Discover all the twelve sectors at this link.
VISION for the Economics Sector : A thriving humanity on a healthy planet, truly free to meet our own needs, to exchange voluntarily, to build prosperity, and to take care of each other and the environment without coercion or aggression.
Danger : The current economy has been taken over by a rigged system that benefits a few at the expense of most. Not only the U.S. but virtually the entire world economy is verging on free-fall collapse, taking the well-being and lives of billions down with it.
Opportunity : We have the power to change our economic system and allow it to work for everyone. There are well-developed and brilliant ideas for how to create truly thriving economies.
The Economics Sector is perhaps the most important one of all to transform because the way the money system works directly impacts each and every person’s job, home, family and community. Creating centralized banks, a system that requires debt and makes up money out of nothing, has allowed the international banking elite to gradually turn almost the entire world into a population of debt-slaves. Exposing and eliminating this system – and replacing it with an honest and open one - can provide the critical turning point toward creating a world where all can thrive.
Private Bankers Have Rigged the Economy to Fail at Our Expense
DANGER: Humanity is Suffering as a Result of our Flawed Money System
“Give me control over a nation’s currency and I care not who makes its laws.”
- Baron Mayer Amschel Rothschild, European Central Banker
Why would we allow the Federal Reserve to have complete control of our currency, when it has already collapsed the value of the dollar by more than 96%?
The value of your money, interest rates for loans, availability of jobs, and the rate of home foreclosures are all decided by a small group of elite private bankers who run the Federal Reserve. Contrary to common belief, the Federal Reserve – the Central Bank in the U.S. – is not a government agency. It’s privately owned and operated.
The directors and shareholders make important decisions about the economy behind closed doors without government or citizen oversight. What’s the result? A currency that is worth less every day; a rigged and volatile market with extreme highs and lows; home foreclosures; and a privileged class of bankers who make decisions to benefit themselves at the expense of others. Private bankers have a tremendous amount of control not only over the economy, but the government and society as a whole. Here’s how:
Banks create money out of thin air – Most people have to work hard to earn their money, but the Federal Reserve and its member banks can create money whenever they want. Banks simply spend money into existence. When the Federal Reserve buys government securities, for example, it simply credits the seller’s account with money that didn’t exist beforehand. This new money is then loaned and re-deposited at banks until it becomes 10 times the original amount.
This is possible because of what’s referred to as fractional reserve lending – banks in the U.S. are only required to keep 10% of their deposits on reserve. So if you deposit $10 into the bank, they set aside 10%, or $1, and loan out the remaining $9. Over time the initial deposit of $10 becomes $100. This is what banks refer to as the “multiplier effect” and it is the primary way money is created. Under this fractional reserve scheme we inevitably become debt slaves to a ruling class of financial elite.
Banks have a monopoly on currency – The U.S. dollar is protected by legal tender laws* and backed by the government and its military. This ensures that the bankers will be successful and profitable, without having to compete.
The Federal Reserve determines how much your money is worth – Since the Federal Reserve took control, the U.S. dollar has lost more than 96% of its purchasing power. One dollar in 1913 is now worth 4 cents.
This is caused by inflation – something the Fed is very good at creating and something that has serious consequences for everyone. It means today’s hard-earned money will be worth less tomorrow. Some even call it another “tax” on the American people. This is happening because the Federal Reserve is pumping more and more money into the economy without any connection to the amount of goods and services being produced. As a result, the value of the dollar goes down.
The Federal Reserve sets interest rates - The Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee in New York determines interest rates and the amount of money in circulation without anyone else’s approval. This impacts your access to student loans, car loans, home loans and more.
The Federal Reserve orchestrates booms and busts – In the 2008 economic collapse, the biggest commercial banks came out on top even though they were the ones who created the problem in the first place. This was no accident. Through ownership and control of the Federal Reserve, bankers are able to orchestrate booms and busts and bail themselves out. This has been the case throughout history.
Opportunity: We Can Create Entirely Different Banking Systems that Work for Everyone
The current banking system is clearly failing, so why not come up with entirely new approaches that benefit more than just the bankers? We could set up a truly free market (which has never been done before) with diverse banking systems, competing currencies, and thriving local economies. In a truly free market, corporations such as Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Chase, Wells Fargo and AIG would become insolvent if they created mortgage and derivative scams. Local banks would be thriving. To learn more about this vision of a free-market, go to the Solutions section.
Here are some possibilities for reform:
Open up the Market to Other Currencies – Our hard-earned money does not have to lose value over time. We can eliminate legal tender laws – that currently give the Federal Reserve a monopoly on money creation – and open up the market to other currencies. This would allow various types of currencies to compete – some fiat-based**, others backed by commodities such as gold or silver – and since there would be no subsidies or bailouts, the best would naturally come out on top.
Many economists currently believe that the only way a currency can maintain its purchasing power is by backing it with a commodity. This may be the case, but there are examples of successful fiat-based currencies as well. Thomas H. Greco, Jr., a leading authority on free-market approaches to monetary systems, makes the case in his book The End of Money and the Future of Civilization, that credit (debt) based money is a legitimate improvement over previous forms of money, and it’s just bankers control of credit that gets in the way.
If we open up the market, we can test these theories and see what works best.
Allow Other Banks to Form – Rather than just one centralized bank, there could be various banking systems. In Stage 1 of reforming current systems, the government could set up its own lending facility and create its own money, rather than give that power to the Federal Reserve. This would save American’s billions of dollars every year because they would no longer have to pay interest on the debt to the Federal Reserve. This would have to coincide with publicly financed elections to make sure government leaders are accountable to the public and making good banking decisions. To learn more about it, check out the Economics solutions section.
What Can I Do?
Speak up - Talk about how money works with others – help de-mystify the basics and explore the alternatives.
Put Your Money in a Local Bank - You can stop funding the problem and start funding the solution all in one move – take your money out of destructive central banks and put it into a local bank or credit union. They can use your deposits to fund locally owned businesses and good sustainable projects. To learn more, click here.
Join the Movement to Audit and End the Federal Reserve - Join the movement to expose the Fed’s destructive practices and create honest alternatives. Sign up for Critical Mass Actions to Audit and End the Federal Reserve
* Legal Tender means that Federal Reserve notes (US Dollars) are considered a valid and legal offer of payment in the U.S. The Coinage Act of 1965, specifically Section 31 U.S.C. 5103, entitled "Legal tender," states: "United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues."
** Fiat based currencies do not have any intrinsic value. Fiat money can not be exchanged for any physical object – such as gold or silver – and is not backed by anything real other than peoples faith in it.
Bankers Have a Monopoly on Currency
DANGER: Our Economic Well-Being is Controlled by an Elite Few Who Have Been Granted a Monopoly on Currency
Why has government awarded exclusive money making privileges to central bankers?
This wasn’t the case before the 19th and 20th Century, and the US government certainly doesn’t support monopolies in other industries. In fact, it usually tries to break them up. So why is a favored group of people given a monopoly on currency, when citizens rely so heavily on its performance? Could we benefit from competition of currencies, and come up with better alternatives? Could we create currencies that hold value over time?
This notion of a “monopoly on currency” is a foreign concept to most people, but it’s an important one. The government has literally put our well-being in the hands of the Federal Reserve – a group of private bankers – by granting them the sole power to issue currency. They control the money supply, interest rates, and hence the value of the dollar which impacts everyone.
The government backs this monopoly with the state military (a monopoly on force) which guarantees safety of the bankers, even when they are offering bad loans, devaluing our currency, and bailing themselves out, as was the case in the most recent economic collapse. In exchange for protection, the government gets to borrow money whenever it wants from the Federal Reserve, and doesn’t have to levy taxes directly from the American taxpayers to fund unpopular actions or policies, such as war. In the end, the taxpayers pay the bill and the interest on the debt, which continues to grow at an unsustainable rate every day.
This monopoly is destroying our economy. It prevents competition and more desirable alternatives from emerging. If we open up the market to competition, people will naturally gravitate to sound, reliable currencies and be able to create more prosperous lives and communities.
OPPORTUNITY: Competition of Currencies Will Support Thriving Economies
As explored in the other Critical Issue, we can open up the market to other currencies, and the best will naturally come out on top.
Some successful currencies to learn from include:
Colonial Era Interest-Free Currency - The early American colonies issued their own money, called “Colonial Scrip”, with great success. Just enough money was printed and circulated to facilitate full commerce and prosperity without paying interest to central bankers. There was no debt to be repaid – the colonies simply created more money when it was needed, making sure it was spent or lent into existence at the same rate as the real economic growth of goods and services. The Colonial Scrip was eventually shut down by the British government when they realized the threat of widespread prosperity and independence that it posed. However, it showed that a fiat-based system has shown some potential for at least short term effectiveness when combined with responsible distribution and management of money – but therein lies its downfall because of its opportunity for abuse.
Inflation-Proof, Interest-Free, Government Issued Currency in Guernsey - Guernsey is a small island about 75 miles south of Great Britain. For almost 200 years, the government of Guernsey has been issuing interest-free money without causing inflation. The money supply has gone up about 25 times its original size, but the economy has remained strong and prosperous. Guernsey is one of the only countries where Central bankers or governments haven’t dismantled the alternative money system.
The Liberty Dollar - This alternative currency was created in 1998 by a private non-profit organization, named NORFED (National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and the Internal Revenue Code). The liberty dollar was 100% backed by silver and gold, meaning that the holder of the currency had ownership of a certain sum of silver or gold. The liberty coins, paper, or digital receipts were redeemable for gold or silver that were stored in a warehouse in Idaho, where it was monitored and audited monthly. This currency held its value over time and quickly claimed a circulation of $20 million, making it the second most popular American currency after Federal Reserve Notes. In 2007, the government raided the group’s six warehouses and offices, confiscating the reserves and computers, claiming the coins were illegal because “they could be confused with U.S. coins.” Motions have been filed for return of those unlawfully taken assets and the decision is pending, but the story indicates the strong desire for sound commodity backed currency that would guide the market if currencies were free to compete for our selection.
The "Debt Free" Italian Simec - In 2000, a wealthy Italian Professor, Giacinto Auriti, experimented with a debt-free currency hoping to prove that central bankers lowered the purchasing power of money by loaning it out at interest. So, he issued a debt-free alternative currency, called simec, and offered it to the people in the small town of Guardiagrele, Italy. The simec were a huge success. People discovered that one simec had twice the purchasing power of the lire and were eager to shop with the alternative currency. 2.5 billion simec circulated rapidly. This program needed a wealthy benefactor to get it going, but it still shows the great potential of debt-free currency to facilitate economic growth and prosperity.
What Can I Do?
Use or Create Alternative Currencies in Your Community - Many alternative currencies have emerged in recent years with great success such as the New York Ithaca Hour and the Berkshare in Massachusetts. Check them out to learn more about the benefits and challenges.
Ithaca Hours – This local currency has been widely used in Ithaca, New York. Many businesses and community members participate in the program and are helping to keep money within the community.
Berkshares – Since this local currency was issued in the fall of 2006, $2.7 million Berkshares have circulated in the region of Berkshire, Massachusetts. Consumers get a 5% discount on purchases and participating stores are helping to establish a thriving local economy.
Current Economic Indicators Give Us Insufficient Feedback
DANGER: GDP and Profitability Fail to Tell Us How We’re Really Doing
“At present we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it Gross Domestic Product. We can just as easily have an economy that is based on healing the future instead of stealing it.”
- Paul Hawken, 2009 Commencement Address to the University of Portland
US Real GDP (billions of 2000 dollars). Source: Lawrence H. Officer and Samuel H. Williamson, "Graphing Various Historical Economic Series" MeasuringWorth.Com, January 2008.Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the traditional method of measuring economic growth. It has consistently risen over the years, supposedly demonstrating healthy expansion, but an increase in output does not necessarily mean a more vibrant community. GDP fails to account for the distribution of wealth across communities or the impact of production on the environment. It includes weapons, war and complex financial instruments – none of which create real value to society. GDP is an inadequate indicator at best, and if it keeps going up the consequences will be disastrous.
Profitability as the sole bottom-line also can create huge detrimental impact. Businesses focus almost exclusively on profitability (which is especially true for corporations who are required by law to attempt to yield higher returns for their shareholders) which often results in damaging social and environmental practices. For instance, hiring cheap labor in another country becomes a much more attractive alternative than employing someone who costs more and lives down the street because it saves the business money.
The money leaving the community can end up undermining local schools, business, infrastructure, food production, and home values while also undermining the communities in other countries who earn inadequate wages from off shore corporations.
The impacts of production on the environment are also often unaccounted for. A cheap sofa, for example, may appear to be the best option available to the consumer but the price fails to reflect the pollution emitted in the transportation process, the use of finite resources that were not revitalized by the company, and the long-term health effects on the producers, consumers, and the environment from the flame retardants sprayed on the sofa.
There are better alternatives. Check them out below.
OPPORTUNITY: New Inclusive Indicators Give Humanity More Accurate Feedback
In order to have a healthy, thriving civilization it requires feedback that accurately assesses the state of communities, countries, regions and the world at large. GDP certainly doesn’t do that, but a number of new measurement systems do, and they seem to be improving all the time. The Genuine Progress Indicator and Quality of Life Indicators are two compelling models to learn from – you can explore them below. More and more businesses are adopting triple bottom line practices, accounting for ecological and social performance in addition to economic performance.
Source: Redefining Progress.
Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) – The organization, Redefining Progress, has come up with an alternative to GDP, called the “Genuine Progress Indicator” that “takes inequality, environmental degradation, and debt into account as well as the benefits associated with housework, parenting, volunteering, and higher education.”  It periodically publishes this information, giving us a more accurate reflection of how we’re really doing. Redefining Progress also has guidelines and programs for creating community and regional indicators. Alberta, Canada has created a comprehensive indicator system for its own region, measuring up to 51 different factors including income distribution, crime rates, resource depletion, pollution, and much more.
Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators – The Quality of Life Indicators “are a contribution to the worldwide effort to develop comprehensive statistics of national well-being that go beyond traditional macroeconomic indicators. A systems approach is used to illustrate the dynamic state of our social, economic and environmental quality of life. The dimensions of life examined include: education, employment, energy, environment, health, human rights, income, infrastructure, national security, public safety, re-creation and shelter.”  This approach provides a much more comprehensive and accurate view of society which allows us to make more informed choices and adjust as needed.
What Can I Do?Apply triple bottom line principles to your business and encourage those with whom you do business to do the same. Triple bottom line businesses account for the people, planet, and profit. To learn more about it, click here.