For some good new people to follow, try Ann Pettifor from UK and the Renegade Economist.

Last Saturday Radio NZ interviewed an English guy called Ross Ashcroft, who calls himself the Renegade Economist. Like all good campaigners he interviews people and puts the interview up on Kim Hill’s interview with him is at Ross has produced a film called The Four Horsemen, which is part of The Documentary Edge Festival. Welington shows are at the Reading as follows:

Monday 21 May 8.45pm, Sunday 27 May 4.45pm and Thursday 312 May at 8.45pm. I gather it is also on in Auckland.

Tonight I have just watched Ross Ashcroft interview Ann Pettifor, whose name had been cropping up recently in various tweets. Half an hour interview with this bright woman economist, who has been a Fellow of the New Economics Foundation of UK for three years. She led a huge campaign, successfully winning the relief of $$350 billion worth of debt for Third World Countries in Jubilee 2000. There were 60 countries involved. Back in UK she noticed her friends getting huge mortgages when they were not exactly in secure jobs and she wrote a book called The Coming First World Debt Crisis in 2003. She said people thought she was a loony and she sold only a few copies.

The growing debt really began to blow out in 1971 after Nixon delinked from the gold standard and the UK deregulated credit. She talks of an article she is reading by Ben Broadbent, who is on the Board of the Bank of England but came out of Goldmann Sachs. She said the paper is deceptive yet packed with data. But she was convinced it was written in Goldmann Sachs office because it argues the Global financial crisis was due to low interest rates. Broadbent is defending the right of banks to be deregulated. He has huge political and economic power.   Why should banks get a return on an effortless activity, by entering numbers into ledgers or by engaging in speculative activities?

Ann Pettifor has just returned from an INET conference in Berlin financed by George Soros, where Steve Keen and Michael Hudson participated. (Initiative for New Economic Thinking). She concludes by saying she thinks people should be politically involved.

Roosevelt stood up to the banks in the 1930s and it takes leadership to do it. We need the leaders. We need capital controls to control borrowing across borders. Banks go looking to find they can borrow at 3% from China but 4% at home. Roosevelt brought in capital controls. Secondly we need to stop banks lending for speculation.  She says politicians have been taken in by bribes from banks. We must hold our politicians to account. Once the public understands, there is no stopping them. If people understand that banks create money out of thin air and charge exorbitant rent on it, then it snowballs. One in five voted for Fascist party in the French elections, very worrying, similar to Germany in the1930s. People are desperate and can’t articulate it.

Europeans should consult permaculturists not bankers

Every educated and concerned individual on the planet appears to be puzzling over the web of debt problem in Europe.  Many instinctively know that because of our interconectedness the austerity package in Greece and the riots in Rome will be coming to a city near them soon unless this dilemma is solved. The grotesque web of debt graphic published on the BBC News website at is authoritative and clear. It shows that Greece owes to France, US, UK, Germany, Portugal and Italy and does this for each country.

We first need to understand that bailout packages aren’t bailouts really  – they are just further loans. But anyone will know you can’t solve debt with more debt.  Sooner or later the crisis is going to come back and each round it gets worse. And it is rather like the poor having to borrow from loan sharks to pay their interest on their complicated hire-purchase obligations – the further they get into debt the more interest they pay.

How come so many owe so much to so many? Companies, governments and individuals have been borrowing across borders for years. Why couldn’t they rely on their own country instead?  Are there no boundaries between countries any more? Is capital to roam free across the globe in search of the best returns? Oh yes, in the current system it is. Borders mean little these days when it comes to capital flow.

So what to do? Put bankers and economists in to run Italy and Greece?

Einstein said you won’t solve the problem with the same thinking that created it. I have just read an article by a permaculture teacher on energy flows between living organisms. Instead of inviting bankers to their conference to solve the Eurozone debt dilemma, European leaders should have invited permaculturists. They would have learnt that all living systems have semi-permeable borders to control the material and energy flowing in and out. If too much energy (money) flows in the system expands and implodes. If too much energy flows out the system winds down and collapses. This is the principle of reciprocity.

There are other principles but the only one I will touch on here is the idea of holarchies. This, in contrast to hierarchies, means that in Nature there are wholes within wholes within wholes. Each whole-part has its integrity and each is constantly in negotiation with other whole-parts in a dynamic dance to maintain system balance. You can read more about holarchies at  and about the principles of living systems  at

We will put aside the issue of the gigantic derivatives market for the moment.  Suffice to say Merkel and Sarkosy in their proposal for a financial transaction tax are on the right path.

Now if we apply the holarchical organisational structure to currencies, we need currencies for small areas, currencies for larger areas and currencies for the whole globe. In an ideal system (and private corporations are still I am afraid still in charge of the issuing and controlling a country’s money supply), to ensure there is always the right amount of money the public body issuing each currency will be in a constant state of negotiation with the others. It brings complexity and resilience to a system.

So all this talk of “leaving the Euro” or “joining the Euro” might have to be replaced by other thinking. If we were to imitate Nature we would have a holarchical system. We would have currencies within currencies within currencies. So the Euro would co-exist with the drachma and the mark and the franc. Now, that will take some thinking out, but it is Nature’s model and we are part of Nature aren’t we?

There are many other critical questions like the ridiculous and unfair system where the global currency is effectively still the US dollar and the as yet unquestioned usurious money creation system that allowed all this compounding interest to take place. But let’s leave that for another time.  Just get in the permaculturists!