A Short Primer on Money

    by Richard Greaves
    Money is simply the medium we use to exchange goods and services. Without it, buying and selling would be impossible except by direct exchange.

    Notes and coins are virtually worthless in their own right. They take on value as money because we all accept them when we buy and sell.

    To keep trade and economic activity going, there has to be enough of this medium of exchange called money in existence to allow it all to take place.

    When there is plenty, the economy booms. When there is a shortage, there is a slump.

    In the Great Depression, people wanted to work, they wanted goods and services, all the raw materials for industry were available, yet national economies collapsed because there was far too little money in existence.

    The only difference between boom and bust, growth and recession, is money supply.

    Someone has to be responsible for making sure that there is enough money in existence to cover all the buying and selling that people want to engage in.

    Each nation has a Central Bank to do this — in Britain, it is the Bank of England, in the United States, the Federal Reserve.

    Central Banks act as banker for commercial banks and the government — just as individuals and businesses in Britain keep accounts at commercial banks, so commercial banks and government keep accounts at the Bank of England.

    In Britain today, notes and coins now account for only 3% of our total money supply, down from 50% in 1948. The remaining 97% is supplied as a debt by the Bank of England, commercial banks, and financial institutions — on which interest is payable.

    This pattern is repeated across the globe.

    Banks are businesses out to make profits from the interest on the loans they make. Since they alone decide to whom they will lend, they effectively decide what is produced, where it is produced and who produces it, all on the basis of profitability to the bank, rather than what is beneficial to the community.

    With bank created credit now at 97% of money supply, entire economies are run for the profit of financial institutions. This is the real power, rarely recognised or acknowledged, to which all of us including governments the world over are subject.

    Our money, instead of being supplied debt-free as a means of exchange, now comes as a debt owed to bankers providing them with vast profits, power and control, as the rest of us struggle with an increasing burden of debt.

    By supplying credit to those of whom they approve and denying it to those of whom they disapprove, international bankers can create boom or bust, and support or undermine governments.

    How much could prices fall and wages increase if businesses did not have to pay huge sums in interest payments which have to be added to the cost of goods and services they supply?

    How much could taxes be reduced and spending on public services such as health and education be increased if governments created money themselves instead of borrowing it at interest from private banks?

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