2012/05/11 EWG Meeting minutes

Economics’s Docs 2012/05/11 EWG Meeting minutes

Mike, Chris F-D, Peter, Tom, Tim, Elena
1. Minutes of EWG meting on 4th May approved.
2. Road map – Tim attended the “Commons in the House of Commons” meeting sponsored by
Michael Meacher featuring James Quilligan leading commons economist/activist. Very
impressive presentation by Quilligan and the meeting involved other interesting
organisations: Land Community Trust, Day of Sharing, New Economic Foundation and
School of Summoning. Quilligan draws on the work of Henry George but goes beyond land.
Referred to a Quilligan article in http://www.kosmosjournal.org/articles/toward-a-common-
theory-of-value-common-trust Tim will feed in a lot of the stuff discussed into the Road
map for people to consider. Curiously Quilligan hasn’t get a great response in the US from
OWS possibly because land ownership is considered sacrosanct in spite of the dispossession
of indigenous people. A discussion ensued regarding the much earlier dispossession of
indigenous people in the UK when the Normans invaded and essentially remain in charge of
the lands they acquired at that time. eg. Duke of Westminster retains all the lands granted to
his ancestors in 1066. A lot of the established wealth is obscured and held within a tight
circle who intermarry, are involved in the same institutions and remain separate from the
rest of us.
3. Banking summary sheet – deferred until David is present
4. Little Book of Ideas – Clive has submitted amendments for sections 1-6 to Tom and Peter to
gauge whether they are on track. Peter explained that the book is aimed at the man in the
street who would normally have little interest in delving into the subjects in depth. It should
be an introduction to the topics rather than a full-blown explanation which will probably not
be read. It would be useful to provide one reference to each topic, where appropriate, for
people to dig deeper should they wish to eg. Nick Shaxon’s Treasure Islands for Tax Havens.
Clive agreed to rewrite the Fractional Reserve Banking piece and circulate together with
suggestions for the remaining sections. There was some discussion on Land Value Tax.
There are broadly three sections: 1. Explanation of terms and concepts; 2. showing there are
different ways of doing things; 3. Reminding people of some of the outrageous practices and
their scale. Where issues are contentious, that needs to be highlighted. Additional sections
required: rent and its different meanings eg. ownership of access to something of economic
value and extracting value from it; money creation? Tom would like to add a section on the
value of economics and its purpose looking at the different approaches: Market,
Administrative and Democratic. Discussion followed on the Russian Revolution and the
Bolsheviks usurping the democratic process established in the first revolution. Philosophical
discussion on human nature and whether system could be designed to bring out the best in
people rather than assuming that people are motivated to be consistently selfish. Tom should
do a teach in session for the EWG because occupy could learn lessons from the Russian
5. Housing/QE – The moment has passed but QE may come back on the media agenda. If the
proposal was couched: “as a group, we don’t approve of QE but if it is to be considered to
stimulate the economy we advocate using it to create social housing, rather than stuffing the
banks’ with more cash and driving up asset prices”, it would probably have support of the
EWG. Chris will have a go at drafting something along these lines to be ready for when the
time is right.
6. May 12th – 1pm Banking/finance teach out at St Paul’s moving on to Goldman Sachs for a
brief teach out there followed by similar events at other financial institutions. Tom
mentioned Corner House somewhere in the West Country which has done deep research into
private equity funds and then held similar events.
7. Shout outs – Joanna Benjamin, a financial lawyer gave a talk last week and we should try to
get her along to a meeting. Clive to contact. Discussion on the purpose of EWG – education
and learning, helping to spread understanding of issues and new ideas. Showing there is an
alternative to the dominant ideas of the 1%. While we need to capture public interest and
imagination, it will take time. James Quilligan is at St James’s Church in Piccadilly on
Sunday and there is a stewardship session in the afternoon. The planned Money as Debt
session for 18th May has been postponed for a week because some EWG people want to go
the commoning event at 4:30pm that afternoon: “Where do we go from here”. Tim felt
occupy need to be represented to help shape the debate.
Money as Debt presentation will now be on Friday 25th May.

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