It is interesting that Italy has its own Moneta Positiva where debt free money seems to be the call to arms.
I generally consider that money is always debt, since all money is a ‘promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of’, which indicates an obligation – and therefore indebtedness. They are clearly influenced by UK Positive Money’s focus, 93% of all (Italian) money, is, we learn, issued as debt by private banks… yet I’m sure what they really would prefer is interest free money!
Their solutions mirror those of Positive Money with private banks no longer able to create money, and created instead by a public body and never for purely financial purposes. So far, so unremarkable, but there is an encouraging blog on the Moneta Positiva site which looks at the eurozone rules and concludes rather neatly, I think, that since the nation’s private banks can issue electronic money quite legally, so too can national banks. That is really interest free!
I think this is the legal framework that surrounds the proposal for Italian Electronic Parallel Money, which the promoters maintain is completely legal under Eurozone rules – indeed, I see Professor Steve Keen has now put his name to the proposal.
The bare bones are:
Our proposal works like this: Electronic Parallel Money (EPM) transactions take place via mobile phone, PC and card. The transactions are logged on a server in the country’s central bank. There are no EPM coins and notes in circulation. The government (and local authorities) have EPM accounts in the central bank. These are debited when the public pays wages and pensions, or purchases goods and services. All citizens and enterprises also receive a user account there.
Basically, they consider that to offer some solution to the Italian budget crisis, (well, it shouldn’t be a crisis, but the European Central Bank and the the European Commission seems to want it to turn into one and is threatening sanctions) a parallel currency must be both electronic, and spent (and taxed back) in a gradually increasing share. They suggest that, as Italy so obviously has an economy that is currently constrained, it should simply be issued on top of Euros spent by the government in a fixed percentage.
I do hope, too, that Greece is listening….