The following report by Alistair McConnachie appeared in the January 2007 issue of Prosperity.
The Tenth Annual Bromsgrove Conference of Money Reformers was held on Friday 3rd Nov to Sunday 5th Nov 2006 at our usual venue. We’re pleased to say that for the second year running, over 40% (17) of the 41 attendees were new faces, including new people from Toronto, Los Angeles, Arizona and Luxembourg!
Bromsgrove Conference organiser Alistair McConnachie opened the Conference on Friday evening, our first weekend ever since the first Bromsgrove Conference on 30th Sept-2nd Oct 1997.
He explained that in addition to the important, necessary and enjoyable social, supportive, educational and networking functions of our Conference, the theme this year was to concentrate on the 2 major Money Reform proposals which have been proposed in the last 10 years. Those are: Michael Rowbotham’s "Publicly-Created Money" proposal and Joseph Huber and James Robertson’s "Seigniorage Reform" proposal in their books The Grip of Death and Creating New Money, respectively.
We would compare and contrast their relative merits and consider strategies for taking them forward.
In addition we would be considering other proposals intended to take the general Money Reform idea forward — specifically, campaigning for a Royal Commission report and the Local Authority Voucher Scheme concept.
Other speakers would help us to understand our Money Reform movement within its wider academic, environmental and international context.
In order to mark the event, Alistair launched the first Bromsgrove Briefing, a 40-page A4 Manual commissioned for the occasion of the Tenth Conference entitled Clarifying our Money Reform Proposals — which explains simply and comprehensively, both the Rowbotham and Huber/Robertson reforms and answers many FAQs. You can purchase it at this link, as well as back issues of Alistair McConnachie’s money reform journal Prosperity. And here is a link to Alistair McConnachie’s Google Profile.
Bromsgrove Convenor, James Gibb Stuart, recently returned from addressing the Second Annual American Monetary Institute (AMI) Conference spoke on how we were establishing a close rapport with US and Canadian Money Reformers.
He praised the work of William Krehm of the Canadian Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER) and Stephen Zarlenga of the AMI.
He pointed out how the Bank of England was founded originally as a private organisation to lend money to the government and that while the Bank of England was now nationalised, the principle of publicly-created money has still to be fully accepted.
This was further elaborated in Clarifying our Money Reform Proposals.
This system has created vast unrepayable National Debt. The predominant question for us all is "Who controls the creation of money?"
William Krehm, the Chairman of COMER www.comer.org spoke of the extent to which the Bank of Canada and Canadian politicians are subservient to their neighbours to the south. He pointed out that the Bank of Canada was statutorily empowered to create money but the politicians were not taking advantage of this for the benefit of the people.
Finally on Friday night, Joseph Smith spoke on Money Reform and its relationship with the ideas of Henry George.
On Saturday morning, Canon Peter Challen gave a thorough report on the past year’s developments in Money Reform, surveying many of the 120 initiatives monitored as work-in-progress. In particular he noted the "energetic commitment" of the work of Anne Belsey and also Ann Pettifor’s new book — The Coming First World Debt Crisis.
His message was that, "If we are certain of our certainties then dialogue dies". He called for "all people of good faith to converge on re-discovery of the inter-dependence of all life and an economy that works for everyone and protects the earth."
Next up, film-maker, Tristan O’Dwyer introduced himself and the work which he was doing at this Conference. His aim was to interview as many people as possible for a DVD film that he is putting together on Money Reform.
Next Alistair McConnachie explained Michael Rowbotham’s reform, promoted in his book, The Grip of Death. The reform can be summarised in 3 parts:
1. Commercial banks are allowed to continue creating credit. No legislation is needed to change their status.
2. The State — via an independent public body — creates and spends a certain amount of debt-free money each year, allowing the public purse to benefit from the seigniorage on the amount created.
3. The amount of debt-free money supplied to the economy would match the net growth in debt per year.
Mike Black then considered the question of what happens to bank loans when they are repaid. He’s produced 3 major essays on the subject, which are easy to read and available on request from Prosperity (10 2nd class stamps to cover p+p).
After lunch, Alistair continued with an explanation of the Huber/Robertson "Seigniorage reform" and how it differs from the Rowbotham reform. The Huber/Robertson reform can be summarised in 4 parts:
1. Forbid private banks to create money.
2. An independent public body — a branch of the Central Bank — creates all the money debt-free, on a regular basis.
3. Government spends this money into society via its spending projects.
4. It is this money which private banks would compete to attract into their savings accounts, in order to lend out to their customers.
Mike Black reported on the "Bromsgrove Continuity Group" meeting which had been held in London on 22 July 2006. Out of this had come the idea to demand a Royal Commission Report on the banking system.
Charles Farrier explained how such a Report would help give us the up-to-date evidence which we could use to fully examine and understand how the modern banking system works.
Gillian Swanson emphasised the importance of individual effort as a useful tool for awakening. Her letters and articles in the local press had brought new contacts and new people into the movement.
Anne Belsey explained her political campaigning and in particular her Money Reform Party’s campaigning at the Bromley by-election. Anne models her party jackets in the picture below! www.moneyreformparty.org.uk
A group strategy discussion continued with suggestions that next year we should aim to have a Draft Act on Money Reform put together for discussion.
Frank Taylor emphasised that we need to prove the direct and indirect cost of the debt-money system to people, in order for them to see how the debt-money system effects them and why it needs to be changed.
Next followed discussion of James Gibb Stuart’s "Local Authority Voucher Scheme" idea — Prosperity, July 05.
In the evening, Jamie Brown told us the fascinating story of her academic dissertation which researched the way in which money is created and how this relates to global development prospects, with an emphasis on the potential impact of the Huber/Robertson proposals.
Sabine McNeill presented her report which emphasised the link between the way that money is created and the economic growth which drives climate change — what she termed, "the money fuse of the climate bomb".
She pointed out that "the Stern report gives new urgency to getting beyond existing economic assumptions to the underlying drivers of our insanity."
On Sunday morning, Ron Rankin, reported on his recent trip with wife Gloria to the AMI Conference in Chicago. He spoke of how friendly and congenial he had found it.
He reported that James Gibb Stuart had been honoured to be presented by the AMI with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Ron had presented the AMI with a heavy green glass paperweight as a present from Money Reformers in Britain which had a Scottish thistle magnified in the middle of it.
The entire AMI conference is available on audio CDs for only $35 from www.monetary.org The 2007 Conference will be on 27-30 September in Chicago.
American author Ellen Brown told us about her new book on Money Reform. She has written 10 books on alternative health care, one a bestseller; but a book on Money Reform was more of a challenge because most readers don’t even know there is a problem!
She explained that in the USA, Money Reformers are in 3 camps: community currency advocates, "goldbugs" who think money should be backed by gold, and greenbackers (debt-free money people). Only a return to the "greenback" system will solve the problem.
Michael Sinclair from Toronto spoke on the scene in Canada. He explained that in the 2006 federal election campaign the New Democratic Party dropped a reference in its previous election platform to possible enhanced use of the Bank of Canada. It was not known if the Green Party, with a new leader, Elizabeth May, might endorse Money Reform.
However, the Canadian Action Party, whose leader Connie Fogal has addressed Bromsgrove several times, supports Money Reform.
Michael had attended a diverse range of conferences so far this year but none had included Money Reform. This suggests there are still not the speakers who are able to speak to this subject.
Jamie Walton, from New Zealand, gave a run-down on the history of MR in NZ, and the present scene which tends to focus around the political party Democrats for Social Credit. Its magazine, The Guardian, is the main publication drawing in Money Reform people in NZ.
Dorothy Peart spoke on the concept of localising the economy through the concept of "Town and Country Twinning" — an "exercise in mutual awareness, demonstrating ‘community supported agriculture’".
The meeting ended at Sunday lunchtime with an open forum and plans for Bromsgrove 2007, with the positive feeling that we had all experienced another "best ever"!
Our thanks especially to Donald Martin for chairing most of the sessions in his excellent and professional manner, to Peter Challen for making such useful notes of the proceedings which have been particularly helpful in assembling this report, and to all our speakers and attendees, and especially to those who came from so far away.
Finally, thank you to our Convenor, James Gibb Stuart for making it happen, once again!
ELEVENTH ANNUAL BROMSGROVE CONFERENCE 2007
This year our Conference will be on the weekend of Friday 5th Oct to Sunday 7th Oct. Please put that date in your diary today! All are welcome, and especially new faces.
Clarifying our Money Reform Proposals is available at the following rates inclusive of p+p: 1 for £10, 2 for £15, 3 for £18 and 4 or more at £5 each. Cheques payable to Prosperity at Prosperity, 268 Bath Street, Glasgow, United Kingdom, G2 4JR. You can also purchase Clarifying our Money Reform Proposals at this link.