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Rudo de Ruijter
Secrets of money, interest and inflation
by Rudo de Ruijter,
September 2007, updated 29 December 2012
Money plays a big role in our life. In society too, nearly everything is determined by money. It is strange, that only few people know the juggling tricks, by which money originates and disappears again. Most people see, that money becomes worth less all the time, but they don’t know, that this is caused, in the first place, by the money system itself. Also the eternal chase for economic growth and the always increasing working pressure in industrialized countries, are caused by the money system. Money can also serve for oppression, for instance of the Third World countries, or be the motive for wars, like the one against Iraq. Would you like to take a small tour behind the scene? Welcome to the circus of the money-jugglers!
1. Making money
Exchanges, a primary need
People need each other’s products and services. They use money to exchange them among each other. Of course, it would be nice if money provided an honest medium of exchange. But this is not the case. Money loses value all the time.
Money does not belong to the stateMost people believe, that money is created by the state. However, most governments have little or no say in their country’s money supply. Bankers have taken over this power. They have turned this medium of exchange into a lucrative way of taxing the population by collecting interest. Bankers permanently collect interest on nearly all the money in the world.
Money is created by commercial banks
World wide bankers now have a money system, which is based on making money out of thin air. Nearly all money in bank accounts consists of thin air. There is only a tiny little fraction of real money in circulation. How is that?
Banking is bookkeeping
Each time a banker supplies a loan he does not hand out money, but just a balance. The loan consists of nothing else but numbers in the banker's books. Let's say you want a loan from your bank, the “Hard Up Bank”. On one side of the ledger the banker writes that you owe him 250,000 Euros and on the other side that he owes you 250,000 Euros. You see the amount appear in your account. You can spend it. Buy a little home? Okay, buy a little home.
Say you write a cheque to the seller of the house. He will bring that cheque to his bank, the "Red Shield Bank". That bank now wants to exchange the cheque at your bank, that is to say, against real money. Red Shield knows how his colleague has juggled the numbers from his hat and won't put up with thin air.
So now “Hard Up Bank” will have to come up with real money. However, in practice, this is not necessary most of the time, because Red Shield also supplies loans continually. Part of these loans will be spent with customers of Hard Up Bank. So, what happens is that Red Shield exchanges his claim of 250,000 Euros on Hard Up Bank against a claim of 250,000 Euros of Hard Up Bank on Red Shield.
All payments proceed in the same way. When you make a payment to someone at another bank, then your banker must pay it to the other bank. But still the same day there will also be payments made by customers of other banks to customers at your bank. All these interbank payments are simply crossed out against each other.
What the banks finally pay to each other are the little differences between incoming and outgoing packets of payments. To facilitate these payments all banks have an account at the central bank. The amounts in these accounts are considered to be real money. (If they wished the banks could claim the entire amount in bank notes, as the central bank is authorized to print them.)
At the central bank the rule goes that banks must have a positive balance at the end of the day. When a banker is short of money, because he received a bit less than he paid out, he will borrow for the night from his colleague, who then has received a little more than he paid out. And when the colleagues don't trust each other, like during the credit crisis in 2008 and now again since a few months ago, the banker can borrow from the central bank for a quarter of a percent more. (See also: From state debt to state money )
The merry-go-round of loans
Banks create more money, but they don’t magically create more goods to buy. When people have more money, but there is still the same quantity of stuff to buy, prices will simply go up. Each unit of money becomes worth less. That is called inflation.
So, when banks put more money into circulation, the value of each unit of money goes down. And that is also true for the interest they collect. When they issue 10 times more loans and inflate the money stock by 10 times, the interest they collect is worth 10 times less too.
Competition assures inflation
Most countries have only one official currency, but multiple commercial banks issuing the money. And although these banks together do not get much richer from inflating the money-stock, they still do so. The apparent reason for this is the competition among them. Although competition sounds healthy, when we speak about normal enterprises, competition among banks means lending out as much money as possible and thus maximum inflation.
For each bank competition is just a battle to collect more interest and to increase its market share and benefits. The bank with the best results will grow quicker than the others and, in the long run, will be able to eat his competitors.
The gap between rich and poor
Not everyone can borrow the money he wants. When lending money, banks demand collateral they can seize if the borrower defaults on his payments. People with sufficient collateral can obtain loans and invest easily. Big corporations even pay less interest. The demand for collateral works as a continual widening of the gap between rich and poor.
For societies this is a permanent looming danger. As banks and not governments decide about loans, governments can only try to mask the social cracks, but will not be able to heal nor prevent them.
Loans for investment and consumption
An effect of loans all borrowers know too well, is that the amount has to be paid back with interest. The entrepreneur borrowing money for investments will have to generate extra income to pay this interest. Loans for investments are not only a cash-cow for bankers, but can also contribute to more economic activity. Making loans available for investments would be the useful role of the banks for society.
On the contrary, loans for consumer spending normally do not contribute to more consumption. It is true, that thanks to consumer credit, the purchase of an article takes place earlier. However, this advantage is offset by a longer period of decreased purchase power of the consumer. The consumer must not only earn the money for his purchase, but also for the interest. Therefore he will purchase less consumption goods with his wages. When the consumer pays the interest to the bank, only a part of this money will become wages of bank employees and only part of these wages will be spent on consumer goods. So, credit for consumer goods rather leads to a decrease in total purchases of consumer goods.
Where does the money go?
Once the borrower has spent the money of his loan, it becomes rather unpredictable how successive holders will use this money. One might acquire the borrowed money by selling a car to the borrower. The seller may then pay the money out as wages. The wage earner might then use the money to pay his rent. In fact, as soon as money enters into the big playground of transactions among people, it can serve for all purposes we use money for.
During the lifetime of loans, the money is transferred from bank to bank each time when account holders make payments to account holders of other banks. For this purpose the central bank keeps an account for each bank and executes these transfers.
Sometimes it is more practical to use banknotes and coins. At the bank or at an automated teller machine one can take money from his account. When it is spent, the receiver will bring it to his bank, make a deposit, and will see the amount appear in his account. Money can take the form of cash or numbers in bank accounts. For the payments, it does not matter which form it takes.
Where does money end?
Money ends when the borrower pays back the principal of the loan to the bank. At that moment the bank transfers money from the borrowers deposit account to the borrowers credit account. The credit account will show, that the borrower’s debt has been reduced. The money came into existence by putting numbers in the borrower’s account and vanishes by reducing these numbers.
The borrower also has to pay interest to the bank. The interest does not form part of the money the bank created for this borrower. The borrower must obtain it also from the money in circulation. (Per definition, that money is the pool of all outstanding loans in the country at that moment.) The interest the banker gets does not disappear. He spends it. So, it stays in circulation.
So, the lifetime of money ends, when loans end. And if all loans would be paid back, there would be no money left. Yet, for the moment, there are oceans of money and on all this money the banks collects interest.
Non-bankers versus bankers
In society money goes round. Money comes your way when you produce or do things that others want. Money rolls the other way, when you purchase things or make people work for you. Eventually you can save some money for later. Bankers do it differently. They simply and permanently take some money from others and spend it. It is based on the principle, that the money is theirs, since they created it. Thus bankers find it logical, that they are entitled to collect rent. Indeed, in some countries this levy is called “rente”. (In English “interest”.) And although everyone uses the money, the bank always takes this levy from the first user, the borrower. In a moment we will see how the banks make the other users pay too.
Banks cannot be considered as ordinary commercial enterprises. They have declared themselves owners of all money and they make the population pay to rent it.
Nearly all money is temporary. Ending loans have to be replaced by new loans to keep money in circulation. Loans start at different moments and have different lifetimes. Often the borrower pays back a part of his loan each month. It means, that each amount in circulation has its own “time-out” date, which is the foreseen date the borrower has to pay it back.
The total amount of money in circulation determines how much money we dispose of for our transactions and, in the long run, it sets the overall price-level of products and services.
During its lifetime money is a medium for transactions. A transaction takes place when two parties find it interesting. “A” finds the money he gets more interesting and “B” finds the second hand car he purchases more interesting. An exchange takes place. Now “A” has the money and “B” has the car and both feel satisfied.
Transactions may include a payment for added value. When a baker makes bread, he adds his work to the flour, milk and yeast. The work he does represents added value. When he sells the bread the transaction is not just an exchange of property, but includes payment for the added value.
By itself, the total amount of transactions in a country does neither give any indication about the added value, nor about the value of goods and services produced in a country.
2. Permanent inflation
Price inflation makes us lose value on the money we detain. It can fluctuate a lot over time. Many economic theories offer explanations about the causes. However, these theories rather explain increasing and lowering prices among products and services. They do not explain why inflation is permanent. The permanent inflation has a different cause. We’ll take a quick tour through different types of inflation. But, to start with, we will eliminate the confusion between the Consumer Price Index and price inflation.
Consumer Price Index and Price Inflation
Price inflation leads to dissatisfaction of the population. That is why a lot of countries use a Consumer Price Index, which shows more pleasant figures. , ,  So, when politicians or officials use the word “inflation”, they most often mean the changes in the Consumer Price Index.
The index is based on a yearly price comparison of a basket of products, that an “average” household would need. The content of the basket varies from country to country and so do the rules to calculate the index. One country may include the cost of food, fuel and housing; another country may leave these costs out. ,  Some countries publish the categories of products they have in the basket , but the exact products usually remain secret. Nevertheless, some statistics bureaus disclose some tricks they use to obtain flattering indexes. For instance, they change the content of the basket periodically. Products that rise in price too much are taken out and replaced by cheaper ones. Or, when the price of a product remains stable, but quality improves, they count the quality improvement as a price reduction. So, for the computer in the basket, the Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS) counts a 64 percent price reduction between 1998 and 2003! And down goes the index! 
So, the content of the basket is adjusted periodically. The justification is: "when prices rise, households adjust their purchases too." And what does this policy means for the index? Well, since the defined household cannot spend more than it earns, the price-increase of the CPI-basket is automatically limited to the increase in earnings. The defined household cannot pay higher prices.
Unless indicated otherwise, in this article the expression “price inflation” refers to the real increase in prices in all transactions and not to some CPI. And in this article “inflation” means, in the first place, the increase of the money stock. More about that in a moment.
The cost-push theory says, that increasing costs are responsible for price inflation, like higher wages, increase in price of imported raw materials or increase of taxes on consumption. 
The demand-pull theory says, price inflation appears when demand exceeds the offer.  Increased demand can be caused by export activities, tax reductions or growth of the money supply. Fluctuations in demand can also occur, when consumers save more money and, after some time, start spending it again.
The expectations for price inflation also affect real price inflation. Manufacturers and traders generally have pricelists, which are valid for six months or a year. They have to include a percentage for expected inflation. This immediately increases the prices, and thus contributes to the real inflation. The same goes for bankers. When they issue loans, they foresee that the interest they get in return over time will be lowered by inflation, thus they calculate an extra margin. Extra cost of interest contributes to the real inflation.
Increase of the money stock
If demand-pull and cost-push inflations would take place without expansion of the money-stock, some prices would rise and others would lower. However, we rather see some prices rise faster than others, but rarely prices that lower. This is because, over time, the money stock increases by more and more outstanding loans. This is called the monetary inflation.
Of course it affects the prices in transactions, however, never evenly. Practically, when more money becomes available, this extra money creates room for price increases in each successive transaction it goes through. We may presume, that when other inflationary factors are at work somewhere, for instance high demand, the extra money will lead to extra price increases there.
The monetary inflation is the cause of the permanent overall price increases we notice in the long run. It is the only inflation that counts over years and decades.
Inflation, in the first place, refers to inflating the money stock. This leads to the increase of average prices. Today we also use the word "inflation" for the increase of prices. Keep in mind, when the money stock grows and, simultaneously, productivity grows, it may happen, that the average prices don't increase or increase less quickly. The available money is spread out among a greater number of products and services and this helps keep prices down.
3. Central banks need inflation
It may seem, that inflation keeps itself going rather naturally. When prices rise during the lifetime of loans, new loans must finance more expensive things and thus have to be higher. At any time the cause of inflation would be the inflation itself. However, it is not some “perpetuum mobile” that is responsible for inflation, but a clear and openly admitted policy of central bankers , . Inflation is a component of our banking system.
As exposed earlier, competition among commercial banks assures, that they will issue the maximum amount of loans. Hence, to higher or lower inflation the central bank only needs to loosen or tighten the issuance of loans.
The best known way of central banks to steer inflation is changing the interest rate. It is meant to influence potential borrowers. In the words of the Dutch Central Bank (DNB): “The interest works like the acceleration and the break pedal of the economy. By an increase of the interest rate, prices will lower, or at least rise less quickly. By a decrease in the interest rate prices will rise faster.” 
A way to explain it is, that when the interest rate becomes higher, people will borrow less. And when less ending loans are replaced by new loans, there will be less money in the country. Over time, you can buy more with each unit of money. Prices lower. But mind, what DNB added: “or at least rise less quickly.” Here the central bank has no intention to see the prices lower. In this case, apparently, the money stock is still allowed to grow, but just a bit slower.
When the central bank lowers the interest rate, the reason is straightforward: let there be more loans and let the speed of growth of the money stock increase. Of course, the interest rates also work on savings. When interest on savings is low, more people will prefer spending their money.
A central bank does not set the interest rates that commercial banks use for their customers. It only sends a signal to the commercial banks by changing the interest rates that apply between the banks and the central bank. Banks are not obliged to adapt the rates for their customers then, but they always do. 
Central banks cannot steer the inflation on specific prices, like the prices of bread, bicycles or machines. They rather steer the monetary inflation, the increase of the total volume of loans. The extra money never spreads evenly through the economy. It rather increases the effects of other factors, like rising cost or rising demand.
When the economy cannot absorb the inflation anymore and the money does not spread sufficiently, bubbles occur. Then, bigger and bigger masses of money go round in for instance the stock markets or the real estate market, where money is earned by the forcing up of prices. Enterprises too are more and more often bought and sold as if they were financial toys.
Although central banks admit that inflation is part of their policy, they rather put forward economic reasons. They sound plausible most of the times and are richly provided with comments by economists and journalists. However, most of them forget, that, in the first place, central banks need inflation themselves.
Inflation: Central banks need income
Central banks have obtained the power to control the volume of the money stock, to set inflation and interest, and to dictate rules for financial institutions. With this power they can influence the economy. They have obtained laws to hold this power. If they would depend on others for their income, their power might quickly erode again. That is why they collect their own income. , 
Issuance of real money
A permanent flow of income is formed by lending out the real money to the banks. Banks need real money to pay each other and they also need some for their customers, when the latter want to dispose of bank notes. When I say central banks lend out the real money, this is not exactly true. In fact the banks sell securities to the central bank, while promising to buy them back at an agreed date at an agreed (higher) price. (This is called a repo-transaction.) The price difference is like an interest the banks pay to the central bank. When banks sell securities to the central bank, the central bank creates the corresponding amount of money in their central bank account. banks can exchange these amounts for bank notes, as the central bank has the right to print them.
An other source of income is borrowing money when the interest is low and lending it out when interest is high. As monetary operation the purpose is as follows. When interest at commercial banks lowers too much, (low demand), the central bank borrows large volumes of money from the banks. This way there will be less money left in circulation. Therefore demand for loans will increase again and interest at commercial banks will go up again. In other times, when interest at commercial banks gets too high, the central bank lends out money to banks, so they can supply more loans to their customers and finally the interest lowers again.  The bigger the differences in interest between the borrowing and lending of money, the higher the benefits for the central bank.
To get income from these operations, inflation is essential. Without inflation, interest rates would stay rather low.  There would be hardly any difference between high and low interest. Related to this trade, central banks also expand their balance sheet. They buy more securities (lend out more money) than they sell.
Many central banks say, they want to keep inflation around 2 percent. With this they mean an increase of 2 percent of the Consumer Price Index of their country , not the real inflation of the money stock, which normally is a lot higher. 
Inflation: make the population pay for the use of money
Inflation is not only a necessity for central banks’ income, but also a means to exercise power over the users of money. By monetary inflation the population pays – even against its will - for the use of money. Banks collect interest from the borrowers. This way only the borrowers seem to pay for the created money. But let’s see how it works when there is inflation.
By inflation, the borrower has the advantage that his payments to the bank represent less worth over time. These payments concern interest and pay-back of the principal. The interest forms income for the bank. We may be sure, that the bank has foreseen the inflation and has counted a bit more interest in advance. So, for the interest, inflation does not deliver an advantage for the borrower. However, for the principal, this is different. The bank only needs its nominal amount to be paid back, for, with the payback, only the typed numbers, with which the loan started, have to be lowered to zero. The devaluation of the amounts to pay back for the principal certainly is an advantage for the borrower.
The borrower’s advantage on principal payments can be calculated separately for each instalment. And when we also calculate the inflation supported by the following users of the money created by this loan, the totals will appear to be roughly the same.
In this example the red line shows the total amount of transactions made with the money of the loan during the lifetime of the principal. The loss of value from inflation is dissimulated in the 60 transactions. When the inflation is 2 percent, this is in average 0.167 % per transaction. The loss of value for the users of the money equals the advantage for the borrower.
Simply put: if the borrowers must pay 6 percent of interest (on the principal) and has 2 percent advantage from the inflation (on the principal), his advantage equals 2/6 of the interest.  The users of the money lose an equal amount from inflation. The banks don’t lose. They have foreseen the inflation and have count a bit more interest in advance.
In other words, this is what the inflation policy of central bankers does: shift a part of the interest burden from the borrowers to the users. This way the users pay interest for the use of the money!
From the above some people may be tempted to conclude that borrowing is always advantageous, since a part of the burden of the interest is taken off the borrower' s shoulder and shifted to the users of the money. However, the borrower pays the interest which includes the foreseen inflation. He bears the risk that his income does not suffisciently keep pace with the inflation, or inflation becomes less than expected.
“Money mass” must grow
The classic risk for the banker is that borrowers don't pay back their loans or only pay back partially. And when the pawn appears to be insufficient, he will stay with problems in his book keeping, meaning with amounts that sooner or later he will have to book as losses.
To minimize the risk of defaults of payment the banks take care that more and more loans are brought into circulation. For the more "money" is added to what is in circulation, the less each unit becomes worth. The amount the borrower must pay back is set. And because this amount over the course of the loan becomes worth less, he can earn it more easily. In this way the number of defaults of payments is considerably reduced.
Manipulating inflation and interest
With the authority to set inflation and interest the central bankers have the power. They can make us save more, invest more, consume more, speculate more and always work harder.
As shown above, inflation is interest the users of money have to pay. Inflation pushes the population to work harder and to compete to obtain some of the extra money put into circulation and make up for the loss of value of the money they detain.
Inflation also pushes people not to keep money in their pocket or under their mattress, but to spend it or else bring it to the banks for some interest. This way most of the money remains available for the banks.
When interest is high, people will save more. When interest is low, people will rather spend, borrow and invest more.
What we think interesting to do at a particular time, largely depends on what the central bank wants us to do.
4. Caprices of the money stock
As mentioned above, the stock of money society disposes of is the total amount of outstanding loans. By itself this is very strange. For what should be the relation between the outstanding loans and the need for money in society? What does the need of borrowers and their capacity to pay back have to do with the need of money of the rest of society? If you buy a house tomorrow, and, with your loan, bring into existence money for twenty years, that does not have anything to do with the need of the economy in ten or fifteen years, does it?
In fact, society disposes of a hazardous money stock, brought about by issued loans in the past, and the part that still has to be paid back. Each day parts are paid back and new loans are contracted. Because of the gigantic volume of the money stock the population hardly notices the variations. In theory, central banks could centralize all information about outstanding loans and know exactly how much money will be left from the loans tomorrow, in two days or in ten days. With monetary operations they could keep the money stock rather stable. However, as mentioned above, this is not the policy of central banks. They only make the money stock grow.
There are theories that say, that without inflation the economy could not be steered. One of the key arguments is, that when the money stock does not increase, wages cannot be lowered when needed by economic adversity. “The paid out wages would have to be lowered and employees would never accept that.” And “when the money stock increases, cuts in wages can be hidden by letting the wages rise less quickly than the inflation.” So, the proponents of this theory understand, that inflation is bamboozlement of the people and argue, that it cannot work otherwise. Yet, their theory does not hold true. For, with a stable money stock, some prices would rise, while others would lower. People’s acceptance of variations in wages would be very different from today’s situation, where, since decades, prices only rise. Besides, with a stabe money stock, it is even possible to maintain the paid out wages stable during economic adversity, if during economic prosperity the extra income is formed by shares in profits and tax-reductions.
Today's money system does not start from a quantity of money that would fit the needs of the economy. Today’s system only assures, that banks collect interest over all existing money, that the competition among them causes maximum monetary inflation and that central banks secure their income and power. The stimulation of the economy consists of nothing else than a little more or a little less interest and inflation. For the rest the economy must deal with the money that happens to be there at a particular moment.
5. The war against Iraq
Money is expressed in currencies. Each country has an official currency. In the US it is the dollar. The dollar is also used a lot outside the US. Since 1973 the quantity of dollars outside the US increases faster all the time. Half of its imports are paid with dollars, for which the US does not deliver anything in return. Those dollars stay abroad indefinitely. This way the US buys each minute for 1.25 million dollars of goods and services from other countries, for which the other countries don’t get anything in return. The amounts are simply added to the foreign debt. This debt is so high now, the US can not redeem it any more. So the US is bankrupt. One of the main reasons why the whole world still wants dollars, is because almost all gas and oil on the globe has to be paid in dollars. This way, the US has also the advantage that it can always dispose freely of these gas and oil reserves. For the US can always create as many dollars as it wants to pay for it. So, to maintain world's demand for dollars and to dispose freely of the gas and oil reserves, the US tries to make sure, that OPEC-countries keep selling their oil in dollars. However, Iraq, that disposes of the second largest oil reserves in the world, switched to the euro on 6 November 2000.  Although the US sought a way to re-establish its influence in Iraq for many years, the war became inevitable because of this switch to the euro. The dollar sank away and in July 2002 the situation got that serious, that the IMF warned that the dollar might collapse.  A few days later the plans for an attack were discussed at Downing Street.  One month later Cheney proclaimed it was sure now, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.  With this pretext the US invaded Iraq on March 19, 2003. The US switched back the oil trade into dollars on June 5, 2003.  So now, at least financially, the US disposes freely of the Iraqi oil reserves again. (And while from Bagdad journalists report about the war, from Basra the oil is exported in dollars.) Since spring 2003 Iran too switched to the euro and since 8 June 2006 Russia sells its gas and oil in roubles. (You can read more explanations and details in “Cost, abuse and danger of the dollar”  Note: behind the conflict of the US with Iran there is more than a currency-conflict. Behind the scenes it is also about the forming of a cartel on the world market of nuclear fuel. You can read more about this in “Raid on nuclear fuel market.”  )
6. Oppression of Third World countries
The advantage of free imports (1.25 million dollars per minute) only applies, when the dollars stay abroad permanently. If other countries would use them to buy goods and services from the US, then there is no advantage. But since 30 years the US imports more than it exports. As no other it masters the art of keeping the dollars abroad.
For instance, the World bank and the IMF supply loans in dollars to Third World countries since the 1960’s. The policy is to supply as many loans as possible, so these countries will never be able to pay them back.  This way they are eternally stuck with loans and growing interest charges. So, the so-called "help" to developing countries is nothing else than oppression. And the trumpeted debt relief by industrialised countries hardly presented 1 percent. 
7. China’s weapon
The Chinese government does not want free trade with dollars in its country. The dollars earned by Chinese exporters are exchanged against local money by the Chinese Central Bank. The Chinese Central Bank has an enormous stock of dollars. In March 2007 about 1,000 billion dollars.  In fact this constitutes a fairly effective weapon against eventual aggression from the US. When China wants, it can offer loads of dollars on the exchange markets and push the dollar rate down, or even make the dollar collapse at once. 
8. Inflation and economic growth
Our monetary system, ruled by banks, interest and inflation, already existed when we were born. It is part of our “natural” surrounding. That is why it is hard to see which influence it has on our life and on society. Everything we could say about it, can easily be judged as normal. We don’t know better. The effects of the system are everywhere, even in our way of thinking and in our convictions.
So we find it self-evident, that the economy can only be sound when it grows. The concept of “economic growth” has been canonized by economists, politicians and everyone who understands or assumes he understands society. In Western Europe and North America we strived with success for economic growth since the start of the industrial revolution. The system has proven itself.
It is not an accident, that our money-system is based on eternal inflation and our economy on eternal growth. Some clever bankers conceived the system this way at the beginning of the past century.  Interest and inflation would form a permanent income for the banks, as counterpart of simply juggling money out of their hats. The loans would lead to more economic activity. Governments and the population would come and beg for more loans. It fit perfectly in the developments of the industrial area. Mechanization, mining, extensive farming, colonial resources, scaling up, competition among nations, wars and reconstructions, the explosive growth of the populations, workers from abroad, women at work, the development of the services sector, the boom in computer technology, it all led to economic growth. Economic growth was synonym for prosperity. Today, in Western Europe, we still talk in terms of economic growth. By the flattening of the population growth this can now only be obtained by an ever increasing working pressure per employee. The roads of economic growth and prosperity part.
Inflation works like the carrot in front of the nose of the donkey. Everybody starts to run harder to obtain some of the extra money that has been put into circulation. And while running, nobody escapes from the payment for the use of money. Thanks to the inflation everybody participates in paying the interest to the banks. And if, by all of us running harder, we grow wealthier, we can almost be sure that the interest will be raised. In banking jargon it then says, that the economy is overheated and has to slow down. Until we must run harder again.
World wide expansion
Meanwhile the banks have made themselves conspicuous. With their juggling trick they conquered the world. Everywhere banks have taken the power over money and make the population pay interest and inflation. Every-where, except in China, central banks have obtained special laws, to set – independently from the will of the local government – the level of interest and inflation. After Western Europe and Northern America other countries are now developing their economy. For the banks this means new governments and populations, who want money from the hat.
In fact it does not make a lot of difference if central banks are private or state banks. Nearly everywhere they have obtained a special statute, that grants them a high level of independence from the local government. Together with the commercial banks, they determine how many loans are issued, how much money society disposes of and how much the population has to pay.
9. Further growth or a sustainable society?
The policy of most central banks is based on permanent growth of the money stock. In Western Europe and North America this growth of money accompanied the growth of the economy and the growth of the population. Meanwhile the world has changed a lot. The explosive expansion of the population and the expansion of economic activities have tremendously increased the pressure on the environment. Fertile areas have been taken over by humans. Forests have changed into farm land and cities. Many species have been exterminated. Most of the fish from oceans and seas has been plundered. By the fast growing world population the pollution of soils, water and air still increases. In many places there are food and drinking water shortages. The climate is changing. The prognoses indicate, that with the current trends the population of the world will continue to grow fast and will even still double. The lines in the graphic have been drawn as if this is possible…
Limits to growth
The earth does not grow along with the expansion of our economies and the populations. For the first time in human history we encounter the limits. Of course we have no idea what to do. Church and state always used to preach growth. Bankers too like growth. Limits to the world population? No one in power dares to burn his fingers on that subject.
Where is that limit? That depends on what we want as humanity. If we want to reach the highest possible quality of life – for our children and grandchildren -, we should not burden the earth more than strictly necessary. We should strive for a smaller population. That would also take away the principle reason for conflicts and wars.
Today’s policy is completely opposite to the needs of a peaceful and sustainable society. The money system plays a key role. Reforms are necessary. The longer we wait, the more difficult it will become in the future.
Notes and references
 “… the reference value (4.5%) of m3 growth on an annual basis. This reference value for monetary growth is based on a potential economic growth of 2.0% to 2,5%, an inflation of less than 2.0% in the medium term and a long-term decline of the velocity of money by 0.5% to 1.0%, per annum.” http://www.dnb.nl/dnb/home/ file/ar03_tcm47-146939.pdf
 “In 2003, the money supply (m3) in the euro area grew at a rate of 8.0%, well above the official reference value of 4.5%.” http://www.dnb.nl/dnb/home/file/ ar03_tcm47-146939.pdf
 "Price stability is defined as a year-on-year increase in the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) for the euro area of below 2%." http://www.ecb.int/mopo/strategy/ pricestab/html/index.en.html
 The real advantage depends on each specific loan amortization schedule. It is worth comparing.
 Iraqi oil in euros: http://www.un.org/ Depts/oip/ background/oilexports.html
 IMF warning over dollar collapse: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/ business/2097064.stm
 Downing Street Memo: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/ news/uk/article387374.ece
 How can the dollar collapse in Iran? http://www.raisethehammer.org/index.asp?id=252 (See Iraq)
 “Cost, abuse and danger of the dollar.” http://www.courtfool.info/ en_Cost_abuse_and_danger_of_the_dollar.htm
 “Raid on nuclear fuel market.” http://www.courtfool.info/ en_Raid_on_Nuclear_Fuel_Market.htm
 G. Edward Griffin, The Creature of Jekyll Island
Further reading about particularities of the central bank of the US, the Federal Reserve:
“Meet the system”
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