THE Global Justice Movement Website

THE Global Justice Movement Website
This is the "Global Justice Movement" (dot org) we refer to in the title of this blog.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Democratize the Fed, Part II, William Greider's Response: "Terrific"

On Tuesday of this week I posted a relatively short commentary on Federal Reserve Chairman Benjamin Bernanke's proposal to impose regulatory reform on the nation's commercial banks, using the power of the Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States, to carry out the reform. Our recommendation, as you can see in the posting, was to start with the Federal Reserve itself, and stop circumventing the spirit and clear intent of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

As has become my habit, I sent out links to the posting to the Kelso Binary Economics Discussion Group, some members of which forward the link to their networks, and their networks to their networks, and so on, just as we encourage them to do. To lure people into reading the posting, I added a short introductory blurb to the e-mail:
Some years ago William Greider wrote a best-selling book, Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country. It might have been better to subtitle the book, "How a Small Group of Politicians and Wall Street Brokers Run the Federal Reserve." Mr. Bernanke's call for "regulatory reform" of the financial system is more than a little shy of addressing this particular aspect of our current problems. It doesn't need to be that way, of course. There are a number of things that could be done from the perspective of the Just Third Way to refound our financial, economic, and, yes, political system on justice, rather than on the advantage of special interest groups. Today's posting addresses this concern.
Norman Kurland, whose many valuable suggestions have resulted in some of our more thought-provoking postings, happens to be acquainted with Mr. Greider, which (to tell the truth) I did not recall while struggling to write something that would inspire people to click on the link. I referenced Mr. Greider only because I am familiar with his book, and the subtitle gave me a good segue into my posting. I did not know until yesterday morning that Norman Kurland forwarded the link to Mr. Greider, with the note, "Bill, I think you'll like this and the blog article. Warm regards, Norm." You can therefore imagine my surprise when I opened my e-mail yesterday and found a cc. from Mr. Greider in my inbox that (to save myself the trouble of composing a posting for today) I will quote in full:
Dear Norm — Thanks for forwarding Michael Greaney's blog — it's terrific. We need to establish (or revive) our dialogue on this subject because it is now ripening quickly. Events have swiftly educated the general public (if not the political establishment) on the deformed nature of the governing system. That is an opportunity for unsanctioned ideas that have long been ignored or suppressed. We should plunge into the vacuum and clear away confusion.

I will send you tomorrow my new piece in the Nation that goes right at the Fed and describes its failure as a central source of this catastrophe. Next I intend a similar piece that addresses how to democratize the central bank (or start over with a clean slate). Kelso provides a highly relevant solution. There are other approaches, as you know, and my views are more eclectic than yours. But let's collaborate on waking up folks to the larger possibilities of this historic moment.

For starters, can you send me a refresher on the original Kelso proposal and how exactly "pure credit" can be used to democratize ownership? I am reminded that it was Kelso who ignited my initial interest in the Federal Reserve in the late 1970s which led me to decide a few years later to do a book on the Fed after I left the Washington Post. Do you remember? You brought Kelso around to the Post and he tried valiantly to educate me. I was clueless and only grasped fragments of what he explained. I recall one or two subsequent sessions with Kelso but of course you were personally pounding on my brain continuously in those days. It's not over, Norm. You are still teaching and I am still trying to understand.

Warm regards, Bill Greider
This could be the (re)starting of serious dialogue on the role of the central bank and of money, credit, and banking in our society.