Challenging Money and Growth

Today, Thursday 20th November, the House of Commons is having a debate titled ‘Money Creation and Society.’ This is long overdue: the last time such a debate was held was in 1844. The interesting Conservative rebel backbencher Steve Baker proposed the debate, with cross party support from Caroline Lucas (Green) Michael Meacher (Lab) and Douglas Carswell (UKIP). It will be an opportunity to discuss taking the power to create money as debt away from commercial banks, which is what the Positive Money organisation has been demanding for some years.

The headlines this week are of David Cameron saying the world is on the verge of another financial crisis. George Monbiot yesterday posted an excellent blog on the inevitability of another crisis and the damage that is being done to society and the planet by humanity’s headlong pursuit of growth at all costs.

My recommendations would be to follow the Positive Money line and take the power to create money as debt away from commercial banks. My take on growth is that we need to abandon it as a policy objective. We need to prioritize other goals: ecological survival, social justice, human wellbeing. Then we need to plan policy that will promote these goals. That will mean the growth of some areas of the economy and the contraction of other areas: whether this results in overall growth or contraction is of secondary importance. I find Stephen Harding’s distinction between suicidal growth and intelligent growth to be more useful than the growth/ no growth debate.

Humanity needs to leave 80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground to avert climate catastrophe. Managed contraction of the carbon generating industries must become a policy goal, and that is impossible given the political consensus to blindly follow headlong growth at all costs. Our survival may depend on changing the economic model, and I welcome today’s debate as a way to begin that necessary change of direction.


Parliamentary debate

Positive Money has excellent video clips and info

George Monbiot’s blog

Stephen Harding