Bretton Woods Monetary Institute & Festival
“The aim of the Bretton Woods Conference was the creation of a dynamic world community
in which the peoples of every nation will be able to realize their potentialities in peace.”
Henry Morgenthau, Chairman 1944 Bretton Woods Conference & United States Secretary of the Treasury.
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A New Economic Paradigm
Concordian Economics integrates Theory, Policy & Practice into An Economics of Common Sense. Two iterations follow. One is for “the experts”; the other is for the people, the majority of fellow citizens who are not versed in economic “lore.” We begin with the latter: An Economics of Common Sense.
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~ An Economics of Common Sense ~
“Every man is a consumer, and ought to be a producer. He fails to make his place good in the world, unless he not only pays his debts, but also adds something to the common wealth.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Wealth”
1) Every human being, each one of us is different, unique — not only outwardly, with respect to our countenance or fingerprints, but inwardly. That is, each of us has our own particular gifts, talents, abilities, our own “genius,” To give expression to such abilities, our “genius,” is viewed as our inalienable birthright as Americans. For such a “calling” has brought us into the world. It is why we are alive, what gives meaning to our existence: the unfolding of our full potential as human beings, whose striving is to become ever more humane.
If this first cornerstone is clear, it leads to the second.
2) As such, We the People have not only the right — which, if left at that, i.e. “my right,” we can choose to disclaim — but, more to the point, we have the responsibility to give expression to our unique calling, our gifts, talents, abilities, our “genius,” in service to the greater community: our common wealth. We have the responsibility to give our best to those around us — even if our beginnings are as “rude” as the log cabins from which Abraham Lincoln and Booker T. Washington took their first steps. For, if we withhold our unique piece of the puzzle (be it within our family or community, small or larger), then that piece is missing. The puzzle is incomplete. This responsibility, we suggest, gives our rights their ultimate right and meaning.
If clear, this second cornerstone leads to the third. That is, having established the broader human/humane framework, human/humane measure, human/humane element, the broader human/humane context for what, as noted, has come to be referred to as the increasingly in–human, “dismal science” of economics, we have a foundation for addressing the practice of economics itself — with the healthy, human understanding spoken of in the spirit of an enlightened common sense.
3) In order to assume responsibility, give our best — in a modern economy that has moved, increasingly, beyond subsistence and barter — in order, that is, to be true to, to realize our individual “calling,” We the People require access, reasonable access to money, credit, our common wealth. For, without reasonable access to our national credit, We the People end up merely “going through the motions,” “punching the time clock,” “getting a job” — “good” or otherwise. Our “pursuit of happiness” remains unending. Our lives and labors are relegated to working to fulfill our “boss’” dream, while all too often our own dream becomes a nightmare.
If both this third cornerstone and the two that preceded it make sense, common sense, what more needs to be said about our financial affairs, fortunes, humanity’s fate and future? In human/humane terms, can it be any more simple and straightforward? If money is, as expressed, our common wealth, the “life-blood” of our nation, it must flow unimpeded throughout the entire body-social, “enriching” every cell/individual in the organism/society — as opposed to being pooled in privileged and selective organs/accounts where it becomes, in effect, in its effects, a blood-clot that undermines the health of the system. If these three cornerstones are clear, they lead to the fourth cornerstone, fashioned in the form of a question:
4) How can we best assure that money, our common wealth, the “life-blood” of the nation “enriches” not just the 1% but all people, providing humanity with reasonable access to our common wealth, so that The People, We can assume responsibility for our gifts, talents, abilities, our genius — put it and them at the service of the greater community of which we are a part?
The answer to this question is found in what we refer to as monetary policy, the policies that have been established with respect to the creation, issuance and circulation of money within our economy and society. The further question is: Who determines our monetary policy, controls these “purse-strings”? By control is not meant the day-to-day management of such monetary policy, but the establishment of the policy itself. To be truly meaningful, the establishment of monetary policy begins, we suggest, with the question: Who is this policy meant to serve, first and foremost? And, for such service to actually arise, it leads to the fundamental, underlying consideration: What, indeed, is money itself?
With respect to the question of the control of monetary policy, there are but two possibilities: private or public interests.
I. If our monetary/money policy is controlled by private interests, it has served, and will continue to serve, those very interests, increasingly the 1%, bent upon maximizing their return at the expense, if need be, of humanity at large: the Greater Good. As Oxfam International reported in 2017, this concentration of the wealth in private hands has reached the point where: “The 1% appropriated 82% of all wealth created.”
II. When monetary policy is controlled by truly public interests, such interests serve the greater, common good.
The public control of our common wealth is clearly stipulated in the very first article of the United States Constitution. Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 5 states: “Congress shall have the power to coin money; regulate the value thereof.” For a reason. That reason resounds in the opening lines of the Constitution: WE THE PEOPLE. As Lincoln went on to proclaim, the United States was to be “a government of, by, and for the People,” as opposed to of, by, and for a privileged private elite. With that end in mind, Congress is the closest representative body to the people (as imperfect as it and we are). As the 4th, and critical, check and balance in our “participatory democracy,” We the People put our elected representatives into office; we can usher them out, if/when they cease being public servants, servants of the public.
The Founding Fathers gave Congress, our elected representatives, control of our monetary system for a reason. They realized that money not only makes the world go ’round, but it, the “Almighty Dollar” brings our affairs to a grinding halt. In the words of one of the leading (private) financiers of that day: “Give me the control of the money supply, and I don’t need politicians or armies.” (Both of whom need to be paid.) More simply expressed, “The golden rule in banking is: He who has the gold rules.” Over a century and a half later, President Wilson addressed this fundamental fact of life by noting that freedom, independence, sovereignty itself — “a government of, by, and for the people” — is not possible without that government’s control of its “purse strings.”
“The control of the system of banking and of issue which our new laws are to set up must be public, not private, must be vested in the Government itself, so that the banks may be the instruments, not the masters, of business and of individual enterprise and initiative.”
~ President Wilson, June 23, 1913, address to joint session of Congress.
As citizens, we have been made responsible for our national debts, through the taxes we pay. The further question is: What keeps us, We the People, from assuming responsibility for the other side of the coin, our national credit, “life-blood,” the common wealth of our nations?
This introduction to Concordian Economics began with Emerson’s exhortation to our genius, the “Genius” of We the People. Once again: “Every man is a consumer, and ought to be a producer. He fails to make his place good in the world, unless he not only pays his debts, but also adds something to the common wealth.” This introduction to Concordian Economics concludes with words of Emerson’s fellow Concordian, Henry David Thoreau. The opening chapter of Thoreau’s perennial best-seller, Walden is entitled “Economy”. In it Concord’s native son speaks, in characteristically simple and straightforward words, to what is asked of the People, We, who would inaugurate such an economics of common sense:
“The [true] cost of something is the amount of life that you exchange for it.”
This final question and the words by these two Concordians introduce the presentation for the “experts” on “Concordian Economics: An Integration of Economic Theory, Policy & Practice,” introduced at the accompanying “Resources” page. That presentation is set within the Indispensable Framework for Monetary Reform — life itself, the real “real world.”