Money is created for the common good

Isn’t it?

The New Economics Foundation has brought out a report ‘Framing the Economy’, which I confess I have downloaded but not yet fully read. I’m sure it is important, but what I’ve seen so far seems to be reflecting what people currently think and how their thinking can be ‘turned’ towards a correct understanding of the economy. Much, I fear, like current Labour policy.

If we were to  take a more radical view we could be denying completely that:
“The state has no source of money, other than the money people earn themselves. If the state wishes to spend more it can only do so by borrowing your savings, or by taxing you more. And it’s no good thinking that someone else will pay. That someone else is you.”


“There is no such thing as public money. There is only taxpayers’ money.”

Both from Mrs Thatcher.

More recently Cameron, who had drunk from his mentor’s well, repeated:

“We know that there is no such thing as public money – there is only taxpayers’ money”

These weasel words lead most to the idea that access to common and social goods and benefits – the essentials of our society – such as social care or dentistry (still not free in the UK), housing and education all need to have debt – potential or actual – wrapped around them. The implication is that they are things that have great value – they do – consequently they have to be PAID FOR.

This is really psychological warfare. Money is merely a human construct – nothing at all has to be paid for if we don’t want it to be.

The most important things that have value – love, kindness or care for example, have no monetary value. No payment is ever required (even if sometimes it may be offered).

So the things that have most value in life do not have to be paid for. If we want things that have most value to be supreme in society it follows that the most important things in our society have no monetary value at all.

We are in the world simply limited by the available resources. Money is just a human construct – just like the lovely Walthamstow bank is printing. The human construct of money, when allowed to impinge beyond its basic functional purpose, changes the narrative. We then become haves and have-nots and are usually morally judged on that basis. So people in debt become obviously irresponsible. In fact their main irresponsibility has been to inherit little or nothing, and their subsequent irresponsibility has been to work somewhere where they are not well paid.

We need to turn around the narrative to one where where moral judgement is indeed important, but towards the creditor class not debtors. Money for nothing is always fun, but not when you are on the paying end of interest on that same money. The people with the money are able to say to those who don’t have it that they should be ashamed. If work is really the way out of debt fingers should be pointed at creditors when they lend to people in work, not debtors.

“We know that there is no such thing as public money – there is only taxpayers’ money”

Perhaps we should be saying instead “There is only public money, we would not be able to pay our taxes without it.”

And “There is only public money, there is no taxpayers money because money is created by the public.”

And money is created for the common good.

That is really ‘Framing the Economy’.


  1. Sean Danaher -

    It looks like vocabulary and mind games, standard neoliberal brainwashing. I think we need to keep plugging away on this, but it seems an uphill struggle at times.

  2. Peter May -

    I think you’re right. But I’d like to think NEF thought that too. I feel they’ve been rather too accepting. Unless we are all really radical and tell it exactly as it is with the idea that money is for everyone, that we invented it so it will play to our tune, then we are likely to be overly influenced by those who want to obscure its origins and keep it for themselves…

Comments are closed.