2012/04/13 EWG Meeting minutes

Economics’s Docs 2012/04/13 EWG Meeting minutes

Dave, Peter, Andy, Eva, John, Elena, Mike, Kawai, Sean, Clive
1. Minutes from the last meeting – approved.
Road Map been delayed. What’s it for? Plans for what EWG will focus on in the future.
2. At a meeting of the Trades Council (TUC) it was agreed to hold a joint meeting with Occupy. As
per Mike’s email of 8th April 2012, Waltham Forest Trades Council have provisionally booked
Harmony Hall for Saturday 21st, 2pm. There will be a facilitator from the trades council and Mike
will talk about Occupy as an idea, in the context of linking Occupy and Trades Unions. On the
Agenda will be plans for the walk in Waltham Forest on 16th July involving a public meeting and
plans for citizenship sessions with students, although they must be 18+ because of CRB issues.
Mike has had few replies to his email but several people at the meeting agreed to attend. Mike is
happy to meet people at Walthamstow Station c. 1pm but they need to respond to the email. It
clashes with a skills day at Finsbury Square.
3. Andy talking about Bitcoin – Computer enthusiast – communications and IT Security (8 of
18years in security). Bitcoin is a global digital currency using peer to peer infrastructure via the
internet. Based on decentralised file sharing which is effective and proven (disrupted the music
industry). It has been around for 3 years based on a document dated 29th January 2009 by Satoshi
Nakamoto (pseudonym for British developers?) Written in opensource free code reviewable by
everyone, endorsed by Dan Kaminsky. You download the bitcoin-client and are given a unique
bitcoin address – facilitates one to one transactions with no third parties involved. It is a full reserve
currency backed by goods or services. Makes micro transactions viable because there are no
charges. Not yet widely adopted. Is it like a digital LETS scheme? Not really because it is global
and there is no centralised trust. Currency divisible to eight decimal places. Everyone can take
advantage of it instantaneously. Exchangeable into £, yen, etc. Numerous exchanges available
online to facilitate currency exchange. There is potential to use it for voting. Andy wants finance to
back a Bitcoin awareness campaign (50,000 leaflets). Is there a limit to the amount of money to be
transacted? Illicit/illegal transactions? Problem of being unregulated. Tax avoidance is a problem to
be overcome. Andy to circulate email to the list with links etc. http://bitcoin.org
4. Housing – QE debate. Chris’s proposal to fund social housing with some of the QE funds rather
than giving it to the banks. Mike: “QE will never be used for Education / Housing or anything. Cash
for Trash. QE is inflationary. When QE is withdrawn the banks will be insolvent.” However, if they
are going to do it, it would be better to do it for something useful. Talk in the budget of quantitative
credit – small amount to fund businesses. QE needs to be understood in the context of money supply
and money creation. Buying government bonds is not artificial. Is it QE or just printing money to
fund social housing? Could give rise to danger of land speculation. QE generally and European
LTRO forcing up commodity prices. Banks use “extend and protect”: if mortgages are in arrears,
they extend mortgages to avoid having to write down the assets to their real value. Politics is about
priorities and the poor, working class and vulnerable aren’t a priority for any of the major parties.
Economics concepts needs to be discussed to come up with alternatives. Class war rhetoric can be
alienating and we have to be able to engage on our opponents’ level. Tim: “QE it is a way to
increase liquidity when the Central Bank can no longer achieve it when the interest rates are already
at rock bottom. It is a technical monetary procedure(which seems to have had little effect currently
owing to the ponzi state of the banks) whereby the funds return when the desired effect is
achieved..QE funds are not available for alternative use for social policies to be spent in the real
world. The finance needed for a social housing policy would have to come from a different source
and it would not be from QE The closest to the proposal as it stands would be to print money to
fund a Social Housing policy. But better options could be explored.” Remove QE from the housing
proposal. Sean will go back to Chris to work with him on the proposal to accommodate the other
points raised in the various emails.
5. Banking is to go back on the agenda once Dave has circulated the banking document.
6. Email circular – Clive will send the email to lsxcampeconomics, Tim will broadcast more widely.
Dave will circulate EWG information to new members from Friends Open Day last Tuesday.
7. Agenda for Monday – Olympics, Bitcoin, Housing proposal
Agenda for Friday – Road Map
8. Elena: event on Thursday 26th April 2012 at St Brides with Giles Fraser, Naomi Colvin and
others, called “After Occupy – What Next?” – details available on St Brides website:

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