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About Newbear

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  1. It sounds a desperate situation. But who are the 535 people who make decisions about hunger? And is there a connection with monetary reform - apart from the obvious fact that debt-based money systems create inequality ( in the way Dominic explains in his book)?
  2. Bubb you asked about Positive Money's membership profile. PM recently did a survey. Some results here: http://www.positivemoney.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Positive-Money-Survey-2014.pdf One interesting highlight the biggest group are self-employed (over 25%). Independent, thinking, innovative, entrepreneurial?
  3. OK I am willing to give that a go. But practically speaking for me it has to be in mid to late March when I am back in the UK. Here in Australia I have too many commitments and too little guaranteed internet access.
  4. Monetary Reform finally gets recognition in a UK newspaper! Article by Positive Money founder Ben Dyson in The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/business/economics-blog/2014/feb/06/change-uk-money-system-solve-long-term-economic-problems
  5. Hi Bubb, I'm going on a long trip (to Australia) at the end of this week - so I am busy preparing for that and getting all my work commitments to bed before I go away. All of which, is to say sorry for not replying recently. On the Skype thing, well maybe but when I get back from Australia (end of March). In fact though I don't really understand what you are suggesting.I only use Skype for a few people close to me when I or they are away. So I can say for certain I don't have any skype contacts who want to discuss monetary reform! On Ellen Brown: it's an interesting debate and I have no doubt that it delineates an important difference in how people respond to a new awareness of how banks actually create money. Here's a few things I would say about it: a) the discussion on the forum following the Daily Bell article identifies many of the issues in the debate between the Austrians and the Public Money advocates (though I don't think it needs to be quite as bad tempered as is appears to be in the Daily Bell); I think there is a central misunderstanding at the heart of the Austrian account of money as it is usually told. It's expressed in The Daily Bell article in the phrase "it is the central bank that sets the initial volume and price of money". I'm not sure what the word "initial" can possibly mean but one thing is for sure: in contemporary money creation the central bank has virtually no effective control on how the commercial banks create money. Austrian accounts over-estimate the role of central banks - mostly because it is an act of faith in Austrian world outlook that the state does bad things. Well yes, the state does often (but not only) do bad things. But in this case it is simply untrue that the expansion of the money supply that led to the 2007/8 crisis was led by central banks. Just the opposite. Excess money was created by private banks with central banks trailing behind, issuing feeble warnings but effectively powerless to prevent it. The reverse effect is now seen: no matter how much QE money the central banks create they depend on private banks to get that money into the real economy by lending - which the banks are unwilling to do for a variety of reasons. Those who wish to confuse the issue will often point out that commercial banks "create" most of the money in circulation, but it is the central bank that sets the initial volume and price of money and is responsible for the balance sheets of commercial banks. - See more at: http://www.thedailybell.com/news-analysis/34980/Kindly-Ellen-Brown-Dishes-Out-Snake-Oil-as-She-Runs-for-CA-Treasurer/#sthash.IMsN6cyw.dpuf c) once someone realises how the present system works the Austrian free banking/competing money proposal has an immediate but I think (along with Bill Still) superficial appeal. The appeal is based primarily on the "real money" solution (essentially commodity money) advocated by Austrians - in which money is not a temporary will-of-the wisp of credit but has permanence. But there are other ways of creating permanent money that are, at the moment, I think more attractive than the Austrian solution - but not incompatible with it. d) And the main reason for this "at the moment" preference is that I think it is politically a non-starter to argue that private banks should be able to issue their own money - which is what the Austrian proposal requires. What!!? After banks have shown themselves so incapable of the necessary restraint in creating credit money, we are now going to trust them to show restraint in creating real money? I don't think so and I think the public response to such a proposal would be howls of bitter laughter. (And this is not even to get into Bill Still's argument that the gold standard would consolidate the power of the banking elite.) e) So the realistic Austrians (like Steve Baker MP) support the constitutionalisation of money because they know that the competing money approach could not (at the moment) win support. He sees the constitutionalisation of money as a step that reverses us out of the cul-de-sac of bank credit money - and sets the basis for competing money to become a realistic possibility. What this promises is the kind of broad left-right coaltion that is needed to overcome the huge vested interest of the current banking sytem. f) more broadly and as an aside, my journey to a constitutionalisation of money solution, went through an Austrian phase. This was when I was listening to Jim Puplava a lot and got influenced by his Austrian approach. After a while though I started to realise that JP is wrong about how money is created. He always describes our present system as "fiat" and ascribes a hugely important role to central banks - such that he believes they can inflate the money supply without limit. But that is wrong. We have a "credit money" system and there is a built-in (but inexact) limit: the ability of debtors to pay back what they owe eventually prevents the infinite issuance of (credit) money. (I started to get this by listening to Bob Hoye - who always talks about the Fed "needing speculators to get money out of the window"). Overall the issue is not: who can dream up the most perfect theoretical money system? But it is this: what reform proposal can gather the greatest number of people in support of it, in a coalition that transcends conventional political divisions?
  6. You may be right about the number of supporters in London. The Skype conversation idea sounds interesting - but I am just an individual supporter and wouldn't know how to initiate it. Maybe you could join Positive Money and see if others want to take part in skype discussions - internationally perhaps. Maybe Bill Still would be interetsted in that. The main push with PM at the moment is to set up local groups. I went to a meeting of one in Sheffield. It was a very interesting speaker, and a lively discussion with about 20 people taking part. The priority is to make contact with people who want to know more about how the present system works and think about alternatives. Politicians won't do anything until they feel a groundswell of interest in monetarty reform.
  7. "As long as we remain ignorant of how monetary systems operate, for so long will the public good that is money be captured to serve only the interests of the tiny, greedy minority in possession of private wealth." Ann Petifor "Money as a Social Construct and Public Good" http://www.social-europe.eu/2014/01/money-public-good/: Shock amazement! Orthodox economist wakes up to the idea that how money is created matters! Well, every little helps...
  8. Hi Bubb, Sorry for the delay in replying, I have been preoccupied with other things. The size of the membership is (of this exact moment) 19,373. These are the people who have signed up as supporters of Positive Money. It doesn't mean they are active - although many are. They are based all over the UK. In my postcode there are 27. I can't tell you how many are in London but I would guess hundreds, maybe over a thousand. The next task is to create local groups who carry the campaign into different localities and create a public presence.
  9. This is really off topic Dominic but I have just seen your father on a TV in a programme about English Grammar Schools and what they did for at least some working class children in the 1930s to 1950s. Very interesting and rather moving when he pays tribute to a particular sixth form teacher.
  10. I can't help thinking that 400 years is a very short period to be looking for sunspot cycles or regularities. Not when you consider the length of the life cycle of a star.
  11. Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl - Philospher's Song = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_WRFJwGsbY = Why is American Beer like a canoe ?
  12. New video to watch and share: http://www.youtube.com/user/PositiveMoneyUK
  13. What a turn up for the global warming fan-boys it would be if we are actually heading for another Maunder-type minimum!
  14. I drink therefore I am. Haha! Ver droll. The tea drinking chart is only surprising because it misses out China. Surely they blow other countries out of the water when it comes to tea consumption. But interesting because one idea I have heard is that tea played a crucial role in early urbanisation. Tea is slightly antiseptic and when it was sused as an alternative to contaminated water allowed cities to grow beyond previous limits. In China whilst Europe was in the Dark Ages - and then in the UK in the nineteenth century. This gives an outline of the idea: http://scienceblogs.com/mikethemadbiologist/2007/07/23/did-tea-drinking-lead-to-urban/:
  15. The cause is not the coffee - or the beer. Their use in everyday rituals is an expression of something more fundamental in the social institutions and in the relationships between people. It's cultural: high levels of collective and social responsibility (there are strong norms of what it means to be Danish and people are held to them); but this is combined with high levels of individualism (the range of tolerated behaviour is otherwise very wide). It's quite a trick combining these two dimensions and many other countries find it hard to bring off, tending to fall into one or the other. But you must display a genuine desire to be Danish - so migrants are expected to adopt Danish ways and let go of their own. Globalisation is a challenge and puts the shared culture under pressure in all kinds of ways. The Danish TV drama "Borgen" (popular in the UK) was an exploration of how to navigate these problems - with a female politician as the hero showing the way. ("Borgen" literally means something like "Castle" but what it is really referring to is something more like "the art and craft of governance" - how to bring the maximum number of people togther in more or less agreement. It's a very different conception to Anglo-Saxon, winner-takes-all politics). The coffee and beer (and wienerbrod) come into it because there are a lot of meetings and discussion. Coffee and beer help to lubricate the talk and keep it friendly (even when it isn't). (A Danish friend of mine who worked for Nokia and had a lot of experience of working in different cultures said the difference between a meeting in the UK and one in Denmark is this: In Denmark the meeting takes place to find a solution to a problem through a discussion. In the UK a meeting takes place to endorse the solution already worked out in private.)