The Steady State Economy Conference

Workshop 4: Money and the Financial System

Question: What sort of money system would a steady state economy require?

Why: In the UK most of the money in circulation is created by private banks in the form of interest-bearing loans, a system known as fractional reserve banking. This debt-based money system is one of the main drivers of economic growth, inflation, and instability within the economic system (i.e. booms and busts). If the size of the economy is to be stabilised, then the money supply must be as well.

How: Some approaches that have been proposed to provide a stable money supply include: the gradual elimination of fractional reserve banking (to be replaced with a system relying on a stable supply of government-created interest free money), the use of local currencies, and linking the money supply to a physical resource such as energy or carbon.

Molly Scott Cato    Molly Scott Cato (Speaker)

Molly Scott Cato is a Reader in Green Economics at Cardiff School of Management and Director of Cardiff Institute for Co-operative Studies. In 2006 she published Market, Schmarket: Building the Post-Capitalist Economy, and her latest book Green Economics: An Introduction to Theory, Policy and Practice was published by Earthscan in 2009. She has also written widely on themes concerned with mutualism, social enterprise, policy responses to climate change, banking and finance, and local economies. Molly is an active member of the Green Party, standing for election at all levels and currently speaking for the Party on economic issues. She is a Director of Transition Stroud and co-ordinates its Lifestyles and Livelihoods working group, with whom she launched a local currency in Stroud in 2009. She is also on the core group of Stroud Community Agriculture and is a Director of Stroud Common Wealth.

Mary Mellor    Mary Mellor (Speaker)

Mary Mellor is Emeritus Professor in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Northumbria University in Newcastle. She has published extensively on money and finance, financial exclusion, co-operation, sustainable cities, ecofeminism and socialist economics. Her most recent books are The Future of Money: From Financial Crisis to Public Resource (Pluto 2010), The Politics of Money: Towards Sustainability And Economic Democracy (Pluto 2002) and Feminism and Ecology (Polity 1997). Her proposal for a steady state economy rests on breaking down the barriers between the money and non-money economy and the democratisation of the money system.

Josh Ryan-Collins    Josh Ryan-Collins (Chair)

Josh Ryan-Collins is a Senior Researcher at nef (the new economics foundation), a leading UK think tank campaigning for ecological sustainability, social justice and well-being. Josh is developing a program of work on monetary reform, incorporating complementary currencies, sustainable finance and alternative approaches to credit creation. He recently authored The New Wealth of Time, a major review of timebanking in the UK and United States and was co-author of The Great Transition, nef’s comprehensive blueprint for building an economy based on stability, sustainability and equality. Josh is also a Founder and Director of the Brixton Pound (B£), the UK’s first urban local currency based in inner-city south London.

Pete North    Pete North (Rapporteur)

Pete North gained his BA in History and Politics in 1984. After a few years working for the Departments of Employment, Trade and Industry, and Environment, he gained his MA in Peace Studies from the University of Bradford (1993) and his PhD from the School for Advanced Urban Studies at the University of Bristol (1997). He was a post-doctoral Research Associate on a project on Local Business Representation in Local Economic Development at the University of Sheffield (1996-7). Between 1997 and 2002 he was Senior Research Fellow at the Local Economy Policy Unit at South Bank University. He joined the University of Liverpool in 2002. His research focus is on alternatives to neoliberal globalisation, from a political economy perspective.

Download the Proposal