# The secret of money # Donnerstag, 08. Februar 2018
Aberrations of an interest-based economy
An excursion through the covert
Self-published, Hannover, First issue may 1998
There are many aberrations. We only have to turn on the TV and are already besieged with them. Why should there exist any connection between many of the known aberrations and the fact that money is normally lent out against interest?
It appears already at a first comparison that the financial and interest-caused factors “outrun” the remainder of the economy, that they posess seemingly a dynamics on their own which is not or only very limitedly bound on outer proportions. The financial sector disconnects itself always further and finally takes off. But on an a bit closer look it also shows that this process has indeed effects into the other direction. The exploding monetary capitals, debts and burdens of interest do not pass the remaining society without a trace, but leave traces behind, which normally – one is inclined to say: nearly always – are underestimated. A small, at first glance inconspicuous, construction error of our monetary system is responsible for this self-dynamics, and the errors consequences merely become obvious little by little.
The sense of this report consists in the endeavour to unmask this construction error and to depict his most important effects. Last but not least approaches to solve the issue shall be presented, which act beyond many concrete problems, and which could be carried out relatively easy.
This may seem very bold within the limits of this small booklet, but one must pay attention to the fact, that this is solely something like a matter of a summary which can not replace literature. Most of the thoughts stated here were taken from various sources, compiled and shortened to the essence. Herewith I want to give the reader a succinct synopsis and, simultaneously, to initiate further absorption. Naturally, a claim on completeness is excluded; also the many quotations shall not arouse the impression that the respective authors share the same opinion in all points, since many aspects can be treated indeed controversial.
So let us regard this booklet as a little “journey” through an important, albeit faded out, topic, which unfortunately becomes more urgent day by day.
1 An ignored problem
The sums which are linked to the interest calculation of capitals are no peanuts. Hence it will be sensible to start with some plain facts to get an overview about the orders of magnitude and their relevance.
So in 1995 the sum of monetary capitals in the FRG added up to 7703 billion DM1 & 200 which gained an interest of 365 billion DM2. On the other hand they were opposed by 7694 billion DM debts, which divided theirself to about two thirds on the commerce and to one short third on the state. The consumer credits only added up to 5% of the total sum. The expenses on interest which were to be generated for the entire debts totalled to 499 billion DM.
In 1995, these burdens of interest were from the amounts view a bit more than the whole Federal Budget (493 billion3) or almost twice as much like all in the FRG in the same time span paid health insurance fees including employers contribution201 (256 billion DM4), or even 35 times (!) as much as the full amount of the assessed income tax (14 billion DM5) for 1995. These burdens of interest augment itself all the time; since 1990, the increase alone added up to 164 billion DM, whereas however this increase normally also increases all the time6.
The interests booked to the savings account of the one or other person originate in the strict sense just as little from the bank like the credit for the freehold flat. The commercial banks should be understood rather like a kind of intermediation agency which search new debtors for the deposits of their creditors and, at the same time, take the risks for the creditors. The risks will be charged to the debitors as interest surcharge. The bank keeps from the money only a cash reserve and from the interests only the so-called bank margin, that is the difference between debt- and balance-interests.
Facing these phenomenal financial currents one should guess that this would cast a spell to whole hordes of economy-scientists who build avidly analyses and statistics to throw light on the causes of this weird trend. Unfortunately that is not the case. The reasons for fading out this issue remain largely in the dark and can only induce to speculations. One reason could be e.g. in the fact that interests are “only” a matter of a redistribution which has no (direct) influence on the gross national product (GNP) or the national income. There is even repeatedly argued by economists that the above cited dimensions must be wholly farcical, because they can not be found in the national accounting (NACC)7. Sure enough they are not allowed to be found there since the NACC only itemises the GNP and the interests are computed away at creation of the NACC8.
This report shall not be content with computing away these factors but enlight some of the correlations. But before some terms have to be resolved to prevent later misunderstandings.
2 Terms in a fast pass
Since there are met many different imaginations among experts about what to understand in fact of money, some definitions should be preceded which prove to be appropriate. In style of Creutz money shall be defined as cash, that is banknotes and coins. All outstanding debits to be payable in money (e.g. bank savings, time deposits, etc.) shall be designated as balances. Money and balances together shall be referred as monetary capital. For facilitation of the sections following, money and demand funds9 (balances on giro accounts) will be subsumed as exchange money.
A little fast pass into our currency system follows.
The money will be brought into circulation by the German Federal Bank. It buys for that purpose bonds paying them with new money, or deals in short-term credits, or discounts drafts, for which it issues money in return10. In all cases the issuing is chained with a relatively short-termed following revocation. Of course, in reality, the money will not be revoked completely, but day-to-day quasi “restructured”. So the Federal Bank keeps the possibility to act on an alteration of the cash amount to adapt it to the performance of economy.
This possibility is also urgently needed, since if the money amount would be increased heavier than the performance of economy, an inflation would occur. The too big money amount would be “absorbed” by increasing prices until the prices swing into a higher level now complying again to the bigger money amount. The result would be a depreciation of the monetary capital, since one could buy only still less for a certain sum than before.202 The inverted case is imaginable alike, but would have still more severe effects. When the money amount decreases the prices would have to fall because money has now become too short. But this is not possible that easily since many costs in the enterprises are fixed and can not be promptly adjusted. Besides the nevertheless occuring decline in prices, the economy suffers from sales slowdowns, decreases in volumes, layoffs, increasing bankruptcies, shortly: Its a crisis due a deflation.
The sequences described above are not just hypothetical games of very thought, but were validated many a time by experience. One should think actually that the Federal Bank meanwhile masters everything definitely, but unfortunately there is a “little” problem.
The above description acts on the implied assumption that the issued money in fact circulates. If it does not do so, it behaves to the economy as if it would not exist.
For a better overview it would be good at this place to change the perspective and observe the economic area “from above”. There below are now all the little economic subjects who deliver goods and services to other economic subjects and receive exchange money in return. The direction of transmission is always reversely for both. It just swarms and teems with exchanging economic subjects. The exchange money circulates. A part of the exchange money is saved by some people and deposed at a bank from which it reappears on the other side as credit. It leaves at each pass a trace behind in form of a balance at the entry and a debt on the exit. On a redemption the operation is reversed. A prices’ level emerges which is accommodated to the amount of circulating exchange money. The amount of exchange money is limited as a matter of principle, and there is a compensating pump (the Federal Bank) which can add or drain a bit by a valve. Now some economic subjects get the idea that they also – for reasons with which will be dealed later – can keep their exchange money with them, to carry it liquid. Little “heaplets” form there. The circulating amount decreases in the degree how parts of the exchange money are immobilised and blocked. A deflation threatens. The compensating pump has simply the problem that it does not know how big the circulating amount of exchange money is at all, and, facing the threatening deflation, turns up its valve always rather a bit more than in fact needed. Thus it creates a sneaking inflation. Nevertheless it may happen that the retention of the exchange money increases very rapidly under certain conditions and the compensation strategy of the pump is overstrained. Then the money becomes short, although there exists possibly as much exchange money (including bank savings) as never before. The swarming receives a slowdown and the pump turns up its valve in order to remedy the shortcoming. Afterwards, the retained assets are brought in part to circulation again and provide a drive to the inflation. The swarming fortifies itself again and swings into a higher price level.
Admittedly, the functions of the Federal Bank are not really comparable with the ones of a pump because it reacts within certain limits to the demand of the economy. Within the perspective above the economic subjects are able too to “ingest”. And also otherwise much is roughly simplified, anyhow this image seems to be suited to regard some correlations simultaneously.
3 Schizophrenic money
To bring it to the spot: Our conventional money shall fulfill multiple functions resp. tasks simultaneously. The here especially concerned tasks consist in the fact that it shall serve as
a) medium of exchange
b) object of capital
and furthermore as prices’ standard. Of course, it is very important too as prices’ standard, but here most notably the first two functions will be examined since they cause an “unresolvable” contradiction, a dilemma.
A medium of exchange is characterised in that way that it will be passed on; but an object of capital right in that way that it will not be passed on. To use money as medium of exchange means consequently to dismiss it as object of capital, whereas it as object of capital can not be used at the same time as medium of exchange (neither by oneself nor by all those which would have received it subsequently if one had used it).
A pure medium of exchange would have to be a public utility at everyones disposal who takes part on exchange processes. An object of capital however is a downright private property which excludes all other participants from its use.
This dilemma is not secondary. It shall be revealed in about the first half of this booklet why not. The sometimes heard opinion that money would be only an insignificant “veil” over the real economy is here denied. Money in its function of exchange medium shall be understood rather as imperative requirement of each society based on division of labour: without medium of exchange no exchange, no division of labour.203
Once more it shall be stressed that exchange money means only liquid assets in the above defined sense. Though other savings are also objects of capital they can not be used as medium of exchange anyway and do not fall into this issue.
4 Hard cash smiles: The preference of liquidity
Why should economic subjects carry their monetary capital in part liquidely? The answer is so close that it sounds at first glance very trivial though it is not that: One may (!) buy with it! (Even if one doesnt do so at the moment)11.
While the above described two functions of the money exclude mutually at the same time they may be switched everytime. And this at will, regionally and temporally unattached, without commitment, but always with the possibility to use the best opportunities.
“The money is the general (universalised) representative of all exchange objects. As such it is the wildcard under all products, services and risks, which are traded in the market game: As the wildcard in the card game trumps each other card, so the money matches in the market game every product, every service, every risk. As the wildcard in a card game can be drawn in this turn or in the next or in the next but one, according to requirements and chance, so the money can also realise the most advantageous chance in the market today, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. As the wildcard in the card game can be played towards this or that player, so also the money can act as demand towards this or that market participant.“12
The advantages associated therewith will become clear too if one considers that the disposition about money stands for being solvent. The alternative to it is insolvency! It is left to the reader to think through the unpleasant consequences from this alternative at concrete examples, but it should have become clear that liquidity owns an economic relevance: Liquidity has a value.
Liquidity is the cushion compensating the negative insecurities of the future, and simultaneously it is the spring amplifying the positive possibilities to the personal benefit.
Keynes introduced for this purpose the term of the liquidity-premium, a “virtual” premium flowing not directly in the form of revenues but being present obviously in the form of other advantages and having a certain value. His theory shall still help us on our way in a little while.
But what is the common denominator of wildcard advantage resp. liquidity-premium, solvency, cushion and spring? The above temporal references anticipate the answer: It is the uncertainty of the future. Liquidity is the insurance against uncertainty, consequently the insurance of the uninsurable, which can not be calculated anymore as risk.13
5 The liquidity-premium
The term of liquidity has been used already some times and shall be specified too: “Liquidity shall be defined here as the degree of the direct or indirect availability of arbitrary goods“14.
How nice that one can fetch that much from simple definitions at this topic. The “degree” of availability allows to extend with the liquidity the previous definition of money by the temporal dimension. Hard cash is current, ultimate liquidity. To carry it liquidely has as result to be able to dispose about it without any effort and simultaneously to block it by 100% for other economic subjects. Demand funds are still high-liquide, but not anymore that liquide like hard cash. The commercial banks can on their part lend out the deposits, but are very constrained in the usage. On a short-term time deposit the liquidity has been relinquished a bit further, the cash reserves to be held in the bank are still noticeable. And so through all the remain of it, as long-termlier the liquidity will be relinquished, the less it will be blocked for others.15.
Now it is possible to return to the initial problem, the interests. Keynes has provided the tool to establish the correlation of liquidity-premium (wildcard advantage) and interest. The thread turns out, spoken roughly, so16:
In a free market various objects of capital are at the choice of the economic subjects on which they can divide their capital, as e.g. money, short-term investments, bonds, shares, factories, residential houses, land, etc. It is possible to make subtitutions of the objects of capital via the market.
The total advantages (intrinsic interest rates) accruing the economic subjects from the respective objects of capital tend to become equally high at all objects17!
As soon as they are not equally high regroupings occur which restore again the old homogeneity. If e.g. the property of office buildings offers greater advantages than the one of certain bonds, in the long term as many investors will sell their bonds and invest the revenues into office buildings until the price of the bonds sunk and the one for office buildings raised accordingly (It would be a different thing if new office buildings would be about to be constructed: The creation of the new buildings would come to a hold when the yields of them would have dropped to the level of the yields of the bonds). A similar sequence arises also at the compensation of interest differences between comparable investments.
The intrinsic interest of an object of capital equals his revenues minus its costs and again plus its liquidity-premium. The following image arises for some showcase objects18:
Object of capital Revenue resp. interest Costs Liq.-premium (Wildcard) Intrinsic interest (Total advantage)
Hard cash 0% 0% 6% 6%
Demand funds 2% 0% 4% 6%
Time deposits 4% 0% 2% 6%
Long-term investments 6% 0% 0% 6%
Share XY plc. 6% 0% 0% 6%
Apartments 7% -2% 1% 6%
Land 3% 0% 3% 6%
YZ-Factory 150% -144% 0% 6%
Risk surcharges, brokerages and the like were disregarded at this table. The percentage values correspond always with the capital expenditure. They are thought only for clarification of the order of magnitude but are not exact.204
Concrete differences in the rating of the respective objects of capital exist of course for the single person, according to strategy of investment, objective target or risk estimation. But it remains also sensible for the single person to heighten the more advantageous positions in charge of the less advantageous ones ongoingly that much until the respective total advantages have been adjusted.
The liquidity-premium resp. the wildcard advantage is to be understood as such advantage which adheres the respective object by the given legal framework (currency arrangement, laws), by its being-that-way-it-just-is resp. also by established human needs. For this reason the apartment in the table has also a minor liquidity-premium since residing is an absolute basic necessity. One can let apartments even when in crisis times, or one can live within on oneself when appropriate. Living space is a safe investment of capital! This effect occurs even more intense on property of land since usage of land is prerequisite for each human activity. Nevertheless it can not become accreted and thus remains always short; it can not even become destroyed. Land is the traditional and safest kind of investment of capital. In return the revenue (the rent) is less than on other objects of capital. In this respect the property of land is “liquidely“19 even if this is contrary to other classifications.
If one keeps in mind that there occur perpetual regroupings according to the table which compensate possible imbalances one sees instantly that the liquidity-premium of the most liquide object establishes the minimum for all other total advantages20. It will be determined by this object which revenues all those objects of capital have to yield at least which are not anymore liquidely on their own.
Due to that the interest remains always positively under the given conditions since the liquidity-premium of money sets the standard below which the interest can not sink. If the interest sinks to this limit, the so-called preference of liquidity rises. Long-term money investments will become redeployed to ever short-term ones, demand funds will become inflated and even the hard cash inventory rises. Speculations in shares and currencies increase. It becomes ever more rentable to realise the advantages of liquidity instead to collect too low interests. The amount of exchange money will increasingly become blocked and the offer of liquidity decreases. The drop of interests will be stopped by this and capsizes at some time into a rise.
Thus the level of the interest resulting out of the capital market is also not a “price for the money” or the with it connected purchasing power since that buying power will be indeed restored again later. The interest is the refund for the advantages of liquidity per time unit. Instead of speaking about “Lending out the money” it would be more accurate to talk of “Lease of temporal liquidity“21.
6 Interest and yield: The dispute on the surplus22
It was said above that the interest can not fall below a lowest limit. This inconspicuous fact has far-reaching consequences.
On his part the interest sets, that is to say, the standard below which the yields of the capital in kind can not drop. If they eventually do once in a short period, the capital in kind is not profitable anymore, and an economic crisis happens during which the most unprofitable capital in kind will be decimated. A shortage of the present capital in kind results. Companies go bankrupt or close the most unremunerative locations, additional and also substitutional investments will be left undone since they would now return less yield than the interest which one gains on a money investment.205 After all, the capital in kind is nothing else for an investor than an interest-bearing investment, since the money will be given away in the same manner. It has to compare itself by the interest.
This mechanism guarantees the remaining capital in kind again an “adequate” yield. “So the crisis creates the prerequisites for the next boom, since the due the shortage of the capital in kind again risen interest of the capital in kind channels the money again into investments of capital in kind.“23. In the majority of cases only the weakest economic areas (Companies with poor yield or such with low equity-to-assets ratio) are concretely affected during the crisis, so that it often appears that the individual reason would result from wrong decisions and incompetence.
Such fine words like “Market adjustment” or “Downsizing” serve as euphemisms for this event. Accompanying, an “adjustment” or “downsizing” also occurs on the employment.
It would be a bit too simple wanting to assure that the conventional interest-bearing money introduces the reason for yields of capital by all means. It is “only” the cause for the unability of the yields to drop below a certain limit, at least not overall-economically and long-termly. Of course, the discussion about the “yield by all means” can not become treated extensively but some comments shall be still mentioned.
The wildcard advantage of the money is a power agent allowing to implement an interest. There are truly many power agents. Also the property of means of production (capital in kind) is a power agent in an economy of scarcity. The power accrues out of the covetedness of the produced goods; if they are not coveted “the capitalist” can – rakishly said – nail himself the means of production onto his knee. But economy of scarcity means nothing else than shortage.
Hence Marx was not entirely wrong to search the reason for the “surplus” during an objectively present shortage in the production. Undoubtly a surplus can also only be produced in the production (thus by labour). The question is rather whereby it will be enforced permanently!
It has been shown above that the money resp. the liquidity available to the economy can be shortened “artificially” (preference of liquidity). The shortage does not originate at all a conspiracy and also not the evil will of “the capitalists” but is rational for each money owner who wants to use the offered advantages. The shortage of money resp. liquidity transmits itself into the real economy since a shortage of liquidity leads inevitably to a shortage of capital in kind. So the liquidity-premium of the money sets the limit beyond which the capital in kind can not become accreted. Thereby an interest-based economy preserves in the long term also the yields of the (remaining) capital in kind since the shortage can never become eliminated.
The capital is under the given conditions always the shortest production agent no matter how much of it already exists. It is rather the most urgent task of state and society to take care, by demand stimulation, “need-creation”, national thriftless projects, export augmentation etc., that this also remains that way, because otherwise we get a crisis which restores the shortage coercively.
In contrast an (ideal, not interest-forged) economy acts ongoingly as eliminator of yield and interest. It is both a theoretical and practical commonplace that yields drop with increasing accumulation of capital. The descent of the yields occurs by the competition: The more concurrents exist, the more products appear on the market, the further the demand becomes fulfilled, the more difficult it will become to keep some yield left.
Our “capitalistic economy” is a hybrid24 whose one side pushes to a compensation and whose other side enforces an enduring imbalance. The up to now preferred “solution” of this dilemma is the economic growth at any cost. This topic will be dealt with in more detail later.
7 Rentability and unemployment25
No investment will be carried out and in the long term no production facility will be run when it does not yield interest, hence when it is not rentable. It is obvious that one can undertake leveraged investments only if they are rentable when one doesnt want to go bankrupt. Likewise obviously one will invest also the own money only into rentable ventures since otherwise one could deposit it on a bank and get the liquidity-premium assuredly. In case the interest dropped also (temporarily) below this one does not do anything for some time and keeps the money liquidely.
Hence unrentable ventures will not happen, even if they could be conducted economically without interest charges. But the possibilities for rentability are not endless. The one side of our hybrid “capitalistic economy” tends towards fulfilment of demand. On the other hand the demand can not be fulfilled, since then the yield would drop below the interest gains (and by that the crisis arrives).
Well, it is difficult to find the matching terms for something what just does not happen. Maybe one can express it like that: In the degree how the rentable areas within the economy become exhausted the volume of the fall-through raises on the other side. That are the investments and ventures which would not be rentably anymore in face of the already occurred accumulation of capital. Unemployment can be viewed as an indicator for the volume of this fall-through. One should become reflective about the fact that, with a delay of one to two years, the amount of unemployment is directly proportional to the interest gains of the banks26.
Until now e. g. the “ecologic reconstruction” (of our economy), the “energy-use change”, the refurbishment of an important part of the east-german building fabric, apartments for thousands of derelicts etc. has fallen through. The apprehension that the labour will run out appears like a sarcastic joke. As if there would be nothing to do anymore. Labour would actually exist but it would not be rentable, it would not yield interest. Unemployment is a problem of rentability!
Of course measures of qualification, further training, etc. are desirable and lead to an increase of chances in single cases. But under the given conditions they have mainly one effect: The enhance the qualification level of the unemployed27. So the shortening of the jobs hits the weakest first. But the problem will not become solved by a fortification of the weakest, as worthwile it may be, since others take their place.
Our market-/interest-based economic hybrid decreases constantly the external given shortage and creates itself an internal shortage as compensation. It forces the economy and ultimately the society to leave a growing portion of their possibilities unused, and that for the sake of the relative shortage, for the sake of the yield which can not tolerate plentifulness, and finally for the sake of the interest.
8 Noiseless redistribution
The question arises who stands Sam. On the direct way that are at first the debtors, thus the economy and the state. “The economy” means concretely the indebted enterprises. Although in fact the income of the entrepreneurs drop during a phase of high interests and only increase afterwards28; the transfer of interest becomes quasi “elastic”. But in the long term the enterprises have no other possibility than to pass all the costs, to which also the interests belong, on the prices. The interest gain of the equity capital will become ensured by the mechanism decribed above (provided that the enterprise does not become victim of a capital shortage). With the state the passing becomes even clearer, since he meets its expenses by the biggest part from taxes.
So the consuments and tax payers pay the interests according their spendings and taxes. However, interest incomes result from the size of the monetary capital and, additionally, often become subject to “tax avoidance” on remunerative amounts.
Hence it seems legitimately for a rough calculation of the total burden to reference the burdens of interest to the national income29 and to assign the interest gains according the monetary capitals. In 1995, the national income added-up to 2615 billion DM30, the burdens on interest to 499 billion DM, whereas however one has to pay attention that the level of the interest rate sets also the standard for the yield of the capital in kind. Even if it is assumed that the debt-free, economically used capital in kind (ca. 4400 billion DM) would realise still a profit also without interests and there are only assessed 4% (= 176 billion DM) as “real” interest gain of equity capital, a total charge of 499 + 176 = 675 billion DM results.
That are more than 25% of the national income which were smartly, noiseless and effectively diverged in 1995 without anyone being upset about it! One might dispute about several percentage points, but the order of magnitude is not made of thin air. There would exist still several different modes for evaluation yielding in part even higher values, but for which it is to be referred to literature31.
The personal burden of interest becomes quickly calculated in approximation when one multiplies the own expenses per year inclusively taxes by 0.2532; interest gains and interest-related incomes from capital in kind have to be deducted from it. The probability speaks for the fact that the addicted reader belongs to the 80-85% of the population whose face falls knowing this evaluation.
The burden of interest is very different in specific spendings and depends in the essence on the intensity of the capital expenditure. At the rent the burden amounts up to 80%, at the haircutter service it will become rather small. Concerning the whole society the “phenomenon” results that the monetary capital is distributed very unequally. In the FRG the wealthier half of all households owns 96% of the monetary capital whereas the poorer half accounts for only 4%33. Creutz has undertaken a netting out of the burden and gain of interest on the basis of ten groups of households, and has shown that the hidden interest payments of the poorer 80% of the population accumulate at the richest 10%. For the remaining 10% the computation is approximately balanced34.
“This explains exemplarily simple a mechanism – possibly the most important – which lets become the rich always richer and the poor always poorer. … With the interest in our system a redistribution of money is connected which is not based upon effort but finally thereon that someone can hinder the free-market economy, that means the exchange of goods and services, and can enforce an interest for the abandonment of this hindrance.“35
From a functional perspective one could also say: “The chitchat about the capitalistic “Performance society” emerges consequently as ideology if it becomes visible that the functional distribution of the national income does not result by the performance but by the shortage criterion.“36
9 Exponential growth
Of course, the interest has to be paid also on the parts of balances formerly created by interest gains. One names that as the compound interest effect. Sure enough it only comes into effect when the interest revenues do not become used otherwise, e.g. for consumption. However we will still see that the latter is the case increasingly more rare. Also investments carried out directly by the recipient of the interests do not change anything at the principle provided they are rentable.
The compound interest effect causes an exponential accretion of the respective balances. That means, expressed more clearly, that the time in which the balance doubles is constant (provided there is a constant interest rate). For example, the doubling takes about 7.2 years at a rate of 10%.
Maybe that does not sound exceedingly exciting but the principle is that of an explosion. A striking example for that is a nuclear bomb: By the emission which is set free at the fission of an atom the fission of two more atoms will be caused, then four, then eight, then 16, 32, 64… How many might it be after 50 cycles of disintegration? It are about 5.629.499.500.000.000.
Another example is the story of the inventor of the chess game: “The enthusiastic king grants the clever inventor twice as much grains (wheat grains, the author) for each chess field as on the field before: On the first field one grain, on the second field two grains, on the third 4, then 8, 16 …, at some time 240, that are already whole storehouses, 241, 242, always twice as much as before. Eventually between 245 and 247, the king capitulates without means, although he promised indeed the supply and doubling of grains for all 64 fields = 263 (totalling to 264-1). Of course, the king is obliged by mathematics and by law, but due some other reasons he is not able to comply with this obligation: From some certain amount, it is simply impossible to double once again.“37
The king would have to ante up 440 of todays world cereal harvests (which had to consist of only wheat) for that.38
It would not be admissible to transfer such anecdotes implicitly onto our currency system. Let us rather look at some concrete counts. For the whole monetary capitals and debts of the FRG the following trend appears39:
Year Monetary capital Debts (in billion DM)
1950 59 66
1960 337 303
1970 926 852
1980 2390 2327
1990 4825 4325
1995 7703 7694
Of course, one can not deduce an exponential function in the strict mathematical sense, but the trend is obvious: The increase accelerates itself. Interest incomes resulting from the monetary capital surpass the whole savings accumulation since long (1995: 276 billion DM40), whereby the savings are tendentially accruing always less out of the earned income. By that the consumption is also less since the interest incomes become “saved” just by those who could lend out their surplus before. The result: The monetary capitals take off.
An obvious counterargument says that this would not be a problem at all if the indebtedness would not increase too. Ultimately, the debtors should be to blame for all that?
Sixty-four dollar question: What happens if, at the currently (1995) “circulating” cash amount in a height of 238 billion DM41 (+579 billion DM demand funds), the interest incomes of a year equalling 365 billion DM do not become feed back into the economy and also not become spent for comsumption?
The posessors of the monetary capitals would have blocked in addition nearly the half of the total exchange money amount (with hard cash alone that deal could not become carried out at all)42. They would be extremely liquide but the economy would crash. Of course, that will not happen because before that the process described in chapter 6 starts and shortens the capital in kind that much (and creates that many liquidity bottlenecks) that someone will be found who takes the offered money for an “appropriate” interest payment and as the case may be also invests.
The growing monetary capitals do not only enable a further indebtedness, they enforce it!
At this place many a person will shake its head and say himself that this is completely farcical because that can not work in the long term. You got it! Just that shall have been shown.
That mechanism has also never worked stable in the past43. Why it should do so of all things and against all logic in the future? The explosion taking place here occurs just not in fractions of a second but in decades.
10 Economic growth and ecology44
It is a legitimate question why our economic performance has to grow constantly if the social problems shall not increase (thus we must become richer to not become poorer?). Although the topic is technically blurred, it is not difficult in principle. The explosive evolution of the monetary capitals does not become a problem as long as the economic performance explodes together with it in the same degree. The risen economic performance videlicet enables the transfer of the interests without occurence of income losses for the working ones. There remains a “relative impoverishment” of the working ones who, meanwhile, hardly take part anymore on the increase of the economic performance but also after all do not become pauperised ultimately. An exception constituted surely enough very strong boom phases in which the economic growth were above the interest rates and thus enabled income increases also for the working ones.
As it is generally known, one can eat a cake only once. However, the piece of interest which becomes cut out before the cake will be shared among the working ones increases permanently. There are in principle three directions which the development can take:
a) Impoverishment (of parts) of the population (the remainder of the cake becomes smaller)
b) Economic growth (the cake becomes bigger altogether)
c) Inflation (the cake becomes inflated)
The debt rescheduling can be regarded as a fourth possibility for a very limited time, that is the payment of the old credits by new debts. But this possibility reaches very fast its limits due the diminishing creditworthiness of the debtor and hence is no alternative for the economy. Only the state in its nature as exceptional credit-worthy debtor can make use of debt rescheduling for some time, before also it becomes insolvent.
The debt rescheduling and inflation cease to apply at the moment (one must say: until they become unavoidably45) as possibility to be taken seriously. The redistribution at the expense of the working ones, that is the absolute impoverishment, entails heavy social tensions, so only the economic growth remains. In this respect, the interest-based economy imposes an exigence of permanent growth, a “growth enforcement”, whereas however this enforcement is to be understood as social and political enforcement. Growth is necessary to avoid or at least attenuate crises and to delay the social collapse.
So also the demand of many economic scientists and politicians becomes understandable who mean that an everlasting economic growth of 3% would be categorically needed to avoid otherwise unevitable crises.206 Because the reason of this demand is hardly ever explained, the ecologic movement sees itself confronted by a killing argument which unfortunately hits the bull’s-eye as long as the established relationships do not become questioned.46
Indeed, the demanded economic growth would be likewise exponential growth as also the growth of the monetary capitals if it could take place at all. In the long term, it would have to lead to wholly farcical orders of magnitude. Here the “sustainers of our society” in politics and science reveal a total lack of simple mathematical basics. One could also phrase it handier:
“It is the categorical declaration of bankruptcy of the entire official national economy that it can not or does not want to recognise the growth as problem but declares it as prerequisite of prosperity.“47
A growing economy causes a growing resource consumption. An exponential growing economy would in the long term negate all endeavours of retrenchment and environmental protection. Well, there is the often voiced demand of a so-called “qualitative” growth, whereupon it remains in the dark how this shall look exactly. Furthermore, the gross national product is an out-and-out quantitative term, and only an economic growth which itself condenses in Euro and Cent can enable to defuse the above described distribution difficulty at times. Thus the growth of the service sector is understood by the “quantitative” growth.
“Indeed, the portion of this sector on the GNP has risen considerably. This is however not a solution of the dilemma since the service sector can only grow when it serves a growing production sector, just in order that this one can grow still better. Moreover, one can notice also in the service sector a forever increasing capital expenditure and resource consumption.“48
How one may also turn it, as long as the growth does not become recognised as problem the measures on environmental protection resp. repair, and the unsuccessful search of the system-compliant sustainability remains a Sisyphean task which can not stuff the old holes as fast as, on other places, new ones rip open.
11 Down-discounting the future49
The compound interest effect occurs also inversely. Just as a certain revenue is “more worth” today than in one year (since it can become invested interest-bearingly in the meantime), so also a certain expense is a bigger burden today than in one year (since also the amount not being spent can become invested resp. does not need to become funded). The doubling of an amount by the compound interest effect has as counterpart a halving of a burden on the expenses side.
Likely that sounds a bit out of touch with reality. One can remedy that when one tries in short to reconstruct the presumable train of thought of a politician standing before the decision to either finance today an environment protection measure for 1 million by 7.2% or to postpone it still 10 years (in case he then still holds his office). The costs of interests sum up over 10 years to exactly the same sum as the measure itself. So the total costs aggregate to 2 million if the measure is carried out today. The costs aggregate to only 1 million on a shift of the measure by 10 years, thus the half. If the measure would be met by own resources the circumstance is also not different since the interest incomes in the mean time diminuish the later burden.207
The argumentation is always the same in such cases: Today the cash boxes are empty, except that there are more important things; investments into the future are only possible if they are rentable; first we need growth, then we can protect the nature from our growth and similar. Unfortunately in doing so hardly someone notices that the situation never changes and under the given conditions also can not change. In an interest-based economy it remains always rewarding to postpone costs to later.
But the down-discounting takes effect not only at costs but also at investments. A qualitatively high grade commodity (lets say a machine) with a high lifetime and a high price has compared to a cheap model, which costs only the half and must be replaced after the half time, blatant disadvantages. Trash is simply more rentably.
The author want to let himself carry away to the statement that the exponential growth of the monetary capitals stands accordingly vis-à-vis of a logarithmic devaluation of the real future. With that it is also not anymore a problem to pass costs to later generations since down-discounted hardly something remains!
This should not mean that someone creates consciously payment sequences up to the year 2100 to blandish todays environmental damages. Many people have already tremendous arduousness to adapt to this weird mechanism and are very happy if they finally managed after many years of scool, education, studies etc. to find their way economically in the interest-based economy. Of course, the reasons of many exigences remain often in the dark. Except that, surely a lot of psychological motives and the exasperating convenience come into play at the problem of passing the costs to later. Only the regrettable fact should have been shown here that by our monetary order not only a relative shortage of capital (regardless of all economic growth) and a divergence of the incomes is determined but also a systematical down-discount of the future.
“A positive interest rate represents the signal: “Shortage dominates, you are doing badly. Look that you remove this shortage in a push of force. Temporarily you may do this even at the cost of future generations.” But exactly only temporarily. So wise the allocating effect of this market signal is, so fatal it takes effect in conjunction with the capitalistic interest mechanism: The interest becomes perpetuated by the liquidity premium of the money – and with that also the signal of shortage and a positive “social discount rate”. Thus life is not only temporarily at cost of future generations but permanently. This sacrifice of future generation does not still even make sense since the shortage can not become eliminated in the capitalism.“50
12 Liquidity and safety
The liquidity premium can be understood as the advantage of ensurance against the uncertainty. Its existence presumes consequently that the world is unsafe. In that sense, the liquidity premium gives also a professional investor or speculant the possibility to react fast on yield fluctuations (which are uncertain in advance) and thus to act profit-maximisingly. Hereby it becomes visible that the previously “virtual” liquidity premium can make an impact crabwise as measurable revenue. Of course, the investor resp. speculant knows this and likes to rather remain liquidely on low interests (traditionally: he “hoards” money).
But also from a general point of view, the uncertainty will never vanish entirely (Welfare and constitutional state to and fro), wherefore always a liquidity premium will exist. It remains always sensible for the single person to protect himself by liquidity from the “Remainder of uncertainty” as long as the possibility for that exists. Nevertheless the level of the liquidity premium is no fixed factor since it depends of many general conditions51, especially by the safety of the economically and social environment in broadest sense, thus of the confidence into the stability of the currency, of the reliability of the legal system etc.
However in this context is decisive: The liquidity premium is and remains always positively.52
The insurance of the individual uncertainty by means of liquidity means finally to pass this uncertainty onto the society. The safety of the investor and and the increased collective uncertainty have their reason similarly in the (not-) use of liquidity in a extremely flexible way resp. in a way of other purposes than indended. The concrete effects of the increasing collective uncertainty have already been dealt with in the sections 1 and 2. Deflationary break-ins on the one, inflationary impulses on the other side, a permanently raised level of interest with increasing concentration of capital in always fewer hands and, quite generally, a recurring change between boom and recession occur, whereas the last ones intensify in the long term until finally the social problems escalate and/or the financial superstructure collapses.
Under the given circumstances, the individual pursuit to maximally possible safety leads inevitably to an increasingly collective unsafety. We are stuck herewith in a “prisoners dilemma“53. The collective unsafety becomes abided on a high resp. raising level under the conditions of a not neutral liquidity54.
In this respect, broad parts of history can be understood as a struggle of humans against the uncertainty without adapting the money, which increases the general uncertainty, to it. Meant are here e.g. human rights, constitutions, democraties, separation of powers etc. Doubtless the safety, the freedom, the productivity as well as the fulfilment of demand increased indeed and the uncertainty and the level of interest dropped. But simply never lasting and also never above respectively below certain limits.
Hopefully is has now become clearer why so much stress is being put on the money in this report. The real economic, cultural and politic aspects of safety shall not be brushed aside through this as unimportant. It is only so that the money as liquide item is also the one on which one can apply in the most effective way (and also has to apply if the increasing collective unsafety in form of economic and social problems shall not strike disastrously anew).
13 The projection of the eternal and endless55
The money has long adopted the attributes of a strong addictive drug. Overall-economically the problem of interest accounts above all for a necessity: The dose has to increase. The vehicle to increase of the dose are the economic growth or, in the advanced stage, the inflation56. If these vehicles fail, withdrawal syndromes occur in form of an impoverishment of parts of the population or, at a complete commitment to the medium of inflation, a total crash.
As liquide object of capital and speculation, the money loses its reference to real world.57 The by all means sensible attribute as medium of exchange for real goods and services becomes increasingly usurped by the rising significance as means of accumulation of might. This might is not subject to any “falling marginal utility”; the might over the compound interest mechanism can be build up without expense beyond every limit. So the aura of the eternal and endless adheres to the money. It is carried off from the world and offers itself as projection screen for suppressed anxieties and desires.
It is not more amazing if the overall-economic addictive character of the money rubs off on the individuum. One also needs not a special sensibility to notice that the money has become enultimated and elevated as fetish.
The enultimaltion of worths and things leads in reality to their destruction. That means that the enultimation of worths produces always a fetish to make itself dependend from it without noticing that. … Although noone wants to admit it, magic reigns our entire economic life since this relies on the contradiction that growth without limits happens in a limited world. But this is only possible by the enultimation of the money which increases itself by magic effect.“58
In turn that shall not mean that the interest represents the single reason for projections (in economic contexts). But it shall mean that this form of projection suggests itself in an interest-based economy, downright obtrudes itself and stabilizes the existing circumstances.
14 The fat years are over: Gradual decompensation
Obviously our society gets problems with the interest-caused redistribution mechanism already for some time. How will things continue now? Besides a psychological enultimation, there are still some systematical activities with which the interest-based economy stabilizes – for the time being – itself.
Of course, first and foremost there is the economic growth caused by the additional investments with which the “saved” interest incomes can (resp. must) be lead back into the economy. Except that, the growth permits the payment of the risen burdens of interest without income losses at the working ones (supposed the growth has been big enough what however is always more rarely the case).
But also the economic side of our market/interest-based economic hybrid becomes active with the economic growth. The Economy tends to the fulfilment of demand, and the yields of the capital in kind drop. If they drop below the level of the interest of the money, the capital in kind is (partially) not rentable anymore, whereby a recession occurs. At some time the yield drops inevitably below the interest, since the interest can never fall below a lower limit.
With each recession a destruction of capital in kind (by insolvencies, liquidation of companies, omission of investments) and jobs is accompagnied. The yields raise again a bit, investments become rentable again. However, the employment remains on the route which becomes reduced at every recession and becomes substituted by capital-intensive methods of production at the next boom. So the recessions are not to be regarded as a phenomenon of decay of the capitalism but – in the opposite – as a stabiliser of the required (relative) shortage without which the interests and yields would not be permanently possible.
The task to compensate the increasing social disparity by “back-distribution” behooves to the social system, but also again at cost of the remaining working ones59. The distribution runs from below to ultimately below to arrange the system-inherent concentration to above reasonably tolerable.
Another flashy phenomenon settled in the financial sector is the speculation with shares and foreign currencies60. About that it is possible to directly transform the advantages of liquidity into revenues as long as the stock exchange values (on the shares market) tend to rise. But these only rise partly due a real value increase of the companies having issued the shares. The meanwhile bigger part of stock exchange value gains simply results from the fact that ever more money flows into the speculative area and the risen demand fuels the stock exchange values. The boom of shares of the last years may be interpreted partly as inflationary process, as a kind of pyramide sales, with whose the money produces perpetually soap bubble yields on its own as long as the interests are low. However the problem is not due to more people investing in shares but due to the fact that for speculation, big money stocks must be kept liquidely and thus become withdrawn from the real economy.
“On the one hand all stock exchange value gains must yield in average more than the interest as comparation factor, on the other hand the, on rising stock exchange values increasing, speculation withdraws money from the credit business. So the interest and stock exchange value gains rely on each other. The employees not being able anymore to be applicable sufficiently profitable fall behind, whom the money is being denied twice under the make-believe of the fierce rivalry: First in form of too high interests, second in form of wages reductions and job losses to further bear the stock exchange value gains. With its gain possibilities, the speculative loop becomes a competitor for the real economy and thus for the employees. As soon as the gain expectations decrease, the savings flow into the finance.” 61
Instead of taking the can for the own problems, one may export them by a certain degree. The credit-grant to states of the “Third world” causes primarily new requests for the export industries (especially the arms industries62) of the credit-granting states. Provided that the cash is being invested in arms and huge projects, it flows in the majority of cases promptly back into the industry nations. However, the indebtment of the “Third World” remains as legacy and cements the redistribution of poor to rich on global level since the transfer of interests leads to a continuous capital drain from the poorer states having no other choice than to undersell their resources.
A further possibility of stabilisation is still the absolute income loss of working ones in favour of the interest recipients as well as the cutback of social benefits. With that we stand only at the start, but in future one will be forced to make use of it more often, independendly of which government has just the power. Older economies like the ones in the USA and Great Britain testify that there is still quite a margin and, by emergence of a working poor, the unemployment can actually be reduced (if the fee level is only low enough).63
The “stabilisations” described here are, as a matter of course, only Pyrrhic victories of the interest system. They cause, if something at all, only a cushioning of the increasing unstability. Nevertheless the system becomes more unstable since, in the long run, nothing may escape the exponential growth. And then?
15 The balloon bursts: Destruction of assets
The higher the rise, the deeper the fall. Despite all short-termed “stabilisations” a point will come when the interest payment is not realisable anymore. “At a certain size it is simply impossible to double again.“64 Then only one thing remains: The capital must be away. The course equals along general lines those of the recessions described above (“Market adjustments”), only with the difference that the economy as a whole becomes “adjusted”.65
However, the essential destruction of assets is related mainly to the cash capital, because the interest payment force emanates from there. Nevertheless it is clear that despite all disconnection of the financial sector a crash of the same produces indeed consequences on the real economy66.
For the interest economy, the this accompanying destruction of real cash is also “sensible” insofar as thereby new growth potentials are created. Then that is one washing up.
However, a prediction about the concrete order and moment of a big crisis is not possible. The crux is right that the predictability is steadily decreasing (whereby though that decrease with deadly safety can be predicted). The system becomes ever more unstable, the collective uncertainness ever increases. That means: The social differences and the unemployment increases, the indebtment (and therewith the sensitivity compared to crises) of the economy and state rises into the unbelievable, ever more liquidity flows into the speculative area, sucks one the one hand the liquidity from the real economy but can on the other hand also unexpectedly return into it (for example at stock exchange value drops). So also different crises apprehensions may be understood which, strikingly, are contradictory.67 The concrete trigger does not need to have much relation with the set of problems described here, significant is rather that a chain reaction will be initiated which, little by little, seizes all economical and social areas68 (similar to an AIDS ill, who dies finally due for example from a cold).
So a precise repetition of the last big crises will not occur, since the analysts of the interest deal are finally also adaptive. Todays Federal Bank is not anymore the Reichsbank of 1930, the gold standard has be abandoned, the business banks will scrupulously pay attention to sifficient cash reserves, the cashless transactions increase the elasticity of the money supply etc. pp. We are climbed quite a bit on the ladder which is not leaned against something, and, who knows, maybe we climb also still much higher.
And still something has changed. “In that century, in face of the rapid social, economical and technical development, the “social question” has been extended by the ecological dimension. Has one beholded until into the last centuries the nature as an enemy whom it is in force to be conquered … , so today, in contrast, increasingly the fact appears in awareness that the mankind must integrate herself into the natural circulation if he wants to save himself and his environment.“69 But an ecological circulation economy is imaginable only under basic conditions which do not enforce constant economical growth. “Consequently, on short term, the capitalism (Here: the interest economy, the author) permits only the options economical-social or ecological crash; however one can predict a not desirable, nevertheless slowly occuring synthesis of both scenarios.“70
That sounds indeed a bit dire. But at least, a pessimistic realism may provide the fundament for a realistic optimism, if it is possible to untangle the correlations. It should be preferred by far to a supression of the problems.
16 Reasons instead symptoms
After these seedy-making contents of the paragraphes above, it is now slowly the time to cross over to the more optimistic possibilities.
It will be purposeful to shortly remember the “dispute on the surplus”: The yields can not drop permanently below the interest, although they had to do it at further asset creation. The interest finds its lower limit at the level of the liquidity-premium of money, that is the value of the wildcard advantage resp. the superiority of the money above all goods and services. Or vice versa: The liquidity-premium sets the standard below which the interest may not drop and this one sets now on his part the standard below which the yields of the capital in kind can not drop.
But an ecologically compatible and fair economy is only possible at capital yields and interests of nearly zero. The question arises how this may be achieved, a question for whose response it is necessary to jettison some of the conventional explanation patterns. In the case of a willingness thereto is available, the answer looks very plain:
One could neutralise the liquidity-premium.
Naturally, one could not disestablish it since the sense of money is just to be liquidely, thus to act as universal means of exchange and to possess the advantages associated with it. But one could impose costs to the liquidity which compensate these advantages.
Hence the costs must have the same amount like the liquidity-premium and, at cash and demand funds, lie consequently somewhere between three and six percent. The charge of consumers, who hardly account for the set of problems anyway, would be correspondingly small. If someone keeps permanently 1000 Euro liquidely it would be, at six percent, 60 Euro per year or 5 Euro per month. The costs would affect more crucial to the investment cycle.
It must be guarded against a proximate misunderstanding: The fees on liquidity are not an inflationary devaluation of the buying power. The devaluation affects only the exchange money (more precisely: the liquidity), but not the long-termed funds. In opposite, it would be foremost possible to keep the price level really stable since, with the stabilised circulation speed, it would also be possible to adapt the circulating money amount exactly on the economical power and thus eliminate the supposed sneaking inflation.
The effect would be virtually gigantic, and many books71 be needed to cover it comprehensively. In the next but one chapter, the results will become browsed at least shortly.
But first of all it will be interestingly how neutral money could look like.
17 Neutral Liquidity substantiated72
The different liquidity positions must be distinguished. Particularly it is about hard cash and demand funds, but also short-termed time deposits have a certain importance. Besides of that, the land is significant as in that context most important nonmonetary asset.
The oldest and already several times implemented proposal for neutralisation of cash liquidity was based upon to so-called stamp money.73 In the process, banknotes must be cleared in periodical intervals on their back side, either by rubber stamping or by franking with tokens (similar to postage stamps) in order to retain their face value.
Another possibility is the table money at which the face value is decreasing in the course of the time, being displayed as kind of table on the banknote. That table contains the different face values at the given dates.
Finally also a replacement of single series of banknotes is possible with costs occuring in periodical or incalculable208 intervals. The costs will be charged in form of an exchange fee. This implementation is called serial money.
These three designs have in each case special advantages and disadvantages, on which one may not go into that here. But maybe still wholly other possibilities arise. That is finally also a question of creativity.
b) Demand funds
The case lies simplier at the so-called book liquidity. Debits of accounts become carried out by the business banks already today fully automated (for example with accounting fees). For this, Löhr suggests on the possibility to obligate the banks to a duty on their cash reserves, which they must hold out for the managed deposit balances. Then, the banks would have an appropriate interest to preferably shift the burden based on the originators, viz corresponding the liquidity of the deposits. In that case, also other, less liquide assets, like for example short-termed time deposits, would be affected (but only in the proportion of their liquidity) on which one would otherwise sidestep increasingly.
The amount of the liquidity fees should be constituted by an independend institution (the Federal Bank or an ad hoc establishing currency office) and also become collected by it. On a direct access by the state it would be to worry about the fee would become lifted too much in order to augment the revenues.
The technical prerequisites would be given already today. However to establish this, diverse law changes would be necessary.
Due the liquidity-premium of land, a rocketing high land price would be to to worry about after a sole monetary reform, since the investors would sidestep increasedly in that object of capital. The liquidity-premium of land would become constitutively for the intrinsic interest rates of the remaining properties of capital and would prevent a further decrease of interest. Therefrom, the combination of a monetary with a land reform would be indispensable.74
However, the land reform would not require any expropriations. Just the point is to siphon the liquidity-premium which would also be possible with a taxation.75 Here, the fact acts facilitating that neither one may “forget” landholding in tax declarations nor one may carry it in a suitcase into a tax exile. Alongside, the long-termed safe solution76 would be the successive purchase of land by the communes (with an adequate option to buy) and the following placing of use rights (emphyteusis) to the highest bidder. This also would have the advantage of an event in line with the market and the prevention of any potential governmental taxation arbitrariness. Virtually “by that way”, gamblings with that vital property would become impossible by that way.
18 An economy of fulfilment of demand
Like said before, the effects of a neutral liquidity would be very far reaching. If the liquidity-premium will be neutralised consequently, so the costs weight as much as on the other side the wildcard advantage of the liquidity, that is the “safety” in broadest sense and the expectations on speculative yields by keeping the money. The transaction motive will not be blocked anymore by the safety and speculation motive, viz the liquidity of money is only an advantage if one uses it to buy and not anymore if one reserves the possibility therefore, but does not do it. The means of exchange “money” would be inoperative as means of capital.
Of course, by all means desirable “reactions of evasion” appear at first. Once liquide means accrue which are not needed promptly they will become invested, since the long-termed investments are not affected by the fee. Inevitably, the increased offer on the capital market leads to decreasing interests since the lower limit of the liquidity-premium has vanished.
Now investments become profitable which would be omitted before. The increased credit potential flows indeed lastly into investments, mere they will be carried out by the debtor. The breadth of the “fall-through” (cp. chapter 6) and with that the unemployment decreases together with the profitability limit. At the same time, a progressive (real) capital creation (a permanent business activity) which presses with its enlarged production henceforth on the profits. The lowering of profits happens by the competition mechanism and occurs according to the hitherto experience quite reliably.77
In that relation, “extended production” does not mean that a still stronger growth delusion occurs, but that the increase of production does not stop shortly before the effective fulfilment of demand due “profitability impairment”. Nothing other than to position herself (if i may personate it) for the fulfilment of demand remains for the capital, if it wants to get still something from the falling yields since there is no retreat possibility into the liquidity.
At the time, the necessity of a permanent economical growth results just from the fact that the demand is even not covered!78
Indeed it may be assumed that at first a further growth thrust occurs, which is also no wonder in face of more than four millions unemployees, but the motivation to carry out further investments lowers with dropping yields on and on. Likewise, the profit- and interest-induced savings creation drops and thus the necessity to return that money by a further indebtment into the economy to avoid demands shortfalls (that is the necessity to further economic growth).
On the way to the zero interest, capital incomes shift itself to the work incomes.79 The concentration of the capital will be inverted into a decentralisation. Correspondingly, the influence of well funded trusts and economic mammoth entities recedes. So, the decentralisation of capital penetrates on the real economy. The crowding out to the biggest capital power gets the chance to migrate into an market-economic fair competition.
The development finds its equilibrity state at a level of interests and yields of zero, viz at a consequent elimination of not performance-related capital incomes, be it from monetary capital or capital in kind. “The capitalist as “investor without function” (Keynes) vanishes with the capital yield, the person who remains is the businessman who gets an effort reward for the management of the company.“80 Further, additional investments are not carried out anymore since the would be unprofitable, thus earn losses. Hence, the net investment rate and therewith the growth drops also until zero, viz the investments and wearout of the present capital stock81 sustain a balance. Alike, the savings ratio drops to zero, the creation and liquidation of savings also sustain a balance.
They must do it since if the savings ratio stays positively at a zero interest, the capital market would react short-termed with negative interests. One must note that the savings only are still composed ofwork incomes. A negative interest rate on saved work incomes is a definite signal: Work does not pay off anymore. In that situation, the signal is also entirely right, since the power of economy lies obviously over the demand. Now, work time reductions on voluntary basis may occur until the equilibrium is reconstituted again. The amount of the equilibristic wholly-economic savings will be determined predominantly by the provision requirement of the population.
In the equilibrium state, the market economy is not static despite “zero growth”. As soon as new demands occur, businessmen may achieve “pioneer gains” by additional investments until the competition has followed. Thus, the economy may still grow if that is sensible. Likewise, it may shrink without causing a new crisis by that. When this equilibrium is achieved depends accordingly on the demand.
The interest is not abandoned but oscillates per run duration of the investments around zero. However, the debt interests which need to be paid are still lightly positive since therein is contained also the bank margin and the risk premiums.
Without interest resp. capital yield, the work earnings remain in full height at the working ones (of course, inclusively working businessmen). From there it flows into the consumption. The consumption quota of the national income amounts to 100% (also that is necessary since otherwise parts of the national income would need to be net invested and lead to an economic growth, which is impossible since then the yields became negative, see above). At the same time, the possession of real capital is no priviledge anymore since it is accessible generally by zero-interest credits. The power claim of the capital becomes obsolete. Just in that situation (of the general access to real capital), the try to accumulate it becomes senseless since it does not yield any earnings anymore.
From entrepreneurial sight, some changes in the priorities occur, although – or just because! – the profit seeking may be active furthermore. The less the enlargement of output lets hope for additional yields, the more gainful it will become to decrease the input finally saving energy and ressources.82 The “efficiency revolution“83 becomes possible because the future is not being down-discounted anymore. But that shall not mislead about the fact that it might be lucrative for a single one to passes (ecological) costs on the society. An ecological tax reform would be the long-adequate answer and would also keep its importance in the economy of fulfilment of demand described here.
Wholly general one must point out thereupon that the neutralisation of liquidity is only an essential but not a sufficient requirement for a socially acceptable, ecological market economy. With an according pessimistic idea of man, one may paint a super market economy driven by the insatiableness of the consuments which finds its equilibrium not until the whole earth is covered with concrete. But it might be also that the consumption furiness encountered today may prove as the same linke grandmas chitchat “Child, you need to eat right”, that is as fading relict of an economy of scarcity.
Except that, one must pretake already here that the described equilibrium state is to be understood as hypothetical scenario which in reality may be achieved approximately but (mid-termed) not point-exactly. That applies especially at a national solo attempt under global networked capital markets.
One could continue that consideration of the consequences still for a long time. It remains here deliberately constrained on some economic relevant interrelations since the request to want to glue tokens on banknotes appears not just especially well-founded. The many more presumed effects on the social and cultural area can not become touched here because they would go beyound the scope of that paper by far.
19 Reactions of evasion84
But will “the capitalists” let do that with them so easily? With safety it will not be fun for them but the question is which reactions of evasion are possible at all. In the following one will desist of military interventions or similar “counter-revolutions”.
Hereby, one must note that “the capitalists” do not abandon a yield or an interest. Continuously, each one makes the most of the interests what is possible. The height of the yield (the customary interest rate) lies not simply near zero. The competition in line with the market has led us there, thus directly the pursuit of gains of “the capitalists”. This one provides furthermore that the situation remains also likewise since temporary possible yields are eliminated by the competition.
But why should “the capitalists” still do anything at all, for example create jobs? Truly they would not do anything anymore since they do not exist anymore (in the sense of the “investor without function”). The somewhat unfavourable term “the capitalists” will be kept still shortly to play through some sequences. They may gladly let alone the creation of jobs, since like already mentioned the disposal about capital in kind is no priviledge anymore. With a thought play that becomes understandable: We assume that there are unemployed (who were for example fired by a frustrated “capitalist”). They have a demand on various goods. In the zero-interest scenario, they simply take a zero-interest credit and create their jobs on their own, for example by construction of a new factory. The rentability limit lies at zero, viz they can utilise their own labor rentably as long as they only create their own income. The consumption quota amounts to 100%, viz their income flows completely in the consumption and creates hereby quasi retroactive itself85 (if they had created the goods consumed by them on theirself). Naturally, not all unemployed will become businessmen, but overall-economically it does not matter who undertakes the investments and creates the jobs which cover the previously uncovered demand.86 Someone will come since the existent money can not become retained anymore due the fee without suffering a substance loss.
The same argumentation draws also for the case that “the capitalists” remember to Marx and want to push the salary level under the value of the produced products. In the zero-interest scenario they had to find the workers at first who let that make with them. The work is now the shortest production factor.
Inside the currency space there will hardly be possibilities for menacing reactions of evasion, especially as “the capitalists” would disempower theirselves with an unleashed own interest (one can count on that). So the “escape” into a foreign country remains.87
Of course, that means the “escape” of the monetary capitals since an evacuation of the present real capital would cause absurd high transfer costs or is wholly impossible (real properties). However, the money does not leave the currency space but will be exchanged into a foreign currency. That implies that there is a possessor of this foreign currency who wants to exchange in Euro. The exchange ratio is the regulative which harmonises potential imbalances. If now – how one would expect – increasingly Euro become exchanged into foreign currencies, then the ratio of Euro will drop.
The falling exchange ratio has now multiple effects. At the one hand it directly acts against the further capital escape since the foreign currencies become “more expensive”. Together with the foreign currencies also imported goods become more expensive which are to be paid in foreign currencies. On the other hand the domestic export goods become cheaper in the foreign countries. By that, the export volume would increase and cause an enlarged demand on domestic currency. Also this acts against a further capital escape. The drain of capital would become substituted by a drain of export goods. “So the export of real-economic ressources “below price” (= fallen, “terms of trade”) is necessary as “self-healing machanism” to reequilibrate the market process. … Thus, the hindrance of self-healing powers of the market is the quintessence of the problem.“88 That hindrance affects at most the development-, transformations- and soft-currency-countries. However the Federal Republic of Germany should not have a big problem to augment its export volume. Nevertheless the question remains: “Does let implement a zero-interest space quasi on a “solo attempt” in an economic region, in a world of narrowest connected capital markets? Arguably, the question has to be answered with a clear No, since the interest is lastly an international factor. However it might be possible to increase the interest differential the more the stronger the free-economic dominated economic space is silhouetted against the “rest” of the world by special currency-political, judicial, economic and social stability.“89
An especial stability would accompagny the reform described here despite the problem of capital escape. Despite a furthermore positive interest ratio, excess supplies would not be possible anymore, full employment could be approximated (one should think on the at a big part export qualified economic wonder of the young Federal Republic of Germany). That would also be already something.
Recapitulatory, one must accord that here lies a certain shortcoming of the theory. It looks like as if yet after a monetary and land reform, one must be content with an interest level merely fallen but not arrived at zero. To this point, surely still much more further research is necessary to fetch a maximum on interest difference.
By far more effective than a subsequent capital escape, it would be to forestall a such reform in the first place. In the run-up to the reform, it would be to reckon surely with considerable (above all propagandistic) resistance from influential side. Such a propaganda is being distributed already today just by some left to left-radical groups, on which it is obviously an agreed thing that the free-economic approach shall be somehow right-turned or even fascistoid.90 The subject has been picked up also already in some magazines and newspapers.91 In case one divides the world in “right” and “left”, that “reverse” suggests itself from left perspective, but remains nevertheless attracted on the hairs. In doing so, one will overlook that the free-economy does direct itself not only against the “left” (mainly basing on Marx) centralisation- and nationalisation-intentions, but against each form of economic and political centralised or totalitarian power concentration. These parts of the “left” may claim the dubious merit for theirself to defame according their long tradition rather others than to come to the point on theirself constructively. It supervenes aggravatingly that the interest set of problems has been already misused by the Nazis for propaganda purposes (admittedly without advancing to the core of the problem) and some single former free-economy men have afforded ingratiation tries to the Nazis.92 Since these allegations “fit” shallowly into the picture, one must be bargained for some more mud-wrestling. It may be only again referred to the literature on the addendum with the appeal on the reader to make himself a picture from the absurdity of such allegations.
20 Practical experiments93, 209
The thoughts to a monetary reform are not only grey theory. They have already been proven on various occations, although only in regionally limited experiments. So in 1929 in Erfurt, a Wära-exchange-community has been founded which issued a replacement money with a circulation incentive, viz innervated with costs (the “Wära”). After a short time, more than 1000 companies had follown to that community, which constituted a separate cycle during the beginning crisis. The before supra-regional experiment condensed in the bavarian locality Schwanenkirchen to a Wära-junction. “The expectations which were set into the Wära by the initiators seemed to fulfil despite some complications. … But the success of the Wära awoke also the distrust of the German Reichsbank. … Hence, it accomodated very to the interests of the German Reichsbank on the ensuring of their prestige that the Reichs-finance-minister H. Dietrich prohibited the production, emission and use of any emergency currency in the course of the emergency decree of Brüning in the october 1931 by a decree.94
The experiment of Wörgl, a market community in Tirol, has been still more known. “While the amount of unemployed increased overall in Austria by about 10% from august 1932 until august 1933, … the amount could be reduced by 25% in the area of the community Wörgl in the same period. After this success, it could not be missing that also the practical free-money experiment of Wörgl arose international sensation a few months after its start.“96 Additional 170 communities in Austria wanted also to implement a money with a circulation incentive. Also this experiment has been prohibited after a long lawsuit and the further planned implementations have fallen through. The burgomaster of Wörgl, having planned a lecture journey through the Suisse, has been faced with ban on speaking and the entry has been refused to him.
Nevertheless further experiments in the Suisse, in Spain, in France and the USA occured which were prohibited at biggest part or featured apparent defects in the circulation incentive and thus have become discontinued.
At the practical experiments, it is representative that the successful ones were prohibited just due their success (resp. at feared success did not come off at all). Although one may not copy these regional limited experiments simply to the entire currency space they may be effective as sign that a such reform is not only a nice but impracticable idea.
Worth mentioning are in that connection also the newer exchange ring systems who indeed not emit replacement money but nevertheless impose a fee onto their “demand funds”. Unfortunately, one can not be responsive anymore on the pro and con of the different exchange ring systems.97
21 The blind spot
Another question comes to mind, which has not been touched yet. Why do not become the here scribed proposals to a monetary and land reform discussed vehement publicly (let alone realised) if the approach looks so suitable? Apparently, the whole subject remains in a blind spot of our perception. That blind spot stabilises itself. There is a very beautiful experiment to the perception ability:
Some subjects (here: students) are shown pictures with partly different long lines, on which they shall select the evenly long lines. That is very easy and looks after a very boring experiment. The answers are always unanimously. Suddenly, one of the students becomes very disturbed because his opinion over the length of the lines deviates from the opinion of all other subjects. “What he does not know is that Asch (the investigator, the author) instructed all remaining students carefully to give unanimously the same false answer from a certain point. Thus, he is the only real subject and is situated in a highly inconvenient and ominous condition: Either he must contradict the nonchalant and unanimously given opinion of the others and thus appear them weird disordered in his reality opinion, or he must mistrust the evidence of his own perception. How incredibly it may seem too, 36.8% of the subjects lapsed into that second alternative and subjected the in their eyes obviously wrong judgement of the group.“98 But also the students which could represent their own opinion suffered from strong excitement, fear states and on considerable doubts respective their own perception ability.
Many a person will be able to comprehend these feelings who starts to represent the free-economy approach in a “conventional” athmosphere. Also the other tries to broach the issue of the problems like for example with that booklet suffer from the blind spot. Many readers will have collected some counterarguments until here (which would be surely socially accepted) and be inclined to file the affair (because they simply can not imagine that also the author of that booklet has “chewn through” many arguments very long – which can be disproved all -, until finally simply no arguments still crossed his mind. Maybe some of the readers might be more creative, then we should go together to a beer).
A further trig lies therein that the free-economic approach deals with a dilemma. That became apparent already at the start of that booklet at the “shizoprenic money”, which shall fulfil two contradicting requirements at the same time. There lies the core of the problem! All further dilemmas only result from that contradictory basic principle (for example the liquidity bottlenecks (money shortage) at growing monetary capitals, the necessary economic growth at remaining scarcity, recessions as prerequisite for booms and other things). That arouses the appearance as if the theory would be contradictory and thus useless although it deals necessarily with real existing contradictions. The fact, that we are used to repress dilemmas, is by far more severe. In the everyday life, that is absolutely sensible since a dilemma features just by its unsolvability. The case lies differently if we install a dilemma on our own (for example in form of a currency regime contradictory in itself), whose repression may be catastrophic on the long term. Seemingly neither the evolution of our neuronal interconnectedness nor our cultural and intellectual-historical development had enough time until now to react adequately to such dangers.
On the other hand, the repression of that approach is no great wonder, since there is broken radically with many of our modern ideologies and myths. “Ideology is that on collective level what is called “rationalisation” at the psychology of the individual: One arranges good mind reasons to deflect from the emotional reality to justify an attitude or an action which flees before the reality of the other person or the own self. … Yet it belongs to the full term of the psychological rationalisation that his true reasons remain covertly to the person concerned: He fools himself. Rationalisation is a kind of psychological defence: Timidity before the revelation of the true motives in order to not need to change himself. … High and complicated theories are qualified to justification of an established practice if it succeeds to deflect by it from the actual relations and problems (theoretical ideology or deflection ideology). The difference between both kinds (theoretical and practical ideology, the author) lies only in the higher expense of theory and noble education goods with which the deflection ideology works in order to, at possibility, not let come the exculpatory relations to mind and to language. They are something such lower that one may not dare to think about them at the high flies of thoughts. … A good functioning ideology must be able to push away any apparent children questions into oblivion.quot;99
It may not be about replacing old ideologies by new ones. The present explanation try will hopefully not be misunderstood in that direction. It is obvious that this booklet has indeed also the sense to advertise for the displayed approach. But it is also obvious that it is not be possible on few pages to wholly cover the topic and probably also not to convince the discerning reader instantly. Much too many questions remain open. Rather it should have shown that some “children questions” also must be placed in economic concern and are in no way banal. The here raised questions have probably an “incubation time” of some months or even years in which is shown if the foreign matter will become isolated and ejected, speak: forgotten, or if some gnawing questions remain who push on a review. It is not intended to evangelise but to leave behind these gnawing questions which, if they may be resolved, lead probably to amazing answers. Inasmuch i hope to have been able to “infect” some readers a bit.
Please keep in the eye that the things are transient. Our life is also transient, even scientific “truths” prove increasingly to be transient, technical proceedings anyway, kinds of animals and plants, whole ecosystems, cultures, mountains, oceans, the earth, the whole world is transient. And of all things, our means of exchange shall be intransient?
These things also are all limited and our life nevertheless, our knowledge is and our mastery, the capacity of the most modern machines, the information content of computers and libraries, the natural ressources, the earth surface, the market volume, the light speed, all has its limits. But of all things, our means of exchange shall be cumulative unlimitedly, the claims thereon (the balances) yet without to lift a finger.
However, that might not work at all!
“In a time in that the limits of growth become clearlier than ever before we must find instruments and ways to establish borders on the growth.“100 We must see that is is not the personal insatiableness, not still foolishness101, which drives the people to such moronic thoughts, but the momentum of our money which does not accept ifs and buts.
The implementation of a free-economic monetary and land reform seems on foreseeable time (to express it nice) improbable. The most people experience the functions of money nearly exclusively from their dependency position and they will not bring especially much confidence on the proposal to impose still costs to the matter from which they are dependend.
Naturally, a concrete prediction about the further development is not possible, like said. The ridge on which we balance will become thinner. It remains open how fast and on which locations it does that. Our drive over the ridge becomes unsafely, because it is too fast, and we try to escape the danger in further pedalling the accelerator. The “global acceleration crisis“102 is in full swing.
That was to be anticipated. “Organisation in the big, and higher innovation speed have a selection advantage until virtually all tries prove as mistakes. Indeed, more intelligence and creativity turn towards the recognition and repairing of errors, yet finally each problem solution must create several new problems which do escalate further and are still more pushing, thus requiring still more expressly solutions. So the problem creation outruns the problem solution until spacial and temporal critical scales are reached. … But of course it can be made differently! Soon all will know: If “progress” and “growth” makes ever more people dependent on the fact that, with ever more material and energy, rubbish is being produced which will be recognized soon as rubbish, thrown away and being replaced forever more rapidly by new rubbish, then that is the progress of an illness!“103
The reality dithers in the space of possibilities in its entered course and searches for “more attractive” forms. “Attractors make it difficult for the reality to leave their catchment area if it is blundered into the area by their dithering.“104 It is also very self-evident to abandon proven things not until they prove as unusable.105 Nevertheless, the functional deficiencies of the interest system emerge always clearer and more rapid. “The instability defines its own critical time frame. The redirection of the global momentum into versatile viable structures can be successful only just before the impact.“106 It is to hope that the expectation of Kafka fulfils: “Ever stronger suffering on the contradictions, ever boisterous dithering on the ever hotter friction places of the society will bring the majority in the catchment area of viable ideas in the space of possibilities.“107
Unfortunately that is also the point at which the affinity to ideologies and charlatanism strongly increases according to experience. In the present situation, it must be about to further work on the basics and to pass the informations, to encourage discussions and to show that the proposals described here are not about the usual promises of salvation or blanket solutions. Only a turnabout from below will offer the sustainability which may permit a “mutation of our economic system“108 if it becomes needed badly.
One may dispute indeed about the purpose of the known apple sapling before the apocalypse, but in that affair it is still not reached the end of the day. It would not be for the first time that a seemingly harebrained, utopian, “do-good” possibility becomes before long to a matter of course and to a thoughtly general good if the time is ripe for it. Looking back it will be wholly ununderstandable why one has not found it much earlier.
The emperor is naked, and everyone can see it! One merely must not look the other way.
free-economic (in broader sense)
(Not all the literature listed below is avaiblable in booktrade. But it may be ordered at the DDW-shipment (see below) or at the INWO.)
Burhenne, Hilmar, Das Geldspiel, Anlagen, Prognosen, Tips, Zinsen, Aktien, Steuern, Geld, Vermögen – alternativ, Selbstverlag, Karlsruhe 1993
Creutz, Helmut, Das Geld-Syndrom, Wege zu einer krisenfreien Marktwirtschaft, Ullstein, Berlin 1997
Gesell, Silvio, Die Natürliche Wirtschaftsordnung durch Freiland und Freigeld, Gauke, Lütjenburg 1991 (unveränderter Nachdruck d. Ausg. v. 1920)
Heinrichs, Johannes, Sprung aus dem Teufelskreis, Logik der Sozialen und Natürlichen Wirtschaftslehre, Vita Nuova, Wien o.J.
INWO (Hrsg.), Alternative Geldmodelle, zwei Beiträge zur praktischen Umsetzung, INWO, Aurau/Schweiz 1993
INWO (Hrsg.), Zukunftsfähige Wirtschaft, Beiträge zur 4. Internationalen Tagung der INWO in Bern 1995, INWO, Aurau/Schweiz 1995
Kafka, Peter, Gegen den Untergang, Schöpfungsprinzip und globale Beschleunigungskrise, Carl Hanser Verlag, München 1994
Kennedy, Margrit, Geld ohne Zinsen und Inflation, ein Tauschmittel das jedem dient, Goldmann, München 1994
Löhr, Dirk / Jenetzky, J., Neutrale Liquidität. Zur Theorie und praktischen Umsetzung, Peter Lang Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 1996
Onken, Werner, Natürliche Wirtschaftsordnung unter dem Hakenkreuz, Anpassung und Widerstand, Gauke, Lütjenburg 1997
Onken, Werner, Natürliche Wirtschaftsordnung unter kommunistischer Herrschaft und nach der Wende von 1989, Gauke, Lütjenburg 1997
Onken, Werner, Modellversuche mit sozialpflichtigem Boden und Geld, Gauke, Lütjenburg 1997
Onken, Werner, Marktwirtschaft ohne Kapitalismus. Eine Übersicht über die Grundgedanken, die ideengeschichtliche Herkunft, den derzeitigen Entwicklungsstand, über weiterführende Literatur und Organisationen (Selbstverlag?)
Perrochet, Claud-Alain, Der Einfluß von Zins und Spekulation, in: Arbeitslosigkeit, Folge unseres Wirtschaftssystems, INWO, Aurau/Schweiz 1996
Rams, A. / Ehrentreich, Arbeitslosigkeit – wie kann sie überwunden werden?, Gauke, Lütjenburg 1996
Rosenberger, Werner, Die Welt im Umbruch, Entwurf einer nachkapitalistischen Wirtschaftordnung, INWO, Aurau/Schweiz 1994
Senf, Bernd, Der Nebel um das Geld. Ein AufklArungsbuch, Gauke, Lütjenburg 1996
Suhr, Dieter, Geld ohne Mehrwert, Entlastung der Marktwirtschaft von monetären Transaktionskosten, Fritz Knapp Verlag, Frankfurt a. M. 1983
Suhr, D. / Godschalk, H., Optimale Liquidität. Eine liquiditätstheoretische Analyse und ein kreditwirtschaftliches Wettbewerbskonzept, Fritz Knapp, Frankfurt a. M. 1986
Schwarz, Fritz, Das Experiment von Wörgl, INWO 1996 (Nachdruck der Ausg. v. 1951)
Winkler, Ernst, Vor einer Mutation unseres Wirtschaftssystems, Sozialökonomische Arbeitstexte Nr. 3, Gauke, Lütjenburg 1994
Deutsche Bundesbank, Finanzierungsrechnung 1990-1996, Selbstverlag der Deutschen Bundesbank Frankfurt a. M.
Deutsche Bundesbank, Monatsbericht August 1997
Deutsche Bundesbank, Monatsbericht September 1997
Ditfurth, Jutta, Entspannt in die Barbarei, Esoterik, (Öko-) Faschismus und Biozentrismus, Konkret Literatur Verlag, Hamburg 1996
Keynes, John-M., Allgemeine Theorie der Beschäftigung, des Zinses und des Geldes, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1994 (unveränderter Nachdruck d. Ausg. v. 1936)
Kauffman, Stuart, Der Öltropfen im Wasser, Chaos, Komplexität, Selbstorganisation in Natur und Gesellschaft, Piper, München 1996
Niederegger, Gerhard, Das Freigeld-Syndrom. Für und Wider ein alternatives Geldsystem, Verlag f. Ethik und Gesellschaft, Wien 1997
o. V. Zinsfrei für Deutschland, in: DER SPIEGEL 46/1997
Schmitt, Klaus, Entspannen Sie sich, Frau Ditfurth! Über das Faszinosum Menschliche Dummheit und den Versuch, den Faschismus mit faschistischen Methoden zu bekämpfen, Oppo-Verlag, Berlin 1998
Statistisches Bundesamt, Zahlenkompaß 1997, Statistisches Taschenbuch für Deutschland, Metzler-Poeschel, Stuttgart 1997
Statistisches Bundesamt, Fachserie 18, VGR, Reihe 3, 4. Vierteljahr 1997, Metzler-Poeschel, Stuttgart 1998
Watzlawick, Paul, Menschliche Kommunikation. Formen, Störungen, Paradoxien, Verlag Hans Huber, Bern 1993
Watzlawick, Paul, Wie wirklich ist die Wirklichkeit? Wahn, Täuschung, Verstehen, Piper, München 1985
Weizsäcker, Ernst U., v., Faktor Vier. Doppelter Wohlstand – halbierter Naturverbrauch, Doemer Knaur, München 1996
Zeitschrift für Sozialökonomie
Gauke Verlag, Postfach 1320, 24319 Lütjenburg (The most of the older issues are still deliverable.)
Braasch, Bernd, Zur Abkopplung des finanziellen Sektors von der Realwirtschaft, in: Folge 108 März 1996
Creutz, Helmut, Gefahr für den Standort Deutschland … Sind die Lohnkosten zu hoch?, in: Folge 100 April ’94
Creutz, Helmut, Alternative Geldsysteme – Auswege aus der fehlerhaften Geldordnung?, in: Folge 101 Juli ’94
Creutz, Helmut, Warum stößt der Sozialstaat an seine Grenzen, in: Folge 115, Dez. ’97
Hoffmann, Johannes, Gefährdet die Geldunordnung die soziale Marktwirtschaft und die demokratische Grundordnung?, in: Folge 102/103 Okt. ’94
Jenetzky, Johannes, Öko-Abgaben – erforderliche, aber nicht hinreichende Instrumente einer zukunftsorientierten Wirtschaftspolitik, in: Folge 109 Juni ’96
Körner, Christoph, Zur metaphysischen Rolle des Geldes in der modernen Wirtschaft, in: Folge 102/103 Okt. ’94
Löhr, Dirk, Kapitalflucht, in: Folge 108 März ’96
Löhr, Dirk, Determinanten der Rationalisierung des Produktionsfaktors Umwelt, in: Folge 109 Juni ’96 Löhr, Dirk, Urmonopole, intertemporale soziale Kosten und nachhaltiges Wirtschaften, in: Folge 113 Juli ’97
Senf, Bernd, Zinssystem und Staatsbankrott, in: Folge 112 März ’97
Der Dritte Weg
DDW Vertriebsabteilung, Rappenbergstr. 64, 91757 Treuchtlingen (There is also a substantial literature list available.)
Creutz, Helmut, Zum neuen Buch von Gerhard Niederegger “Das Freigeld-Syndrom”, in: DDW September 1997
Fischbeck, Hans-Jürgen, Wirtschaft unter Wachstumszwang?, in: Sonderdruck Nr. 4, Wachstum bis die Umwelt stirbt?, 4/1996
Hannich, Günter, Börsencrash, Deflation, Wirtschaftskrise – Der Kapitalismus am Ende?, in: DDW Dezember ’97
Hannich, Günter, Von der Asienkrise zur Weltwirtschaftskrise?, in: DDW April ’98
Ibs, Carl, Zins und Wirtschaftswachstum, in: Sonderdruck Nr. 3, Der Zins im Kreuzfeuer, 3/1994
Löhr, Dirk, Zins und Wirtschaftswachstum – zu den monetären Voraussetzungen einer ökologischen Kreislaufwirtschaft, in: Sonderdruck Nr. 4/1996
o.V. Der Neid auf eine schlüssige Theorie läßt zivilisierte Formen des Ideenwettstreites vergessen, in: DDW Dezember ’97
INWO Initiative für Natürliche Wirtschaftsordnung e.V. Max-Bock-Str. 55 60320 Frankfurt a. M.
Sozialwissenschaftliche Gesellschaft 1950 e.V. Postfach 1550 37145 Northeim
Christen für gerechte Wirtschaftsordnung e.V. Gartenstr. 28 76770 Hatzenbühl
Seminar für freiheitliche Ordnung e.V. Badstr. 35 73087 Boll
1 For monetary capitals and debts cp. Deutsche Bundesbank, Finanzierungsrechnung 1990 bis 1996, p. 40. All sums were rounded to whole billion DM.
2 Regarding interest returns and expenses cp. Deutsche Bundesbank, Monatsbericht August 1997, p. 54.
3 Cp. Statistisches Bundesamt, Zahlenkompaß 1997, Stuttgart 1997, p. 124.
4 Total takings of the health insurances, ibidem, p. 58.
5 Assessed income tax before deduction of refunds, ibidem, p. 125.
6 Many more important information on numbers are found at Helmut Creutz, Das Geld-Syndrom – Wege zu einer krisenfreien Marktwirtschaft, Berlin 1997.
7 Cp. Gerhard Niederegger, Das Freigeld-Syndrom – Für und Wider ein alternatives Geldsystem, Wien 1997, p. 55 et seqq.
8 At summing-up of the sector calculation, they will balanced against Zero, apart from the balance of the interest flows with the foreign countries. For a more accurately examination of the different factors cp. Helmut Creutz, Zum neuen Buch von Gerhard Niederegger, in: Der 3. Weg, Sept. 1997.
9 The double function of demand funds can not be addressed ecyclopedic here. But one may leave it at this rough examination since demand funds do not change anything on the principle problem and the perspective is changed in the 5th chapter anyway.
10 A very understandable display of the instruments of monetary politics features Bernd Senf, Der Nebel um das Geld – Ein Aufklärungsbuch, Lütjenburg 1996, p. 151 et seqq.
11 Also the cash holding out of the safety- or speculation-motive supposes the possibility of transaction.
12 Dieter Suhr, Geld ohne Mehrwert – Entlastung der Marktwirtschaft von monetären Transaktionskosten, Frankfurt 1983, p. 59.
13 To the differentiation of unsafety and risk cp. Dirk Löhr / Johannes Jenetzky, Neutrale Liquidität – zur Theorie und praktischen Umsetzung, Frankfurt 1996, p. 60 et seqq.
14 Dirk Löhr / J. Jenetzky, Neutrale Liquidität …, l.c., p. 23.
15 Ibidem, p. 48 et seqq.
16 To the following paragraphs cp. John Meynard Keynes, Allgemeine Theorie der Beschäftigung, des Zinses und des Geldes, Siebente Auflage (unveränderter Nachdruck d. Ausg. v. 1936) , Berlin 1994, p. 186 et seqq.
17 In the following, same intrinsic interest rates will be supposed, since the principle would be otherwise much harder to understand.
18 To the table cp. Löhr/Jenetzky, Neutrale Liquidität …, l.c. The properties of capital covered in that way by Löhr have been extended by the appartment and the YZ-factory. The YZ-factory is about a private company or a one-man business, thus a direct investment in capital in kind. The amount of yields and costs has been chosen appropriately arbitrarily, crucial is also here the difference. The costs contain also the wares buying if present.
19 To refer it on the definition: Property on land ensures a permanent safe access to arbitrary goods by the earnings (ground rent), what one can not claim of other (more unsafe) objects of capital with that safety.
20 That applies also again on not equal intrinsic interest rates.
21 Except that, to the whole set of problems of the liquidity cp. Dieter Suhr / Hugo Godschalk, Optimale Liquidität. Eine liquiditätstheoretische Analyse und ein kreditwirtschaftliches Wettbewerbskonzept, Frankfurt 1986.
22 To this paragraph cp. Dieter Suhr, Geld ohne Mehrwert …, l.c., p. 12 et seqq.
23 Dirk Löhr, Zins und Wirtschaftswachstum – Zu den monetären Voraussetzungen einer ökologischen Kreislaufwirtschaft, in: Der 3. Weg, Wachstum bis die Umwelt stirbt?, Sonderdruck Nr. 4/1996.
24 Cp. Dirk Löhr, Zins und Wirtschaftswachstum …, l.c.
25 For a survey about the popular job market theories and free-economic contact points cp. Andreas Rams / Norman Ehrentreich, Arbeitslosigkeit – wie kann sie überwunden werden?, Lütjenburg 1996.
26 Cp. Helmut Creutz, Das Geld-Syndrom …, l.c., p. 372.
27 The emphasis lies on “mainly”. Undoubtly, increasing qualification may have still other consequences.
28 Cp. Helmut Creutz, Gefahr für den Standort Deutschland … Sind die Lohnkosten zu hoch?, in: Zeitschrift für Sozialökonomie, Folge 100 / 1994
29 Exactly taken, one must subtract the net investments from the national income, since also the about investments carried interest burdens flow finally again into the prices.
30 Statistisches Bundesamt, Fachserie 18, Reihe 3, 4. Vj. 1997, p. 25.
31 Helmut Creutz, Das Geldsyndrom …, l.c., p. 241 et seq.
32 Assumed one is a “John Q. Public” with average expenses disposition.
33 Margrit Kennedy, Geld ohne Zinsen und Inflation – ein Tauschmittel das jedem dient, München 1994, p. 81.
34 Helmut Creutz, Das Geldsyndrom …, l.c., p. 281 et seqq.
35 Margrit Kennedy, Geld ohne Zinsen …, l.c., p. 28.
36 Dirk Löhr, Zins und Wirtschaftswachstum …, l.c.
37 Hilmar Burhenne, Das Geldspiel. Anlagen, Prognosen, Tips, Zinsen, Aktien, Steuer, Geld, Vermögen – alternativ, Karlsruhe (Eigenverlag) 1993, p. 12.
38 Helmut Creutz, Das Geld-Syndrom …, l.c., p. 304.
39 Ibidem, p. 225.
40 Source: Statistisches Bundesamt Wiesbaden, Fachserie 18, Reihe 3, 4. Vierteljahr 1997, p. 30.
41 Source: Deutsche Bundesbank, Monatsbericht September 1997, Statistischer Teil p. 10.
42 Another theoretical possibility would consist of the preparedness of the Federal Bank to accordingly increase the money amount, but what will not become the case since that had considerable inflationary consequences.
43 To some previous crashs of the interest system cp. Carl Ibs, Zins und Wirtschaftswachstum, in: Der 3. Weg, Der Zins im Kreuzfeuer, Sonderdruck Nr. 3/1994.
44 To this paragraph cp. the multiple quoted and especially significant article of von Dirk Löhr, Zins und Wirtschaftswachstum …, l.c.
45 However, the state makes already brisk use of the possibility of the debt rescheduling.
46 In that context cp. Johannes Jenetzky, Öko-Abgaben – erforderliche, aber nicht hinreichende Instrumente einer zukunftsorientieren Wirtschaftspolitik, in: Zeitschrift für Sozialökonomie, Folge 109.
47 Carl Ibs, Zins und Wirtschaftswachstum, l.c.
48 Hans-Jürgen Fischbeck, Wirtschaft unter Wachstumszwang?, in: Der 3. Weg, Sonderdruck Nr. 4.
49 To this paragraph cp. Dirk Löhr, Urmonopole, intertemporal soziale Kosten und nachhaltiges Wirtschaften, in: Zeitschrift für Sozialökonomie Folge 113 /97.
50 Dirk Löhr, Urmonopole, intertemporale …, l.c.
51 To the frame conditions cp. Dirk Löhr / Johannes Jenetzky, Neutrale Liquidität …, a.a.O., p. 60 et seqq.
52 Cp. the chapter “Der Irrtum von Keynes”, ibidem, p. 163 et seqq.
53 Ibidem, p. 69 et seq. To the prisoners dilemma in broader sense cp. Paul Watzlawick/ J. Beavin/D. Jackson, Menschliche Kommunikation: Formen, Störungen, Paradoxien, Stuttgart 1993, p. 209 et seqq. Except that cp. Johannes Hoffmann, Gefährdet die Geldunordnung die soziale Marktwirtschaft und die demokratische Grundordnung?, in: Zeitschr. f. Sozialökon., Folge 102.
54 Said more exactly, of a means of exchange which may be serve simultaneously as object of capital, of a “hord-able” money.
55 To this paragraph cp. Christoph Körner, Zur metaphysischen Rolle des Geldes in der modernen Wirtschaft, in: Zeitschr. f. Sozialökon., Folge 102/103.
56 To the dangers of a new inflation (also in connection with the European Currency Union) cp. Bernd Senf, Zinssystem und Staatsbankrott, in: Zeitschrift für Sozialökonomie, Folge 112 as well as Bernd Senf, Der Nebel um das Geld …, l.c., p. 89 et seqq.
57 Cp. Bernd Braasch, Zur Abkopplung des finanziellen Sektors von der Realwirtschaft, in: Zeitschr. f. Sozialökon., Folge 108.
58 Christoph Körner, Zur metaphysischen Rolle …, l.c.
59 Cp. on this Helmut Creutz, Warum stößt der Sozialstaat an seine Grenzen?, in: Zeitschr. f. Sozialökon. Folge 115.
60 Cp. Claude-Alain Perrochet, Der Einfluß von Zins und Spekulation, in: Arbeitslosigkeit: Folge des Geld- und Wirtschaftssystems, INWO Schweiz (Hrsg.) 1996.
61 Ibidem, p. 90.
62 Cp. Helmut Creutz, Das Geld-Syndrom …, l.c., p. 391 et seqq.
63 To this paragraph cp. Helmut Creutz, Das Geld-Syndrom …, l.c., p. 378 et seqq.
64 Hilmar Burhenne, Das Geldspiel …, l.c., p. 12.
65 Indeed, the here drawn boundary between “recession” and “big crisis” is arbitrarily. However this paragraph shall clarify that the crisis potential of the interest economy has not been exhausted for long.
66 One should think at the asia-crisis 1998 which led in some regions already to considerable supply bottlenecks. Cp. Günter Hannich, Von der Asienkrise zur Weltwirtschafts-krise, in: Der 3. Weg, April 1998.
67 So Bernd Senf fears a new inflation (cp. Zinssystem und Staatsbankrott, l.c.), whereas Günter Hannich emphasises the danger of a deflation (cp. Börsencrash, Deflation, Wirtschaftskrise – Der Kapitalismus am Ende?, in: Der 3. Weg, Dez. 1997).
68 To the course of the global economic crisis after the “Black Friday” 1929 cp. Bernd Senf, Der Nebel um das Geld …, l.c., p. 64 et seqq.
69 Dirk Löhr, Zins und Wirtschaftswachstum …, l.c.
71 Since there bundle fairly all thought what this booklet is about, one can only refer overall on the literature list in the annex.
72 Cp. Löhr/Jenetzky, Neutrale Liquidität …, l.c., p. 112 et seqq.
73 Cp. Silvio Gesell, Die Natürliche Wirtschaftsordnung durch Freiland und Freigeld, Lütjenburg 1991 (unveränderter Nachdruck d. Ausg. v. 1920), p. 238 et seqq.
74 Cp. Silvio Gesell, Die Natürliche Wirtschaftsornung …, l.c., p. 55 et seqq., as well as Löhr/Jenetzki, Neutrale Liquidität …, l.c., p. 169 et seqq.
75 Another, unfortunately often forgotten demand of the free-economy is to distribute the earnings from the absorption of the liquidity-premium of land as education benefit to the mothers (and, of course, to fulltime fathers), since after all that education work is responsible for bearing a liquidity-premium by the land (by the raised humans who then use the land). At carrying out of the appropriate reforms, that point could bear a possibility to realise the equalisation of education and gainful work, without what equality will always remain a half-truth.
76 To the advantages and disadvantages of the solutions cp. Löhr/Jenetzky, Neutrale Liquidität …, l.c., p. 182 et seqq.
77 The hithertho experiences lie of couse only above the given liquidity-premium.
78 That is the other side of the coin. The interest economy leads at the same time to “demand without money” (what requires growth to fulfil the demand) and to “money without demand” (what requires growth since the money must be invested). Both accounts for each other. Cp. Dieter Suhr, Geld ohne Mehrwert …, l.c.
79 It is secondary if that is carried out by salary increases or by price decreases.
80 Dirk Löhr, Zins und Wirtschaftswachstum …, l.c.
81 Resp. the amortisation, looked NACC- and balance-technical.
82 Cp. Dirk Löhr, Determinanten der Rationalisierung des Produktionsfaktors Umwelt, in: Zeitschr. f. Sozialökonomie, Folge 109.
83 To the efficiency revolution cp. Ernst U. v. Weizsäcker/A. B. Lovins/L. H. Lovins, Faktor Vier: Doppelter Wohlstand – halbierter Naturverbrauch, München 1996.
84 To this paragraph cp. Löhr/Jenetzky, Neutrale Liquidität …, l.c., p. 137 et seqq.
85 The theorem of Say is fulfilled.
86 With that also the question about the safeties customary in banking relativises.
87 To the following paragraphs cp. Dirk Löhr, Kapitalflucht, in: Zeitschr. f. Sozialökon., Folge 108.
88 Dirk Löhr, Kapitalflucht, l.c.
90 An extreme reality loss discloses Jutta Ditfurth, Entspannt in die Barbarei, Esoterik, (Öko- )Faschismus und Biozentrismus, Hamburg 1996. Cp hereto also the reply of Klaus Schmitt, Entspannen Sie sich, Frau Ditfurth!, Berlin 1998.
91 So e.g. under the headword “Right wing extremists” in DER SPIEGEL, Zinsfrei für Deutschland, 46/97. Numerous replies to this ans other articles have been published in: Der 3. Weg (diverse Verf.), Der Neid auf eine schlüssige Theorie läßt zivilisierte Formen des Ideenwettstreites vergessen, Dezember 1997.
92 Cp. Werner Onken, Natürliche Wirtschaftsordnung unter dem Hakenkreuz – Anpassung und Widerstand, Lütjenburg 1997. Also interestingly: Werner Onken, Natürliche Wirtschaftsordnung unter kommunistischer Herrschaft und nach der Wende von 1989, Lütjenburg 1997.
93 To this paragraph cp. Werner Onken, Modellversuche mit sozialpflichtigem Boden und Geld, Lütjenburg 1997. There also examples to another exposure to the land find theirself which were omitted here.
94 Ibidem, p. 41.
95 Cp. Fritz Schwarz, Das Experiment von Wörgl, Bern 1951 (Nachdruck der INWO von 1996).
96 Werner Onken, Modellversuche mit …, l.c., p. 45.
97 To exchange rings cp. Thomas Estermann/Martina Hämmerli/Bruno Jehle, Alternative Geldmodelle: zwei Beiträge zur praktischen Umsetzung, INWO Schweiz, 1993. Except that cp. Helmut Creutz, Alternative Geldsysteme – Auswege aus der fehlerhaften Geldordnung?, in: Zeitschr. f. Sozialökon., Folge 101.
98 Paul Watzlawick, Wie wirklich ist die Wiklichkeit? Wahn – Täuschung – Verstehen, München 1985, pg. 93, 94.
99 Johannes Heinrichs, Sprung aus dem Teufelskreis – Logik der Sozialen und Natürlichen Wirtschaftslehre, Wien, pg. 63, 64.
100 Klaus Töpfer, cited from: Hans-Jürgen Fischbeck, Wirtschaft unter Wachstumszwang?, l.c.
101 Although it must sometimes truly be the inspiration.
102 Cp. Peter Kafka, Gegen den Untergang – Schöpfungsprinzip und globale Beschleunigungskrise, Wien 1994.
103 Peter Kafka, Krise heißt Entscheidung, in: Zukunftsfähig Wirtschaft, Beiträge zur 4. Internationalen Tagung der INWO in Bern 1995, INWO Schweiz 1995.
104 Ibidem, p. 15.
105 In that context cp. also the understandable description of the “local fitness summits” of Stuart Kauffman, Der Öltropfen im Wasser – Chaos, Komplexität, Selbstorganisation in Natur und Gesellschaft, München 1995.
106 Peter Kafka, Krise heißt Entscheidung, l.c., p. 17.
107 Ibidem, S. 18.
108 One must still point out to that excellent essay: Ernst Winkler, Vor einer Mutation unseres Wirtschaftssystems, Sozialökonomische Arbeitstexte Nr. 3, Lütjenburg 1994.
© J. Probst 1998
200 1 DM = 0.51 Euro. 1 billion = 109.
201 The health insurance in the FRG is enforced by law, and paid half from the employees official wage and, additionally, half by the employer.
202 See the quantity equation, or e.g. the example of the french Assignates where a hyperinflation due overemission occurred. Cp. Karl Walker: Das Geld in der Geschichte, chapter about Die Assignaten.
203 Of course there is a minor direct exchange possible, but the transaction costs in regard to time and search of matching offers are too high to establish direct exchange as real alternative in all respects.
204 The level of the liquidity-premium for cash determining the total advantage of all other objects seems to be dependend on the overall economic circumstances. Other sources state a limit of down to 2% for this liquidity-premium. But whatever level it may be, it is not negligible, and will not drop to zero.
205 The reader shall be reminded on the possibility of keeping the money liquidely, excluding many risks and thus equalling a premium, as mentioned shortly before.
206 From a cybernetics point of view, interest can be regarded as positive feedback in the economic system. Then the economic growth is the negative feedback which is tried to become implemented by governmental politics to get the system stable.
207 For a better explanation cp. Bernard Lietaer: Das Geld der Zukunft, Pößneck 2002, pg. 368-376.
208 An incalculable exchange should be avoided since that contradicts the aspect of the ability to plan the value loss.
209 I want to point the reader on two historical examples of demurrage money having become known after writing of this report. The first is of ancient egypt where a demurrage money based on grain ostraca was in use from about 1900 resp. 1600 BC until roman invasion in about 200 BC. The second is of the medieval times in central europe from about 1075 until about 1400, where special coins (“Bracteats”) were demonetised on a regular basis ranging from 4 times a year until every 7 years and exchanged into new ones with a discharge from 15-40%. This was a main reason for construction of cathedrals which came to a long halt after that time. In both cases a demurrage and a permanent money coexisted, and after abandonment of the demurrage money the common economic prosperity declined. Cp. Bernard Lietaer, Mysterium Geld, München 2000, pg. 146-246.
The translator wants to point at Bernard Lietaers proposals of regional money which is more likely to realise. However, this paper describes the problems very accurately.
The translator transfers all rights on this translation to the INWO.