Positive Money is a non-profit organisation based in London, with partner organisations across the globe. Their aim is to facilitate a movement to democratise money and banking so that it works for society and not against it.
At this year’s Festival of Debate Positive Money are behind two events, Banking on Land vs Prosperity and Debt or Democracy, which aim to inform festival-goers about land value tax and myths about economic value respectively. We spoke with Peter Verity from Positive Money for an insight into what the organisation does and what it is trying to achieve.
What is Positive Money and what are its aims?
It’s a campaign for banking reform. We think that all money should be created – free of debt – by an independent and accountable body, and used for public benefit. Private banks should not be allowed to create money, their role should be to keep our money safe, or to lend it to borrowers – in fact, what most people think (incorrectly!) they already do.
What are the key problems with the current monetary system?
Most people never ask where money comes from – or if they do, they assume it comes from the government, or Bank of England. In fact, 97% of our money is bank credit created by private banks when they make loans. So we can’t reduce the level of private debt without reducing the amount of money in circulation – that’s what caused the 2008/9 recession, which we still haven’t fully recovered from. Also, banks pump most of the newly created money into housing or the financial sector, pushing up house prices beyond the reach of first-time buyers.
Banking on Land vs Prosperity is a workshop produced by Positive Money. What can people expect from this event?
It’s a film and talk on Land Value Taxation (LVT), given by Yoni Higgsmith, who is an LVT activist and filmmaker, and active officer for the Labour Land Campaign. So it’s not directly related to banking reform, but still an important topic of economic justice. Most of our modern taxes are based on income, production or consumption – but LVT says that there are very good reasons for taxing wealth instead.
Professor Mary Mellor is bringing Debt or Democracy to the Festival of Debate. What will this lecture outline?
This talk reverts to the theme of banking reform. Mary Mellor is emeritus Professor at Northumbria University, and a great speaker. She has published extensively on alternative economics integrating socialist, feminist and green perspectives. In this talk, she will challenge entrenched myths about money and economic value, and demonstrate the need to change the way in which money is created, in order to create an economy that is environmentally sustainable and socially just.
What can individuals do to better inform themselves about banking systems?
You can’t do better than look at the Positive Money website, and watch some of the videos!
How can people in Sheffield get involved with the organisation?
Interview by Alex Townsend
Images courtesy of Positive Money