1) What is money... how is it created and who creates it?
2) Why is almost everyone up to their eyeballs in debt... individuals, businesses and whole nations?
3) Why can’t we provide for our daily needs - homes, furnishings cars etc. without borrowing?
4) How much could prices fall and wages increase if businesses did not have to pay huge sums in interest payments which have to be added to the cost of goods and services they supply...?
5) How much could taxes be reduced and spending on public services such as health and education be increased if governments created money themselves instead of borrowing it at interest from private banks…?
"If you want to be the slaves of banks and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let the banks create money…" Josiah Stamp, Governor of the Bank of England 1920.
WHAT IS MONEY....?
It is simply the medium we use to exchange goods and services.
Without it, buying and selling would be impossible except by direct exchange.
Notes and coins are virtually worthless in their own right. They take on value as money because we all accept them when we buy and sell.
To keep trade and economic activity going, there has to be enough of this medium of exchange called money in existence to allow it all to take place.
When there is plenty, the economy booms. When there is a shortage, there is a slump.
In the Great Depression, people wanted to work, they wanted goods and services, all the raw materials for industry were available etc. yet national economies collapsed because there was far too little money in existence.
The only difference between boom and bust, growth and recession is money supply.
Someone has to be responsible for making sure that there is enough money in existence to cover all the buying and selling that people want to engage in.
Each nation has a Central Bank to do this - in Britain, it is the Bank of England, in the United States, the Federal Reserve.
Central Banks act as banker for commercial banks and the government - just as individuals and businesses in Britain keep accounts at commercial banks, so commercial banks and government keep accounts at the Bank of England.
TODAY’S "MONEY"... CREATED BY PRIVATE INTERESTS FOR PRIVATE PROFIT.
"Let me issue and control a nation’s money, and I care not who writes it’s laws." Mayer Amschel Rothschild (Banker) 1790
Central banks are controlled not by elected governments but largely by PRIVATE INTERESTS from the world of commercial banking.
In Britain today, notes and coins now account for only 3% of our total money supply, down from 50% in 1948.
The remaining 97% is supplied and regulated as credit - personal and business loans, mortgages, overdrafts etc. provided by commercial banks and financial institutions - on which INTEREST is payable. This pattern is repeated across the globe.
Banks are businesses out to make profits from the interest on the loans they make. Since they alone decide to whom they will lend, they effectively decide what is produced, where it is produced and who produces it, all on the basis of profitability to the bank, rather than what is beneficial to the community.
With bank created credit now at 97% of money supply, entire economies are run for the profit of financial institutions. This is the real power, rarely recognised or acknowledged, to which all of us including governments the world over are subject.
Our money, instead of being supplied interest free as a means of exchange, now comes as a debt owed to bankers providing them with vast profits, power and control, as the rest of us struggle with an increasing burden of debt....
By supplying credit to those of whom they approve and denying it to those of whom they disapprove international bankers can create boom or bust and support or undermine governments.
There is much less risk to making loans than investing in a business. Interest is payable regardless of the success of the venture. If it fails or cannot meet the interest payments, the bank seizes the borrower’s property.
Borrowing is extremely costly to borrowers who may end up paying back 2 or 3 times the sum lent.
The money loaned by banks is created by them out of nothing – the concept that all a bank does is to lend out money deposited by other people is very misleading.
MONEY CREATED AS A DEBT
We don’t distinguish between the £25 billion in circulation as notes and coins (issued by the government) and £680 billion in the form of loan accounts, overdrafts etc. (created by banks etc,).
£100 cash in your wallet is treated no differently from £100 in your current account, or an overdraft facility allowing you to spend £100. You can still buy goods with it.
In 1948 we had £1.1 billion of notes and coins and £1.2 billion of loans etc. created by banks – by 1963 it was £3 billion in cash and £14 billion bank created loans etc.
The government has simply issued more notes and coins over the years to cover inflation, but today’s £680 billion of bank created loans etc. represents an enormous increase, even allowing for inflation.
This new "money" in the form of loans etc, which ranks equally with notes and coins – how has it come into existence?
"The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled." Professor. J. K. Galbraith
This is how it’s done…. a simplified example...
Let’s take a small hypothetical bank. It has ten depositors/savers who have just deposited £500 each.
The bank owes them £5000 and it has £5000 to pay out what it owes. (It will keep that £5000 in an account at the Bank of England – what it has in this account are called its liquid assets).
Sid, an entrepreneur, now approaches the bank for a £5000 loan to help him to set up a business.
This is granted on the basis of repayment in 12 months - plus 10% interest – more on that later.
A new account is opened in Sid’s name. It has nothing in it, nevertheless the bank allows Sid to withdraw and spend £5000.
The depositors are not consulted about the loan. They are not told that their money is no longer available to them– The amounts shown in their accounts are not reduced and transferred to Sid’s account.
In granting this loan, the bank has increased its obligations to £10,000. Sid is entitled to £5000, but the depositors can still claim their £5000.
If the bank now has obligations of £10,000, then isn’t it insolvent, because it only had £5000 of deposits in the first place? Not exactly..
The bank treats the loan to Sid as an ASSET, not a liability, on the basis that Sid now owes the bank £5000.
The bank’s balance sheet will show that it owes its depositors £5000, and it is now owed £5000 by Sid. It has created for itself a new asset of £5000 in the form of a debt owed by Sid where nothing existed before - this on top of any of the original deposits still in its account at the Bank of England. - it is solvent - at least for accounting purposes!
(At this stage the bank is gambling that as Sid is spending his loan, the depositors won’t all want to withdraw their deposits!)
The bank had a completely free hand in the creation of this £5000 loan which, as we shall see, represents new "money", where nothing existed before. It was done at the stroke of a pen or the pressing of a computer key.
The idea that banks create something out of nothing and then charge interest on it for private profit might seem pretty repellent. Anyone else doing it would be guilty of fraud or counterfeiting!
New "money" into the economy...
Sid’s loan effectively becomes new "money" as it is spent by him to pay for equipment, rent and wages etc. in connection with his new business.
This new "money" is thus distributed to other people, who will in turn use it to pay for goods and services - soon it will be circulating throughout the economy.
As it circulates, it inevitably ends up in other people’s bank accounts.
When it is paid into someone’s account which is not overdrawn, it is a further deposit - Sid pays his secretary £100 and she opens an account at our hypothetical bank – it now has £5100 of deposits.
If we assume for a moment that the remaining £4900 ends up in the accounts of the original depositors of our hypothetical bank, it now has another £4900 in deposits - £10000 in total if the depositors have not touched their original deposits. In practice much of it would end up in depositors accounts at other banks, but either way there is now £5000 of new "money" in circulation.
Thus in reality, all deposits with banks and elsewhere actually come from "money" originally created as loans – (except where the deposits are made in cash – more on cash very shortly).
If you have £500 in your bank account, the fact is someone else like Sid went into debt to provide it.
The key to the whole thing is the fact that :-
Cash withdrawals account for only a tiny percentage of a bank’s business.
Bank customers today make almost all payments between themselves by cheque, switch, direct debit or electronic transfer etc. Their individual accounts are adjusted accordingly by changing a few figures in computer databases – just book keeping entries. No actual money/cash changes hands. The whole thing is basically an accounting process that takes place within the banking system.
THE ROLE OF CASH
The state is responsible for the production of cash in the form of notes and coins.
These are then issued by the Bank of England to the high street banks - the banks buy them at face value from the government to meet their customers’ demands for cash.
The banks must pay for this cash and they do so out of what they have in the accounts which they hold at the Bank of England – their liquid assets. Their accounts are debited accordingly.
The state (through the Treasury) also keeps an account at the Bank of England which is credited with the face value of the notes and coins as they are paid for by the banks. (This is now money in the public purse available for spending on public services etc.)
This is how all banks acquire their stocks of notes and coins, but the cash a bank can buy is limited to the amount it holds in its account at the Bank of England – its liquid assets.
As this cash is withdrawn by banks’ customers, it enters circulation in the economy.
Unlike bank created loans etc, cash is interest free and can circulate indefinitely.
NON CASH PAYMENTS - Book keeping entries
With so little cash being withdrawn, and from experience knowing that large amounts of deposits remain untouched by depositors for reasonable periods of time, banks just hope that their liquid assets will be sufficient to enable them to buy up the cash necessary to meet the relatively very small amounts of cash that are normally withdrawn.
A bank has serious problems if demands for cash withdrawals by depositors, and indeed borrowers who want to draw some of their loans in cash, exceed what the bank holds in its account at the Bank of England.
In practice it would probably try to get a loan itself from the Bank of England or another bank, to tide itself over. Failing that it would have to call in some loans and seize the property of borrowers unable to pay.
DEPOSITORS’ CLAIMS AGAINST BANKS …
Once you have made a deposit at the bank (in cash or by cheque), all you then have is a claim against the bank for the amount in your account. You are simply an unsecured creditor. Your bank statement is a record of how much the bank owes you. (If you are overdrawn, it is a record of what you owe the bank). It will pay you what it owes you by allowing you to withdraw cash, provided it has sufficient cash to do so.
If customers are trying to withdraw too much cash, this is a run on the bank, which will soon refuse further withdrawals. So it’s first come first served!
Should you want to make a payment by cheque, this is less likely to be a problem – you are simply transferring part of your claim against the bank to someone else – the person to whom your cheque is payable - just a book keeping entry.
If the person to whom your cheque is payable has an account at the same bank as you do, the deposit stays with that bank – overall the bank is in exactly the same position as it was before.
I give you a cheque for £50 – we both have accounts in credit at Barclays – what Barclays owes me is reduced by £50, what Barclays owes you increases by £50 – but nothing has left Barclays – the total deposits or claims against Barclays remain the same…..
BANKS’ CLAIMS AGAINST EACH OTHER
….BUT if you keep your account at Lloyds, deposits at Barclays are reduced by £50, whilst deposits at Lloyds increase by £50.
Millions of transactions like this take place every day between customers of the various banks, using switch cards, direct debits, electronic transfers as well as cheques – deposits are therefore constantly moving between the banks.
All these cheques and electronic transfers pass through a central clearing house (which is why we refer to a cheque being "cleared").
The transactions are set off against one another, but at the end of each day, a relatively small balance will always be owed by one bank to another.
A bank must always be ready to settle such debts.
To do this, it makes a payment from its account at the Bank of England to the creditor bank’s account at the Bank of England.
Thus a bank faces claims from two sources (which it meets out of its liquid assets) – its customers wanting cash, and other banks when it has a clearing house debt to settle.
Unless all the banks are faced with big demands for cash at the same time, the banking system as a whole is safe, although an individual bank is vulnerable, should a large number of depositors for some reason withdraw their deposits in cash or transfer their deposits to other banks.
We now see how today the whole system is basically a book keeping exercise where millions of claims pass between the banks and their borrowers and depositors every day with relatively very little real money or cash changing hands – backed by tiny reserves of liquid assets.
The system is known as FRACTIONAL RESERVE BANKNG and banks are sometimes accurately referred to as dealers in debts.
Barclays Bank’s 1999 accounts illustrate the whole thing very well - it had loans owing to it of £217 billion, it owed £191 billion to its depositors – backed by just £2.2 billion in liquid assets!
A bank’s level of lending is geared to the amount of cash it has or can buy up – its liquid assets - rather than the amount of its customers’ deposits.
But if a bank can attract customers deposits from other banks, it will add to its liquid assets, as other banks settle the resulting clearing house debts in its favour – hence there is tremendous competition between banks to attract deposits.
Interest …. Big Profits for the bank...
Let’s now return to Sid – he has to pay our bank 10% interest on his loan - £500. These interest payments are money coming into the bank, they are profits and they end up in its account at the Bank of England - additional liquid assets for the bank.
It now has an extra £500 to meet its depositors’ withdrawals. If Sid manages to repay the original loan as well, it will have an extra £5500.
Our bank created for itself out of nothing an asset of £5000 in the form of a loan to Sid. It is no longer owed anything by Sid, but in repaying his loan with interest, Sid turned a mere debt into £5500 of liquid assets for the bank – a tidy profit for the bank…. and the basis on which more loans can be made.
Banks today risk creating loans 100 times or more in excess of their liquid assets as Barclays Bank’s 1999 accounts show – (see above).
Thus our bank will soon be making many more loans. Thus, the deposits it receives back will increase and so will interest payments and therefore profits.
With more loans and more deposits, there will be a greater demand to withdraw cash – but increasing profits means more cash can bought by the bank. (This is how the amount of cash in circulation has been increasing to reach £25 billion by 1997.)
It is a myth to think that when you borrow money from a bank, you are borrowing money that other people have deposited – you are not – you are borrowing the bank’s money which it created and made available to you in the form of a loan.
More debt for the rest of us....
Sid’s interest payments and any repayment of the loan itself to the bank means however that this "money" is no longer circulating in the economy.
Any payment into an overdrawn account reduces that overdraft. It operates as a repayment to the bank and the "money" is lost to the economy.
More money must be lent out to keep the economy going. If people don’t borrow or banks don’t lend, there will be a fall in the amount of money circulating, resulting in a reduction in buying and selling - a recession, slump or total collapse will follow depending on how severe the shortage is.
The increase in bank created loans over the years is additional conclusive proof that banks do create "money" out of nothing - £1.2 billion in 1948 up to £14 billion by 1963 up to £680 billion by 1997.
Today’s supply of notes and coins after taking inflation into account, has similar buying power to the supply in 1948 (£1.1 billion) but since then, there has been a ten fold plus increase in real terms in money supply made up of credit created by banks.
This has enabled the economy to expand enormously, and as a result living standards for many people have improved substantially.... but it has been done on borrowed money! What is credit to the bank is debt to the rest of us.
The banks are acquiring an ever increasing stake in our land, housing and other assets through the indebtedness of individuals, industry, agriculture, services and government - to the extent that Britain and the world are today effectively owned by them.
THE REPERCUSSIONS OF OUR DEBT BASED MONEY SYSTEM...
1) Goods and services are much more expensive...
The cost of borrowing by producers, manufacturers, transporters, retailers etc. all has to be added to the price of the final product.
2) Consumers’ have much less money to spend...
They are burdened by the cost of mortgages, overdrafts, credit cards, personal loans etc. As a result of 1) and 2) there is...
3) A surplus of goods and services...
...because the population overall can’t afford to buy up all the goods and services being produced. This in turn creates.....
4) Cut throat competition...
Businesses try to cut prices and costs to grab a share of this limited purchasing power in the economy, as illustrated by:
(i) Wages being held down as much as possible.
(ii) Shedding of jobs.
(These both reduce people’s spending power
(iii) Retailers importing cheap products from
abroad where wages are much lower.
(iv) Production of cheaper goods that don’t last
(v) Protection of the environment a low priority.
(vi) Mergers and take-overs - corporations get
bigger and bigger, driven to search out new
(vii) Big companies shifting production to
poorer countries which have cheap non-
unionised labour and the least stringent
safety and environmental laws or....
(viii) Demanding large government subsidies and
tax free incentives as the price for setting up
new production or not relocating abroad.
5) Ever increasing indebtedness.
When a bank creates money by making a loan, it does not create the money needed to pay the interest on that loan.
The bank lent Sid £5000, but it demands £5500 back. Sid has to go out into the business world and compete and sell to get that extra £500 from his customers. It can only come from money already circulating in the economy - made up of loans other people have taken out – so soon someone will be left short of money and have to borrow more.
Thus the only way for interest payments to be kept up is for more loans to be taken out.
Although a few individuals and businesses may pay off their debts or get by without additional borrowing, OVERALL people and industry must keep borrowing MORE AND MORE to provide the money in the economy needed to keep up interest payments on the overall volume of debt.
The present level of debt at £680 billion means we are borrowing about £60 billion of new "money" into existence each year to pay the interest on it.
But people and industry can’t go on borrowing indefinitely - they will no longer be able to afford to, and will gradually stop borrowing more money into existence. When this happens, the economy will go into decline. The system thus contains the seeds of its own destruction.
When loan repayments and interest payments are made to banks, this is money taken out of circulation. If it went on indefinitely, in an economy where the money supply is largely made up of loans etc. created by banks, there would eventually be almost no "money" left in circulation and with it no economy.
Under the present system, if the economy is to be kept going, money must be constantly lent out again. It would be possible simply re-circulate the existing money supply without creating new money were it not for the fact that extra money is needed to cover interest payments and also to enable the economy to grow.
is guaranteed because producers constantly have to borrow more, and must add the cost of that increased borrowing to the price of the goods produced.
Why is it that when the moneylenders hike their prices (i.e. put up interest rates) this is supposed to reduce inflation?
It’s just that there is a delay in industry putting up prices.
Initially industry is forced to hold or even reduce its prices with profits down, or even sustaining losses in a desperate bid to sell its products in an economy where money available for spending is reduced because of higher interest payments being made to the banks.
Inflation may be held in check or even reduced temporarily, but eventually industry must put its prices up in order to recover these higher costs.
This most readily happens when interest rates come down, more people borrow, and money supply and consumer spending increases. Inflation then races ahead.
The fact that levels of borrowing/money creation have to keep on rising as already explained, adding to the overall burden of interest payments, guarantees that inflation will be present as long as we have an economy based on an increasing burden of debt.
EFFECTS ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE
Surplus goods in the national economy have to be disposed of somehow. The obvious way to do this is to try to export them!
The absurdity is that every nation is trying to do this, because of the same fundamental problem at home.
This creates frenzied competition in world markets and masses of near identical goods madly criss-crossing the globe in search of an outlet.
Instead of international trade being based on reciprocal mutually beneficial arrangements where nations supply each others’ genuine needs and wants, the whole thing becomes a cut-throat competition to grab market share in order to stay solvent in a debt based economy.
Big corporations demand unrestricted access to every nation’s market – so called "free" trade.
The European Union "single market", the North American Free Trade Agreement and the World Trade Organisation are the best examples of the drive to open up all national markets.
Exporting is good for a nation’s economy...
because when exported goods are paid for, this brings money into the exporting nation’s economy free of debt.
The money to pay for them was borrowed from banks in the importing nation.
That money is lost to the importing nation’s economy, but the debt that created that money still has to be repaid by the importer out of the remaining money in the importing nation’s economy.
If a nation can become a big net exporter, for a time it’s economy will boom with all the interest free money coming in - a trade surplus will exist.
Importing is not so good for a nation’s economy...
If some nations are building up trade surpluses in this way, others must be net importers and building up trade deficits.
Ultimately, those with big deficits can no longer afford to import, since so much money is sucked out of their economies leaving a proportionally increasing burden of debt behind.
THIRD WORLD DEBT AND THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF)
The IMF was set up to provide an international reserve of money supposedly to help nations with big deficits.
In practice it makes matters worse.
A nation with a big deficit has to seek a bail out from the IMF.
BUT this comes in the form of a loan, repayable with interest.
Like loans from a commercial bank, IMF loans are money created out of nothing, based on a cash reserve pool, which is provided by western nations who go into debt to provide it (see National Debt).
The nation with the deficit goes even more heavily into debt.
It will however be able to carry on trading and importing goods from the wealthier nations.
As a result, much of this borrowed IMF loan money flows into the economies of wealthier western nations.
However, the repayment obligation including the interest payments remains with the debtor nation.
This is the true horror of third world debt - the poorest nations borrow money to bolster the money supply of the richer nations.
In order to secure income to pay the interest, and redress the trade balance, these poorest nations must export whatever they can produce. Thus they exploit every possible resource - stripping forests for timber, mining, giving over their best agricultural land to providing luxury foodstuffs for the west, rather than providing for local needs.
Today, for nations in Africa, Central and South America and elsewhere, the revenue from their exports does not even meet the interest payments on these IMF loans (and other loans from western banks).
The sums paid in interest over the years far exceed the amounts of the original loans themselves.
The result is a desperate shortage of money in their economies - resulting in cutbacks in basic health and education programmes etc.
Grinding poverty exists in nations with great wealth in terms of natural resources.
Structural Adjustment Programmes - these are now attached to IMF loans and include conditions that recipient countries will reduce or remove tariff barriers and "open up their markets to foreign competition" - in other words take surplus goods off another country that can’t be sold at home.
British national debt now stands at £400 billion - the annual interest on that debt is around £25 -30 billion. The government can only pay it by taxing the population as a whole, so we pay! National debt is up from £26 billion in 1960 and £90 billion in 1980.
Successive governments have borrowed this money into existence over the years.
Instead of creating it themselves and spending it into the economy on public services and projects boosting the economy and providing jobs, they get banks to create it for them and then borrow it at interest.
It all started in 1694 when King William needed money to fight a war against France.
He borrowed £1.2 million from a group of London bankers and goldsmiths.
In return for the loan, they were incorporated by royal charter as the Bank of England which became the government’s banker.
Interest at 8% was payable on the loan and immediately taxes were imposed on a whole range of goods to pay the interest.
This marked the birth of national debt.
Ever since then the world over, governments have borrowed money from private banking interests and taxed the population as a whole to pay the interest.
How the Government Borrows Money
When governments borrow money, in return they issue to the lender, exchequer or treasury bonds - otherwise known as government stocks or securities.
These are basically IOU’s - promises by government to repay the loan by a particular date, and to pay interest in the meantime.
They are taken up chiefly by banks, but also by individuals with money to spare including very wealthy ones in the banking fraternity and, in more recent years, pension and other investment funds.
When government securities are taken up by banks, this is money creation at the stroke of a pen by the banks out of nothing.
Banks are creating money as loans out of nothing by lending it into existence to the government in very much the same way as they do to individuals and companies.
The government now has new money in the form of loans to spend on public services etc.
If this money was not borrowed into existence in this way, there would be that much less economic activity as a result.
Under this system NATIONAL DEBT IS CREDIT ISSUED TO THE GOVERNMENT AND AS SUCH HAS BECOME A VITAL PART OF THE TOTAL MONEY SUPPLY OF ANY MODERN NATION.
The government constantly tells us that there isn’t enough money for this that and the other, because it knows that the cost of borrowing any money it needs has to be passed on to the taxpayer.
Instead, it sells off state assets and now gets the private sector to fund public services instead.
enormous increases in national debt...
enormous profits for the banks...
Massive government borrowing and money creation by banks is required to fund a war effort.
The same international bankers have covertly funded both sides in both world wars and many other conflicts before and since.
Having profited from war leaving nations with massive debts and more beholden than ever to them, the banks then fund reconstruction.
Bankers have even helped bring wars about. The calling in of loans to the German Weimar republic largely created the conditions for the rise of Hitler.
The pattern was well established by the mid 19th. century - by then international banker and speculator Nathan Rothschild could boast a personal fortune of £50 million.
The Constant Increase in National Debt
In the same way that under the present system, industry and individuals must keep borrowing more and more to enable interest payments to be kept up on their existing loans, so government must constantly borrow more and more to keep up interest payments on its existing loans.
Furthermore, when a particular government stock is due for repayment, the government simply borrows more by issuing new government stocks.
Phasing out of National Debt.
"If the government can issue a dollar bond, it can just as easily issue a dollar bill." Thomas Edison.
Government could stop borrowing money at interest, and start creating it itself by spending it into the economy on public projects and services, at the same time creating jobs and stimulating the economy.
It already does this to a very limited extent – the amount it receives from the banks when it sells cash to them is added to the public purse and is available for spending on public services and projects.
Seeking to redistribute what money there is by taxing the rich to pay for services for the less well off does nothing to solve the problem of the overall shortage of money in the economy caused by interest payments on a debt based money supply - a problem which most socialists have yet to recognise.
The world’s economies are our economies. We create the real wealth through our ingenuity, enterprise and hard work. The current banking system operates as a massive drain on that wealth as well as concentrating power and control in the hands of a tiny minority.
Money is the means of facilitating the exchange of goods and services . There is nothing wrong with creating it out of nothing, because this is the only way to provide the means of exchange. The amount that is printed or created simply needs to be matched to the amount of economic activity that is taking place. What is wrong is that the right to do this has been allowed to pass to private interests who create it as loans for private profit.
U. S. President Abraham Lincoln considered it a primary duty of the government to provide a nation with the medium of exchange to enable the economy to function.
Can we not ultimately incorporate the humanitarian principles of a fair distribution of wealth that underlies socialism with the dynamic benefits of a free enterprise economy that lies at the heart of capitalism?
For so long as the power to create money is in the hands of private interests who do it for profit and control, we can never say that we live in a democracy.
The European Union single currency gives the power to regulate the money supply of all those states that join up, to the European Central Bank. The Maastricht Treaty (article 107) forbids national governments and all other EU institutions to seek to influence the bankers who make up the ECB. For the first time this puts the creators of money totally beyond any form of democratic control or accountability.