On money, god and goodwill
A few days of rest is a good ocasion to think back to all the wonderful discussions we have had at Puerta del Sol. Because discussion is another amazing feature of our movement. People are not talking about lipstick any more, or about the latest application for your iPhone, or about MTV’s hottest one-hit-wonders. No, people talk about things that really matter.
With comrade Ronaldo we discussed the 'economy', for example, and the paradox of the term. It literally means something like 'frugality'. But the prevailing ideology of our time is the exact opposite. Consumption and waste.
In Holland right now there’s a lot of talk about lending to Greece or not. The discussion is all about money. So allow me talk about money as well, for a change.
How is it possible, I wondered, with all the wealth and prosperity that our world produces, that all countries, rich and poor (except perhaps China), are weighed down by debt?
In fact, that’s not possible. All those debts, the whole crisis, is one huge scam.
The reason that all countries have debts is due to the phenomenon of interest. The classical economic model is based on gold, because gold is scarce, and therefore it has value. People used to bring their gold to the bank. There it was safe. The banker would give the depositor a receipt. These receipts would become bank notes. They obtained the value of the gold they represented.
So far everything is okay. Things only started to go wrong when the bankers noted that people hardly came back to claim their gold anymore. They were content to use bills in their daily money exchange. So what did the bankers do: they started to emit more ‘receipts’ than they had gold in their vaults to cover it. These receipts were loaned at interest. If the bank loaned one hundred bills, then a year later they would want a hundred and ten notes in return. But those ten additional notes did not even exist, because the bank never put them into circulation in the first place! That’s why there is always more debt than money to repay it with. And so that’s why all countries (except China) are in debt and always will be. "Bankruptcy is part of the system."
But it gets even weirder. For while the amount of paper money far exceeds the amount of gold on which it was initially based, the amount of electronic money is still far greater than the total of paper money.
That money is created out of nothing by the banks. So if a simple working man or woman puts a hundred dollars in the bank, the bank is entitled to lend it out tenfold. They just create nine hundred dollars from thin air. It’s creative accounting at its best, and it's legal too. And although this money is purely fictitious, it can be used as if it were real. So if the bank invests these nine hundred euros in another bank, the latter can consider it 'real' money and use it to create even more money. And so on and so on. But the trick is that every time money is lended, there is interest to be payed. So no matter how much money there is in circulation, it will never be enough to cover all the outstanding debts.
But the best part of this scam is still the gold story.
Historically gold was the pillar of the whole monetary system. But at a certain point people came to realise that gold was no longer needed at all. The gold standard has been abandoned years ago. The safes are probably empty. After the cornerstone had been removed it turned out that the whole castle could stay up in the air by itself.
Comrades, the revolution can only succeed if people become conscious of all the lies that they have been accustomed to accept as truth.
The idea of ‘money’ in this respect is very similar to the idea of 'god’ in the Middle Ages.
Almost everyone believes in money nowadays. Just like everyone believed in god during the Middle Ages. It was inconceivable that people did not believe in god back then. Today’s bankers would have been the priests. They emitted 'god', and they could print as much of him as they liked. Today’s corporations would have been the nobles. They borrowed ‘god’ from the priests, and with ‘god’ on their side they were entitled to exploit the peasants. The poor peasants themselves were screwed. They had to work like oxen all week long, so that every Sunday in church they would receive a little bit of 'god’, just enough to carry on another week.
Replace god with money and the idea remains the same. Both god and money are fictional concepts aimed at ensuring social cohesion. But god is dead, fortunately. And money will die as well, one day. We will look back at our time with amazement, and we will describe our society as a ‘monetary theocracy’.
Puerta del Sol has proven that money is not needed. Cash donations were not accepted. People were amazed about this. "How can this society survive all these weeks without money?" visitors would ask.
The answer is simple.
Goodwill is worth infinitely more than all the billions of euros used by the bigwigs to buy countries like Greece. Goodwill is the only thing with which we, as humans, can save ourselves and each other.
All the best,