AMERICAN MONETARY INSTITUTE
PO BOX 601, VALATIE, NY 12184
Tel. 518-392-5387 • email mailto:email@example.com • www.monetary.org
Stephen Zarlenga, Director
Dedicated to the independent study of monetary history, theory and reform
REPORT on the 2005 AMI Monetary Reform Conference
Dear Friends of the American Monetary Institute,
Judging by the comments and many congratulations from participants – speakers and attendees alike, the 2005 AMI Monetary Reform Conference held in Chicago from September 29th to October 2nd was an important success. One often heard comment was: “The best conference I ever attended.”
Additional comments are at the bottom of this page, under the membership form.
Altogether seventy-five people came – our initial expectation. It appeared to be a wonderful experience for all. Participants told us how much they learned and enjoyed being with people who understood the monetary problem. There was excellent interraction with speakers who for the most part attended the whole conference. For myself and AMI’s advisors, it was very rewarding to see the American Monetary Institute moving forward on this program to reform America’s money system, to bring it in line with both our Constitution and with moral considerations of fairness, sustainability, and good environmental sense.
The AMI’s Vision of Reform was clearly presented:
The conference focused on the three areas outlined at the www.monetary.org/2005conference page.
As promised, we presented AMI’s vision of the needed reforms:
• To move away from privately controlled money systems toward governmental ones;
• To end the privilege of private banks to create purchasing media as interest bearing loans;
• To spend money into circulation interest free for infrastructure repair and development that promotes the general welfare.
Each of these themes was described by several speakers in terms of why they were necessary and how they would work. Our specific reform proposal was placed into its wider historical context as truly a part of our American tradition, originating in proposals put forward by some of the best economic minds in American history. For example our programs similarities with the Chicago Plan which came out of the Great Depression were described in detail. The proposed American Monetary Act is a comprehensive program that gets to the root of the problem.
Some speakers presentations were on how to get the reforms enacted. Some gave detailed descriptions of the kinds of trouble our money system has caused including the horrendous debt buildup in our society, with its related obscene concentrations of wealth into just a small part of the population; and the neglect of infrastructure which now amounts to a $1.6 trillion dollar requirement just to get the system to a decent grade. Some speakers gave previews of the kinds of progress toward a much better future -even a paradise – that can start to be created on our planet Earth, with properly run money systems. A money power under societal control instead of the privately controlled system that has been leading us into a man-made hell.
Keynote Speaker Congressman Dennis Kucinich Inspired the Participants
Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s Keynote address emphasized the importance of thinking in terms of what can be, not just what is; and of the potential importance of having this monetary tool available not just to solve pressing problems but to start building a wonderful future on Earth. He stressed the need of bringing this discussion to Washington, to re-examine and look again at the problems caused by fractional reserves and at why this great power was turned over to the Federal Reserve System. His inspiring video can be viewed in its entirety at our homepage – see link below.
The Conference also discussed the American Monetary Act, (version 9), which starts to put these reforms into legal terminology, and we requested suggestions from attendees both at the conference and through later correspondence. Additional views will be sought, and then we’ll be ready in a couple of months with version 10 of the draft legislation, which will be publicly distributed for comment. A lot more work will be needed on this, and with version ten we feel comfortable to throw open that discussion to the public, even though it will still admittedly be a work in progress.
A Consensus Emerged
A few participants disagreed and voiced other views. Two thought banks should be allowed to continue to create money in modified form. However no-one could give really convincing reasons to award this powerful privilege to bankers, though asked to do so. The one argument that emerged on those lines was that without this special privilege the profits of the banking system would be too low. We recognize the necessity of a viable banking system but argued that its immoral to give any group special privileges and pointed out that it creates an aristocracy forbidden by our constitution. Also that the bankers have done a dismal job, and that results of government controlled money have been much better. But we advised that the argument is best framed in moral terms. Banks are of course necessary – especially when performing their legitimate functions – but those do not include money creation.
We had not expected unanimity, but overall there appeared to be a general consensus on AMI’s program, and emails to me after the conference have confirmed it. That was good to see, since weve put about 15 years of focused work into getting it to this point. Lots of refinements will be needed, but so far no “back to the drawing board” indications. So the AMI moves forward with its program in a measured open manner – open to all sound suggestions and all are welcome to join with us on this quest for monetary justice. Please contribute toward its achievement!
We Need Your Help
The entire conference was professionally video recorded in a two camera shoot, by Chad Ely, on HDTV tape, and the videos will be available for distribution (see below). The AMI had to go into some debt to sponsor this conference at the low registration donations we requested, and now I’m going to ask for your help to erase that debt so AMI can be in a position to have the videos professionally edited.
I’m asking all of you to become sustaining members of The American Monetary Institute. That means donating from $24 to $75 per year to support the Institute’s research and education programs. Yes its fully tax deductible – we are a 501(c)3 organization founded in 1996.
If enough of you are moved to respond, you’ll empower us to move forward and continue this work at a good pace. One of the themes of my welcoming message was that our civilization is living on borrowed time – Kennedy’s Defense Secretary McNamara has told us that the only thing that stopped an all out nuclear exchange with Russia in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis was “blind luck.” Then again in 1987 civilization was saved when Russian Colonel Petrov refused to launch Russian missiles to counter a mistaken warning of an attack from America. The reason we are living on borrowed time is that for too long we have been living on borrowed money! As Prof. Blain points out, “We must own our money system, not rent it from private banks!”
So folks please help us out right now, with what you can afford. We’ll use your contributions intelligently – thats a promise. We are starting over a dozen local chapters of the AMI on a shoestring, as a result of the conference and we need to have speaker videos available to do that properly. For more information, and if you would like to arrange for me to speak in your city on one of my four cross country trips in 2006, please let me know as soon as possible so that we can plan ahead.
Those donating at the $75 level or higher, will receive a complimentary copy of my book, The Lost Science of Money, which presents AMI’s research results to date. Alternatively you can receive DVD’s of any two speaker presentations.
Those donating $250 receive the book plus any 8 speaker DVD’s and for donations of $400 or more, you’ll receive the book plus DVD’s of the entire conference – all 22 speakers/panels.
Please print and mail or email the donation form below, or use the convenient paypal page by clicking on “make a Donation” at the left side of our homepage at www.monetary.org. The enro lment/ tape ordering form is below.
We really do need your help at this time – seriously friends, please be generous. To see how great the tapes are you can view Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s speech in its entirety at our website now. See the link beneath the membership form below. All those contributing will also receive a copy of the American Monetary Act draft legislation version 9, for comment, before version 10 is distributed publicly.
Summary of Speakers Topics and Their Relevance to Monetary Reform:
There is a description of how each speakers topic contributed to the overall picture of monetary reform, at the bottom of this page.
|Annual Supporting Member Renewal/Video Order FormYou can make your donation by paypal (click Donation at our homepage) or print this page and mail it to the AMERICAN MONETARY INSTITUTE, PO Box 601, Valatie, NY 12184, U.S.A. Questions? Phone 518-392-5387Please enroll me as a sustaining member of the American Monetary Institute at the support level of (circle one):
$24 (Student) $48 (Basic) $75 (Advanced)
All supporting members receive AMI’s quarterly newsletter, The American Money Scene and regular updates. Members donating $75 or more receive a complimentary copy of Stephen Zarlenga’s book, The Lost Science of Money, OR any two speaker DVD’s.
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Click to view Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s conference speech: www.monetary.org
Comments from Participants emails:
“Congratulations on a wonderful conference. I think it was spectacular for your first effort.” R.D. Chicago
“Hi Steve, This is my conference critique… I told at least 10 people this was the best conference I ever attended…. I believe I told that to Elizabeth moments before it closed but if I failed you can pass that on to her. I learned a bunch.” Dr. J.S., Arizona
“Congratulations for your work on a conference that was a whopping success. I believe that the consciousness/ awareness of monetary reform was significantly enhanced amongst those that were there as well as the messages that will go out from the attendees to their associates. We look forward to purchasing some of the video tapes when available.” B.G., Idaho
“Dear Stephen, – A truly wonderful conference. Congratulations! In just four days, I, for one, received a tremendous education and really saw for the first time the significance of what you are doing and ways that I personally can support it.” Dr. G.M, Virginia
“I want to personally thank you for all the work you have done promoting monetary reform…Pulling together this conference called for a lot of planning and effort. Then there are the others with fixed ideas, but you kept us going in a direction of pulling in our best minds. I felt all the intelligence, wisdom and strength there, available to build a strong argument for monetary reform that would support the best and most irrefutable values of life. I’m with you on the ‘100% reserve solution” – no special privileges for any private group or individual.” C.A., Canada
“after some additional thinking about your “Chicago Plan” for monetary reform, it just may have more potential for restoring the health of our civilization than I originally thought. It would restore the sovereignty of the money system to the government, so that the interest earned would flow into the control of congress as opposed to the ruling elites who own the central bank. Of course, these same people would still have more influence over governmental decisions than other citizens, but they would at least be forced to operate in the public forum to gain their selfish ends. Dr. L.C. California
“Thanks for all the work you put into the conference!” H.K., Pennsylvania
“Thanks again for organizing a wonderful meeting, I feel energized to go work for monetary reform!” L.M., Massachusetts
“I appreciate very much the opportunity to have attended your conference.” E.A., Minnesota
“Indeed, I have been “chomping at the bit” to write to you and fellow participants ever since the conference…thank you for everything you have done to make AMI a reality. I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the conference and was only sorry that I was not able to attend all of it. I commend you for the incredibly rich and well thought-out program. As you walked through the schedule Sunday morning and recapped the contents of each session, the substance and logic of the conference became even clearer to me than they already were. I have begun to read your book and look forward to clearing some time over the holidays to read it in its entirety.”L.E., Illinois
“I really enjoyed the conference and am thankful for all your hard work…Claire and I are looking forward to our next conference. I need your autograph on your book.” H.J., Canada
“I really enjoyed the conference and appreciate your efforts in organizing it. ” F.B., California
“I just wanted to first, compliment you on making the conference a reality. I learned much while I was there. I am glad I participated and I look forward to any future events that include American Monetary Reform as one of the themes. Please keep us all advised on your speaking engagements so that we can come show our support. Further I just wanted to say that I understand your focus and mission and better appreciate the difficulty, time and cost incurred to just get traction behind ONE concrete agenda and strategy…. So I’ve taken the position that I do not wish to dilute the effort with other strategies even though I would like to try them. I am fully behind AMI and whatever I can do to help push that cause forward I’m going to do. I understand the mission and the method.” G.M., Florida
“It was good to meet you in Chicago as well as many others whose books I have read or in some cases corresponded with….I would like to reiterate that I strongly support the direction you are going. It is centuries late, of course, but we weren’t around centuries ago.” R.P., Oregon
• Brief Summary of the Monetary Reform Significance of Each Speakers Talk:
We take seriously our responsibility to present knowledgeable, disciplined researchers at our conferences.
Stephen Zarlenga’s opening remarks set forth the agenda and goals of the conference. He pointed out that monetary reformers have known for decades what general shape money reform should take – away from privately created money loaned into circulation as interest bearing loans and credits, toward governmentally issued money spent into circulation interest free. He noted that the present infrastructure situation requires money be spent on much needed repairs which have gone ignored for decades. Monetary reform makes this possible. He pointed out that the conference would focus on three areas: The monetary Reforms; How to achieve them politically; and What they could be used for once achieved. He set out the conference general guidelines for politeness and keeping the questions on point.
The Panel on the Federal Reserve System underscored the problem and mechanism of how money is currently created by the private fractional reserve banking system and how this is not consistent with our democratic republic form of government, or good common sense.
Ole Mackeprang, European financier presented a picture of how the Euro has already changed daily life in the European Community and how this currency went from “dead on arrival” to dominating the US $ in a few short years, so that there are now two world class currencies in existence – a major new geopolitical development.
Alistair McConnachie talked on the 1946 nationalization of the Bank of England and demonstrated it is not enough to just nationalize the central bank if the private banking system keeps the privilege to issue money. This privilege has led to the current situation where the British government only creates 3% of the money and the private banks are creating the other 97% at interest, and are engaged in an orgy of privatization. He described the new British political party being organized to specifically promote money reform.
James Gibb Stuart’s presentation by video underscored the great importance of correct money views, describing how just one letter requested by the Malayasian Prime Minister from English money reformers altered the course of Malaysia’s history and rescued that country from the worst effects of the 1997 Asian currency crisis brought on by speculators.
William Krehm of Comer described the situation with Canadian monetary reform and the Bank of Canada already being a nationally owned bank. William was one of the few people present who supports allowing banks to continue creating money, but under some alternative regulations that he believes would restrict the abuses of privileged money creation powers.
Connie Fogal, leader of the Canada Action Party, founded by Paul Hellyer, which supports monetary reform, passionately described in detail the provisions of the nationalized Bank of Canada legislation which actually give it the power to do what the AMI considers necessary for money reform. However, because the private banks are still allowed to create Canadian money, these powers have been ignored, and allowed to be usurped by the private banking establishment. More strong evidence that nationalization of the central bank isn’t enough to achieve monetary justice.
John Herman of Australia gave a report on the money reform situation “Down under.” The same system of private bank created purchasing media loaned into circulation at interest, also dominates there, as well as in Europe, even though central banks have been nationalized. Indeed America’s Federal Reserve System appears to be the only major central banking system still under private ownership and private control.
William Hixson succinctly presented the problems with introducing money at interest through the private Federal Reserve System, and demonstrated that the idea of a gold standard had always been a sham. It had to be because gold production could never be sufficient; and he described why it was never a good idea even if there were gold available. He proposed the federal Government issue the money, and even make some of it directly available for State governments use.
Prof. Robert Blaine gave an account of how debt has been growing right from the founding of our country in basing our money system on bank issued debt rather than government issued money. This thorough presentation with charts gives documentary evidence of the inexorable nature of this flawed process and how it has led us to the present debt malaise. The talk demonstrated the long term effects of our defective debt based money system leading toward an impossible debt equation for society.
David I. Kelley, Issues Advisor to Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s presidential campaign, gave a rousing presentation of the “Forbidden Statistics” demonstrating the unacceptable concentration of wealth in our society – One of the unanswerable indictments of our present money system and a further demonstration of the unacceptability of the inevitable results of privately controlled money systems. This was among our most acclaimed talks judging by participant evaluation sheets.
Ben Gisin, Advisor to the AMI, discussed the approaching food crisis emanating from the inadvisable way our society allows money to be created privately and circulated as interest bearing debt.. A “must see” presentation of this hitherto ignored aspect of the money problem. Its not just abstract debt claims that are plaguing us, the money system is already degrading humanity’s ability to get good agricultural nourishment.
Cay Hehners presentation critiqued Adam Smith and Karl Marx as not having done their homework. Smith put together a jumbled mass of poorly defined concepts, which essentially ignored morality and Karl Marx sensing the need for morality, esssentially turned Smith’s jumbled mess upside down. Neither provided a viable approach for humanity. Both used the same erroneous metallist concept of money.
Prof. Nic Tideman’s presentation on using housebricks as the ultimate form of commodity money made a very outstanding point: those who claim to want commodity backing for money should be considering housebricks, rather than the normally discussed gold and silver. What it really means is that the goldbugs are not so much for commodity backing as they are for promoting fetish gold, connected with their coin collections and gold shares, etc. They forget that everything that makes gold a good investment makes it no good as money.
Dr. J.W. Smith’s presentation on Adam Smith vs Frederich Liszt made the important point that nations have been built using Liszts system, but never with Adam Smiths system. Adam Smith is still worshipped as a god in the economics community, but you cannot have both Adam Smith and economic justice at the same time. It must be one or the other and it is past time to cut Adam Smith down to size.
Jack Bidell showed how the standard method of trying to fight inflation by raising interest rates is a perverse policy that actually increases inflation in a world where debt and interest payments form such a large part of economic activity – a concept that Alan Greenspan never grasped while head of the Fed. Since they are wrong about this – their main tool, imagine the other errors and inniquities that are built into the system.
Dan Sullivan presented Henry George’s viewpoint that society must share and protect a modern “commons” in both land ownership and in the monetary area. Values in both areas that result from our actions as a society rightly belong to all of us and should not be alienated.
Randy Cook showed that the shortfall in actual money payments to raw material producers is roughly equivalent to the total debt in our society, as the raw materials were exchanged for debt instead of for money. A fascinating concept that deserves deeper analysis.
John V. O’Holleran described a bleak picture of America’s deteriorating infrastructure situation, now requiring over $1.6 trillion dollars in repair work, to raise it from its current “D” rating up to acceptable levels. The outlook is that it will reach D- soon. This infrastructure problem, in AMI’s view represents an unanswerable indictment of the present monetary system, which has been unable or unwilling to address America’s infrastructure needs.
Ken Bohnsack described his years of experience in getting over 3,000 signatures of support for the Sovereignty proposal, from governmental bodies from school boards to states. His enthusiastic presentation energized the audience – especially his attitude that in this process one might get disappointed, but never discouraged.
Charles Walter’s talk described how the parity payments system had worked well for so many years in assuring farmers that they would be able to at least approximate getting their costs of production back for crops produced under reasonable conditions. This talk along with Randy Cook’s provide some of the key elements of monetary information for reasonable monetary management and control as envisaged in the AMerican Monetary Act.
Richard Distlehorst demonstrated statistically that we know about how much money will be created per year by recent standards, and that we then have a choice – to give the banks the privilege to create this money and lend it back to us at interest, or to have our own government create it interest -free and spend it into circulation to promote the general welfare. He left no doubt which choice we should make!
J. Edward Anderson’s presentation of Public Rapid Transit systems was a view into the future of congestion free, environmental friendly, efficient, time saving transport which is clearly the main answer to remaking our cities into liveable sensible environments. Step inside the cars, press a button for your destination and sit back and relax, read, doze. A picture of the kind of life that money reform can create.
Prof. Glen Martin’s well received talk on the necessity of viewing mankind as a whole, not merely as divided into political structures attempting to take advantage of each other with policies leading inexorably toward warfare. Human rights are universal! A money system in so much conflict with human rights in our own country, extends its injustice around the world. We must eliminate the moves toward warfare now, or the warmongers will be in a position under the false guise of “security” to restrict our rights including those that enable us to reform our system.
Stephen Zarlenga gave a description of the “Chicago Plan” which came out of the Great Depression as a solution to the banking crisis, and was endorsed by the then great economic minds in the nation. He showed how the American Monetary Act incorporates the main elements of the Chicago Plan and adds some more, based on our experience since the 1930’s.
Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s inspiring keynote address can be viewed in its entirety at www.monetary.org
The American Monetary Institute issued the following press release after the conference. Please feel free to distribute it and the entire message above, to your contact lists.
PRESS RELEASE – For Immediate Release, October 6, 2005 by the American Monetary Institute – a monetary policy think tank – Chicago – 2005 Monetary Reform Conference – Congressman Dennis Kucinich, Keynote Speaker – MONEY REFORM PLAN WOULD SAVE TAXPAYERS $ BILLIONS PER YEAR IN KATRINA CLEANUP
“An alteration in the way money is introduced into our economy would save at least $10 billion dollars per year in the cleanup and rebuilding aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. If the cleanup loans last the normal 30 years, the savings will be over $250 billion,” says Stephen Zarlenga, Director of the American Monetary Institute. The plan, known as The American Monetary Act was discussed at the AMI 2005 Monetary Reform Conference, held in Chicago over the weekend at the Essex Inn. The proposed three part reform of our currency system would have the U.S. Government directly spend the money into circulation rather than the present method of allowing the banking system to create the money and then the government borrowing the money. Funding such infrastructure expenses through bonds generally doubles to triples their final cost. The reform avoids this expense by removing the fractional reserve provision of the present system, which in effect allows the banking system to create the much needed new money that must be continually introduced into the economy, as population and economic activity expands; or when emergencies such as Katrina, or warfare require great expenditures. Under the reform only the U.S. government, not the private banking system would be allowed to create money.
“What we’re proposing is very similar to the ‘Chicago Plan’ which came out of University of Chicago economists in the 1930’s and was widely supported nationwide by the economics profession back then,” said Zarlenga. Under the plan the government spends the new money into circulation on necessary infrastructure, including education. A presentation at the conference by the American Society of Civil Engineers pointed out the deteriorating condition of American infrastructure, which currently receives an overall grade of D, and is predicted to reach D- soon. MOST OF KATRINA’S DAMAGE ON NEW ORLEANS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED
“This method of introducing new money through infrastructure creation and repair would actually have stopped most of the damage and loss of life in New Orleans because the money would have been available to repair the levees, and they would have probably held” said Zarlenga. “The difference is that under the present private control, money goes largely into speculative bubbles, including wall street games and real estate” he said, “Under societal control it would go much more toward promoting the general welfare. Inflation is avoided because real material wealth has been created in the process, and catastrophic loss including loss of life is prevented.”
The keynote speaker at the conference was Congressman Dennis Kucinich, on the topic of Economic Justice. The American Monetary Institute is a 501c3 publicly supported charitable trust organized in 1996 to promote the independent study of monetary history, theory and reform. This was the institutes first public conference and annual conferences are planned. The institute’s website is at www.monetary.org. where a complete video of Congressman Kucinich’s speech can be viewed.
Inquiries by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone to 518-392-5387.
Contact person: Stephen Zarlenga, Director of the Institute
A brief bio and photo of each speaker can be viewed at www.monetary.org/2005schedule
Warmest regards to all of you! Please help us now by becoming supporting members of the American Monetary Institute, and stay in touch!
Stephen Zarlenga, Director, AmiTo View the AMI Home Page click her