Business, National, Opinion

Road To Economic Salvation

The monopolies of the Fractional Reserve Banking and Margin Trading revolve around interest which are contrary to the philanthropic objectives intended for beating the extremities of poverty and the creation of dignified channels of financial support for the down trodden with a view to achieve the lofty goal of egalitarian society in sustainable manner. The nostrum of Aristotle reprimanded acquisition of wealth by the practice of charging interest on the principle that it is a yield arising out of money itself, not a product of that for which money was provided.

The father of modern economics, John Maynard Keynes contended that without the abolition of interest, unemployment cannot be eradicated. Silvio Gesell castigated interest on the basis that his sales were more often related to the price of money (i-e interest) than people’s needs or the quality of his products. Gesell also launched “Stamp Script Movement” to make money a public service for a use fee but all his efforts went in vain.

In 1919, Gottfried Feder wrote a book “Breaking the Shackles of Interest (Brechung der Zinsknechtschaft)” about the implications of interest and wealthy bankers. The travails of his endeavor led Adolf Hitler to proclaim that the kernel of National Socialism is breaking the thralldom of interest. Margrit Kennedy also authored several writings about negative consequences of interest.

Thomas Greco in his book “Money: Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender” on page 36 says, “The banks are continually making new loans and retiring old ones as they are repaid. In the aggregate, the debts owed to banks are increasing with the mere passage of time, because interest accrues over time. The money available to repay those debts, however, can be created only by the banks as they make additional loans. The net requirement, then, is that banks must make new loans faster than they retire old loans, that is, there must be a continual expansion of bank credit money. If there is not, the result is depression—increasing numbers of defaulted loans, greater numbers of bankruptcies, expanding unemployment—and all the human misery that comes with it.”

The major religions of the world deplore, condemn and prohibit interest in all its forms. The Manu Smriti of Hinduism categorically express sentiments for contempt of usury in chapter 11: verse 62. The Buddhist Jatakas refers to the practitioners of interest as hypocritical ascetics. The Holy Bible speaks about the proscription of interest in the books of Deuteronomy 23: 19, Leviticus 25: 36, Exodus 22: 25, Ezekiel 18: 13, Ezekiel 22: 12 and Psalms 15: 5. The forbidding of interest in Holy Koran is mentioned in the Chapter of The Romans: verse 39, Chapter of The Family of Imran: verse 130, Chapter of The Women: verse 161 and Chapter of The Heifer: verses 275-281. The prohibition of interest is also mentioned in the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him). The Prophet (PBUH) said, “No matter how much is the increment accrued through interest, the eventual outcome is scarcity.”

The Fractional Reserve Banking (FRB) became a legalized form of economic sacerdotalism at national and international level after the establishment of Bank of England and the foundation of International Financial Institutions (IFIs). The era of this banking has affected the countries and humanity in form of interest payments on debts, business cycles, buying power, global imbalance of payments, increased taxation and positively skewed distribution of wealth. Pakistan allocated Rs 1360 billion for debt service in fiscal year 2016-17 which would represent 37.56 percent of FBR’s tax revenue. In Germany, the poor 80% pay one billion Euros in interest to the wealthy 10% per day that amounts to one seventh of German GDP.

Economists must ferret out an alternative for Fractional Reserve Banking and a system of interest free credit. The Chicago Plan and Chicago Plan Revisited are the masterpieces for abolition of fractional reserve banking and imposition of Full Reserve Banking. The other variants of Full Reserve Banking include Kay’s Narrow Banking, Kotlikoff’s Limited Purpose Banking, Positive Money and New Economics Foundation’s plans for monetary reform. The substitutes also comprise Islamic Banking, Mutual Credit and Constitutional Monetary System of Lincoln. The best example of interest-free Full Reserve Banking is Jord Arbete Kapital (JAK) bank in Sweden while in the arena of Islamic finance, Akhuwat Model of interest free loans in Pakistan is considered to be more pragmatic than JAK model.

Lastly, the legislators and leaders of various nations should initiate interest write off movement for their respective countries domestically and internationally because it is the interest or debt service which is feasting on the flesh and bones of developing world especially those nations that are dependent on others and in which corruption and embezzlement are rampant. Therefore, it is imperative to the parliamentarians to promulgate the acts for complete abolition of debt service and margin trading. As far as the recovery of loans from governments is concerned, it can be dwarfed by galvanizing the debt-equity swap method. Hence, it is concluded that the economic salvation depends on the total elimination of fractional reserve banking and interest based margin trading.

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