The following report by Alistair McConnachie appeared in the October 2009 issue of Prosperity.
Held at Barnes Close, from late Friday afternoon 2nd Oct to Sunday lunchtime on the 4th, the Thirteenth Conference saw 47 attendees of whom around 30% were new faces!
The absolutely-packed schedule started just after evening meal on Friday and was kept to time exactly by our much-respected and committed Chairman Donald Martin.
Organiser Alistair McConnachie started the ball rolling by introducing the event. He explained that this was the first Bromsgrove Conference to be largely sponsored by The James Gibb Stuart Trust, the registered charity which was established in April 2008. As an educational event, the Conference was within the legally permitted remit of the charity. He stressed that from now on the Trust would seek not only donations, but especially would seek legacies since legacies are the primary means by which any charity is able to raise substantial funding.
It was then Alistair’s privilege to introduce two new attendees whose Money Reform activity has really taken the movement several steps up the ladder in the past year.
Firstly, Simon Dixon, a former investment banker, introduced his current work in the City – recruiting people for the banking sector! Simon is speaking in scores of Universities and Colleges around Britain on the subject of careers in the City. He is able also to introduce the Money Reform message into these seminars! Money Reform, he says, is essential for the banking system’s long-term survival and should not be seen as hostile to banking per se. You can see him at www.SimonDixon.org
Next up, Ben Dyson (below), who works closely with Simon, spoke about how he had fortuitously stumbled upon a copy of The Grip of Death by Mike Rowbotham in the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) library.
This book sent him on a journey which confirmed much of how he felt about the economics he was studying, where the conventional theories didn’t appear to relate to reality. With unique insight, and with the benefit of those who have gone before, he has managed to lay out a very accurate and detailed transition plan which explains how the Huber/Robertson and Zarlenga reforms can be made to work in both the UK and the USA. Nothing like what he has produced has ever been written before! See his site at www.BenDyson.com
Activist Dick Rodgers then gave a very amusing talk on his efforts to get MPs to listen to his Money Reform message. This required targeting some key players, then campaigning in their constituencies with a petition and often with a huge sign strapped on his back! His speech really entertained and enthused people and got everyone motivated. It was a great way to end the Friday evening!
Canon Peter Challen began the Conference in his traditional way, reminding us of the global as well as the national context within which we meet, and the importance of paying respect to the diversity of reformist views, which he detailed.
Next, Bob Welham, the first of another 11 different speakers on Saturday, presented Part 1 of our 7-part series on Mending the Banking System. Each speaker who was part of the 7-part series, was also asked to re-deliver the speech in a shorter version upstairs in front of camera, just as soon as he or she had completed their talk in the main room. Our thanks go to the people who were part of this project and to all the hard work they put in – to the speakers, and also to our film crew.
Bob started with a comprehensive and concise "Introduction to the Banking System". Alistair McConnachie then presented Part 2 "How the Fractional Reserve System Works" explaining how banks create money out of nothing.
This was followed by Part 3, where Mike Black examined how this money flows around the system. He asked the question: "When a bank loan is repaid, is the money cancelled out of existence, or kept by the bank?"
He found that the answer is "both" because it depends what’s meant by "the money". As he explained, there are 2 forms of electronic money: 1) Money in ordinary bank accounts (M4 – the "money supply") and 2) Money in the Bank of England, used by commercial banks (M0 – "base money"). Therefore, a full answer needs to consider this "dual money system."
This was followed, before lunch, by the presentation of the first annual James Gibb Stuart Trust Award for Services to Monetary Education. Clive Rosher (wearing T shirt below) received the Award in recognition of his ceaseless activism over the past 10 years in many mediums, but especially in educating his local civic leaders and getting into the letters pages of a wide variety of newspapers and magazines.
After lunch, Carmel Butler presented Part 4 of our series. She explained how derivatives work, and the consequences of such "financial products".
Alistair McConnachie then explained Part 5 – what went wrong with the current financial system, and what we should do to put it right, with special regard to "quantitative easing".
Simon Dixon (below) from whom we had heard on Friday evening, presented Part 6 – a dynamic Powerpoint on the consequences and costs of the current monetary system.
He pointed out, "We are asking for the minimum that needs to happen to make money public. We ask people to agree that if the public creates the money it would be better than the banks creating the money!"
To the objection that banks create "credit" and not money, Simon (above) stated that "If something walks like money and talks like money, it is money!"
Finally, to round up Part 7 of our seven part series, Ben Dyson explained "The Solution" – what we need to do to create a stable and sustainable economy. This was a UK version of the speech he had given to the AMI Conference in September.
After a break it was then the great privilege of the Conference to host a genuine star in the Money Reform firmament, Elizabeth Kucinich, the wife of Congressman Dennis Kucinich.
Elizabeth spoke of the hard work that her husband is doing for Monetary Awareness in the USA. It was extremely motivating to hear of the progress being made to promote the American Monetary Act, which originated with Stephen Zarlenga and the AMI. It is early days yet – at the time of writing the proposed legislation has not yet been tabled – and when it is, it will need 190 Congressmen to support it. Everyone agreed, though, that this was a massive step forward and that something similar was needed for the UK! [We are pleased to say that since this Conference, a proposed draft Parliamentary Bill entitled, “The Bank of England (Creation of Currency) Bill” – which delivers this exact reform – has been published. It can be found here, and purchased in hard copy at the “Prosperity Publications for Sale” link at the top right of this page.]
Before evening meal, we heard about the progress of the ongoing call for a Royal Commission investigation into the financial system from Charles Williams.
After the evening meal, our Chairman Donald Martin took the podium and delivered a concise explanation on some basic policy proposals which are often associated with the "Social Credit" school of thought. He also stated that when people object to a basic income and ask, "Where’s the money to come from?" we can respond by asking them "Well, where does money come from right now?" As he said, if they can’t even tell us that, then why are they complaining about these ideas!
Frank Taylor followed by describing, and asking for volunteers to get behind, the "Council for Economic Reform". This would be a campaigning organisation taking ideas forward into the political sphere.
Clive Rosher, recipient of the first annual James Gibb Stuart Award for Services to Monetary Education, spoke briefly on the importance of educating the Trade Union movement. He expressed amazement that the Trade Unions campaign against "privatisation", but "they ignore the privatisation of the money supply – the biggest privatisation of them all!"
To round off a tremendous day of information, Bob Welham introduced Bill Still’s latest film The Secret of Oz. Bill is also the creator of The Money Masters – he and his wife, Anne, were unable to be with us this year.
Haydon Bradshaw began the morning with an introduction to the work of 1930s economist Benjamin Graham who had developed a system to back currency with commodity stocks. Versions of this scheme had been supported by both Keynes and Hayek.
Barry Scott reviewed the work of Prof Richard Werner, as summarised in Werner’s recent book New Paradigm in Macroeconomics. Werner’s work is unique in that it is highlighting the fact that private banks are the main creators of money in society which is something that tends to be overlooked by the bulk of mainstream economists.
Bill Powell emphasised that a better use of the money created for "quantitative easing" would have been to spend it directly into the economy to help people who couldn’t get loans from the banks.
Jamie Walton reported on his experience organising the 5th AMI Conference and attendees Simon Dixon and Ben Dyson also shared their impressions of the AMI. Ben had attended the AMI courtesy of "The James Gibb Stuart Trust Ticket to the AMI Conference" – another example of how the Trust is managing to promote its educational message worldwide.
Both Ben and Simon were each asked how they would organise the AMI Conference differently, if they were in the driving seat. Ben said he thought that the number of presentations should be cut back, with more time for questions and discussion. He thought there should be less time on theory and more time on rallying and organisation. Furthermore, a real emphasis should be put on getting young people there. Students should be invited from every University in the USA, and offered a very cheap conference rate of perhaps $50. It is essential to get these students and young people into the movement because they have the enthusiasm, energy and technical skills to take it forward.
Simon stated that he wanted to see a better division of labour. As more people come on board, Stephen Zarlenga should be able to put less time into organising the Conference, and give that task to the experts – ensuring future Conferences would include live video conferencing and webcasting.
In the final round-up, Alistair stated that a clear priority for us now is to put together a draft Bill for a UK Monetary Act. [Now done! As per link above]
In that regard, it was pointed out later by an attendee that instead of justifying any proposed Bill simply by the fact that there will be "more money" to spend on various projects, we should justify the Bill by pointing out that it will make such an intrinsic fundamental change to the present monetary system, that many of the core problems which concern charitable causes, will be much improved.
That is to say, instead of saying our reform will allow us to buy even more medicine, we should concentrate on the fact that this reform will help us cure the disease in the first place!
MAKE A DATE FOR THE FOURTEENTH CONFERENCE
Please put this date in your diary today: Friday afternoon from 4.30pm, to Sunday lunchtime, 29th to 31st October 2010. If you have never been before, please contact us for an invite.