I found time this morning to watch the film Four Horsemen. It’s about what’s fundamentally wrong with the world and it features some major thinkers from Britain and the world.
I feel fairly sure many of them did not know that the central point of the film is to explain why money should be separated from the state. As I set out in my maiden speech,
Today, money is a product of the state. The Bank of England controls the price, quantity and quality of money. Perhaps if we were talking about any other commodity, there would be far less confusion over and questioning of the cause of the crisis. If money is a product of the state, we should ask ourselves, “Is this a good idea?”
In the coalition, we have a Government ideally suited to be conservative to preserve what is good, but radical to change all that is bad. If we are to have a once-in-a-generation, fundamental review of the role of government, let us also examine government’s role in the system of money and bank credit.
The financial system is not free market. It is riven with privileges granted by government and the entire system of money and bank credit is centrally planned. Money is the lifeblood of an advanced economy founded on the division of labour and exchange, but it is broken. As a consequence, the financial system is manufacturing injustice on a vast scale with unprecedented subtlety.
So it is no wonder Russell Brand wants a revolution but can’t say what system he really wants. In so far as he articulates it, Brand’s vision sounds like revolutionary Communism. That’s been tried: it produced impoverishment, misery, injustice and murder.
The only social system capable of producing justice and prosperity is a free one, ie capitalism. However, as I said in the Commons, if this is capitalism, I am not a capitalist. What’s wrong with it? Active management of money by the state and the capture of political power by rent-seeking special interests. The film explains. I’ve found myself opposing both with only a few allies: in the Finance Bill committee 2013 for example (end of here and starting again here).
Meanwhile, the top story at the Bucks Free Press is Residents frustrated at delayed bin collections, which is fair enough: it’s caused real, concrete inconvenience in people’s lives. These big issues of the institutional framework of our society are complex and abstract, even if contributors to the film say that they are simply questions of power and democracy. Most of the time, most of us have lives which are just fine, or perhaps which are easier to bear than to change.
Therein lies the biggest problem with our democracy: people scarcely take part. Political parties’ membership has collapsed. Journalists like Hugo Rifkind and Jeremy Paxman (my constituent) can’t be “arsed” to vote or otherwise step up to the challenge of practical politics.
Four Horsemen finishes with these words,
To really understand something is to be liberated from it. Dedicating oneself to a great cause, taking responsibility and gaining self-knowledge is the essence of being human. A predatory capitalist’s truest enemy and humanity’s greatest ally is the self-educated individual who has read, understood, delays their gratification and walks around with their eyes wide open.
The film is available on YouTube here or via their site here. A paper I published explaining what is wrong with the financial system is available in NEF’s Banking 2020, extracted under its Creative Commons licence here: Bank reform demands monetary reform. It was reviewed by two great monetary economists.
We live in a democracy. Change is possible but it requires knowing what you want and taking part. You can do so here.