There have been many times that I thought I finally understood money, only to come across new contradictions, sometimes subtle and flagrant, that showed me that, as in Godelian logic, the realm of truth is always vaster than my framework for understanding it. None of the revelations of “what money really is” were wrong: they were just partial, useful for certain kinds of reasoning.
— Charles Eisenstein in Sacred Economics (2011)7
— Virginia Hammon (2018)
If you’ve made it this far, I hope you have enough understanding and enthusiasm to take another step. This book is intended to start conversations. Please take a look at some of the books mentioned and websites that follow. Ask questions, and discuss this book at USMoney.US.
When I began this project nearly 10 years ago, the voices of new thinkers were few and far between. Today new monetary theory is a hotbed of activity. Conversations about a new money system for the world are percolating across the planet. Commonwealth money is a hot topic being discussed around the globe. Join them:
Alliance for Just Money
This organization grew out of the American Monetary Institute. When founder Stephen Zarlenga passed away in 2017, the Institute board decided they wanted the AMI to continue as a research institute. Many active participants in AMI wanted to work aggressively for monetary reform, and the Alliance for Just Money was founded in Summer 2018 by an energetic and devoted group.
American Monetary Institute
This organization was founded by Stephen Zarlenga (1941–2017), author of the exhaustively researched and detailed history of money, The Lost Science of Money (2002). This book was a vanguard in the reassessment of our monetary system, challenging the thinking of prominent economists and setting a flurry of research and dialogue in motion. The website has some good book reviews of other contemporary books about money, as well as links to a number of papers by economists who have run models of a new monetary system that support implementation. The Institute holds an annual conference in September in Chicago.
Full reserve banking
This website has a good list of proposals for full reserve (100% money) that have been made from 1933 to the present. The links include The Chicago Plan (1933), 100% Money by Irving Fischer (1935), to Creating New Money by Joseph Huber and James Robertson (2000). A few of the links don’t work, but they point to a route down the rabbit hole.
Public Banking Institute
This organization was founded by Ellen Brown, author of Web of Debt (revised 2012), and The Public Bank Solution; from Austerity to Prosperity (2013). Ellen Brown has been prodigious in her efforts to continue to study and learn and put monetary systems and their impact in a global perspective. There are many informative and thoughtful essays on her blog about recent events from a monetary perspective. The Institute has been effective in getting local and state groups active in studying our money system. As noted in Block 7.80, public banking will not address the deeper systemic issues of a fractional reserve monetary system, but the information here is valuable, and it can be a worthy bridge.
Please check the website USMoney.US for additional groups. They are springing up like mushrooms and it’s a challenge to keep this list updated.
International Money Reform
If you read in a foreign language, then this site has links to common wealth money movements in Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden. Below I’ve listed the organizations with websites in English:
Positive Money, https://positivemoney.org/
This organization was established by the authors of Modernizing Money (2013), Andrew Jackson and Ben Dyson. They are social media savvy, bright young economists who have created a trove of excellent materials on our existing system and common wealth money. The website has some superlative little videos that make understanding money easy. They have many downloadable PDFs addressing general and detailed issues around changing our money system. Their books are models of good nonfiction writing; well organized, clear and readable. There are only minor differences between the British and US money systems, so most of their videos and books apply to the US.
Monetary Reform: A Better Monetary System for Iceland
Sensible Money, http://www.sensiblemoney.ie/welcome/
The Full Money Initiative, Vollgeld Initiative, http://www.vollgeld-initiative.ch/english/
Seed it! – Spread the word
Let’s be pollinators. A functioning democracy must be founded on a well-informed public. If each of us take responsibility for providing three people with this basic information about our money system, and if you persuade at least two of those three to find another three we could be well on our way to having a worthwhile conversation about our money system.
Be prepared for cognitive dissonance
We are literally and physically uncomfortable with information that contradicts our assumptions, truths, and worldview.
The people we are inclined to look to for leadership on political, economic and monetary issues have often spent their lives inside the belief system that supports the status quo. They have built a life on their beliefs. Their brains, in self-defense, may push them to repudiate anything that challenges their thinking. Be prepared to face substantial controversy and enmity. Stick to curiosity rather than judgment. Start by gathering and agreeing on facts and issues. Be clear about and understand the stories that people are telling with the facts. Stick to respectfully questioning and challenging other’s points of view.
Those who are privileged by our current system are likely to hold very tightly to their privilege. And, they have the power over our institutions and control of media that their wealth brings. They will use it.
We’ve only got one planet. If we don’t make some changes soon, life as we know it may be impossible for our grandchildren. Let’s move forward with humility and call on our highest wisdom.
WE can do this.
Corrections and requests for data
I’ve published this book in sections on the website, USMoney.US. If I’ve made any statements you consider questionable, please comment in the forum of the relevant section or message me on my blog, and present your evidence. I’m happy to consider other points of view. If you think I’m wrong about anything, please let me know and give me the opportunity to hear your reasoning. If I’ve made a mistake, I’ll correct it. I want this to be informative and accurate.
I take to heart the story of the Blind Men and the Elephant. We can only describe what we see from our personal vantage. I have done my best to broaden my view by reading a great many books about our money system. I find though, I have plenty of room to continue enriching my understanding. Right up until press time, I have read new books that opened my eyes to a new point of view. There is also confirmation bias. Once one creates a framework for understanding, there is a temptation to make everything fit the theory. I am likely guilty, so call me on it if need be.
Thank you for reading to the end of this book! I’d love to hear from you.
If you’ve found my work useful, please pass it on to a friend, or better yet, buy them a copy! Sales will help keep the website up and running, and spread the word about our money system.
I hope you leave this book with an enriched understanding of money systems. I hope you have a framework to assist in looking for the assumptions made by people who write more detailed and scholarly tomes.
We can have a money system that creates a more perfect Union, establishes Justice, insures domestic tranquility, provides for the common defense, promotes the general welfare, and secures the blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity. With the right choice, it may seem like Santa Claus has come bringing health, joy and prosperity to our nation.
Now, please come by, log in and help make change at https://usmoney.us/.