Echoes of today in mayhem of 1837

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Reading Mr Sanderson of Oxspring’s comments regarding the banks’ “magic money tree”, (Star Letters, September 18), reminded me of the following article which appears in the “Miscellaneous” column of the Sheffield Mercury And Hallamshire Advertiser, Saturday, February 11, 1837, entitled: THE MONETARY SYSTEM.

This relates that: “Considerable attention has been drawn here to-day to the motion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, – ‘That a select committee be appointed to inquire into the operation of the joint stock banks in England and Ireland, and whether it be expedient to make any alteration in the provisions of that act;’ and the debate upon the question is only another proof that the greater portion of our legislators are perfectly ignorant of our monetary system; that they have never attended with a proper or just acumen to the importance of a sound currency system, than which nothing more is necessary to ensure full employment to the industrious poor. In some cases we admit that the joint stock banks deserve much censure, but, in justice to all, it must be admitted that the late proceedings of the Bank of England equally merit investigation with those of the other joint stock banks throughout the United Kingdom. If something is not done to effect a reformation in the monetary system of this country, we can have but little hope for a stability in the circulating medium, or any certainty of a permanence of remuneration for individual daily labour. “

n City Correspondent of the Herald of Wednesday.

This could have been written about today’s perilous dependence upon stupendously large amounts of imaginary fiat money in the form of debt which is never really going to be repayable –especially during the time scales envisaged by the Government and supporters in the other main parties.

Should we write off most if not all the debts and start again from scratch, maybe returning to something along the lines of the old Gold Standard?

Then again, perhaps it may be more useful to begin with, for people to engage in a debate as to what money really is and why we need it.

Money per se doesn’t exist in the real world. It’s an abstract mental construct generated by the human mind, which when shared becomes part of the social construction of reality.

Why not construct an alternative social reality without the need for money?

Michael Parker

Robertshaw Crescent, Deepcar, Sheffield S36