In Conversation With: Positive Money

In Conversation With: Positive Money

Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Ross Ashcroft from the Renegade Economist met Ben Dyson and Andrew Jackson from Positive Money. We spoke to them on their proposals to reform the monetary system.
Where Does Money Come From?, co-authored by Positive Money’s resident expert Andrew Jackson, explains exactly how money is created in the UK, based on over 500 original documents from the Bank of England and other banking authorities. With a foreword by one of the leading authorities in banking, Prof Charles Goodhart, this is the most comprehensive and authoritative guide to how money is created ever published, and reveals that most of the textbooks are very much out of date.

You can download the foreword and overview for free here >>

The basic analysis of this book is neither radical nor new. In fact, central banks around the world support the same description of where new money comes from.

And yet many naturally resist the notion that private banks can really create money by simply making an entry in a ledger. Economist J. K. Galbraith suggested why this might be "The process by which banks create money is so simple that the mind is repelled. When something so important is involved, a deeper mystery seems only decent."

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This book aims to firmly establish a common understanding that commercial banks create new money. There is no deeper mystery, and we must not allow our mind to be repelled. Only then can we properly address the much more significant question:
Of all the possible alternative ways in which we could create new money and allocate purchasing power, is this really the best?

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More information about the Positive Money movement can be found at their website



  • Comment Link chefdave Friday, 02 March 2012 18:29 posted by chefdave

    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, so the solution is an "independent" (read undemocratic) body that monitors and controls money creation while handing over all freshly printed money to the state. Isn't that called the Bank of England? You're essentially advocating a failed system that is already in existence.

    The trouble is boys, you've latched onto the idea that money creation is inherently bad without explaining why this might be so. From there you've attempted to build an entire business on the wrongheaded notion of 'positive' money (an oxymoron if ever there was one as money is and always will be debt).

    Fair play to Ross for humouring you, but I think he knows that unsound banking is a consequence of the state backed land cartel.

    Renegade Economist: is there any chance you could do something about the illegible spam prevention device? A couple of other blogs have already ditched it due to it's sheer awfulness.

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  • Comment Link Ben Dyson Tuesday, 06 March 2012 10:53 posted by Ben Dyson

    @chefdave - I thought the mountains of content at does a fair job of explaining why money creation by banks is a bad thing. Just for you, here's the short version: poverty, debt, inequality, instability, and banks that have to be bailed out by taxpayers.

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  • Comment Link chefdave Tuesday, 06 March 2012 20:20 posted by chefdave

    Hi Ben, thanks for replying. I'm aware of your work but I'm not convinced by the sensationalist money-as-debt meme that Positive Money is helping to promote. Yes I agree that banks create money out of thin air and I accept that we suffer from "poverty, debt, inequality" and all the other negative consequences of a dysfunctional economy. But as the age old saying goes correlation doesn't always equal causation.

    As a Georgist my position is that both the poverty and the banking are byproducts of a monopolised housing market, it's something you allude to in your videos but predictably you have the relationship back to front.

    May I suggest a few Fred Harrison Youtube videos? He was the original Renegade Economist and he explains the process a little better than me.

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  • Comment Link Ross Ashcroft Friday, 09 March 2012 20:01 posted by Ross Ashcroft

    @Ben Dyson - Ben keep up the great work. Georgists are blinkered into seeing the whole world through a prism of land reform. Yes land reform is necessary but it is not a one-size-fits all magic fix.

    Georgists make a fundamental mistake. It's an assumption that the state is angelic and therefore won't permit credit creation to inflate land values. This is naive - especially when needless wars need to be funded and re-election of politicians looms. Would you trust Ed Balls not to switch on the printing presses if power beckoned?

    Georgists then get very angry if this is argument is obscures their worldview and unfortunately retreat into their prejudices. For a stable economy/society monetary reform and land reform and in fact tax reform need to be enacted in concert - any one fix cure is just too simplistic.

    Only when Georgists park the "only I have the solution / truth" will they stop needlessly marginalising themselves.

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  • Comment Link chefdave Saturday, 10 March 2012 14:24 posted by chefdave

    A nice sideways attack at my post there Ross, clearly you're the one who's becoming angry over a little bit of well intentioned criticism.

    It's quite easy to fall into the trap of wristband collecting by publicly demonstrating a commitment to a number of trendy causes, but this scattergun approach fails when the intention is merely to effect reforms for the sake of it rather than because the outcomes would be socially beneficial.

    Unless I'm mistaken Ben seemed to be advocating monetary central planning in the above clip, and as we know from the Soviet Union experiement totalitarianism -although often well intentioned- fails because isn't responsive enough to able to deal with the myraid of demands placed on it by the market. It's a clumsy big state collectivist approach that will ultimately does more harm than good.

    The state 'permits' the inflation of land values by allowing the public to capitalise the rental streams into house prices, take away the rentals with a land value tax and there's no asset to lend against, Georgism 101. So even if Balls was desperate to inflate the housing market he'd be unable too under LVT because nobody in their right mind would pay top whack for an house with a tax liability attached. They only way he could do it would be by reducing the tax, but that's not an issue monetary reform could solve.

    There may be a good argument for monetary reform but Ben hasn't found it yet, I wish him good luck on his quest.

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