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The Gold Standard

The world we have made as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far, creates problems we cannot solve at the same level of thinking at which we created them.

Albert Einstein

You can apply this to anything you like, but it seems to me apposite to think about it in relation to the economic models we have come up with so far.

Historically we have moved from a gold-based system via a representational base-metal and paper money system via a deluge of bound-to-be broken promissory notes. The muddle we are now in seems to have arisen from a digitised money system where we shuffle decimal points and zeros between accounts. If every man jack of us, and his dog, tried to liquidate all those figures into cash at the same time, I suspect no-one would be able to save the current global economic system, least of all our governments.

Governments have the right to create money, but we have drifted into a system where financial institutions give us extra digits and zeros to buy what we want. This is, to all intents and purposes, allowing banks to create money they don’t have.

This is what happens when most of us are sleepwalking through our lives, accepting the education laid out by the government that will allow us to compete in global league tables, but not allow us to hold our own governments to account. Education that does not allow us to even form the questions that might challenge prevailing ideology such as is needed to force real change through a democratic process.

Back to Einstein I think.

National Geographic Gold Miner in Ghana: do we have gold or does gold have us?

For more on this visit BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week

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He’s gonna “say the words”

What?

I love you!
Amen
That the world is flat
That God doesn’t exist
That oil is going to run out next week…
or perhaps
Marry Me?

No, apparently, and according to the news last night and this morning Gordon Brown, Labour Prime Minister, is going to say the words:- “public spending cuts”.

We are also told today, the first anniversary of Lehman Brothers collapse, that we must never let another bank fail. Maybe I am simple folk but we will be taking money away from our services in the future having propped up the banking system last year and although I have listened to a lot of explanations as to why this had to be so – I am still not feeling it.

Allowing such a powerful section of society to fall on its knees at the temple of Mammon and our fundamentally not understanding how it works (and why should we, as they sliced and diced to minimise their risk which they weren’t underwriting themselves anyway!) has come round to bite us badly in our collective bum.

Reportedly first to go is the extension of maternity pay from 9 months to a year, although parents may now have a choice as to who can take the leave (and pay). What will be next is anyone’s guess although the benefit bill will surely be re-crunched. I’m not saying that all cuts are necessarily bad, being a lean and mean governing machine is in all our interests surely given the mind-boggling amount of UK debt. I will confess though to a selfish thought as I wonder what impact it might have on our good ship as we work respectively in housing and adult education…

The Lib Dems reckon they can make the necessary savings without cutting front line services – that’s going to be interesting. I don’t know why I have bothered mentioning them though, if David Cameron is not nailed on to end up in No. 10 at the next election, then I am going to eat my laptop; possibly a more palatable meal than the “words” Gordon will be eating this afternoon.

The Worship of Mammon - Evelyn de Morgan

"The Worship of Mammon" - Evelyn de Morgan