isn't that a good thing? assuming it is an old time banker who helps you get a mortgage or pay for your kids college - since it is too expensive these days!

i am for complete equality - doctors - nurses - unemployed and tennis teachers all get the same money. or there is no money like in "homage to catalonia" - what a book! but we are not there or anywhere close. i have run my own small (ok very small) business for 45 years and see no problem with moving towards grass roots capitalism. maybe one day we can talk about the next steps towards real anarchism but for now i am interested in what can be done soon. i have no trouble with private utilities and banks - as you say tightly regulated. one of my dad's good friends worked for the local power company in the early 60's. they spent lots of money on maintenance since they got to charge their 4% profit on what they spent. that system would have prevented the huge northeast blackout of 2003. in the who knows a mixed economy may be the best way - people are different

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 1 week ago

Re. The Bank of North Dakota - to be absolutely clear, I like the idea of the BoND very much and have advocated for that model on this forum before - eg.

To your initial question, my issue isn't with paying Simple or even Compound Interest per se .. it's with The Charging of Compound Interest - with no time limitation! This is what Biblical Jubilee was all about imo. Your assumption of "an old time banker" is telling because let's face it - slow, sustainable growth financed by ethical lending is increasingly a thing of the past,as avaricious,short-term, parasitic desire for Super Profits is the name of the game in today's casino banking culture. So,please try to consider:

My point re.Utilities was more that Banks are a Utility and some level of Public Ownership of Utilities & Banking is desirable ... IF only to set a benchmark for best practice. I am NOT some ''Property Is Theft'' unreconstructed Bolshevik (not that you were suggesting that I was, lol) and I too advocate for ''a mixed economy'' but my (& your & our) problem is with Monopolies, Oligopolies, Cartels, Rackets & Gangster Crapitalists! Use a Strong & Clearly Democratic Govt.''of, by & for'' The People to guard against & break Cartel Capitalists & .. let a thousand flowers bloom! Further fyi, 2 very recent & very good links, both by George Monbiot, who is increasingly an important writer for our times, I believe ...

Solidarity flip, in all your doings and dealings & ''Keep On Keepin' On'' Comrade. Ideas Make The World!

Finally, thanx for your kind comment here .. http://occupywallst.org/forum/911-a-geo-political-monster-a-cris-de-coeur-by-tim/#comment-1073666 .. and NO flip - you will not be struck by lightening, lol! Be well;

et per ardua ad astra ...

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 1 week ago

thank god for not getting hit by lightening - it was one of my concerns since i went public on my disagreement with noam. now that is off my plate can you reassure me about biblical flooding on the jersy shore where i live??

i am all for debt jubilee. my swiss friend will be coming here next week. not sure what they do now but they used to provide mortgages as a service. charged 2% interest and it was interest only. lots of ways to make banks helpful instead of vampire squids

[-] 1 points by ImNotMe (1488) 5 days ago

Alas, ''biblical flooding on the Jersey Shore" just can't be ruled out - so investing in a wee boat may have some value! Talking of 'Joizey' - any noises from your near neighbor & fellow Occupier? Happy 6th OWS Anniversary to U & Mayda. I am happy and proud to have been - and still be .. your comrade in The 99% Struggle these last 6 years. Solidarity and for the occasion and for information - I'll append the following:

per aspera ad astra ...

[-] 1 points by flip (7101) 5 days ago

a boat would be a good thing but we have instead bought a house in rural western ny state. hope to have a small farm up there to pass on to the grandchildren since i think it will be much more liveable there in 20-30 years.

as usual thanks for the info - will check it out soon

[-] 1 points by grapes (4961) 1 week ago

Didn't Irene ride you well enough before Sandy? "Houston, Houston, we have a problem!" won't get you help anymore should (Rolaids') lightening hit. Texass experienced biblical diarrhea due to famed "pro-growth" policy - Harlot gravy didn't help. Calling Irma didn't get mommy to come either. What was being grown in our netherlands turned out to be more important than how fast. In my youth, growing a Texass Instrument next to MeXiCo greatly impressed me - it was Radio from my transistors! Now, unfortunately, we just have cisistors who no everything. New York still has Radio City and the Rockettes but some are still severely culturally deprived although(or because) they have lived lifelong in New Netherland.

I recall Little Boy, Fat Man, Thin Man, and even bikinis. Do the cisistors no Fat Boy?