By Trond Overland
Modern banking emerged during the Italian Renaissance. The idea behind it was ancient:
To make money out of lending money.
The present situation
The main reason for the continuing recessions and depressions all over the world today is that vast deposits of money are not being released to those who require resources. In the words of P.R. Sarkar, “the intrinsic demonic greed of banks has been allowed to jeopardize the life of common people.”(1)
“Banks must not allow unwise administrators or governments to print monetary notes indiscriminately without reserving the proportionate amount of bullion in their treasuries. It destroys the very life of society. It leads to widespread inflation, which in turn jeopardizes internal trade and commerce as well as foreign trade and barter. Even if there is abundant production in a country, the common people do not benefit from it. The rich become richer and get more scope to continue their merciless exploitation.”(2)
I could also offer you something other than money that may be of interest to you. Exchange of something other than money, such as goods and services, is called barter trade.
Barter trade excels under certain conditions. Barter between countries works best at present between industrially underdeveloped – financially poor – countries with a large surplus of raw materials. As they have no means to invest in refining industries under the present global exploitative regime, they should exchange raw materials in order to procure minimum necessities.
On the other hand, the exchange of services between private persons would work very well where no government tax is levied on private income. The abolition of income tax will to a great extent remove the problem of black money and bring about a welcome moral change in the population.
PROUT encourages both types of purchase – using money or by barter – wherever they may serve people’s needs.(3) Global capitalism does not encourage barter trade but wants to retain trade within its exploitative speculative paradigm.
An economy of the people, not of banks
This is a natural idea: Whenever people join in some productive effort they will soon need somewhere to deposit their earnings, a place where they can administer their common economy. If no suitable means for deposit exists, the natural thing for them to do would be to form a cooperative bank themselves.
People may need to borrow, as well, for both individual and collective needs. Cooperative banks serve as both savings and lending institutions. A cooperative bank may take a large loan from another bank or the government to purchase modern equipment and construct dams, barrages and shift or lift irrigation facilities to increase production, etc.(4)
Under PROUT, the banking system will be managed by cooperatives.(5) Only the government-controlled central or federal bank should have a greater reach by way of guaranteeing the currency.
In conclusion, the mission of banks under PROUT is to keep money in motion and not become stagnant pools of personal wealth. PROUT’s banks are non-profit cooperative organizations where ideally the balance is zero after all expenses are met.
The Financial Standard
The last vestiges of the gold standard were thrown out by the Nixon administration some 50 years ago, and the gold standard has been ridiculed ever since. One reason for this is that pinning currencies to gold (“gold standard”) does not allow for free speculation.
Today, as the global speculative system is about to end in catastrophe, the importance of gold may be staged to make a return. The price of gold usually rise phenomenally during times of economic upheaval and financial crisis. This proves that people in general accept gold as a basic guarantee for financial stability.
According to PROUT, a main work of the central bank would be to guarantee the currency in measures of physical gold held by that bank. Central banks must be ready to pay citizens the amount of gold represented by the currency. This is a proper hedge against large-scale inflation.
PROUT’s banking system presents a rational human approach to supplying money wherever and whenever it is needed and required. The mission of PROUT as a whole is to pave the way for a society where people can express their true self. Only a socio-economic system that allows and supports people’s all-round needs, interests and dreams can be termed as truly progressive.
(1) “Keep Money Rolling – Excerpt B”, P.R. Sarkar, 1986. Published in PROUT in a Nutshell Volume 3, and in Proutist Economics. Ananda Marga Publications. Web: proutglobe.org/2011/05/quadri-dimensional-economy
(2) “Economic Dynamics”, P.R. Sarkar. Published in A Few Problems Solved Part 9, in PROUT in a Nutshell Part 13, and in Proutist Economics. Ananda Marga Publications. Web: proutglobe.org/2011/05/economic-dynamics
(3) “Trade for Regional Self-Reliance”, Dr. Michael Towsey. Web: proutglobe.org/2011/09/trade-for-regional-self-reliance
“Cooperative Production – Excerpt B”, P.R. Sarkar. Published in PROUT in a Nutshell Part 14 and in Proutist Economics.
(4) “Some Specialities of PROUT’s Economic System”, P.R. Sarkar. Published in A Few Problems Solved Part 9, PROUT in a Nutshell Volume 3, and in Proutist Economics. Ananda Marga Publications. Web: proutglobe.org/2011/06/some-specialities-of-prouts-economic-system
(5) “Economic Dynamics”, op.cit.
Copyright The author 2012