Do you ever remember being a young child, and playing a bartering game? It might have been for stickers, pogs or toy soldiers. Or maybe the stakes were imaginary. In which case the money would be imaginary too. Maybe you’d design a banknote on a piece of paper, with your impression of the Queen, or Rolf Harris, and write a ridiculous figure like one million pounds on it. There might have been a moment where you wished it was just that easy to create wealth.

But, of course, when you grew up a bit, you realised that money has to be credible and have value. So you went through life realising that unless you were lucky enough to have filthy rich parents, money would have to be earned through labour, goods or services. You probably didn’t give much thought to the origins of the money when it was first created. Obviously it was printed at the Bank of England, you knew that. But surely they couldn’t just print as much as they wanted? When you got to secondary school, you realised that the Weimar Republic experimented with that, with disastrous consequences. So there had to be a finite amount of currency, or else hyperinflation would render what little currency each citizen held practically worthless. But wasn’t each coin exchangeable for its weight in gold?

The ‘gold standard’ was abolished worldwide by the early 1970s, replaced by the fiat system. It is important to understand that ‘fiat money’ is essentially as worthless as those paper notes you made when you were a young child. It is currency created from nothing of value besides digits punched into a computer screen. The Bank of England may be the only bank allowed to print currency, but private banks can generate almost as much new imaginary currency as they wish, and the situation gets worse with the Fractional Reserve Banking system.

Imagine again that you, as a young child, are drawing up fake banknotes of huge denominations. You make ten notes ‘worth’ a million pounds each, and your friend approaches you, wishing to borrow your bike for the afternoon. You tell them that you will only let them if they take eight of your banknotes, as a symbol of their borrowing. So to borrow your bike, they are also ‘borrowing’ eight million pounds from your imaginary bank. They agree, and the exchange is made.

When they return the next day with your bike intact, they thank you and hand back your imaginary banknotes. But you politely tell them you can’t accept them. They must be exchanged for sweets. Of course, your friend does not want to have to buy eight bags of sweets, as he does not have the money. That’s okay, you say, they can pay it back one bag a week, only it’s nine bags, not eight, as you have charged one bag for the service of lending them the imaginary notes. They reluctantly agree, but notice you have ten notes once more. You inform them that you created another eight to cover the notes they had borrowed, as technically they were still your notes, should you need them for any other purpose.

As incredible as it sounds, this childish allegory is not far from the truth of how our current fiat money Fractional Reserve System works. A perfectly intended side-effect of this farcical system is that both individuals and governments are perennially in debt to private banks. There will NEVER be enough real funds to pay off the loans with interest! Money that has taken neither effort nor value to create. If you, like me, find this unbelievable, please check out http://www.positivemoney.org for the full facts on this corrupt and self-serving system.

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