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lifeflame's avatar

What's your response to "Money as Debt" (see video)? Is it true that our society is that economically unsustainable and do you agree with its solutions?

Asked by lifeflame (5912points) May 30th, 2010

Recently I watched a video clip called Money is Debt by Paul Grignon. It was able to explain to me, in very layman terms, how basically the monetary system allows banks to “create money” out of nothing every time it makes a loan. It pointed out basically because the amount of principal is always less than the principle amount + interest it is basically impossible for society to pay off the debt, and that actually, in the current system being in debt keeps the economy going (because more money is being created in the system).

One of its solutions, if I understood correctly, was for the government to step in and take control of the money, and not charge interest; instead regulating inflation/deflation via taxes. This way people (ie., banks) won’t be allowed to make profit without being productive (as opposed to just making money out of money).

As someone who has only a rudimentary knowledge of economics, I’d like some input from people who are more knowledgeable. How accurately does this video explain what’s going on? Are there countries who don’t run on a debt-based economy? What solutions are there, and what would be needed in order to move off a debt-based economy?

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7 Answers

CMaz's avatar

For less then a trillion dollars of “stimulus” money. Take 500 billion. Pay off the national credit debt.
Take another 100 billion and inject into education. Providing an intranet for kids to access instead of the internet.

Just saved 400 billion dollars. Economy and education gets better over night.

Debt is good and necessary. Abuse of that “power” is never a good thing. IT has been abused too long.

earthduzt's avatar

Here are some people that would like to move off a debt or money based society The Venus Project I think they are wanting more of a resource based economy and I think oil is out for them also, not too sure. Looks interesting does have some flaws I believe.

laureth's avatar

It’s a pretty long video, so there’s more to talk about than I can easily fit into a little Fluther box, but I’ll say this:

1. There’s enough truth in it to make the non-truth go down easily if you don’t know any better. For instance, money really is created out of nothing like that, but where they start talking about “banking = bad” is where they veer off. When the government just creates their own money, we enter a period of great inflation. That is why they borrow it.

2. The truth is heavily front-loaded, so by the time they veer off into neverland with their theory, you might actually buy it.

3. I did check up on the Benjamin Franklin quote (“The inability of colonists to get power to issue their own money permanently out of the hands of George the III and the international bankers was the PRIME reason for the Revolutionary War.”) because I just couldn’t believe it, and it turns out to never have been in any of the editions of his biography (where it was supposed to be quoted from). (Link, look under “misattributed.”) Some of the quotes they used are probably genuine, but one misattributed one makes me question how many more are.

4. The Fed is not run by “foreign international banks,” it’s run by people the President nominates and who are approved by the Senate. At the time the Federal Reserve was created, foreign banks didn’t have charters here. The only banks that took part were American.

5. It’s true that “endless growth” cannot really be sustainable, but I don’t think this is the fix for that. People have to learn to consume more wisely and equitably, to be sure.

6. There were a number of implications that “gold = real money” in the video. The Gold (or Silver, etc.) standard is not the answer. For one thing, that puts control of the money supply not in the hands of government or the people, but into the hands of whoever controls gold production. This is one of the reasons that the immense influx of gold from the New World into Spain produced sky-high inflation and collapsed their economy.

7. Every now and then there are crashes like that, where all the “invented value” goes right back to the void it came from. Check out This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly for a more detailed explanation.

8. If I’d been taking notes, I’m sure I’d be able to write more about each of the smaller places the video goes astray of reality, but these are the big ones.

dealrrr's avatar

bank notes used to be backed by precious metals, now there worth nothing. Ben Franklin said the prime reason for the revolutionary war was colonies being forced to “borrow” currency from the king rather than regulate their own. your labor is your countries only real value now.

jerv's avatar

@dealrrr Yes, but labor doesn’t pay the bills. The only way to make money these days is to be rich. If you already have money then people will give you more money.

YARNLADY's avatar

@jerv Rebuttal: There are many people who have no bills to pay, you could try that.

You don’t have to be rich to pay your bills, most people work just enough to cover their expenses every week and that’s all.

You can still find people even this year who have started out with nothing or very little and made a relative fortune by coming up with an idea for something that other people are willing to pay for.

Nullo's avatar

Changing something as fundamental as how we treat money could be nigh catastrophic. Might be for the best, though.

I do get the general feeling that something is going to give out, eventually.

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