16 September 2010

Capitalists Defend Capital Against the Banks?

Now here is something you didn't expect to see: a link from my blog to a Conservative one. Although, given the recent suggestions that I am incapable of using the word 'capitalism' in a critical way, perhaps you wouldn't be surprised. Although this post on Conservative Home begins with a childish and laughable indication of the blind hegemony of the pro-market ideology, this is to reassure readers who may be shocked by what follows.

The interesting news you can read between the lines of what follows is that the debate on monetary reform is on the move. This is one of those issues where the old left-right, capital-vs.-labour argument gets thrown into disarray, because those who own the capital appear to be becoming disgruntled about those who 'create' money undermining their holdings. Clearly, I have wildly different reasons for wishing to take the power to create money from banks, and in fact I doubt many Conservatives would agree that this right should lie with the people. But, as this Carswell makes clear, a minority are resuscitating arguments for a return to the fractional reserve system.

On a less cheery note, the policy motion on monetary reform to this year's Green Party conference was not passed, and cannot now be brought back for another two years. The US Greens, by contrast, have included in their policy platform for 2010 a full commitment to monetary reform and for political authorities to reclaim the power over money from the banks.

After the large number of responses to my last post, some of them rather forceful and a little unfair, I wonder whether I dare encroach onto this territory. I will be responding to the interesting debate that ensued in a later post. In the mean time perhaps I should take Harry Enfield's advice and 'know my limits'?


  1. Carswell's proposals have nothing to do with constraining capital and everything to do with enforcing property rights to the point where the poor can't afford banking services. Please consider my post on the subject before making your mind up: http://declineofthelogos.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/douglas-carswell-has-a-bit-of-a-fetish/

  2. It certainly is encouraging to see such fundamentals being debated in parliament.I believe that by getting such discussions onto the political agenda across the board, the debates will naturally lead to questions of the underlying ends of our economic system, thus throwing open the doors to systemic reform rather than the incremental patch work of reform we are currently seeing.

    On the issue of 'property' itself, this is an interesting paper which demonstrates that to constrain the expanision of property is fundamentally in opposition to capitalism's raison d'etre. In this light then, a bill such as this is not strengthening the foundations of capitalism, but is directly confronting it's natural tendencies.


    I think Adam's blog has alluded to a huge issue with this bill, it seems to discount the fact that we recieve banking services for free due to the fact that our money can be used for profit by the banks, meaning fees would be introduced as a result of the bill with no protection for the least well off. I do believe the debate is a just one and should be encouraged but agree with Adam that a more considered approach is required.

  3. Ha! I love this bit from that blogpost: "It is property which enables human social cooperation through production, exchange and consumption". What?! So all those early humans, the non-human ancestors of our species, and indeed myriad species around the world that co-operate for mutual benefit without any sense, let alone system of all-important 'property rights' weren't actually co-operating, even, able to cooperate, because they weren't involved in production, exchange and consumption of property.

    There are some many present day examples as well, but let's use a really basic one! What property does a conversation involve? Is that not human social cooperation?

    I found it quite hard to take the rest of the article seriously after that, but I'm sure it goes some way to emphasising the extent to which it's possible to come to a similar conclusion for very different reasons (and with very different goals in mind)

    Do you think when other conservatives talk about cooperation what they really mean is 'production, exchange and consumption - mediated through property rights'?

    Maybe I should send him a copy of Kropotkin's Mutual Aid.

    For anyone else in need of reminding of the essentially co-operative nature of human beings, the book is available online here: herehttp://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_archives/kropotkin/mutaidcontents.html

    If you've not come across it before, or don't have to time to delve properly, wikipedia has a page here: