Car Travel to London

I drove from my home town to Enflield, in North London, yesterday. It was an unpleasant journey. Huge lorries roaring along, often sitting inches away from the rear of my small Smart car. All very uncomfortable. Everyone wants to g faster, all are desperate to get wherever they are going. Are we making cars that accelerate too fast and not adding the cheap safety devices: cameras, mini-computers, automatic braking, that will save lives?

We are not improving the quality of our lives.

It is also apparent that we are saving money. As a result everything looks tatty. White lines are worn, the road surface is patched, looking like an old jumper on a tramp. We have quality and pride from our lives.

Failure to understand the value of quality in our lives will be our downfall.

Walk proud. Be English.

Positive Money

Positive MoneyDemocracy is a fragile concept.Expecting the majority to agree is probably impossible. Expecting any group to be vigilant against those who would exploit the system for their personal gain is a malaise of the modern age. We have lost our sense of community,

Money is the root of all evil, so it is said. It need not be that way. Money after all is worthless, of tself. It does however given power to those who control it.

The biggest weakness we now have is that the banks (all now multi-nationally controlled) control the issue of cash. Not helped by the Bank of England who created hundreds of millions, which they then handed this huge sum to the banks as  quantitative easing (a simple way of reducing the value of the pound in your pocket) (watch the videos at http://positivemoney.org/how-money-works/banking-101-video-course/ which explain how the banks control your money.

I joined up with local people, here in the depths of Suffolk, to see if there was any way we could help. It was a successful initial meeting, and we were alll in agreement with the aims and objectives of Positive Money. It is clear that many people shared our concerns about the monetary system.

What now seems apparent is that change is needed. We raised several issues, and talked about solutions that have been suggested. One of the biggest is the Robin Hood Tax https://www.robinhoodtax.org.uk Also known as a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT), a Robin Hood Tax is a tiny tax of about 0.05% on transactions like stocks, bonds, foreign currency and derivatives, which could raise up to £250 billion a year globally. FTTs are well-tested, cheap to implement and hard to avoid.

Another option is to award everyone a basic income; a periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to all on an individual basis, without means-test or work requirement. That need not be expensive as the money will be recorculated .http://basicincome.org

A few years ago I started Iceni Bank – one of my many failed initiatives (think the world is waiting for me to die!). I want to create small,locally-based, banks.The system works well in Germany, where the Sparkasse https://www.sparkasse.de/. These banks offer a range of financial services. There are about 600 separate banks, all independent, that cannot be taken over. The system handles about 60% of Germany’s GDP.

We need to change. With our banks controlling our financial systems we are being used as cash cows, but getting back only a small portion of our resources. It must be changed, particularly as we are about to leave Europe, and will be alone. Too much control has been handed over to those who do not have our best interests at heart.

Hopefully our local group will grow. If you want to know more, contact me.

Perfect Country: Estonia

It’s not often I get excited, even stimulated, but three women (whom I’ve never met) are doing very well, so far. It may be that I bumped into Henrietta Moore at LSE – the anthropology department did have, I recall, at least one attractive lecturer (apart from Henrietta). I digress.

Henrietta Moore

Henrietta Moore

Fi Glovet

Fi Glover

Martha Lane Fox

Martha Lane Fox

They are presenters on a BBC World Service series called My Perfect Country.

It started with 14 programmes, all of which have looked at countries that present some factor that we could use to help build ‘My Perfect Country’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p035w97h/episodes/player

It’s been a good start, and should build into a movement that looks at the world in which we all live with different eyes and then promotes the necessary changes. There are now 66 episodes, and they make interesting listening – much better than watching soaps.

There’s no doubt that our world is dysfunctional, and this series is not perfect, but it’s a good start.

The first programme looked at Estonia, a postage stamp of a country stuck between Finland and Russia, with a population of just 1.3 million (not much more that we have in Suffolk).

They have had a hard time over the years; occupied by the Russians, then the Nazis, then Russia again, at one point losing 25% of their population. All this whle living in a very cold place!

They are clever. With excellent broadband coverage they have used it to bring together their communities, and to simplify government administration. Here we would be shouting about personal liberty Quite why can be difficult to understand. Estonia has shifted this perspective, with the government holding the data, releasing it as appropriate. (it’s more complex than that but…

The Republic of Estonia is the first country to offer e-Residency — a transnational digital identity available to anyone in the world interested in administering a location-independent business online. e-Residency additionally enables secure and convenient digital services that facilitate credibility and trust online.

e-Residents can:

  • Digitally sign documents and contracts
  • Verify the authenticity of signed documents
  • Encrypt and transmit documents securely
  • Establish an Estonian company online. A physical address in Estonia is required to establish an Estonian company.
  • Administer the company from anywhere in the world.
  • Conduct e-banking and remote money transfers. E-residents are not guaranteed bank accounts and may establish them only at the sole discretion of our banking partners after an in-person meeting.  Please do not book travel to Estonia with the purpose of opening a bank account without first consulting a business service provider.
  • Access online payment service providers
  • Declare Estonian taxes online. e-Residency does not automatically establish tax residency. To learn about taxation and to avoid double taxation please consult a tax professional.

Sounds like a good idea – I’m now looking for my passport.

Living in Great Britain

This is just an opening foray into a complex world. What worries me is that our government doesn’t look past the next election, and anyway we are all obsessed with money. What good is money?

It’ seems an uncertain world. There are changes afoot. So many that we could have a revolution. We’ll not be getting the guillotines out of store, although there is a myth (sic) that the USA has bought a load of these killing machines together with many plastic coffins and a range of prisons that each hold 200,000 people. Let’s dismiss that frightening thought. We are, after all, British not US citizens.

After all we have Brexit – that tasteless idea for a breakfast cereal. We can talk of nothing else. Not true of course, that’s easily trumped from across the Pond. Brexit will cause change: it may see a new Europe arising from the administrative ashes.

We will have changes. These should be recognised and exploited. It is, after all, what we, as a people, can do best. Which brings me to my first point.

There’s very little left in the nation’s store cupboard. Our government started this decline back in the 1980s with the malicious sale of all our nationalised utilities. This looked good on paper except we forgot that successive governments had plundered the income gained from these concerns, hiding the theft by restriction investment and innovation. Our railways (for example) have made little progress in the last 30 years whilst Eurostar in France (for example) has been thundering to places such as Lyon in just over two hours from Ashford at minimal cost. Can anyone point to a privatisation that has helped the people?

Half of Britain now seems to be foreign owned. The last boy given the job of Chancellor took great pleasure in selling the nation’s silver (not his own family’s), failing to realise that profit sent abroad is leaving us all as wage slaves, not owners.

We now chat among ourselves about leaving the EU. There is no plan, certainly not one that is openly discussed. The PM seems set upon hanging on to Trump’s tail, failing to realise that he may not be singing from a hymn sheet we can understand. After 70 years playing lap dog to America we must now realise it has all been a big mistake, and can only get worse.

There’s a preoccupation with trade deals when we should really concern ourselves with self-sufficiency. We must look at ourselves as a stand-alone unit and ensure we can manage on our own. That’s a vital first step that two major wars in the last century should have made us realise.

Luckily we have encouraged immigration. Slowly now we must make all these people consider themselves British. Understandably the first arrivals have had strong ties to their home countries and families still living there. Slowly that will diminish. Not many Americans send me money home every month, even though many of the founding families came from Suffolk, some from my own family. (https://www.lockwoodmathewsmansion.com)

Think British. Your offspring born here will become English, Irish, Scots or Welsh. We’ll all become Great again.

It may be best to split England up into several parts, perhaps based upon its historical traditions: Wessex, East Anglia, a middle England and Northumbria (or Yorkshire). Each province sending delegates to a national Parliament.

All that raises much bigger questions. We need to create an intelligent democracy. We have an autocracy of sorts at present. Properly used we can create democratic systems. They will be vital as we move away from the need to work.

Think about that now.

Usury

Usury is a crimeOnce, not so long ago, the Church and most other religions., banned usury. Coinage was used, there was no paper money. Moving on there was a gold standard in which paper money was linked to gold. Harold Wilson, Prime Minsiter, in 1960s was aware of the value of gold and I helped him bring £2700 million of the stuff from USA to the Bank of England. Shortly after he was said to be senile and carted away.

Everything has untold consequences. Reliance on gold meant it had to be stored, so vaults were created guarded by those that knew. Very soon they knew how to lend paper against the value of the gold they held for other people. Immoral it was but was it usury?

The principle of modern banking was established made even easier by the creation of a private company that could control the issue of money. They didn’t have any money until they received interest payments on the money they had lent. A great system, one that has now taken over the world.

It is bizarre that governments have to pay interest on the non-existent money issued to them by private companies. That’s one effect of capitalism.

In the UK the Bank of England, the real powerhouse, is now run by a foreigner. He;s a pleasant Canadian who is ably supported by a ruling elite who no longer hide behind curtains. The simple sons of such controllers now stand as politicians and bankers, each picking up tasty crumbs. All making profits from usury.

There’s danger afoot for the incoming President of USA. He wants to destroy the Federal Reserve, (the US version of that private lending company) and for that he is to be congratulated. He must remember that three Presidents before him made similar statements. All were assassinated.

Local Currency

bankerIt’s an uncertain world. Very little comes with a firm guarantee. Jobs can be lost overnight, and a sleeping bag on the streets is just a short step away.

Unfortunately we live in a parallel universe. Those that have control, and those that just have to put up with whatever they are given. For some months we have been told that 100 families own half the world’s wealth. That was reduced to just 67 people and this week’s shocking news is that just eight people have all that half the world needs.

The Captain of Rainbow Warrior, Greenpeace’s battle ship, is quoted as saying that ‘Greed is a primal force’. So very correct, what should we do about it?

Our present economic system is unfair and unstable. Put aside the moral case facing any of the eight rich folk. How can they sleep at night knowing they could easily solve poverty? That continues with most of our media coverage. Well done chaps, the banks made billions more profit this year than previously. Share prices in multi-national companies continue to rise. A house I bought in the 1960s has just been sold for £1 million (not by me I hasten to add). For all of youth the £GBP stood  at $2.40, now it’s $1.20. Quantitative easing continues to erode the value of y money.

Most of us are the losers. True we are thrown scraps from the tables of the rich and powerful but only because we are now considered as consumers. That may change as automation replaces humans. In itself that requires a change in approach. Now we can undercut wages by moving poor people into richer areas. That will slowly change. It;s been seen in China where globalisation now means that, in effect, China owns the USA. If the USA was a company it would be declared bankrupt, or run the risk of a takeover.

There have been attempts to change the economic system. None have achieved much so far. Glasgow, Scotland’s second city, is considering a Glasgow Pound: money that can only be spent in the Glasgow area. Other towns have tried similar ideas. Brixton, in south London. was concerned that most of its money was leaving the town, with multt-nationals creaming off the majority. Add to that the recent immigrants sending money back to maintain families in their home countries. The last few years have seen even more invidious leakages with the government encouraging inward investment. An oxymoron as inward investment must mean outward profit, so do the British people gain from that?

Selling off the family silver is largely unrecognised as a factor but must be taken into consideration. Privatisation of nationalsed industries has deprived governments of funds as they stole the investment income of state utilities to run their own projects. The result was a a lack of investment in such concerns, and a complacency within our civil service.

Local digital currency could help but we really need to consider the structure of our banking system. Who owns and controls UK banks is a question we must consider.

 

 

 

Opening Statement

East AngliaDon’t get too excited but I’m starting a new project. Not true, really I am returning to previous work but was so disenchanted last time by my local adminisrators I moved on. There’s no point in flogging a dead horse.

This time I’m more hopeful. A local group (of international renown) recently decided to look at social welfare and institutions: two distinct projects. Both are significant, and in my enthusiasm I wanted to be involved with everything!

Age has tempered me. So I took time before offering to look at banking and financial institutions. What a minefield that will be.

You may recall that I wanted to start a local bank. That’s now a few years ago. It was to be the Iceni Bank, serving Eat Anglia, home of the Iceni tribe, whose Queen was Boadicea (or Buddica), wife of Prasutagus. A fine, brave woman who fought the Roman invaders.

She is a good icon to spearguard a look at our financial systems today. They are in need of examination, and I’ll admit that like Boadicea I’m keen to look upon them as she looked upon Colchester under Roman occupation.

Where to start: obviously at the existing state, and without an exhaustive budget or willing team only the surface can be scraped.  We have the existing commercial banks, well-known on High Streets (at least now). Elsewhere there are many other banks, mainly investment vehicles, most of which do not intrude upon the public, and building societies and credit unions.

Very few of the major players are wholly-owned British companies, falling victim to that modern affliction known as globalisation.

I will start by gathering together a team: do you want to join? Or just make a contribution, give your views, on banks and banking. It will be interesting.

Apart from stating the obvious, what do we do now? I’d like to move on. My basic null hypothesis is ‘what we now have doesn’t work’ That’s enough for a PhD thesis. I’m not alone at looking at our current structures and throwing my spats in the air. It needs change. We are so confused we’ve even dragged a Canadian over here to act as the Governor of the Bank of England. It’s part of a new British disease, hire a foreigner, because we don’t have anyone within our 65 million population capable of doing anything.

The obvious will be stated. Then what? With a big enough team there are many cul-de-sacs to explore. Like all professionals bankers like to confuse. Treat us like mushrooms (keep in dark, feed on bullshit). One way to confuse them is to look at it all with different eyes. I am an LSE graduate, so know very little about economics, at least in the conventional sense. There are some ideas that deserve exploration. I’ll give you an idea, just to whet your appetite.

One is the German Savings Banks Finance Group (Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe) is the most numerous sub-sector with 431 savings banks using the Sparkasse brand., they have assets that exceed $1 trillion. These are all commercial banks working independently, usually serving local areas. Together they handle about 40% of Germany’s banking needs, through 15,000 offices employing 250,000 people. This is now a comprehensive network that deserves proper examination.

Sounds interesting. Let’s take a look at all this.

Also explore Dr Richard Werner at Southampton University: http://www.southampton.ac.uk/business-school/about/departments/banking-and-finance/staff/werner.page? a man to follow.