There has been a lot of talk lately about placing the face of a notable American woman on one denomination or other of U.S. Federal Reserve note. I strongly support that effort and a number of worthy candidates have been suggested.
The big question is “Which of the present male images will be displaced?” Several people have proposed that Andrew Jackson get the axe. I have a strong opinion to the contrary, and a recent op-ed in the New York Times prompted me to express it in writing. Unfortunately, the Times chose to not publish my letter, so I offer it here below.–t.h.g.
To the editor, New York Times:
Steven Rattner’s op-ed (NYT, June 20) proposed to “Leave Hamilton Alone” and “Evict Andrew Jackson.” There are compelling reasons to argue the opposite.
Hamilton may well have been a “visionary genius” but his talents were applied largely in the service of anti-democratic and elite interests. He was an avowed monarchist and was “distrustful of ordinary people to rightly judge matters,” siding with those who urged George Washington to declare himself king. According to Thomas Jefferson, “Hamilton was, indeed, a singular character. Of acute understanding, disinterested, honest, and honorable in all private transactions, amiable in society, and duly valuing virtue in private life, yet so bewitched and perverted by the British example, as to be under thorough conviction that corruption was essential to the government of a nation.”
Many of the measures that Hamilton proposed, like those employed to encourage loyalty to, and establish and the credit of the federal government, were clearly important in making the fledgling United States better able to stand up to the European imperial powers. But his insistence on establishing a central bank, modeled after the Bank of England, was intended to establish aristocratic rule indirectly by financial means.
Andrew Jackson, on the other hand, despite his many faults, was a champion of “government by the people.” He was devout in his commitment to safeguard the Republic from corrupters and usurpers. This is best exemplified in the so-called “bank war” which pitted him against Nicholas Biddle and the Second Bank of the United States. His 1832 veto of the bill to re-charter the Second Bank saved, for a time, the American republic from an insidious scheme to swindle the American people and to take power from the elected government and hand it over to a self-serving elite who were already entrenched in Europe.
In Jackson’s Veto Message he declared his objections to the Bank which included its monopoly privilege that was to be granted “for many millions less than it is worth,” its “gratuities to foreigners and to some of our own opulent citizens,” and most of all, its establishment of a power that could rival that of the elected government and create “a bond of union among the banking establishments…, erecting them into an interest separate from that of the people.”
While Jackson’s monetary policies may not have been the best, the financial turmoil that followed the closing of the central bank can be blamed on the nefarious work of Biddle in restricting credit, and the period of “free banking” that ensued was actually of great importance in building the American economy. Even former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan has acknowledged that “The perception of the free banking era as an era of “wildcat” banking marked by financial instability and, in particular, by widespread significant losses to noteholders also turns out to be exaggerated.”
Unfortunately, Jackson’s victory was short-lived. The elite forces have, step-by-step, tightened their grip on power, arrogating to themselves, in the name free trade and national security, ever more power until democracy has become a mere charade. The present global interest-based, debt-money, central banking regime has corrupted the political process, drowned all nations and their peoples in ever-increasing debt, and all but completed the creation of a neo-feudal “new world order.”
If for nothing else, Jackson should be honored for taking a stand for democratic government and warning the people of the deceptive schemes that have been, and continue to be employed to undermine and defeat it.
Thomas H. Greco, Jr., author, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization
We the people continue to be disempowered as our governments cede ever more control to global banking and corporate elites. TiSA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are the latest and boldest moves in that direction.
The big questions are “How far will we the people allow this process to go before we rebel, what can be done to reverse the damage, and when will it be too late to restore democracy?” Here below is a summary of the situation in so far as TiSA is concerned. –t.h.g.
Wikileaks throws light on an ultra-secret treaty
Marco A. Gandásegui, Jr.* – ALAI
Panama and another fifty countries are engaged in the negotiation of a secret treaty that will put an end to what little is left of democracy and free trade at a world level. North American and European officials advise their counterparts. Everything indicates that this operation is being developed regardless of the laws of the countries involved. At present, the US Congress is legislating to create a juridical framework for the new body. In the case of Panama and the majority of the countries that are taking part in these negotiations, there is no information as to what is being legislated.
Wikileaks is revealing, through a world-wide journalistic network at their disposition, the content of these clandestine negotiations among some 50 governments to establish a neo-liberal planetary alliance, the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). The agreement on the interchange of services is not only being negotiated in the most absolute secrecy, but also intends to maintain its secrecy during the first five years of its operation.
The level of concealment of the TiSA – which covers telecommunications, electronic commerce and financial services, as well as insurance and transportation – is superior to that of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement between Washington and their Asian associates. Wikileaks revealed secret documents that expose the construction of a set of norms and rules designed to evade state regulations on the global market.
If the treaty is not to be known for years, the governments that implement it will not need to be accountable. According to well-informed sources, the fraudulent intention of these clandestine negotiations is obvious in view of its unashamed violation of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
Up to now, the Latin American governments involved in the secret negotiations of TiSA include Panama, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru. The texts of the secret negotiation of TiSA divulged by Wikileaks show that what is involved is the elimination of all control over financial services. It was precisely the derivatives or CDS (credit default swaps) – nothing less than bets on possible bankruptcies – that generated the stock market bubble that exploded in 2007-2008 and put an end to the capitalist financial system as we have known it. The collapse obliged Washington to inject trillions of dollars from public funds into the biggest banks to avoid bankruptcies.
Wikileaks had access to internal notes on the negotiations with Israel and Turkey for their adhesion to the secret treaty, something that was denied to China and Uruguay when they requested them, probably due to a fear that they might have leaked the contents when they discovered what was involved. The list of Latin American governments taking part in TiSA is revealing. They are all faithful allies of the United States. The ALBA countries, as well as Brazil, Argentina and others in which Washington does not confide, are excluded.
The most incredible aspect of the TiSA is that total transparency will be demanded of countries that are not part of the secret treaty. The countries that are not part of the intimate circle, must reveal ahead of time and open to discussion all the regulations and rules that that they propose to apply, thus ensuring that the big corporations have time to counter, modify or prevent these sovereign decisions in accord with their interests.
TiSA will take into account all the demands of the financial industry of Wall Street and the City of London, as well as the interests of the big global corporations, for whom the treaty is not secret but a product of their own creation. According to the Professor of Law of the University of Aukland (New Zealand), Jane Kelsey, ‘the great danger is that TiSA will prevent governments from strengthening the rules to control the financial sector”.
Designed in close consultation with the capitalist financial sector on a global scale, the TiSA will oblige the signing governments to strengthen and widen the stock market deregulation and liberalization that sparked the crisis. In addition, governments will be deprived of the right to maintain and control financial data in their territories. Moreover, they will be obliged to accept toxic credit derivatives and be prevented from adopting measures to avoid other crises created by neo-liberalism. And all this will be imposed by secret agreements, so that public opinion will be unable to find out what are the true causes of the ruin of their countries.
(Translated by Jordan Bishop for ALAI).
*Marco A. Gandásegui, Jr., professor of Sociology, University of Panama and researcher associated with the Centro de Estudios Latinoamericanos Justo Arosemena (CELA). www.marcoagandasegui14.blogspot.com . www.salacela.net
The New Economics Foundation has recently announced a new handbook. Covering a variety of currency designs from time banks, LETS, and currencies issued on the basis of conventional money payment, People Powered Money: everything you need to know to set up a community currency, is a useful guidebook for grassroots exchange innovators.
The book can be downloaded from http://communitycurrenciesinaction.eu/peoplepoweredmoney/.
Will reports as follows:
The Berg Rand or BRAND – which means ‘Fire’ Money in Afrikaans, had an amazing launch today! The FlowAfrica team lead by John Ziniades and Anna Cowen of Meshfield spent over 6 months training local youth in topics of architecture, video creation (see their youtube channel), currency and businesses development. These youth helped mobilize a network of small businesses across 3 different towns in the Bergrivier region. The businesses formed the Bergrivier Exchange Network (BEN) and designed their own medium of exchange. Similar to Bangla-Pesa and the other community currencies in Kenya the members of the BEN must be local prosumers and guaranteed by four other members of the network and must contribute to a community fund with their BRAND for social service programs, like trash collection and alien vegetation clearing.
Read the full story here.
Seizing an Alternative, Pomona College, June 4-7 – Free Plenary Sessions, Scholarships, and other reasons to participate.
Here’s a portion of the latest informational brief about the upcoming conference. You’re invited:Don’t stay away!
(I mean, really, when is the next time you’ll be able to get together with hundreds and hundreds of people rethinking civilization from the ground up?)
Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization June 4-7, Pomona College, Claremont, CA
ATTEND FREE PLENARY SESSIONS at Bridges Auditorium, Pomona College, Claremont, CA:
THURSDAY, June 4
Bill McKibben: 7:00 p.m. Opening Night
FRIDAY, June 5
John B. Cobb, Jr.: 9:00 a.m.
Vandana Shiva: 7:00 p.m.
SATURDAY, June 6
Herman Daly-John B. Cobb, Jr. discussion moderated by PRI’s Warren Olney (recorded): 9:00 a.m.
Sheri Liao: 7:00 p.m.
SUNDAY, June 7
Wes Jackson: 9:00 a.m.
Southern California Edison makes ADDITIONAL STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS (limited) available. To apply, write to [email protected].
There are instances where demonstrations can be useful, at least in raising public consciousness. Most people in Western countries are still delusional about money and politics. As David DeGraw puts it “democracy” is an illusion for propagandized minds.
The reality is that our political systems have been captured by elite bankers who are bent on concentrating ever more power and wealth in their own hands. DeGraw is calling for a worldwide Wave of Action to focus attention on central banks, the institutions that are the primary instruments of control over money and economics. He says, “On June 20th, we will rally at US Federal Reserve banks, the Bank of England and central banks worldwide to focus mass consciousness on the crimes against humanity perpetrated by global bankers.”
Read his call and join the ‘wave” here.
These Friends from High School Bought an Abandoned Factory. Now They're Distilling Artisanal Whiskeys
June 4-7, Pomona College, Claremont, CA This promises to be the conference of the year. Get all the details and register here.
I have recently received from several sources word of a new monetary reform proposal. This one, commissioned by the Prime Minister of Iceland, is titled, MONETARY REFORM A BETTER MONETARY SYSTEM FOR ICELAND, and is authored by Frosti Sigurjonsson.
I’ve taken the time to read only the Overview and summary portion, but that is sufficient to discern the crux of the Sigurjonsson proposal, which is this:
The Central Bank will be exclusively responsible for creating the money necessary to support economic growth. Instead of relying on interest rates to influence money creation by banks, the Central Bank can change the money supply directly. Decisions on money creation will be taken by a committee that is independent of government and transparent in its decision-making, as is the current monetary policy committee.
New money, created by the Central Bank, will be transferred to the government and put into circulation in the economy via increased government spending, by reduction in taxes, by repaying public debt or by paying a citizen dividend.
The Central Bank will also be able to create money for lending to banks for onward lending to businesses outside the financial sector.
Sigurjonsson indicates that his proposal draws heavily upon an earlier proposal titled, A Monetary Reform for the Information Age, by Joseph Huber and James Robertson (New Economics Foundation (2001)), which I critiqued early in 2002. That critique, along with subsequent dialog between the authors and myself, can be found at http://reinventingmoney.com/monetary-reform-information-age/.
Since both the Sigurjonsson proposal or the Huber/Robertson proposal advocate the same basic approach, I strongly believe that any serious consideration of either, should also consider my above mentioned earlier critique and subsequent dialog.
While I agree with much of what Huber and Robertson (and presumably, Sigurjonsson) say about the defects in the present money system, I believe that their proposed centralized “solution” does not go nearly far enough in solving those defects. Continuation of the money monopoly in (presumably) different hands does not get to the root of the problem. It is my view that the key to achieving more equitable and sustainable economic interrelationships lies in liberating the exchange process from monopolized money and banking, enabling the creation of competing currencies and credit clearing exchanges, and allowing the needs of traders themselves to determine the supply of exchange media (money) in circulation at any given point in time.
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