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Monetary Reform

1. Monetary Reform – Making it Happen!

by James Robertson and John Bunzl 
The Making it Happen! series of books is published by ISPO.

Summary 
The first two chapters on monetary reform are by James Robertson. Although much of the detail in them refers to Britain, the same outline applies broadly to other countries too.

The historical perspective in Chapter 1 brings out some of the parallels between the aims of monetary reform in the 19th century and now, and some of the differences between that time and ours. It suggests that the historical evolution of the monetary system between then and now points to the Huber/Robertson proposal as the next step forward.

It also points out that a key difference between then and now is that monetary reform must be dealt with today in an international context. Another difference is that now public awareness is becoming widespread that big changes in the monetary and financial system are needed. People's aspirations for a greener, juster, more people-centred way of life, a new direction of more peaceful progress, and a new consciousness about our place in the planet, are growing. But recognition is also growing that those aspirations cannot be fulfilled, so long as the perverse incentives and compulsions of the present money system shape how we actually live.

Chapter 2 summarises the proposal for monetary reform published in Creating New Money, and brings out its international as well as its national significance. It notes some of the main obstacles to it that have become apparent and some of the objections that have been made to it, including those based on the risk of damage to a national economy's international competitiveness.

Chapter 3 is written by John Bunzl. It introduces the Simultaneous Policy approach and explains its potential relevance to monetary reform proposals such as Creating New Money, as well as to other reforms advocated by global justice campaigners and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). It outlines in more detail the obstacles to the implementation of monetary reform likely to arise from the reaction of global markets, and it explains how Simultaneous Policy could potentially overcome them. Specific arguments in favour of the Simultaneous Policy approach are discussed as well as its potential disadvantages and responses to them.

Chapter 4 re-emphasises the importance of an international campaign for monetary reform. It will probably be based initially on non-governmental organisations (NGOs) mobilising citizens' interests worldwide, bringing in small businesses and other sectors inadequately served by the present money system, and then spreading to growing numbers of mainstream politicians, political parties, government officials, financial experts and economists.

That chapter and the Briefing conclude with some practical suggestions about what can be done to promote monetary reform by its supporters: 

  • in their own nation, 
  • co-operating internationally, 
  • and provisionally adopting the Simultaneous Policy.

Endorsements

I’m happy to see two good ideas merge into a single strategy. 
Bernard Lietaer, author, The Future of Money

[This book] clarifies the pressing need for monetary reform as one of the essential foundations of a sustainable global economy. Opposition to such reforms by the Washington Consensus, including even minimal taxes on currency trading to reduce speculation, is beginning to crumble! Developing countries are now banding together to oppose the hypocrisies of conventional trade, finance and banking promoted by the IMF, the WTO and their special interest supporters. Overcoming the global grip of this Washington Consensus will require continued and expanded civil society campaigning -- which can include promotion of the Simultaneous Policy strategy of concerted introduction of these reforms in many countries -- in a similar way that the Group of 21, led by Brasil, China and India were able to expose the hypocrisies of US and EU protectionism at the WTO Cancun Summit. 
Hazel Henderson, author of Beyond Globalization and other books, and partner with the Calvert Group of socially responsible mutual funds in the USA in creating the Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators

These proposals for monetary reform – how money should come into existence – are really very simple, though the subject appears complicated. They are easily accessible to anyone who knows the present system is not working for most of humanity. The international civil society movement for change has reached a critical mass. It needs practical alternatives. Robertson and Bunzl present proposals applicable nationally and internationally that go to the heart of a new economic order. 
Margaret Legum, Chair of the Trustees of the South African New Economics network.

Monetary reform, land reform, and ecological tax reform are the key building blocks of a socially just, new economy. Simultaneous Policy is the essential organising tool to enable global citizens to achieve political implementation. 
Pat Conaty, Senior Research Associate, New Economics Foundation.

Creating a sustainable and just world remains an elusive yet deeply noble cause. The contribution of our debt-based monetary system to the workings of the global economy needs to be much better understood. Global monetary reform, as so ably outlined here, is an essential precondition for real change. This book fills an important gap in our knowledge. 
Herbert Girardet, Chairman of Schumacher Society, UK.

As one would expect from the authors concerned ‘Monetary Reform- Making it Happen!’ makes a stimulating addition to a debate about one of the most important, but as yet too inadequately understood, changes required to the financial system globally. 
Colin Hines, author, Localization: A Global Manifesto

This is a brilliant treatment of a question which has never been so urgent. James Robertson tackles the issue which underpins everything else we are concerned about and, as always, he does it with clarity and panache. 
George Monbiot, author, The Age of Consent

A wonderfully clear exposition of two very important ideas, which could be of mutual assistance although neither needs the other for support. 
Richard Douthwaite, author, The Growth Illusion, Founder, Feasta

This proposal of Robertson and Bunzl will create a new starting point for the discussion of realistic and practical ways and means to create the necessary changes for a more just global society. The combination of approaches to monetary reform and democratic-decision making across national boundaries could offer a win-win solution for both. It will resonate positively with a growing number of Cultural Creatives around the globe, aiming to promote the changes necessary for a more just and democratic world order. 
Margrit Kennedy, author, Interest and Inflation Free Money

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