Saturday, 5 January 2013

The Fiscal Beach

Economics is a complicated subject, but it's not half as complicated as the governments and financial institutions like to portray it, so they can lead us wherever they like with platitudes like: "Trust us, we understand this and you don't!" Economics is fundamentally about the simplest of mathematical calculations, the ones you learned at school: adding and subtracting. Over the last few months we've heard a lot about the United States Government's "Fiscal Cliff"; this is a proposed policy which is similar to those which in other parts of the world has gone by the name "Austerity Measures" (I must admit as a writer I do amorally admire the creative genius of Orwellian linguistic invention!). The Fiscal Cliff was shelved in favour of the American Taxpayers Relief Act on New Years Day, the very last moment when the decision had to be made.
Here's a news story about the new act: . What no mainstream media coverage will tell you is that these reforms will only delay and prolong the disasters that the current economic system continually causes us. "Well what do you suggest instead then, Ben?" I hear you ask. To be honest I'm still looking into alternatives and am carefully considering the pro's and con's of them. I've suggested a few practical measures in several articles.
I strongly recommend the book Small is Beautiful by EF Schumacher; it will give you a lot of ideas. It has the wonderfully sardonic and poignant subtitle: Economics as if People Mattered. See: . One thing that has often been suggested is a return to using gold as the basis for the money supply; this is the traditional use for gold and it worked for thousands of years over most of the world. Perhaps the gold in bank vaults could be made into threads and inserted into plastic coverings, like maybe cards resembling today's credit cards (There's irony for you!). The denominations, instead of being pounds and pence could be the weight of the gold embedded in them. The only problem with that would be if capital generated by growth exceeded the amount of gold available... as I said I'm still carefully considering. Somebody suggested a system in which the money supply was directly regulated by labour. At the moment it is indirectly done so, but under the new system labour itself would automatically result in money generation; a worker could literally pluck new cash out of the bank for each hour of his toil. It's an interesting idea and I'd be keen to discuss it.

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