11 Oct 2015

Anniversary : 5 years of Simon Thorpe's ideas on the economy

My very first blog entry dates from 5 years ago when I created the "Simon Thorpe's Ideas on the Economy" website. It was Sunday the 10th of October 2010.

I've generated one hell of a lot of stuff in the intervening 5 years. To be exact, there are some 533 posts, which have had over 216,000 visits. You can download a reasonably complete pdf file with my contributions that runs to over 600 pages.

One nice point is that while my ideas have evolved enormously in the last five years, I get the impression that I really haven't said too much that I would reject today. This is actually particularly impressive given that when I first started getting interested (obsessed!) by the economy in the summer of 2010, I hadn't really got a clue. I have really had to learn just about everything myself by reading over one hundred books and countless articles and posts on the web.

I can remember believing that if we are in debt, it must be because someone - the Saudis? or the Chinese? must have lent us money. Little did I know that actually, all money is debt - created by commercial banks.

I'm particularly happy to see that my very first propostion - the proposal that essentially all the existing taxes could be replaced by a simple, universal tax on financial transactions - is still just as viable as ever. The original document dating from October 2010 can still be downloaded from the Hal Archive site here, and there is not much in it that I think was wrong.

Indeed, my current proposals essentially combine that very same mechanism of taxing the $11 quadrillion in financial transactions at some modest level (probably well below 0.1%), and simply reinjecting the same money back into the economy by direct, debt free basic income payments to citizens.  The amount needed to allow the economy to function well will depend on the country. In the Eurozone, a few hundred euros per person per month would already be very effective. But in third world countries like subsaharan Africa, you could probably get an equally robust effect for a fraction of the amount of money - maybe just a few dollars per person per month.

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