As of today this WG has 373 members scattered around the web. I have no idea how many of us live in NYC. Although we are a small group loosely connected by our demand for economic justice and cyberspace, we seem to be the avenue through which the larger #OWS GA can potentially reach consensus on an effective fiscal/monetary policy for addressing the problems of wealth inequality and economic injustice. Please do not think this is “to tall of an order”. If 373 can reach consensus, why not the overall GA? A proposal can be formulated and consensus can be reached. This is a call to other members of this WG to help build a proposal that is short, simple, and sweet. I have read the proposals put forth in this WG already, and while I appreciate the time and effort the proposal authors contributed, it is clear that these proposals are far too long and complicated to ever reach GA consensus. To reach consensus a proposal will have to be boiled down to a few clear sentences. (Something that can be read and understood in less than a minute?) Hopefully, each sentence makes a clear point, and the sentences are linked in a progression to reach a clear conclusion. Of course, I have some ideas about what to include in a proposal. So, to offer a starting point: Can we discuss the possibility of making the proposal about the federal budget and federal fiscal/monetary policy – ignoring the private banking/investment sector? If we focus on the money that is held in common and owned by the people, then we are focusing on the money that is legally held in common, not held by individuals. By law, government (public) money is the only money that MUST be used for public purpose. (Private money can be voluntarily offered for public purpose, but not expropriated without an eminent domain ruling or some other court action.) If our proposal focuses only on the federal budget and federal fiscal/monetary operations and policy, then our task is much simpler than it would be if we also try to address problems within the banking/investment sector. The money in that sector is private, not commons, and the push-back against any effort to force that money into use for the common good is overwhelming. That is why re-occupation didn’t take off – too many cops on the street defending the private property of the bankers with the billionaire mayor. OK, not a problem. We don’t need their dirty money anyway. But we do need to utilize the federal public utility that manages our fiat money (the federal reserve) in a way that is designed to benefit the commons, not just the 1%. So, a rough draft of the first sentence of a GA proposal might be something like this: ”This is a position statement and demand for change by #OWS NYCGA regarding the federal budget, federal monetary operations, and federal fiscal policy.” (I know, probably too long. It’s rough.) Thoughts?
Businesses and Governments have both always used money. Business uses it to facilitate commerce, the government uses it to collect tax. Government is for public purpose, so there is not competition for profit. There are bribes of government officials, and officials may compete for business favors (campaign donations), but those officials are not expected to create profit for the government. A businessman must make a profit or risk eventual loss of the business – he can’t raise a tax to cover his loss. Long ago the most astute businessmen learned that a critical advantage was gained if everyone else was kept in the dark about money operations. This was a very powerful critical advantage. If others didn’t know anything about money operations, they could be easily tricked. To facilitate the needed ignorance, they used primarily distraction and division. The most astute businessmen (plutocrats) distracted the focus on their tricks and misdeeds by pointing at their own minions (politicians). The politicians simply pointed back, blaming the plutocrats, and the protesters became divided. (Of course, some political minions blamed “the entitlement generation” and tried to take the heat off both the plutocrats and politicians.) Some protesters saw through this and sat down to study. For them the plutocrats created something called “schools of economic thought”. There are many of these “schools of thought” – wikipedia lists about thirty, but there are more. The protesters soon became confused. Which school was correct? Everyone took a position and the division and distraction continued. Here is the kicker: none were correct. All schools were presentations of economic theory. There were always lengthy discussions of fiscal and monetary policy, even brief descriptions of federal reserve operations. But the real knowledge about money remained hidden. By “real knowledge” I mean something that is not theory – I mean actual monetary operations. Who creates money, how and when do they do it, who do they give it to, what do they do with it? Knowledge of monetary operations is the critical advantage that allows the very rich to become even richer. This same knowledge can be used to bring prosperity to the 99%, not just the 1% and their minions. Why? Because if we begin our analysis armed with a clear description of what monetary operations are, then we start from a description. If we start from a theory, be it the “invisible hand” theory or whatever, we will depend on theory. I say, start with a description of how money works and doesn’t work in practice – not theory. If others are interested, I would like to begin with a question for discussion: Who creates money, and how do they do it? For starters, my answer to the question – the government. Let’s enjoy a friendly discussion/debate. Peace.