Soldiers in the Mongol army of the 9th century weren’t paid in the usual copper coins, but paper currency. It was the start of an economic system in which the value of their money was only as good as the stability of the governing regime. In Paper Promises, Philip Coggan explores the history of money and the financial systems we take for granted. He argues that it’s always been a battleground between debtors and creditors. After the Depression of the 1930s it was the US that set the rules for the financial system, but as its debts increase in the present crisis, Coggan asks what the future holds.Philip Coggan
Paper Promises: Money, Debt and the New World Order is published by Allen Lane.
“The US government has a technology, called a printing press… that allows it to produce as many US dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost… We conclude that under a paper-money system, a determined government can always generate higher spending and hence positive inflation.” So argued Ben Bernanke, before he became Chairman of the US Federal Reserve. But this ability to print money, and for governments to continuously manipulate the market, has led to its downfall, according to the economist Detlev Schlichter. In Paper Money Collapse, he criticises the prevailing view that a growing economy needs a constantly expanding money supply, and argues for a return to a commodity money system, like the gold standard, and a market unfettered by political interference.Paper Money Collapse
Paper Money Collapse: The Folly of Elastic Money and the Coming Monetary Breakdown is published by John Wiley & Sons.
In September 2007 the UK banking sector was thrown into turmoil when the building society Northern Rock went under. It was feared that its failure would trigger a run on the banks, but the Government stepped in and the taxpayer bailed out the bank. Since then, in the media, bashing the bankers – for their greed, bonuses and irresponsibility – has become a national pastime. It’s a view Angela Knight, the Chief Executive of the British Bankers’ Association, argues has to stop. She believes the UK finance sector is becoming the most heavily regulated, and that any solution to the present crisis needs the energy and commitment of the banking industry.Angela Knight - BBA
The Labour peer Lord Glasman points to Germany as a model of a successful working economy, with its worker representation on the management board, work councils, regional banks and vocational regulation. He argues that both the market and government in Britain have become too centralised, and it’s time to change the way the City of London dominates the political landscape. He wants his own party to put working people back at the heart of policies, and be unafraid to talk of both their value and virtue.Lord Glasman
Start The Week sets the cultural agenda for the week ahead, with high-profile guests discussing the...