When money drives almost all activity on the planet, it’s essential that we understand it. Yet simple questions often get overlooked, questions like: Where does money come from? Who creates it? Who decides how it gets used? And what does this mean for the millions of ordinary people who suffer when the monetary, and financial system, breaks down? We have yet to see an election fought on these grounds and as political philosopher John Gray, commented, “We’re not moving to a world in which crises will never happen or will happen less and less. We are in a world in which they happen several times during a given human lifetime and I think that will continue to be the case”
People are waking up to this fact: the Occupy movement and the European indignados have erupted as a response to the current status quo. The media and ‘myth makers’, however, have found it much to easy to pigeonhole these movements into a “spiritual malaise” that provides no meaning or direction for our modern world. This is the response expected from a dominant neo-conservative economical world. This ever-adaptive financial system has been as such for centuries and those who can control it see no reason to steer a course elsewhere. Indeed the economics of emancipation can impart to us an interesting insight to the cyclical and prevailing nature of this economic paradigm.
At the turn of the 19th Century North America and the West Indies was a remarkable healthy commercial network for the British economy accounting for 57% of British exports and 32% of imports. By 1820, however, the West India lobby was in economic turmoil. Blaming their plight on the antislavery movement and the adverse effect of emancipation on property prices they pushed for unprecedented compensation. Under enormous political pressure the British government eventually paid, £20Million or 40% of gross government revenue to the Plantation owners. Little is mentioned to the efforts of the merchants and emergent bankers who leveraged the plantation owner’s debts and mortgages far beyond the levels of commercial sensibility. As a result very little of the monstrous sum found its way to the West India colonies. Instead the colonists complained ‘It was paid for the most part, to mortgages, in or about, the small circle of Threadneedle Street.’ (City of London). Bailouts are not a modern phenomena.
Fast-forward to 1989 and Michael Rowbotham’s seminal work, “The Grip of Death”. From this work we begin to see a new challenge emerge to the widespread assumption that monetary statements, commonly used as the basis of economic decisions, are actually valid. He commented, “General confidence in modern money and monetary judgments is utterly misplaced; the apparent neutrality of the present financial system is quite false. Modern money is not a neutral medium; indeed, the way in which money is currently created gives it a specific nature and serious bias. Modern money actually operates within its own detached and limited mathematical world. It projects its own version of `the facts’; its own version of an economy; its own reality. It tells us what we can and cannot do; it tells us what we can and cannot afford. But these amount to demonstrably false, irrelevant and misleading statements.”
This work inspired a new, younger group of Monetary Reformers who, web savvy and technologically proficient, quickly built networks of like minding people and resources. Oft so tricky to achieve in the past the modern movement has converged around a central point that the monetary system is inherently unstable, depending primarily on the confidence of the private banks themselves, as it is the Banks who control the quantity of money created and whether it is used for productive or speculative means. The vast majority of people still believe that banks lend their depositors savings to customer who wish to borrow and it is this main argument that needs to be won.
In December 2010 I contacted a small research and campaign organisation called Positive Money and what ensued was a determination to create a documentary that would explain how banks create money and the consequences.
97% Owned is the culmination of almost two years of research and interviews with those who have come to understand how the monetary system really works. Together this new group have worked to inform MP’s, meet with the Treasury and work with thousands of people to raise the profile of monetary reform from the backwaters of conspiracy theory to the real politick. 97% owned is a documentary presenting serious research and verifiable evidence on our economic system. If you have decided that crisis as a result of the monetary system is not an event you want to keep revisiting in your life-time then this documentary will equip you with the knowledge you need, what you do with it is up to you.
Mike Horwath an independent filmmaker, writer, researcher and the founder of Queuepolitely. After studying the ‘History and Art form of Documentary’ Mike set up Queuepolitely to create, collaborate and distribute social movement documentary. Mike’s latest production 97% Owned is due for release May 1st and is the first documentary film backed by academics, authors and researchers to explain ‘What is money, how it is created and what are the consequences.’ This film follows on from Mikes previous documentaries examining the financial system, Generation OS13: The New Culture of Resistance, The Potemkin League and Northern Lights. Mike lives near London in the UK and his website is www.queuepolitely.com