3 Mar 2013

The start of a Democratic Revolution?

Last week, Beppo Grillo's anti-politics Five-Star Movement won 25% of the vote in the Italian General Election.

Although their refusal to join in coalitions with the existing political parties will certainly make forming a new government difficult, if not impossible, I personally find the result very positive. It means that in every European country, there is a real possibility that the those potential voters who are currently failing to turn out at elections could have a way to express their disatisfaction with the current bunch of politicians.

Next year, it will be the elections to the European Parliament. Imagine what would happen if there was something like Grillo's movement to vote for in every country. There would be a real chance that the established politicians could be in serious trouble.

Now, I'm no anarchist. But when Ben Dyson tried talking to establishment political parties about Positive Money's proposals for monetary reform, he concluded that he was wasting his time - they just don't seem to be capable of listening (see the video of his presentation to the Positive Money Conference a few weeks ago). Could it be that established party politicians have been corrupted by their links to the financial system? Could the same thing be said for economists? In France, a book last year claimed that many of the so-called neutral economists that you hear in the media are aslo being paid directly by the banks. So much for independence. And what about journalists? How can you explain the fact that the Positive Money's recent sell-out conference has not had a single mention in the mainstream press, and that not a single journalist has so far mentioned the book "Modernising Money"?

Maybe I'm paranoid. But, I seriously suspect that if we want to fix the system, it will have to be done via a grass-roots movement for political and economic reform. One of the neat features of Positive Money's proposals is that they are not obviously left-wing or right-wing. Indeed, they argue that while the way newly created central bank money is used is very political, the need to regulated the level of money in the economy and the need to create new money debt free is just good sense. Yes, a left-leaning government will no doubt want to concentrate on using available money creation for increasing spending on social services and the public sector, while a right-leaning government would stress cutting taxes. But that is a separate question from the urgent need to fix the monetary system.

A similar argument applies to my own proposals to replace the current inefficient, costly and notoriously unfair taxation systems by a universal variable flat-rate financial transaction tax. Again, for me, it's not a left-wing or right-wing proposal. It's just good sense (in my humble opinion).

So, what is needed is a democratic revolution in which independent, intelligent people who are not part of the political system, and who do not have a political axe to grind, can be voted in, and put in a position where they can force those changes that are so desperately needed. Maybe Grillo's result in Italy is the first step on that path....

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