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The Ikon

No to Vollgeld, Yes to Ikon!

How to reform the production of money

There was a basic flaw in the Vollgeld “sovereign money” proposal rejected by the Swiss in a referendum last Sunday. An arrangement that gives the state or its agencies exclusive power to create money,  oversee bank accounts and direct lending to the economy  is hostile to capitalism. It cannot produce the assurance needed to allow the…
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The Ikon: the best world money

Reliance on central banks does not offer a way out of the debt, money and low-growth traps.

States cannot create good money. They are interested parties. A good monetary system should discipline states – i.e. hold them to account. A state-run money cannot do that. That is the flaw in proposals such as those made by Positive Money and The International Movement for Monetary Reform. (Let me add, however, that I go…
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The Money Trap revisited

What is the money trap? How can we get out of it? Let me try to reformulate the thesis of my book in the light of recent developments. Since the 1970s we have been in a period of transition to a new paradigm of monetary policy. Governments have tried various approaches to the challenges of…
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Mistreating money

  Money is a social construct that enables price comparisons, calculations of profits and loss, budgeting and financial planning from individual to enterprise to national and international  levels. Its primary function is as a unit of account, and a given monetary unit has greatest benefit when used by the largest possible number of people and…
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Status quo or needed reforms?

Interests barring change Powerful interests benefit from the existence of the money trap. These interests include the state and the monied elite. They benefit, at least in the short to medium term, from official manipulation of money under the present (IT plus CBI)  regime – the state from cheap finance, the monied elite from the…
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Stop activist monetary policies now

Central banks should focus on banking not money

  Central banks confront the kind of scenario outlined in The Money Trap. In the book, I anticipated a world of generalised deflation, with zero nominal rates on risk-free assets.  At the time of publication, in 2012, this seemed unlikely, to say the least. But it is materialising. The challenge now is to seize the…
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Recycling the rewards of equity finance

How vested interests bar financial reform

There is an urgent need to reintegrate society with its productive side through broadening share ownership. This is the theme  of a new book,  “Debtonator”. (Elliott and Thompson, £9.99), by Andrew McNally, an experienced institutional investor. In a lively account, McNally shows how equity finance benefits society, companies and individuals. Equity should form the basis…
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What would be the ideal money?

German newspaper discusses the concept behind the Ikon

To prevent a new eruption of the financial volcano we need deep monetary reform – much more radical change than anything discussed by governments or economists as yet. So any signs of such an interest are encouraging. On July 8 and 14 of this year, Gerald Braunberger, economics editor of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung,  wrote two articles…
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‘The Money Trap’ now

Three years after publication, it is time for a new look at the arguments put forward in the book.

The book argued that the crisis was the joint product of  inflation targeting, irresponsible banking and a weak international monetary system. The book tried to show how these were inter-related: First, inflation targeting, which had been a valuable tool in combatting 1970s inflation, had by the 2000s outlived its usefulness as a guide and discipline for…
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Why real investment is so sluggish

Business leaders and entrepeneurs fear another crash

  Low real interest rates would normally be expected to stimulate capital investment by lowering the cost of finance for companies – large and small. Yet real investment remains sluggish in nearly all developed economies. Some blame austerity measures taken to control fiscal deficits. Others blame the rise in precautionary savings by the private sector…
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