2012/05/04 EWG Meeting minutes

Economics’s Docs 2012/05/04 EWG Meeting minutes

1. EWG meeting 30th April 2012 – minutes approved
2. Economics information book to be circulated – Tom stuck in action (kettle) yesterday; Peter
to circulate tomorrow.
3. EWG priority items for the GA – Dave will circulate A4 summary over the next couple of
days. Is there scope for direct action on tax havens? Could be positive in terms of high
profile impact. There was a Jersey contact with prior involvement in EWG who may be able
to help. Does it just involve sorting out travel agents and booking tickets? Chris F-D emailed
Southampton and Liverpool with a view to talking about engaging them in plans: it would
be good to get a flotilla of protesters to Jersey or on a ferry to Isle of Man. Dave has drafted
a piece on tax havens for the GA. Vast raft of legislation allowing people to hold assets
offshore – addressing each nation’s laws in this area would be a big task. Treasure Islands by
Nicholas Shaxson is a must read on the subject. Examination of fractional reserve banking is
required and the part it plays in the offshore world. Debate about solving the problems –
analogy: addressing root causes or removing the branches? Japanese knotweed can only be
removed if the roots are destroyed. Diverse views expressed including we have to prioritise
and cannot identify one single cause. Is evolution possible or is revolution the only way to
change? At present the establishment has overwhelming military/security might. Question
raised, what is the EWG for – what does it want to achieve? Agreed to have a
presentation/session on money creation on Friday 18th May as one of the themed EWG
meetings (Clive to organise and circulate paper in advance).
4. Road map – Tim has done a lot of work and circulated a one page summary a while back but
has yet to distribute the original 12 page document. Ties in with the actions planned for 12th
May day of protest. Peter will chase Tim to circulate the full document.
5. Social Housing – Mervyn King’s Lecture on the BBC this week – attended by Chris F-D
who got a question in on social housing. Some of the more interesting discussion wasn’t
broadcast. Chris asked whether, from an economic perspective, it is feasible to use QE
(which had been pretty ineffective in stimulating economic revival) to create social housing,
thereby providing a direct stimulus to the economy. King neatly deflected this into the long
grass by saying it was a political decision and that it was not for him to suggest how money
should be spent – avoiding the thrust of the question on feasibility. Chris has drafted a letter
(which was read out ) reiterating the question which it was agreed he should send with
reference to the EWG but not suggesting it is supported by the group as a whole. On being
pressed by Evan Davies for not responding to the housing bubble pre-crash, King said he
was roundly criticised when he did suggest housing might be overpriced for affecting
markets. The meeting evolved into a discussion about the meaning/value of money with
references to John Harris and Robert Maynard, the amount of physical gold (officially
200,000 tons worldwide but possibly more held secretly). Member of occupy lunching with
Mayor of London in a couple of weeks (her daughter won a competition) – opportunity to
spear Mayor on occupy issues. It was agreed to let the QE debate settle over the next week
with a view to picking it up next Friday. Discussion about personhood with references to the
distinction between individual as flesh and blood and their capitalised name on official/legal
6. Reminder of the day of action on 12th May and that there is no EWG meeting this Bank
Holiday Monday 7th May.
Friday 18th May meeting will be on money creation.

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