Monday, 15 October 2007

Only Ron Paul has opened Pandora's Box

Ron Paul has brought into focus an issue invisible in the United Kingdom's political scene

MONEY .....and more specifically monetary policy.

You might consider an issue as important as our medium of exchange would figure highly in our media, on those supposedly heavyweight current affairs programmes like Money Box on Radio 4, on Newsnight .....or on that terrific comedy show Question Time!

But no! monetary policy in the UK is not on the radar screen at all. It has been consigned to some darkened corner, hidden beneath spin, media hype regarding Gordon Brown's suitability (or not) to run our country and the multitude of other distractions such as Prince William's love life or who is shagging some minor celebrity. It has come to light recently, though somewhat obtusely following desperate attemps by the worlds' central banks to contain the subprime mortgage debacle and the failure of Northern Rock....now to be underwritten by the Bank of England.....in other words...us! the taxpayer.

Every policy, every penny in tax we pay, the cost of borrowing, how we fund our public services. how we fund our military adventures in Iraq, how we will fund our retirement, EVERYTHING .....is a function of monetary policy and yet in the main, the creation of our money is an a non issue. Monetary policy doesn't see the light of day unless there is some herniation in the money markets.

Amazing!

All the more odd because the more savvy British people are not without some understanding of money. They use it to run businesses, to run the family budget, to invest....and to borrow. But strangely, very few British people understand where their money comes from, how it is created or how our banking system works. We suffer from terrible ignorance when it comes to economics, the running of our country and how our taxes are spent.

Ron Paul has dared to raise the issue of the central banking system and specifically the Federal Reserve Bank. This is absolutely unprecedented. Virtually all modern 'free market' economies are based on the central banking system, an oxymoron if ever there was one. Our so called capitalist, free market democracies operate under the Stalinist and dictatorial monetary control of the central banks which determine the cost of borrowing and hence the amount of money in our economy at any given time.

Our ignorance of our own monetary system is shocking. Ask the average punter where our money comes from or indeed, what money is!...and you will be greeted with the hollow stare of someone who has been brainwashed, obliterated by the Eastenders omnibus. Most people are blissfully ignorant regarding the origins of our money. Many people, as in America, are under the delusion that Sterling is still backed by something of real value. They might presume incorrectly that our money is backed by silver as the name suggests, or even better, gold.

But no! Sterling is backed by nothing more than CONFIDENCE. A pretty terrifying premise in an era where people will happily borrow six times their income to buy a one bedroom flat above their local crack den no? At least the dollar is backed by oil! But Sterling? What backs our money? Coal? Chickens? Liquorice Allsorts perhaps?

So what parallels are there between the Federal Reserve system and our own Bank of England? A very good question I think and speaking as someone who has tried to find out, all the more intriguing. About six months ago, I wrote a letter to the Bank of England asking them to explain who actually owns it, and in whose interests it operates. The somewhat cryptic response, not received until a good two months after my initial correspondence was, 'the Bank of England is owned by the Crown'....? Hmmmm. Not very forthcoming then. Subsequent efforts to elucidate the answer to my question through research on the internet and reading were equally inconclusive. There is one interetsing clue and that is the Bank of England website. If the Bank of England is an agency of the government or the state, you might expect the web domain to end in .gov for example, but mysteriously, the BoE has a co.uk website address. Another clue is our banknotes which have printed upon them Copyright of The Governor and 'Company' of the Bank of England. Company?????????????

So my first and most important questions regarding our own Stalinist central bank are, who owns it and in whose interest does it operate? Is it as i suspect....a private bank and if so, WHO really owns it?

I guess I'm just a very suspicious person, someone who suspects the monetary policy of the BoE and our government doesn't operate in the best interest of the people, rather like the Federal Reserve which has been strangling the American people to death since 1913. Every dollar created by the Federal Reserve has its own interest bearing debt. The current account deficit in the USA is about $9.5 trillion dollars!!! If you add in the pension and medicare entitlements of America's retiring boomer generation, this deficit is expected to swell to perhaps $60 trillion dollars. OUCH!

Back in Blighty, nowhere is evidence of foul play by the banking system more startling than the UK housing market. House prices have nearly trebled in some places in just a decade. The British people are caught up in a wave of irrational exuberence that makes our last housing boom pale by comparison. The UK housing market is the new panacea, the cure all guaranteeing economic prosperity and a secure future for all......well, for those fortunate enough to own a home that is! It is a kind of national Prozac. No longer must we work particulary hard, save money, produce goods or add real value to our economy. We can just buy houses and sell them to eachother in between watching Sarah Beeny help some hapless moron become a property entrepreneur and watching the copious television adverts for more 'cheap' loans. It is the economics of a madhouse, encouraged and cultivated by our 'prudent' Chancellor Gordon Brown and a banking system determined to lend ever more ludicrous sums of money, the repayment of which will challenge even the comparatively wealthy and well heeled middle class.

So where did all the money come from that financed this giant ponzi scheme? Yep! You guessed it! The banking system created it out of thin air. The banking system doesn't 'print' the money as such. Only a tiny percentage of our money exists as cash. No, just as in America, the vast proportion of our money comes into existence as debt and only a very small percentage of any bank loan is money actually deposited. When Northern Rock crashed and the people queued for their money, the government felt it had no option other than to bail them out. The money deposited by Northern Rock's customers was all lent out to create new loans after all. The honey pot was empty! Most bank credit is literally created by the click of a mouse button. The banking system 'loans' money into existence and earns interest on it! Wow!What a business!!!!!!! There is virtually no debt free money in our economy and this is why a credit crunch is so catastrophic in a debt based economy. As soon as banks stop creating credit, the money in our economy disappears like water running down a plug hole, economic activity grinds to a halt, jobs are lost, companies go bust and people cannot pay their mortgages anymore. All the excess liquidity in the economy is sucked away and the economy stagnates until equillibrium is restored and banks can repeat the process all over again. Thus we live in an age of rollercoaster economics. The banking system alternates beween a shrinking and then expanding money supply. House prices go up........ And then they come down again. DOH! Borrow money at the wrong time in this insane cycle and you risk consigning yourself to debt slavery for the rest of your life....or just fiscal oblivion. It's morally repugnant and frankly, insane.

Except...... this time things may pan out differently, and potentially even more catastrophically than before. The seeds of this new paradigm in debt insanity are labyrinth. They include the relaxation of banking regulations, the securitization of debt and the refusal of the central banks to control inflation. The money supply, a measure of inflation that has fallen out of favour in our ponzi economies, is growing alarmingly. Both the US and UK governments use the CPI as their main measure of inflation. While governments on both sides of the Atlantic quote an inflation rate in the region of 3%, our money supply, much of which is new bank credit, is growing at 13-14% per annum. That is a lot of extra money!. GDP growth is around 2.6% in the UK. This is a clear sign that the real rate of inflation is closer to 10%, much greater even than the figure quoted in the more conservative RPI.

This might all sound rather academic and complicated, but if you're a young person trying to buy your first home or a pensioner living on a fixed income, the reality of the situation is clear. Inflation is particularly tough for young people and those looking for a first home because inflation has manifested itself, not so much in consumer goods as is more traditional, but in astronomically high property prices. The price of property has been driven to insane levels by the avalability of bucket loads of cheap credit. Meanwhile, the spending power of our young people has been decimated. Not only are they priced out of the property market, they are forced to take on ever greater levels of debt to pay for higher education and living costs. Pensioners are hit hard too. Fuel costs, the Council Tax, even food prices are beginning to rise.

The big question now is which way things will go. Will we see the banking system reign in the creation of new debt or will the contnued growth in money supply precipitate much higher inflation? Either way, the thing that has held the UK economy together for the last decade, the housing market, will suffer. Either prices will fall substantially, or inflation will erode the paper profits people have made in the property market. If NuLabour's grand experiment in economic prosperity funded by debt should implode and I suspect it will, maybe we too will be ready for a British version of Ron Paul. I sincerely hope so because I have lost faith in all the political and financial institutions we give the responsibility of running our economy.

And then there are all the issues of liberty, freedom, civil rights espoused by Ron paul.....but I'll save that for another evening.

6 comments:

Matt Davies said...

Thanks for a great first article!

I wonder how many people really stop to think about how their money is created and if the people creating it have their own interests at heart!

Fabio Bossi said...

1.Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.

Those are the "10 Planks of the Communist Manifesto" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Communist_Manifesto)

Pretty successful so far, isn`t it?
But yeah, right, we live under "capitalism"...

David said...

Great Article! Thanks for your support of Ron Paul and good luck in the UK!

Celteh said...

Great Article!

It's time to start getting some truths out there.

Houseman said...

Overall, thanks for a cracking article about a subject in which I, for one, am not yet as proficient as I'd like.

Unfortunately, just when you thought things couldn't get much worse, they suddenly do.

You subtracted our official GDP figure of 2.6% from a monetary inflation rate of 13-14% to arrive at a growth figure of about 10%.

I think your treatment of GDP is over-optimistic, not least because the most common calculation of GDP lists government spending as an asset - and I don't think either of us believes that old statist fable...

Chris in Buffalo NY said...

Thanks for your support of Ron Paul. You are exactly correct in your comments that people have NO CLUE to what the TRUE problems are, and fundamentally it's all about $$. The Federal Reserve is a complete SCAM and it is the root of most of the worlds financial problems. The FED was formed as a Private Corporation and as spearheaded by rich American and Europeans. Did you know that in just the last 10 years, the USA has paid out over 4 TRILLION DOLLARS in debt payments? Imagine what 4 trillion dollars could fund over 10 years... I think probably every American could have 100% free health care at no additional cost to them. However Paul hits the nail on the head, and his campaign will prove that MOST people are not aware of the dangers ahead, and with the current Monetary Policy, we are all screwed. It's time to tell the FED and the International Banking Elite to move over, or we'll move them out. Nothing is better than a REVOLUTION!