(Week 11 - Tuesday, Oct. 21)
In Col. #9 (Wednesday, August 6) I reported about an initiative being undertaken by citizens of Concord, Massachusetts that seeks, in a form suited to our time and circumstances, to recreate the momentous step taken by the Colonial Assembly of Massachusetts in 1690, by which the political body that represented their social order as a whole began to issue the colony's own money supply.
I can imagine that, for the most part, the deed was not contemplated by these loyal British subjects as an act of revolution with respect the England and the Crown, notwithstanding that in time it did indeed lead to a train of events that took on that character. It was more likely conceived of as a straightforward measure that was meant to address a pressing problem of immediate import in a simpler time; the need for a circulating medium. Surely these colonists had little or no sense of the world-changing developments that would unfold from what must have seemed to them to be an audacious, but seemingly limited, act.
We live in a vastly different era, and whatever problems were manifest then are redoubled many times over. That said, we are now, like they were, faced with a stark choice. That is, should we as a society submit to borrowing our money supply from the modern equivalent of the Bank of England (Federal Reserve System) backed by the power of the state, or should it be issued publicly (out of the U.S. Treasury) backed by the sovereign political prerogative of We the People.
The primary advantage we have over our colonial forebears is being able to see the implications of this act as it played out in almost three hundred and twenty years of history. America has been a veritable laboratory for monetary development, and its lessons can now be drawn upon in the interests of serving human evolution, with transformative benefit to the individual, the nation and the world.
The Concord Resolution was originally contemplated as a grassroots educational and political initiative aimed at formulating and bringing to the Concord town meeting a Warrant Article ("resolution" in more common language) to petition the town's Congressional representatives to introduce a bill which would set up a procedure whereby counties and municipalities across the nation could, in an orderly way, apply for interest-free loans issued directly out of the U.S. Treasury to pay for essential public works. This would be in lieu of their feeling obliged to sell bonds on the private bond market to raise needed funds, which typically causes the cost of a project to double or triple due to the "interest" payments associated with the bonds. Presumably, if the idea behind the Resolution caught on across the country, that would open the door for the eventual transformation of the monetary system itself, perhaps within a few years.
What has changed since then is that there is a newly palpable sense of urgency about the condition of our economic life due to the unfolding worldwide financial crisis. I was reminded of this again today as I heard reports in the media that our representatives in Congress are considering a proposal for yet another "financial stimulus" package. This is political speak for having the Federal government borrow even more money, and passing out the proceeds as a way to mollify a citizenry that is smarting over feeling obliged to foot the bill for the $700 billion "bailout" of the "speculative financial industry." All this is after the massive monetary expansion facilitated by borrowing to fund the Iraq and Afghan wars, and the "tax rebates" sent out earlier this year.
The "debt-money system is essentially a confidence game, and confidence on the part of the public, and even the bankers, is hemorrhaging. It seems that there is no amount of new "debt"-money transfusion that can stabilize the situation. I sense that there has occurred amongst the populace a virtual acquiescence to the idea of letting the government and the Fed have their way in taking any they like to patch the system, while being in denial of the terrible price that will have to be paid in the long run for this relinquishing of our responsibility as a citizenry for our own economic life.
Urgency does not mean panic. Our monetary house is indeed burning, but there is still time and opportunity to put out the fire and save the structure essentially intact. The moment is now, however, when we must be about facing what needs to be reckoned with, or the whole question will become catastrophically moot.
Over the last two months what seemed like the revolutionary scope of the Concord Resolution is now shown to be inadequate in the context the financial tsunami that has swept over the global financial order. A more direct and transformative approach is called for. Accordingly, the focus of the Concord Resolution has moved from funding infrastructure, to changing principle by which the monetary system operates; i.e. restoring the monetary franchise to the public sector.
Truth be told, the Massachusetts colonists who in 1690 initiated the first publicly issued paper money in the Western world founded on the free enterprise and backed by the sovereignty of We the People did (whatever may have been their conscious thoughts on the matter) nothing less, and that has made all the difference.
For more information on the Concord Resolution go to http://www.concordresolution.org/
The complete set of columns from this series is posted at the following websites.