Is there a root problem? There is certainly one that underlies others. The current monetary system undermines our ability to work through common problems. Worldwide, whether governments, corporations, small businesses, indigenous cultures, voluntary organisations, or individuals and families, economy and fiscal management take place within a system of money creation, that has never been debated, but has grown by accident of history. It is not a law of nature or discovered in science, it is simply a social system. There is agreement from august bodies , such as Bank of England, US Federal Reserve, IMF, etc. that money is CREATED – about 97% of that in circulation – by commercial banks, issuing credit, or debt, at interest.
This is the man-made monetary system within which any one ‘entity’, a person or a company or even a country, might pay off their individual debt, but where collectively the system always has an ever- growing debt. This pushes competition at all levels, where the logic of economics, or the responsibility for a fiscal policy, demands a ‘survival of the fittest’ and pushes human compassion and care into an ‘add-on’ ever more difficult to fund without exploiting something else. The system cannot attend to cooperative or collaborative ways of attending to human or planetary needs and resources. It is extractive. Productive work that replenishes or conserves resources is diminished, all kinds of ‘money to survive’ work is increased, and the trillions in financial industries now exceed that of GDP in the real economy by several factors.
Possibly the problem is not the identification of this system failure, that most money in circulation is issued in a particular way, but that each entity, no matter how they perceive that ‘something is wrong’ – as many people certainly do- but the fact that any of the pieces is functioning within a holistic system, and no one piece, be it a government, a corporation, a bank, a business, or a person, has the whole picture. More importantly, no one piece has the authority or power to change other pieces’ positions. Even if any one of us, or any one group, wanted to work collaboratively, or tried to do so, the system is competitive, and subverts collaboration.
So, what can we do?
There are many solutions, the best are not “solutions” as such, but first steps forward, clear-sighted, but knowing that none of us have the total picture, thinking big and global, acting local and joining the advocates with the evidence from what has been done, in the communities where we do have space to act. Finding out: What actions have impact that enables what we do value, what life-gifts are we grateful for, what has real worth?
I am putting together a list of available “stuff” the great thoughts and helpful ideas and practice out there on our wonderful internet of connections. The list so far is pretty muddled, but here if you want it. I also belong to groups at Positive Money, who have a single focus on UK and monetary policy change, rather than societal shift, I have learned a lot there, and get face-to-face contact. Three fairly easy to read books have come my way recently:
The Revolution Where You Live – contains a list of 101 Ways to Reclaim Local Power – just pick what suits your town/place from it – like us here (in my part of the world) you will notice you probably do some things already. I like the way their list is grouped:
Build Bridges; Connect to your Ecological Home; Connect to Self; Build your Local Economy; Build Power.
Doughnut Economics – a pretty good summary of the big stuff and its connections to the small and human and local can-do stuff. This link goes to author Kate Raworth’s interesting site that explains a lot of where she is coming from.
The Wealth of the Commons – a book of essays that convincingly describes a different paradigm, a creative way to live, honoring human social connections. This is published on the internet under Creative Commons license so you can read each essay online.
This connects with where I began this post “The current monetary system undermines our ability to work through common problems.” And moves forward. Human beings are a mess, have made a mess, but we are also very very creative.
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all”
– Emily Dickinson