As the founder and Director of AMI, Mr. Zarlenga draws on 35 years of experience in the world of finance, securities, insurance, mutual funds, real estate, and futures trading. He has published 20 books on money, banking, politics and philosophy (including The Anglo American Establishment, by Prof. Carrol Quigley). While in his mid 20s he incorporated the Athenian branch of an English life insurance company, earlier opening several European markets for the parent firm, IOS. He built the U.S. distribution network of the then leading American mutual fund concentrating in gold shares. As a member of the New York Futures Exchange (a subsidiary of the New York Stock Exchange) he specialized in trading the complex CRB futures index for several years.
The power of a two-pronged strategy to work for national monetary reform while educating state legislators of the advantage to their state of creating their own credit rather than going to banks is the education of over a thousand powerful law-making partners all across the US. As a professional educator, I can tell you that research agrees with our observation that education is greatly helped by linking what students (state legislators) already understand (their state economic crisis) to their interests (solving their state crises), and then to the broadest curricular objectives (national monetary reform).
Background: The actual history of government control over money shows a far superior record to private control. There is a mythology – a reigning error – that government issued money has been irresponsible, and inflationary. But this is the result of decades, even centuries of relentless propaganda, and is contradicted by the historical facts. The Continental Currency is attacked, without discussion that while our government authorized $200 million and issued $200 million (plus replacement notes), the Brits successfully counterfeited untold $billions. They did the same for the French Assignats – the details became public when the counterfeiters sued each other in the English courts.
The American Greenbacks are smeared as worthless inflation money when in fact our government authorized $450 million and printed exactly $450 million; and every greenback eventually exchanged one for one with gold coinage – but very few people bothered to exchange them!
The German hyperinflation is cited by the private money gang without pointing out that the German Reichsbank was privately owned and controlled, or that the hyperinflation began the month that all governmental influence over the Reichsbank was removed on the insistence of the allied occupiers. These and other cases are described in The Lost Science of Money book.
The specter of inflation will be raised against any proposal that our government fulfill its responsibility to provide the nation’s currency. But again this is a knee-jerk reaction resulting from the same propaganda. The reason that inflation is avoided is that real wealth is created with the money spent into circulation on infrastructure, and education and health care. It results in the provision of real goods and vital services and the existence of these serves to control inflation. It is mainly expenditures for warfare that are inflationary, because not only is the money not directed to creating values for life, it actually destroys those values, while increasing the money supply, and THAT will always be inflationary.
It will be argued that the banks must have the money creation privilege in order to survive, and removing it would destroy banking. But that is absurd. Banking has already destroyed itself! The Savings and Loan industry operated for many decades on principles close to what this Act advocates. We are not out to destroy banking – it’s a necessary part of modern society. However, the folly of our present system is self evident. There’s nothing in the dominant financier’s background, training or philosophy that qualifies them to be above our constitutional system of checks & balances. Look at the mess they have created around the World!
This comprehensive Act has its best chance for passage in the great crisis created by the criminal element within the banking system. Our strategy is to stay focused on the full American Monetary Act as the minimum solution. Implementing only parts of it would be a dereliction of duty. Such compromise would give the criminal financiers the opportunity to re-group and re-assert their power over all banking, as they have mercilessly done in at least four major historical cases over the past 150 years, here and in other countries. That’s what a wealthy organized gang with a single objective can do, especially against a population that only coalesces under severe crisis conditions as at present. Though the crisis means suffering, we must at least use it to solve the problem.
Lawmakers at the national level must be made to understand how this crisis is within their power to solve. Perhaps even more importantly, at the state and local levels, lawmakers must be made aware how solving this problem nationally, opens the way for real world solutions of most of the “insoluble” local problems they face. Therefore in conjunction with the national approach, a state focused campaign needs to be organized.
None of this is easy, but take heart when you consider that what we are proposing would be immensely beneficial to 99.5% of the population. Even those presently gaining unearned riches from the present faulty system, would benefit from the improved quality and security of life in general.
The American Monetary Institute is organizing local chapters around the country to help educate our fellow citizens and representatives in the area of monetary history, theory and reform. We do this in a way that is understandable to the average newspaper reporter. The Lost Science of Money book is written in highly readable form – we intend to be understood! We invite you now to join with us in this adventure to achieve a just money system – to right this wrong that has plagued our nation for so long.
Here is how you can help the AMI do this:
*Purchase and read The Lost Science of Money book.
*Become a supporting member of the AMI, by pledging to donate $48 or $75 (or more) per year.
*Attend the next annual AMI Monetary Reform Conference in Chicago.
*Join or help set up a local chapter of the American Monetary Institute in your area.
*Order and help distribute additional copies of this pamphlet, and stay in touch!
The American Monetary Act (AMA)
“Twenty Questions” Frequently Asked – FAQs (August 22, 2009)
For more background, see The Lost Science of Money (LSM) by Stephen Zarlenga, available at our website.
1) Won’t the government creating new money for infrastructure and other expenses cause
No. While this is an important concern, some of it is anti-governmental propaganda and it need not cause inflation, depending on where the new money goes, for example:
When new money is used to create real wealth, such as goods and services and the $2.2 trillion worth of public infrastructure building and repair the engineers tell us is needed over the next 5 years, there need not be inflation because real things of real value are being created at the same time as the money, and the existence of those real values for living, keeps prices down.
If it goes into warfare or bubbles (real estate/Wall Street/etc.) it would create inflationary bubbles with no real production of goods and services. That is the history of private control over money creation. It must end now. Government tends to direct resources more into areas of concern for the whole nation, such as infrastructure, health care, education, etc. The AMA Title 5 specifies infrastructure items including human infrastructure of health care and education to focus on.
Also remember, the American Monetary Act eliminates ‘fractional reserve banking’ which has been one of the main causes of inflation. And remember new money must be introduced into circulation as the population and economy grow or is improved, or we’d have deflation.
2) How can we trust government with the power to create money? – Won’t they go wild (and again cause inflation)? Don’t you know that government can’t do anything right?
A. The U.S. Constitution binds government to represent the interests of the American people – “to promote the General Welfare” and empowers our Federal Government to create, issue and regulate our money (Article I, Section 8, Clause 5). We must hold our officeholders responsible to the laws. Do you want us to deny the Constitution? In favor of who? Enron? Bear Stearns? J.P. Morgan? Goldman Sachs? Lehman Brothers? Please get real! Our choice is to let those pirates continue to control our money system or to intelligently constitute the MONEY POWER within our government.
Under the American Monetary Act, the Congress, the President and the Board of the Monetary Authority will all be responsible if any inflation or deflation takes place, and the people will know that they are responsible. They are specifically directed to avoid policies that are either inflationary or deflationary.
Do you really trust the “ENRONS” to dominate our money? Look how they have abused that power! And Yes Damn it! Enron was on the Board of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank!
B. Finally and most importantly, an examination of history, despite the current prejudice and massive propaganda waged against government, shows that government control of money has a far superior historical record to private control over money systems. See the AMA brochure, and the LSM, Chapter 16. History shows that government has a far superior record in controlling the money system than private money creators have. And Yes, that includes the Continental Currency, The Greenbacks, and even the German hyperinflation; which by the way took place under a completely privatized German central bank! The German hyperinflation is really an example of a private money disaster.
The Lost Science of Money book, chapter 12, uncovers the beginnings of the attack on government and found it started with Adam Smith himself in an attempt to block moves to take back the monetary power from the then private Bank of England, and put it back into government, which had done a good job in monarchical management of the money system, with only one exception under Henry VIII.
3) Why should we give the government even more power?
Because our money system belongs to society as a whole. It is too important to trust to unrepresentative and unaccountable private hands, preoccupied with private gain, with little regard for the detrimental consequences of their actions on the country, and outside our system of checks and balances. Just look what they have done!
4) How can we prevent government from abusing its power once it can create money directly?
The same way we prevent it from abusing any power, by upholding the rule of law and by participating in democratic political processes; and through reasonable structural limits.
5) Should we let private banks keep some part of the money creation privilege?
Absolutely not! History shows that the private interests, if given any privileged power over money, eventually undermine the public interest, and take over the whole thing. We know this from historical case studies in at least 4 major historical situations – the U.S. “Greenbacks”, The nationalization of the Bank of England, and the Canadian and New Zealand monetary experience. Anyone who proposes allowing the banks to keep any part of the power to create money are either ignorant of monetary history or are shilling for the banks.
Under the American Monetary Act we do have the best of both worlds. We keep the benefits of having the professionalism and expertise of a competitive banking system in the private sector, but we take away the dangers of having them dominate our monetary and public policies with their narrow short term profit focus, by removing their privilege to create money. Ultimately this is a question of morality. No such special privileges can be allowed to particular groups; especially the monetary privilege, which confers power and wealth on them at the expense of the rest of society.
6) Well then, should we nationalize all the banking business?
What kind of “Kool Aid” are you drinking and who gave it to you? The banking business is obviously not a proper function of government; but providing, controlling and overseeing the monetary system is definitely a function of government. No private party can do that properly. Markets have utterly failed to do that. They have concentrated wealth, have harmed the average American and now broken down entirely, except for assistance from our government. Who would keep money in banks today, except for the FDIC guarantees?
But banks should remain privately owned, because when reasonably structured, they perform very necessary functions, and can do it professionally and conveniently. Who within government would run the banking business? Bankers however, have nothing in their training, experience or their souls that qualifies them as masters of the universe – to control our society as the money power confers upon them.
Banks should act as intermediaries for their clients who want to get a return on a deposit or similar investment; and their clients who are willing to pay for the use of that money. But banks must not create the money. The money system belongs to the Nation and our Federal Government must be the only entity with the power to issue and regulate our money as the U.S. Constitution already mandates. We nationalize the monetary system, but don’t nationalize the individual banks. That would be a dangerous step towards fascism. Private enterprise is a powerful mechanism that can produce excellent results when properly structured and regulated. That is an important American “theme!” The AMA does not throw out the baby with the bathwater! But it most certainly gets rid of the bathwater, which is private money creation. That acts like a private tax on the rest of us!
We regard such nationalization proposals (nationalize all banking) either as an inability to understand the difference between nationalizing the money system and nationalizing the private banking business, OR as possibly attempts to actually block proper monetary reform, because you’d have to change the essence of America in order to do it. So it distracts from real reform. The AMA reform that we advocate actually puts into place the system that most people think we have now! People think our money is provided by government. They erroneously believe that the Federal Reserve is already a part of our government. They think the banks are lending money which has been deposited with them, not that they are creating that money when they make loans. Under the AMA many of those things people already believe about money and banking actually become true! It’s a natural fit with already existing attitudes.
7) Doesn’t your AMA proposal merely continue with a fiat money system?
Shouldn’t we be using gold and silver instead? Wouldn’t that provide a more stable money?
Our system is absolutely a fiat money system. But that’s a good thing, not a bad one. In reaction to the many problems caused by our privatized fiat money system over the decades, many Americans have blamed fiat money for our troubles, and they support using valuable commodities for money.
But Folks! The problem is not fiat money, because all advanced money is a fiat of the Law! The problem is privately issued fiat money. Then that is like a private tax on all of us imposed by those with the privilege to privately issue fiat money. Private fiat money must now stop forever!
Aristotle gave us the science of money in the 4th century B.C. which he summarized as: “Money exists not by nature but by law!” So Aristotle accurately defines money as a legal fiat. As for gold, most systems pretending to be gold systems have been frauds which never had the gold to
back up their promises. And remember if you are still in a stage of trading things (such as gold) for other things, you are still operating in some form of barter system, not a real money system, and therefore not having the potential advantages as are available through the American Monetary Act!
And finally as regards gold and silver: Please do not confuse a good investment with a good money system. From time to time gold and silver are good investments. However you want very different results from an investment than you want from a money. Obviously you want an investment to go up and keep going up. But you want money to remain fairly stable. Rising money would mean that you’d end up paying your debts in much more valuable money. For example the mortgage on your house would keep rising if the value of money kept rising.
Also, contrary to prevailing prejudice, gold and silver have both been very volatile and not stable at all. Just check out the long term gold chart.
8) How can a bank lend money if they have to keep 100% reserves?
The 100% reserve provision applies only to checking accounts. This question results from economists classifying our AMA as a “100% reserve” plan, as the Chicago Plan was known. But our plan fundamentally reforms the private credit system, replacing it with a government money system. The accounting rules are changed.
Banks will be encouraged to continue their loan activities by lending money that has been deposited with them in savings and time deposit accounts; or lending their capital that has been invested with them. It is in the checking account departments that the banks presently create money when they make loans in a fractional reserve system. This will be stopped by new bank accounting rules. Making loans from savings account is a different matter, because real money, not credit will have been transferred into such accounts, and loaning that out does not create new money or give the bank any seigniorage, that belongs to our society. Some money loaned out of a savings type account might later get re-deposited into another savings account and again be re-loaned, but it’s the same money, not any newly created money, and will reflect that way on the bank’s books. This is sufficient to solve the problem of banks creating “purchasing media” by loaning their credit which then functions as money in the present system. (for details see the
wording of the American Monetary Act.
Various types of accounts will have differing requirements: e.g. matching time deposits to loan durations, lessening the “borrowing short term and lending long term” problem. Money market and mutual fund type accounts can be very flexible. The principle applied will be to encourage good intermediation of money between clients who want a return on their money and those willing to pay for using it; but will prohibit money creation. Checking accounts will become a warehousing service, for which fees are charged. Good accountancy can achieve these results. (Please see # 9 below)
9) If banks are no longer allowed to create money, where will banks get enough money to fill client’s needs for money under the American Monetary Act?
We devote substantial space to this question because economists so used to confusing credit and money have to get used to the idea of money instead of credit. Usually they want to know how the AMA creates money within the present bank accounting framework. Well it does not! The AMA will change the accounting rules to deal with money not credit.
There will be several substantial sources of money for banks to satisfy their clients money needs:
a) Title III of the AMA converts through an accounting procedure, the existing credit the banks have circulated through loans (about $6 to 7 trillion, roughly the existing “money” supply) into US money, no longer bank credit. That process will indebt the banks to the government for the amount converted over and above their capital. At present when bank loans are repaid to the banks by their customers, those credits/debts go out of circulation/out of existence and the credit money supply contracts as loans are repaid, until they make new loans. But under the American Monetary Act, since it’s now money, those monies will not go out of circulation the way the credits did. They are repaid to the government in satisfaction of the debt the banks incurred in converting them from credit to money. That goes into a pool which can be used by Congress for the items in Title V of the AMA (as described on pages 8 and 9), or it can even be re-lent to the banks at an adjusted interest rate. Note: this action de-leverages the banks, but does not reduce the money supply.
b) Probably the most important source of funds for bank lending will be the continuing government expenditures, over and above tax receipts, such as social security and other payments by government on the items in Title V. Also the engineers tell us that $2.2 trillion is now necessary to make our infrastructure safe over the next 5 years. That’s $440 billion new money per year. Also the health care and education provisions, and grants to states in Title V can be introduced as new money. ALL these will eventually be deposited into various types of bank accounts where provisions of the Act will allow this money to be lent or invested. The banks will be lending and placing this money that has been deposited with them; not lending credit they create, masquerading as money. They will have to compete to attract such deposits from citizens and companies.
c) Title II of the AMA specifies the repayment of US instruments of indebtedness (bonds/notes/etc) instead of being rolled over as at present, new US monies will be paid to the bondholders as they become due. Those people/institutions will be looking for places to invest that money. One place would be in bank stock, which is a source of lending funds for banks. Of the $5 to 7 trillion in US bonds and notes privately held, about 3.5 trillion is due within 1 to 5 years; .72 trillion is due in 5 to 10 years; .35 trillion is due in 10 to 20 years. All these amounts will represent newly created US money and will eventually find their way to becoming new lend-able or investable bank deposits and even investments in banks.
d) Finally the AMA does not allow the banks to decide their own leverage situations. The Act essentially eliminates most leverage from the banking system in a healthy, non deflationary way. That will be good. They will no longer be able to pretend they were “banking” when they made bad loans overextending their positions and creating bubbles, in order to grab huge bonuses on imaginary profits. In other words banks will no longer be able to make loans in a bubble creation process. That is a good thing!
10) How will the U.S. Treasury create the money?”
The same way the Federal Reserve does now, as simple account entries, but as income, without the accompanying debt obligations. It’s described in the AMA, Sec. 103 NEGATIVE FUND BALANCES: The Secretary of the Treasury shall directly issue United States Money to account for any differences between Government appropriations authorized by Congress under law and available Government receipts.
11) Is there any chance the AMA could eliminate the federal income tax?
It “could,” and though that’s not likely in the near future, it is the direction the AMA goes in. Thanks to the immense savings our government will experience through control over its money system taxation should decline substantially for middle and lower income groups.
In addition the AMA should directly lead to substantial reductions in interest rates, because as the US pays off its national debt in money rather than rolling it over, those receiving those payments will be looking for places to loan and invest those funds. Interest rates should drop substantially.
12) Why does the American Monetary Act have an 8% maximum interest rate, including all fees?
Because before 1980/1981, forty nine States had “anti-usury” laws which limited normal interest rates to a maximum of between 6% and 10% p.a. (one state had 12%). The American Monetary Act takes the middle of this range to represent a restoration of the interest rate limits prevailing across the country prior to 1980/1981. See page 9 of the AMA.
13) Won’t you be breaking the sanctity of contracts when you convert the existing bank credit already in circulation, into U.S. Money?
No. First of all a contract requires understanding of the terms by all parties to it, and that certainly did not exist. But more likely it will be viewed as very acceptable by the banks, considering the security it confers on banking, especially when the alternative is going broke. There would be no reason to extend the legal tender privilege (acceptance for taxes) to the credits of any disagreeing banks.
14) How would the ACT affect our position with China?
The ACT would have a number of positive effects on Chinese - American Trade. Particularly it would encourage the Chinese to use more of their dollar earnings to really trade with us rather than just sell to us, and then invest their earnings in US bonds as at present. More details forthcoming!
15) What about other countries, and international systems such as the IMF (International
Monetary Fund) and the BIS (Bank for International Settlements)?
We’d expect other countries to follow quickly in our footsteps to each obtain the advantages of issuing their own national monies. The United Nations is already putting forward suggestions that member states shift now to nationally created, debt free; interest free moneys. They are way ahead of the US Congress just now. A much reformed IMF, already organized under United Nations Article 57; #3, will see a greatly expanded role for the SDR and more responsibility for international accounts clearing as well as real assistance to member states, rather than acting as a destructive collection agent for the big banks. The role and importance of the BIS should be rapidly reduced, and perhaps eliminated. Just look at the mess created under their guidance and rules. Some job they did!
16) The latest craze “question” making the rounds in the organized disinformation campaign; attacking our national psychology is not a question at all, but a vicious assertion:
“Government is so corrupt and so much in the hands of the worst people and they won’t ever let you do this reform! Or any good thing!”
This popped up simultaneously from LA to Seattle. I’ve told friends to put that stupidity out of their minds. This assertion, designed to discourage, is a variant of the Sun Tzu method of winning the battle by convincing the opposition not to fight because they can’t win. It reminds me of the cyborg Borg wars line “Resistance is futile” from the Star Trek New Generation series. Don’t fall for it!
As our people suffer more deeply from the unfortunate monetary/banking system, any remaining bad elements in government can be cleansed. That’s what we’ll do instead of whining about it. Become a part of the solution not a cry-baby! Get up and fight for your family and nation!
“Put a stone in your stomach!” is an old phrase of Zulu warriors when summoning courage. Earlier tonight I saw an electric message on a local banks billboard:
“If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you can’t!”
Yeah! We never said all bankers are evil, but there’s a very bad controlling element among them.
17) Why didn’t nationalized money systems work in the former Soviet countries?
Because their monetary systems were still controlled from within their banking systems, using the same faulty methods. The 1966 Federal Reserve publication Money, Banking, and Credit in Eastern Europe states:
“In the communist countries, money is created in the same way as in capitalist countries – through the extension of bank credit. This fact is not generally recognized or accepted in the various countries of Eastern Europe. The result is that a good deal of confusion emerges from their economic literature with regard to the nature of money and the role of the monetary process and the function of the banking system.… Since Marx identified money with gold, the official theory holds paper money to be merely a substitute for gold and ignores deposit money.” (p. 42-43)
Sound familiar? Their politicians and economists were as dumb as ours!
18) Won’t we get hyper-inflation like Zimbabwe?
No. For governments or anyone to issue money, there has to be a functioning society with enough rule of law and physical and social infrastructure to support the creation of values for living. Zimbabwe unfortunately does not have those pre-requisites; thus their society is falling apart.
19) What about having the individual 50 states go into the banking business?
More Kool-Aid and distractions….Look folks the objective is to get the banks out of the Money creation field, not to get the government into banking!! It’s a distracting idea that does not in any way accomplish any necessary reform. Instead it endorses and sanctions the vicious fractional reserve system. See the AMI website, bulletin # 5 for details. Mind boggling that any progressive can ignore morality and justice and fall for this diversion.
20) How about local currencies?
Local currency movements can help people to understand the money problem but it would be an illusion to think that local currencies would stop a mismanaged unjust national system from unfairly concentrating wealth; from being a motivating factor for warfare; from financing harmful polluting activities even when saner alternatives exist. Understand also that a national currency properly placed under governmental control gives much greater local control than the present national currency under private control, because locally, our voting power can exert influence on national policy.
And remember the principle of subsidiarity put forward by E.F. Schumacher. His slogan was not “small is beautiful.” What E.F. Shumacher actually said is what the AMI is saying: Use an “Appropriate scale”- do things on an appropriate scale. That dominant scale in the currency area is national and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. The appropriateness of acting on the national level must be recognized.
21) Have another question? We’ll try to answer. Please do forward it to us by email (email@example.com) or at our blog at http://moneyreform.wordpress.com/