Sunday, January 20, 2008

Economic Democracy Now!

Richard C. Cook has written an excellent synthesis of C. H. Douglas, Keynes and Galbraith in Global Research repudiating the orthodox economics used to legitimate the Federal Reserve under which the world’s capitalist economies are in reality enslaved. Here’s an excerpt:

“Overall, banks have served four main purposes—one legitimate, one dubious, one puzzling, and one deeply flawed.

1. Legitimate
“The first purpose—a legitimate one—is to facilitate commerce. It is often cheaper for a business to borrow capital from a bank than to stockpile cash itself. This was the purpose of the state banking system in the U.S. prior to the Civil War. The state-chartered banks existed to provide working capital for commercial transactions, such as stocking inventory, or for business expansion. Use of banking for these purposes was tied to specific commercial activities—the “real bills” doctrine. Of course credit used for this purpose has a cost which is factored into prices. When these loans are repaid, they are canceled at the bank which thus removes purchasing power from the economy. This is another area, besides retained corporate earnings, that contributes to the gap between prices and purchasing power identified by C.H. Douglas. But lending for commerce itself remains a legitimate activity.

2. Dubious
“The second use of banking—the dubious one—is for capital formation in the creation of new businesses, a function which overlaps with capital markets such as the stock exchanges. But this use very easily turns into lending for speculation by permitting investors to borrow money in order to buy stock on margin or to “leverage” investing by borrowing money in order to purchase whole companies. The costs of this borrowing also show up in consumer prices without introducing any new purchasing power into the system.

“This practice has mushroomed in recent decades starting with the buyout/merger/acquisition mania of the 1980s and has reached disastrous proportions through the creation and growth of equity and hedge funds. The use of bank borrowing for such speculative purposes is an obvious abuse that should not even be legal. It is actually a form of theft from the nation’s natural and normal store of credit that should be carefully administered by competent public authorities as a utility as critical to social health as the water supply.

3. Puzzling
“The third use of banking—the puzzling one—is for consumer credit. This includes borrowing for big purchases such as buying houses and automobiles, or small ones such as items bought with credit cards. Increasingly it includes purchasing even the necessities of life such groceries.

“Buying an object with a credit card often means that a person cannot afford to buy it at the present moment. So the person is gambling that he or she will be able to pay off this loan—including interest—at some point in the future. What is puzzling is that in the midst of what is claimed to be the most productive economy in the history of the world, why are most people so poor that they cannot buy what they need to live with the proceeds of their present earnings? This is the ultimate repudiation of Say’s Law and its derivatives—Libertarianism, supply-side economics, and the like.

4. Flawed
“The fourth use of banking—the one that is deeply flawed—is the financing of government inflation through purchase of public debt instruments which allow deficit financing of public activities, most particularly the waging of war. Banking for the purpose of financing war has a long pedigree, going back to the medieval times where kings were perpetually in hock to the money-lenders. Today we have the national debt, which has been used primarily for war, as well as for the Keynesian pump-priming described previously. A classic case of the use of banking for deficit financing of war is the borrowing by the federal government under the Bush/Cheney administration to raise the trillion dollars already spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.”

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