News

5th November An article in The Guardian newspaper in England argued that abolishing debt-based currency holds the secret to getting our system off its addiction to growth.

5th September KPMG released a report, commissioned by the Prime Minister of Iceland, titled "Money Issuance" The report looked at money created by the Government.

4 June Aditya Chakrabortty is a senior economics commentator for The Guardian and he has written an article titled "You’re witnessing the death of neoliberalism – from within". He goes on to say that IMF economists have published a remarkable paper admitting that the ideology was oversold

28 March 2016 Bryan Gould has agreed to be the Patron for Positive Money New Zealand.

Bryan is a respected commentator on economic matters, an author, academic and Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

31 October 2015 A monetary reform group in Switzerland has enough signatures for a referendum on who creates their money supply.

14 October 2015 The Finance Commission of the Dutch parliament discussed monetary reform.

31 March 2015. The Telegraph in London reports on the Icelandic governments plan to have their central bank issue their money supply and calls it a radical plan.

22 November. The British parliament debated money creation last week, for the first time in 170 years. There was cross-party support for a proposal to set up a monetary commission

23 September. A new generation of young people, dubbed ''property orphans'' may be destined to be renters for life.

17 September. The Bank of International Settlements (BIS), the bank used by central banks, confirmed New Zealand houses are among the most "unaffordable" in the world compared to people's incomes.

6 September. Bruce Bisset of Hawkes Bay today reveals the true story behind the so called Rock Star economy.

25th April "Strip private banks of their power to create money”: says the Financial Times’ chief economics commentator Martin Wolf, who endorses Positive Money’s proposals for reform

21 April - Forbes, an influential American business magazine ran an article titled 12 reasons why New Zealand’s economic bubble will end in disaster

15th March 2014 - In a historic move The Bank of England quarterly bulletin explains how money is created. Whenever a bank makes a loan, it creates a deposit in the borrower’s bank account, thereby creating new money. The bank says that this differs from the story found in some economics textbooks.

17th September 2013. The Green party of England and Wales has passed a motion to place money creation into public hands and end fractional reserve banking.

16th August 2013. The retiring head of the Financial Markets Authority apologised for the mistakes made saying “You were let down”.

20th June 2013 An article in the Dominion Post suggested that the government contribute money to build more housing – like they did in 1936.

 

John Kenneth Galbraith“The study of money, above all other fields in economics, is one in which complexity is used to disguise truth or to evade truth, not to reveal it. The process by which banks create money is so simple the mind is repelled. With something so important, a deeper mystery seems only decent.”

John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006 ), former professor of economics at Harvard, writing in ‘Money: Whence it came, where it went’ (1975).

The Solution - Detailed

The following section contains the detail on how a Positive Money system would be implemented - with worked examples and may be of more interest to economists and financial commentators.

For a general idea refer to the section The Solution - overview.

Creating new money

Who decides how much new money gets created?

We know from the last few decades that granting profit-seeking banks the power to create money leads to lending more money thereby increasing the money supply, regardless of the needs of the economy as a whole.

Elected politicians are unlikely to do much better. The temptation for the government to increase the money supply in order to pay for things such as motorways and university tuition fees is likely to be great, which would result in money being created without any reference to the needs of the wider economy.

What is required is an independent body whose focus is the economy as a whole.

Under our proposals the Monetary Policy Committee will become responsible for making decisions on how much new money should be injected into the economy in each period of time.

They will likely take a 12-month or 2-year view of the economy, and then smooth any increase in the money supply over each month.

The MPC will be politically independent and neutral. This is very important, as it prevents harmful political ‘tinkering’ with the economy. It is important that the MPC cannot be overruled by politicians, whose decisions will be swayed by political matters rather than the long-term health of the economy. It is also important that the MPC is sheltered from conflicts of interest, and also from lobbyists for the financial sector.

The Monetary Policy Committee will also still be subject to all the rules regarding transparency of its decisions, and the amount of the authorised increase in the money supply will be made publicly known.

Note that they will not be creating as much money as the government needs to fulfil its election manifesto promises – the needs of the government will not be considered. As discussed in the section 'Guarding Against Inflation', suggestions that this change would cause a 'Zimbabwe situation' have no basis in reality.

How will the Monetary Policy Committee make the decisions?

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) would authorise the creation of as much new money as they believe the economy (in other words, companies and households) needs to function healthily, and no more.

The Committee will continue to base its decisions on the basis of 'inflation targeting' - the policy of trying to ensure that inflation stays within a small range - such as between 1% and +1% per annum. In other words, they should try to ensure that any change in the money supply is neither inflationary nor deflationary - neither too much nor too little.

Note that for this to be effective, the measure of inflation used must be redesigned to take account of asset price inflation (such as a housing price bubble). It is pointless to attempt to make decisions affecting the whole economy using a measure of inflation that ignores inflation in excess of 10% per annum in house prices when housing is the most expensive item in anyone’s ‘basket of goods’.

Under this requirement, if inflation starts to rise, the MPC will need to stop creating new money until inflation has started to fall again. This makes it impossible for the MPC to create a Zimbabwe-like inflationary spiral.

The mechanics of creating new money

When the Monetary Policy Committee has authorised the creation of a specified amount of new money, it will be created in the following way:

1. The government will hold an account, known as the 'Central Government Account' with the Reserve Bank.

2. The Reserve Bank will simply increase the balance of this account by the amount authorised by the Monetary Policy Committee. They will not simultaneously reduce the balance of any other account - by making a credit without making a matching debit, they are creating new money.

3. The government can then withdraw the money from its Central Government Account and add it to the pool of tax revenue, and then use it in accordance with the principles discussed in the section 'Distributing the Newly Created Money'.

In contrast to printing physical cash or coin - which costs around 10 cents for every $1 created - the creation of money by the method described is costless. To create $50m or $500m both requires one authorised official with the right passwords and a computer connected to the Reserve Bank's central accounts system.

Of course, it would also require witnesses and statutory formalities to be observed, but all in all, $500m could be added to the economy in a little under 20 minutes, at the cost of just a few hundred dollars.

An improvement on the existing system

In the existing monetary system, the total amount of money (defined as 'bank deposits' - the numbers in your bank account) is increased whenever a bank makes a loan. Consequently, the money supply increases as a result of the individual decisions of thousands of loan officers and mortgage advisors, and the lending priorities of bank directors.

Each of these individuals is motivated by a bonus on each mortgage or loan that is issued, and therefore their only incentive is to issue as many loans and mortgages as possible. They have absolutely no conception of how their activities fit into the wider health of the economy.

Post-reform, the health of the whole economy will be considered before a decision is made to increase or decrease the money supply. While there are always issues when decisions are made by small committees of 'wise men', we believe that it would be hard for the MPC to do a worse job of managing the money supply than the banks have done to date.

With a holistic view of the economy, and an incentive to support the economy rather than to maximise their own bonuses, this should lead to a better outcome overall.

 

 

 

 

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