Friday, 2 October 2020

Positive Money is ten years old.


This article published by PM to mark its tenth birthday is fair enough for the most part. The title of the article is: “It’s our 10 year anniversary”.  

My qualification for passing judgement on the article is that I have supported PM both financially and with my time almost since the day it started. E.g. I have personally paid for and manned numerous stalls set up over the years at various locations, including the Durham Miners’ Gala. Plus I’ve been to dozens of PM meetings in the North East of England.

The article is correct to say that one of the main objectives of PM since its foundation was to draw attention to the under-appreciated fact that private banks create money. I.e. PM were drawing attention to that fact well before the Bank of England published its famous article in 2014 making the same point.

In fact in 2014 we North East PM supporters had a meeting in a pub where I bought a bottle of champagne and we drank to the fact that the BoE was catching up with us!!

That however is not to say that the BEST economics text books were unaware that private banks create money. But PM were certainly right to draw attention to the fact that there was a lack of appreciation of the fact that private banks create money.

My only real gripe with the above recently published PM article is the claim or suggestion that those now running PM are still interested in bank and monetary reform. In particular, the article claims “We also launched The Money Question, a new home for debate and discussion about our money and banking system, and how to change it for the better.”

The reality is that PM is dropping bank and monetary reform as fast as it decently can, and instead is turning into a movement to push for dealing with global warming and a variety of SOCIAL issues.

Also, I’m not taken in by this passage in the article: “As the leading organisation to emerge from the financial crash, we felt a responsibility to ensure integrity in our work, and became a values-led organisation, rather than a technocratic one.”  That’s their excuse for turning to social and global warming matters etc.

Plus “responsibility to ensure integrity in our work” is a fatuous and ludicrously vague excuse for changing the basic objectives of an organisation.

Moreover, getting the “technicalities” right potentially brings just as much “value” (to use the word in two senses) as dealing with the more obviously “value related” stuff, like social issues.

Also I suspect the real reason the people now running PM are turning away from matters technical is that they just don’t have the brain or knowledge to get to grips with the technical stuff: unlike PM’s founder, Ben Dyson, who was very much up to speed on matters technical.

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