The Devil Interest
How Our Money System Is Inherently Unjust
I recently read a wonderful article on the correlation between the interest that is built into our banking system and a regressive tax for the rich. The article is by Truthout, entitled It’s the Interest Stupid- Why Banker’s Rule The World”.
In the 2012 edition of Occupy Money released recently, Professor Margrit Kennedy , the author of Occupy Money: Creating and Economy Where Everybody Wins, writes that a stunning 35 percent to 40 percent of everything we buy goes to interest. This interest goes to bankers, financiers, and bondholders, who take a 35 percent to 40 percent cut of our GDP. That helps explain how wealth is systematically transferred from Main Street to Wall Street. The rich get progressively richer at the expense of the poor, not just because of “Wall Street greed,” but also because of the inexorable mathematics of our private banking system.
Occupy Money Book
Did you ever stop to wonder what the fundamental belief that underlies our current economic paradigm is? Anybody want to venture a guess as to what it is? The belief system that underlies our current economic paradigm is that we are competing for scarce resources- a belief that leads to fear and competition and a system that demands and has necessitated growth, even mindless growth ahead of our individual or societal well-being. For example, we build 100 houses that no one wants – our Gross Domestic Product rises. We demolish these unwanted houses and our Gross Domestic Product rises. We produce millions of products whose life is only on average one year, and then we put them into the millions of cubic storage space or into landfills. This is considered growth. I just saw the amazing movie Samsara, where they have powerful images of the incredible production lines inside Chinese factories juxtaposed with images of mountains of discarded products.
There’s nothing wrong with growth per se. It has become a problem, however, because economic growth has been predicated on people having to pay interest to banks for loans of any type. Money gets printed and then it gets lent. And that is how our money system is organized. That’s what we have called call a growth economy. Our economy is thus dependent on more and more people getting into more and more debt. Due to this money method, the amount of money owed at any given is greater than the money that is in circulation. One way of looking at this is that in the economy as a whole, we have had to exponentially increase debt just to stay where we are, so in a sense, growth has been an illusion.
This money system seemed to work as long as we were in an expansionary phase. But we are no longer. It seems that the world is reaching its limits of economic growth. Expansion masked the zero-sum game implicit in the model, but with the slowing of expansion we see now there are winners and losers.
The article’s solution to interest is public banking that has taken place in Canada, Australia and Argentina. I agree that a government printing its own money instead of paying interest to private interest banks when money is printed vastly better than the US Federal Reserve system, in fact a no brainer when you understand.
Many people assume that the Federal Reserve is a branch of government, but it is not. The Federal Reserve, which is the central banking system of the United States, is unique in two ways. First, it has both private (bank) and public (government-appointed) members. Second, it is independent in the sense that its decisions do not have to be ratified by the president or anyone else in the executive or legislative branch of government (although in theory, there is congressional oversight). This system has become susceptible to the banking industry’s vested interests and thus does not have the well-being of the people within its core values is definitely a partial solution to mounting debt and interest charges. A public banking system could realize savings up to 40 percent – allowing taxes to be cut, services increased and market stability created – with banks feeding the economy rather than feeding off it. Interest charges are a strongly regressive tax that the poor pay to the rich.
But we need to go further than public banking. What if we had a different belief system- instead of scarcity, a paradigm of the abundance and prosperity of creation for all? Where competition is replaced by kinship. And a sense of enoughness creates a system of sharing and cooperation among all of earth’s citizens.
If we want to be heading toward cooperation, sharing, and abundance, we need address the consciousness issue, that of separation; our belief in ourselves as separate individuals which is a main underlying factor in the competition, polarization, and greed that has fed our history of compulsive growth in order to survive. It feeds the perception the other is someone to get something from or who will take from you. At our core, each of us is not separate from the infiniteness of God, Being, or underlying true nature. At the most basic level, we are not defined by the boundaries between self and other. We all manifest from the same Source.
This is what I say in my book Money•Spirituality•Consciousness about the subject of separation”
(Chapter 2 Page 27) Money is a fascinating medium of paradox. During periods when our economic stability is threatened, it can seem to be a source of pain or fear or even terror. But those conditions also invite us to use the situation to our best advantage—to advance consciousness on the planet. When our economic comfort level is high, it is easy to remain asleep in the illusion of separateness. The good news is that economic crises challenge the egoic notion that we are autonomous individuals who can exist without one another.
But when it comes to bringing that awareness into the world, especially in the domain of money, it is easy to forget this understanding. As long as we remain blind to the wholeness and oneness of all that exists, we act from our self-centered ego. Another way of saying this is that our separate self is a limited perception that can become so habitual that we cannot see beyond it.
In addressing separation, we can begin to move to valuing life, rather than money. The greatest gift is life, not money. Money was designed to be a tool to support each of us in living a human life that allows us to manifest our full potential. When it is in the hands of a few, this cannot occur. The more that money flows in a society, the richer that society is. Fiscal liberty that is restricted to just a few, gives rise to a hierarchy that creates dependence, helplessness, possessiveness, and oppression to others, and ultimately to tyranny. And our interest system is creating just that kind of hierarchy. Without the flow of money, society will become stagnant and everyone will be a loser. When blood doesn’t flow, it means death and money flow is the blood of a society.
In my view, both are needed- it’s not enough to just change our consciousness around money, but our money system too through our money actions. When we no longer see the other as separate from us, it will change how we view the other, and consequently our actions in the world, and since money is imbedded in everything we do in our culture, it will also affect our money choices. Work on self is not separate from our work in the world. That is what it means to be human, in the mystery school called earth. That is what it means to actualize our realization. We and the world are not separate, just as we are not separate from each other.
If we do, we have the potential change the world from “if I win you lose” to “we both win”. If we don’t, we will all lose.