16 November, 2010
Ian Harris, Managing Director of Z/Yen Group Limited, today at 18:00 will deliver a special Gresham College lecture at the Museum of London, the climax of the Gresham series “Beyond Crisis”.
The lecture, “Changing Money: Communities, Longer Term Finance and You” includes some biting comments on the modern system of money and responses to the recent financial crisis.
On quantitative easing, for example, Ian will say: “So how much does a dose of QE actually add to the money system? It depends on how much lending and therefore additional fractional reserve money results from the central bank injection – i.e. no-one knows. You have to try it and find out. But one thing you very rarely hear about is a dose quantitative Imodium or quantitative constipation if matters get out of hand”.
The lecture covers several complementary systems, such as time banks and local exchange trading systems, while recognising that penetration of such community systems is (and probably will continue to be) low. Ian holds out more hope for empowering technologies such as electronic money transacted through mobile phones and peer-to-peer borrowing/lending. He also applauds reciprocal trade initiatives such as IRTA and Recipco, which, Ian will say, “could really change the monetary world” while also stating that, “these ideas are still work in progress.”
Ian will conclude by suggesting that: “nation states will need to think hard about their roles in the future, both as issuers of money and their related role of tax collector,” and that, “society needs to address the trust deficit; the public’s trust in banks' and governments' stewardship of our money system has been severely dented.”
Z/Yen helps organisations make better choices - our clients consider us a commercial think-tank that spots, solves and acts. Our name combines Zen and Yen - “a philosophical desire to succeed” - in a ratio, recognising that all decisions are trade-offs. In 2007 Z/Yen and a group of interested and motivated individuals launched the Long Finance initiative. The aim is to promote discussion, research and education about finance and starts with the question: "When would we know our financial system is working?"