Newsletter No. 35 – April 2012
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1. My new book FUTURE MONEY: Breakdown or Breakthrough? – www.greenbooks.co.uk/en/book/414/future-money.html – will be published on 19 April by Green Books.
Subscribers to this newsletter will be given access to a free pdf copy of the book. I will be sending you the link on publication day.
If you?d like to order a printed version, you can do so via the Green Books link above or at Amazon UK – www.amazon.co.uk/Future-Money-Breakthrough-James-Robertson/dp/1900322986.
The book will be distributed in the US and Canada by Chelsea Green later on in the year.
Meanwhile, in the past week or so the UK has been divided by public and political debate on whether VAT (value added tax) should be imposed on hot pasties, while cold pasties bought from the same shop or cafe should stay uncooked – sorry, untaxed. Pictures of leading politicians from the two main parties eating pasties in shops and cafes have aimed to show that classwise “we are all in this together”!
At a slightly higher level of sophistication about taxation, a more respectable red herring has recently been launched. Would it be fairer and more efficient to tax wealth instead of incomes? Ha! This could run and run among professional economists, until someone sees that it isn’t what matters after all. What matters is how wealth and income have been acquired. Have they been acquired by subtracting value from common resources for private profit? If so, they should be taxed. Have they been acquired exclusively by activities that serve the common interest? If so, they should be untaxed and admired.
Roll on 19th April, when all will be revealed!
2. MONEY REFORM
(1) Just Banking – Building a banking sector that serves society, 19th & 20th April, University of Edinburgh Business School – www.justbanking.org.uk. Conference organised by Friends of the Earth Scotland, the New Economics Foundation, World Development Movement, Christian Aid, and other organisations. Highly recommended. Many of the speakers figure in Future Money. I hope it may be possible to have copies of it there.
(2) The New Economics Institute in the USA is an influential new organisation, incorporating the former E.F.Schumacher Society in co-operation with the New Economics Foundation (nef) in the UK. See www.neweconomicsinstitute.org for details of its important conference on Strategies for a New Economy on 8th-10th June. Also recommended highly, with several speakers mentioned in Future Money. Again, I hope it may be possible to have copies there.
(3) “Wonderful news” from Stephen Zarlenga at the American Monetary Institute, 30.1.2012 – www.monetary.org.
(a) The 29,000 member Chicago Teachers Union have passed a strong resolution supporting Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s HR 2990 NEED (National Employment Emergency Defense) Act . That proposes to dismantle the Federal Reserve System and end “fractional reserve” banking. In fact, it contains all the proposed reforms of the American Monetary Act.
(b) Eighth Annual AMI Monetary Reform Conference in Chicago, September 20-23, 2012. See the announcement at www.monetary.org/2012-conference.
(4) Positive Money – www.positivemoney.org.uk – shows Ben Dyson and his colleagues making real progress in the UK. For example, a growing number of parliamentarians are now expressing support, like Steve Baker MP (Conservative) – www.positivemoney.org.uk/videos/steve-baker-MP – and Michael Meacher MP (Labour).
(6) Where Does Money Come From? An important recent book from nef – www.neweconomics.org/publications/where-does-money-come-from. James Bruges? review of the book from The Friend can be read here – www.neweranetwork.info/reports/where-does-money-come-from-james-bruges.
(7) The James Gibb Stuart Trust is a new educational charity working to reduce debt at the personal to the national level. See www.jgstrust.org.uk.
3. OTHER IMPORTANT ITEMS
(1) Capitalism in the USA – www.countercurrents.org/sullivan210112.htm Very good, and thanks to Pedro di Girolamo for sending it. But for countries other than the USA not only capitalist tweedledum is to blame; socialist tweedledee is in the same boat. They are both in it together.
(2) Which Social Class Is More Likely to Behave Unethically? What’s your guess? Research by psychologists at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Toronto in Canada have come to a fairly clear conclusion – www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=123301.
(3) For “The Revolving Door” that politicians, advisors and civil servants pass through to lucrative corporate posts and sometimes back again into government service, see www.political-cleanup.org/?p=5144.
(4) The Quilligan Seminars in London, 7th-18th May on The Emergence of a Commons-Based Economy. More information at www.schoolofcommoning.com/content/what-role-commons-economy and from peterchallen[at]gmail.com.
(5) One World Trust. If you are not already familar with their important work, you can find out about them and their current projects at www.oneworldtrust.org/about-us.
(6) Green House Think Tank – www.greenhousethinktank.org – an important group for the future. Also see www.guardian.co.uk/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2012/jan/04/climate-politics-future-generation-justice on one of the future new developments they are proposing.
(7) Degrowth. Interest is growing in the meaning of this concept for the future of humanity – see www.degrowth.org.
(8) Population Our Biggest Challenge? See www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/ 1235794/population_is_our_biggest_challenge_says_ government_chief_scientist_sir_john_beddington.html
5 April 2012