People’s Quantitive Easing 303


The media is astonishing today in its barrage against Jeremy Corbyn. Presenters repeatedly state that to oppose nuclear weapons and foreign wars is “weak”, as though that were undeniable. Spending quantitive easing on public infrastructure is “inflationary” and “irresponsible” – and these are the presenters not the guests. Why simply handing quantitive easing money to the bankers is not inflationary or irresponsible is not explained.

I would claim to have got there on “people’s quantitive easing” before hearing that phrase. 42 months ago I published

It is beyond doubt true that the effect of creation of new money is to reduce the value of currency already in circulation. The effects will show through in inflation and the exchange rate. Of course, those will continue to be affected by other factors as well, which is why there are better and worse times to do it. But in effect Q.E. is still a transfer of wealth from those who hold any of the currency to those given the new stuff. In other words, more cash from you to the bankers.

Actually if QE had been used genuinely to stimulate the economy it would have been a marvellous thing. With £350 billion we could have built an enormous amount of social housing on brownfield sites, converted derelict high streets into housing, built the Severn barrage and a high speed rail link from London to Aberdeen and still have had change. We could have reopened the steel industry to do it. a thousand manufacturing firms could have been re-tooled. Millions could have been employed. The entire logic of economic depression could have been turned around.

Instead we gave more cash to the bankers.

Progressive opinion catches up with me eventually. In another decade or more likely two, mainstream journalists might catch up as well.


303 thoughts on “People’s Quantitive Easing

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  • Resident Dissident

    “Oh dear RD demands…,he has not been informed of Corbyns plans… pathetic.”

    I suspect that I am rather better informed on Corbyn’s plans and the lack of detail within than you are – otherwise you would have been able to at least try and answer the question raised.

    “Who? – How about a peoples’ commission?”

    Well at least it is an answer – and who is on the peoples commission? And when they have decided on the general areas of investment by a yet as undefined process – how are the micro decisions made as to what particular investments should be undertaken.

    “How would you stimulate the economy through quantitative easing?”

    I am not sure that I would at the moment while the economy is growing – I would just ease off the pace at which the deficit is to be cut. The country needs a proper investment and development strategy (and this will not just fall from a tree) which then need to be supported through both private (and this can be pushed in certain directions by guarantees and capital weighting) and state backed finance. If those here had any understanding of economics they would know that the economy as a whole needs a lot more than £350bn of investment proposed through QE just to stand still.

    I’m afraid the history of politically motivated investment in this country and elsewhere leads rather a lot to be desired – and it is difficult to take seriously people who seem intent on repeating all the old mistakes. Whether public investment is funded by debt or printing money really is a secondary issue here – in either case you have to offer a return on the public’s investment if you have any respect for the public at all.

  • Bob Smith

    Never mind, the wash barrier is an interesting idea but the website you link to does not give realistic answers to the effect it would have on the existing ports of Wisbech, Boston and Kings Lynn. There are no real coatings shown and having lived in the Fens for many years I can say that whilst we need answers to rising seas, this barrier is not the answer. I am totally against nuclear energy and tidal energy is a clear way forward but the Wash Barrier is a non starter. The new infrastructure needed would make HS2 look like a cheap project and the effect on wildlife habitat, local jobs and the lack of short term investment return has simply not been thought through. It has the appeal of Boris Island with a similar lack of thought and costing.

  • Resident Dissident

    “Peoples’ quantitative easing would work by printing money and spending it on things which would increase the value of the country’s assets, which doesn’t cause inflation. Printing money and spending it on the every day running of the country does. It’s the difference between someone borrowing money to buy a house and someone borrowing money to go on holiday.”

    Exactly – it is the people’s money and it should be spent in a manner which gives them a return on their investment – Concorde and British Leyland didn’t.

  • Resident Dissident

    “This thread is well trolled.”

    Either join in the discussion and try and contribute to what is an important issue – or just shut up.

  • Mary

    Does the bully boys’ Bullingdon Club still exist?

    ‘The Club’s colours are sky blue and ivory. Members dress for their annual Club dinner in specially made traditional tailcoats in dark navy blue, with a matching velvet collar, offset with ivory silk lapel revers, brass monogrammed buttons, a mustard waistcoat, and a sky blue bow tie. There is also a Club tie, which is sky blue striped with ivory. These are all provided by the Oxford branch of court tailors Ede and Ravenscroft. In 2007 the full uniform cost around £3,500.’

    Interesting how this threesome ALL achieved positions of power.

    ‘The club has attracted controversy, not least because recently some former members occupy high political posts, most notably the current British Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Mayor of London Boris Johnson.’

    Interesting list of past members.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullingdon_Club

  • Pan

    RD –

    ““Who? – How about a peoples’ commission?”

    “Well at least it is an answer – and who is on the peoples commission? And when they have decided on the general areas of investment by a yet as undefined process – how are the micro decisions made as to what particular investments should be undertaken.”

    Food for thought, eh?

    “Whether public investment is funded by debt or printing money really is a secondary issue here – in either case you have to offer a return on the public’s investment if you have any respect for the public at all.”

    The government’s “investment” in corrupt speculative banksters is a perfect illustration of the respect they have for the public.

  • Robert Crawford

    A high speed rail link from London to Aberdeen?

    To get the refugees out of England and into the empty Highlands of Scotland just like they did with sheep!

  • Pan

    RD – ““This thread is well trolled.”

    “Either join in the discussion and try and contribute to what is an important issue – or just shut up.”

    I think Mary’s observation is relevant. The importance and meaning of that observation should be obvious.

  • nevermind

    How quantitative easing works is that the government prints money and spends it on something with value, at a later date the thing of value can be sold and the money un-printed thus balancing the books. If the government spends the money on things like wages and it goes into circulation then it will just lower the value of the money already in circulation and the worker’s wages will be worth less.

    Thats Fredonomics, QE money disappeared into tax havens, as collateral to secure future banking crisis, stale money that will do nothing until the banks feel the unsustainability of their financial gambling again, soonish I would say.

  • MJ

    “Peoples’ quantitative easing would work by printing money and spending it on things which would increase the value of the country’s assets, which doesn’t cause inflation. Printing money and spending it on the every day running of the country does”

    It is the amount of new money being put into circulation that determines how inflationary it is, not what it is spent on. Money spent on infrastructure enters circulation in the form of wages, salaries and profits, which is where that money actually goes. It’s no different in that regard from any other current account spending.

    Money created by the Treasury is no more inflationary than “borrowed” money because “borrowed” money is created out of thin air just the same. The only difference is that “borrowed” money becomes “debt” and carries with it unnecessary interest payments.

    Avoiding the interest by cutting out the middle man and creating your own new money when it’s needed is of course prudent economics but the banks don’t like it for some reason.

  • Vronsky

    It is said in science that the test of understanding is the ability to predict. Anyone brave enough to do a bit of science, and say what will become of Corbyn? Not me – before you ask.

  • Ishmael

    Guess this is a slight difference between me and Jon Snow. He smiles and says he sees democracy in this,,,whatever you want to call it, Ritual, Habbit ?

    When they are giving out free money I may feel the same.

    Dunno if some old tickers could take it.

  • Pan

    “It is said in science that the test of understanding is the ability to predict.”

    Sounds like pseudo-science to me.

    I would say the test of understanding is the ability to define or explain something in plain and coherent language. Nothing to do with clairvoyance.

  • Robert Crawford

    Ishmael.

    I have always been a loud mouth!

    Don’t you just love it when someone is open and honest?

    I like your take on “freedom and imagination”.

    It has to be “thought” first, before it can become a reality.

    We see the reality. Those who control us are kind of like “the baboon can not see it has a bear arse”. I think I am going to adopt that expression, I just love it. Thanks to RFOL, I think posted. It made me laugh because it is so apt. Well done.

  • Pan

    Mary
    13 Sep, 2015 – 2:36 pm

    O/T maybe, but whenever the name Robert Peston comes up, I recall how childlike he appeared when he ‘interviewed’ Noam Chomsky.

  • fred

    “Thats Fredonomics, QE money disappeared into tax havens, as collateral to secure future banking crisis, stale money that will do nothing until the banks feel the unsustainability of their financial gambling again, soonish I would say.”

    The Bank of England printed the money, the government borrowed the money, the government spent the money on shares in the banks. When the banking crisis is over the government sells the shares in the banks, the government repays the loan from the Bank of England, the Bank of England un-prints the money. Apart from discrepancies between purchase price and sale price the books balance.

    No actual printing actually takes place these days it’s all done on computers.

  • Resident Dissident

    “The loaded question is the title.

    Would Corbyn’s ‘QE for people’ float or sink Britain? ”

    There is only one line that is loaded here and it isn’t the question.

  • Pan

    Fred
    13 Sep, 2015 – 2:45 pm

    “Apart from discrepancies between purchase price and sale price”

    Therein lies the rub.

  • Republicofscotland

    QE is just another term for handing monies to the casino bankers, who inturn in theory anyway are mean’t to loan it out, but they don’t they use it for their own benefit.

    The monies as you indicate should be given to cities or as loans to small businesses directly which inturn could start building projects, which would create jobs..etc.

    Instead those greedy b*stards at Westminster line their banker friends pockets with it, under the guise of QE, the system is broken.

  • fred

    “It is said in science that the test of understanding is the ability to predict. Anyone brave enough to do a bit of science, and say what will become of Corbyn? Not me – before you ask.”

    I’m sure he will make a very good leader of the Labour Party but I think all the hysteria in both camps is just that. I don’t think there will be revolution or catastrophe.

  • nevermind

    Congratulations Bob, you are the first to really have a look at this marvelous project and comment on it. I was at the first public meeting in Cambridge , now some years back. The greatest opposition on the day came from the RSPB and FoE, with no consideration for humans. the fens or farming whatsoever, it was a pretty bland anti movement.

    There is a lock system proposed for the 150 ship movements per annum, these are decreasing due to modern transportation of goods.
    The project will not be liable to the same profiteering that underlines the nuclear and or HS2 projects. Traffic movements of materials will be kept to a minimum due to the use of newly developed Dutch methods of using existing sand that is pumped into geo textiles, maybe you did not read that bit.

    If you have lived in the Fens you know what it means to get inundated with water, it happened before and the land is vulnerable with increasing chaotic weather patterns.

    The chap who started the corporation now owns a farm near Watton and has lived in the Fens near Ely since he left his previous job.

    I feel that a Wash barrier would happen only whence the land is flooded in a massive storm surge, inundating the land for 5 years max. with not a sod to be grown, sending prices for fresh veg. high within 24 hours, the boy will have to fall into the well, grief has to strike us hard, before we put a lid on it….

  • bevin

    “I’m afraid the history of politically motivated investment in this country and elsewhere leads rather a lot to be desired –..”

    The alternative-investor motivated public policy- doesn’t work well though. Unless, of course, you are one of the tiny minority which benefits from the transformation of self confident and independent people into selfish and frightened individuals ready to endure any abuse, work all day and night, accept any contractual conditions because the alternatives amount to starvation.

    The reality is that working people, despite the sirens of liberal ideology, can only defend themselves against the constant campaign to cut their living standards and reduce them to involuntary service, by collective action. And since the 1970s the ability to take collective actions in their defence has been under constant assault. This assault has been ideological (cue stories of unburied dead, etc) and legislative. But it has also taken the sinister form of state subversion, through informers, agents provocateur, cooperation with criminal elements and sheer brutality up to and including assassinations. In very simple terms the tactics used in the Empire, most recently Northern Ireland and Israel, were accepted, tolerated and are now standard in the UK. Does anyone doubt that there was state involvement in, for example, the Sheridan case? Or that the newsrooms’ complement of Intelligence assets do not actively engage in dirty work? Are not now coordinating their smear and blackmail campaigns against Labour’s new leadership with their bosses, who, ultimately are controlled by Washington.
    Just like Trident, incidentally which is simply a US military system paid for and based in Britain- a form of Danegeld.

  • Pan

    Fred

    “I don’t think there will be revolution or catastrophe.”

    JC becoming PM could be thought of as a revolution (at the very least, in comparison to the glacial-velocity incremental change the Brits have traditionally become accustomed to expect).

    JC NOT becoming PM could be thought of as a catastrophe.

    Under these terms (about which you may, of course, disagree) you can’t have it both ways.

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