Really? That’s what you think? I despair of such mean thoughts

I only joined the SNP on retiring, in 2016. I’d been sympathetic to the idea for most of my adult life but working with young people in education, I felt it was unethical to be party member. There is no way that party membership will not affect your thinking and then your teaching and research.

For all of that time my teaching and research was ‘critical’. That meant taking nothing at face value and insisting on evidence and the constant improvement of the pursuit of evidence.

Now, the brutally exploitative nature of imperialism and capitalism in which we all live meant that what I then did, based on the evidence, would be seen by others in the academic world as somehow ‘leftist.’

It was. A leftist solution to exploitation, poverty and war is the only rational one, based on evidence. I’m not talking about the Soviet Union or Communist China before some mentions them, although both did massively reduce material poverty.

There is no perfect example but the social democracies of Northern Europe are the best so far.

Anyhow, back to this astonishing claim.

Here are some of the reasons why I have been able to answer the independence question long before considering the need for our own currency which, I agree, we should just set-up in the first year or so:

  • No more military interventions
  • No nuclear weapons
  • No poverty or homelessness
  • No hunger
  • Fair taxation
  • Land reform
  • No private education
  • A public health approach to drug abuse
  • Carbon-free energy

There are more of course and then, what was thing? Oh yes, our own currency. We’ll need that. Someone set that up.

14 thoughts on “Really? That’s what you think? I despair of such mean thoughts”

  1. How many countries that have parted company with Westminster had advance detailed plans for currency etc ?
    Does a young person leaving home for the first time say “I will only
    leave provided I am going to be better off or at least,no worse off” ?
    If course not,certainly in most cases where being independent is
    paramount.
    The only reason we apparently need this is because of an overwhelmingly hostile press in our country who will try to do everything to prevent Scots taking their resources beyond London control.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The elections to the SNP’s Policy Development Committee yesterday of currency and central banking savvy individuals, Kairin van Sweeden and Tim Rideout is important and very welcome news.

      Whether it’s on the merits of (still controversial) Modern Monetary Theory specifically, or basic issues around the currency options and a central bank for Scotland upon independence, there is a huge public education/awareness raising challenge. It is certain that the naysayers will seek to use ‘the currency issue’ front and centre in Project Fear Version 2.

      I have been aware of Mr Rideout’s valuable ‘Scottish Reserve Bank’ website for some time but have only just become aware of Ms van Sweeden’s initiative – https://www.modernmoney.scot

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Tim Rideout has a Scottish Currency Group on Facebook too (it’s an open page, so you can view without logging in)

        https://m.facebook.com/groups/715532695555527/

        Kairin van Sweeden – I’ve just learned of the group too – looks to be doing good work on promoting MMT.

        Very important they are on the policy development committee, and I hope they can make progress. Sadly, I see no hope of the SNP leadership letting go of the neoliberal bind-us-to-the-uk-for-several-decades ideology presented by Andrew Wilson. Tim Rideout says there is overwhelming support for our own currency among SNP membership, and it’s an argument can easily be made and won, and our confidence can lead to the rest of Scotland being confident.

        Good that Alyn Smith got punted off the NEC, he was one of the few in the party that didn’t want our own currency – and he was convener of policy I think. We can see if that makes any difference to the leadership’s ideology, but I don’t hold out much hope, not when you see who the groups/people are that were appointed to the national investment bank’s board.

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  2. I am with you on this, John.
    I think of the dissolution of Czechoslovakia—the Velvet Divorce—even though only a just over a third of both populations were in favour of a split.
    They started out sharing a currency, but quickly realised this would not work, and established their own currencies within a couple of months.
    Both countries thrived, and with good will (yes, I know), it could be exactly the same here.

    Good will—-ironic laughter!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I am no expert in this area. However, I have read a bit about how advanced western democracies today use monetary policy levers and how they utilise their central bank, and I’ve read a bit about how the conduct of such matters evolved very substantially during the 20th Century and are still doing so today.

      So whilst Ireland’s continuing use of Sterling after the establishment of the Free State may provide some useful perspective in a VERY general way in the face of blatant scare-mongering by Unionists, I’d doubt that the historical precedent of Ireland in the 1920s will be a relevant blueprint for Scotland in present circumstances.

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      1. I’m sure that all sorts of ‘transitional arrangements’ will need to be put in place and that the first elected government of independent Scotland will need to make certain practical/ tactical decisions at the time. However, there are some core principles and associated state infrastructural ‘must haves’ to be set out in the proposition put to voters in Scotland when the time to choose our future arrives.

        Borrowing to meet all requirements and then having to pay back in a third party’s currency (Sterling) – a currency controlled by a government whose motivations may not always be trustworthy – at interest rates that would be out with our control, doesn’t on the face of it seem like a great idea! And if we do wish to negotiate a new relationship with the EU, especially IF this is to be as a full member, then the sooner Scotland demonstrates its own well-functioning currency and has its own central bank the better.

        Liked by 4 people

    2. A very useful perspective is ‘it was an outright disaster for ireland’ – from better minds than mine!:

      https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2020/11/30/trying-to-run-scotland-without-its-own-currency-would-be-like-a-person-trying-to-be-a-carpenter-without-having-a-saw/#comment-869672

      Their economy was terrible for decades, until they got their own currency. We should not make the same mistake. It can be set up fairly swiftly (some countries have done it in a few weeks) – and as soon as our government/treasury/central bank are set up, the Scottish pound has the same surety as any currency – the government demands it is used, pays in that currency and collects taxes in it (that’s set out in law): everyone has a choice in what currency you want to save in, trade in etc, but the government only accepts taxes in the Scottish pound, so you are likely to want paid in that, and if you want to save with the government it’ll be in that, pensions paid in it etc.

      The Scottish government has created demand, by saying it’s the sole issuer of the Scottish pound, and will only accept taxes in it (etc), and this gives the currency value. The government offers to buy your sterling from you in exchange for the Scottish pound, and suddenly it has its coffers full of a foreign currency too.

      That’s the very basic, high level, description. The rest is filling in the detail around those basic factors. Why wouldn’t you do it? Lots of countries have, very successfully (in fact, they are only successful if they do), and often very quickly, with no problems. Is Scotland unique in its inability to do so too? No, we are very capable, and we’d be making the right choice – from this follows the ability to form fiscal policy and fair tax, and to really set the economy running the way we want it. We can’t do those things while under the thumb of a foreign currency.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Contrary, I agree. However I repeat, there remains a huge public education/awareness raising challenge.

        There is a major challenge to improve and broaden understanding of how the public finances work – of the significance of ‘deficit’ and ‘debt’ for a government rather than a business or household; of the benefits of being a currency issuer; of the roles of a central bank; of QE; and right down to the basics of where ‘money’ actually comes from!

        A concern is that too many risk averse voters in Scotland may still get alarmed/made fearful by media and Unionist politicians’ scaremongering over: (a) loss of Sterling, and/or (b) having to join the Euro if in the EU.

        Even within the status quo of the rUK’s economic and political environment, it remains a challenge to enhance public understanding. And as the last UK GE showed, the level of (mis-) understanding remains a big constraint on what is acceptable to the public in terms of spending policy.

        In this context, see this recent complaint by ‘expert’ professionals over how the BBC presents – and continues to mis-inform – on such matters:

        https://www.ippr.org/blog/economists-urge-bbc-rethink-inappropriate-reporting-uk-economy

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      2. Absolutely stewartb – it’s a huge challenge. First of all you need to break through underlying indoctrination – the one where the establishment has always told us we are too thick to understand the economy, it’s too complicated – that’s the angle newspapers and politicians come from when talking to us like children about the false ‘household budget’ model. Now I wonder why I ever fell for it! I mean, the government creates and wholly controls the money (issuer, taxer) – how can it be like our household budget?

        If we could all create money when we felt like it, we would never have problems surviving the week. (Well, we would, because who’s going to take your money – how are you going to guarantee the shops, say, it has value? If you aren’t able to tax and create the laws needed to guarantee it, I think the shops might be suspicious they would be able to do much with your personal money store). And we’d never have a problem paying off our debts – how do you borrow from yourself anyway though?

        The biggest problem with the Household Budget narrative is that none of the mechanisms government uses to run the economy makes much sense when you use it – so that’s why it *seems* complicated. You get yourself in a tangled mess like the above.

        So first off we need to keep banging on that a country’s economy is nothing like a household budget – for instance, you say ‘still controversial’ MMT – the only people that say that are the neoliberal establishment because it suits their way of working – austerity means the rich get richer, and they convince us austerity is necessary because ‘we must pay our debts’, it’s disaster economics and unsustainable – MMT only describes how the economy works right now (how can that be controversial?!) – it isn’t a theory or model for anything new – it just tells us how things are actually happening right now. Economists probably find this the hardest to accept – if you have spent your life assuming things work one way with its attendant complexities, it’s not easy to change.

        I see it as having different layers – at the top is the broad political economical description, and I think this is the one people will be able to grasp, given the right explanations, because it doesn’t in the main involve numbers and understanding of complex interactions, like those regarding inflation and interest rates and many taxes: those are all necessary for running an economy, but those are the next level of complexity.

        Quantatitve Easing (QE) is, in fact, all the proof you need that MMT is actually how it all works – but if people are like me a few years ago, you’d just bypass QE as a bit of a mystery, so most people don’t understand why it’s proof. The broad high level description can explain enough to tell us why: QE does not fit into a household budget model – it can’t – it is borrowing from and to yourself! You are creating money,,, out of thin air: large sums of money created without putting a ‘use’ to it – it is only (in this case) injecting more money into the economy, with no budgetary ‘purpose’.

        I don’t understand the whole complex system – that’s for professionals – I just understand the macro-economical theory – broadly – and the basics of where other parts fit into it without the detail. Everyone will be different about how much they want to know, or how much they can understand, but if we start from the basic ‘the household budget analogy is not true’ and work from there. If anyone claims there is not a magic money tree – they had better be able to explain how QE works then – or vice versa.

        Sorry – the subject was education eh. Have you not found that far more people are talking about currency and economics these days, and sounding quite well informed? I think there is a big rise in the number of people happy to mention MMT, or defend the case for a new Scottish pound, just even from a year ago. That’s not an accident: Dr Rideout has been doing lots of meetings and presentations on the subject – and there seems to be lots of groups and people taking an interest – there is a thirst for this knowledge, and I believe it will gain momentum. It offers us a ray of hope – it doesn’t just give us a firm footing for that stupid currency debate – it actually tells us how we should be preparing for independence and how to get ourselves started – and it tells us how successful we could be.

        Richard Murphy, particularly with his new videos, is getting better and better at explaining the theories, and how the detailed parts fit in (why he goes to the trouble when he has no skin in the game,, ) – and is a great resource. Everyone – you included stewartb – that has taken more of an interest already, and understands the implications, should be advocating and promoting it at every opportunity. Then it will gain real momentum – and then, by the time we come to campaigning for independence we will all be VERY well informed when we are told about ‘black holes’, deficits, debts, and about just exactly how much does England owes us!! When the next unionist approaches you and says ‘what about my pension, broad shoulders etc’ we should be able to reply, with confidence, ‘ah but Scotland would have much broader shoulders by itself’.

        Nobody is going to do it for us, and we should be doing it ourselves – learn ENOUGH, no more, and know where to get further information, to know when others are talking mince, and know what bits of the argument to actually focus on —

        No more of this obfuscation-type debate – where we are busy trying to explain the detail – always on the defensive – while they rapid fire move onto other subjects spouting inaccuracies. Keep everything simple, know that there is more detail, but focus on making sure they don’t get away with peddling mince.

        Luckily this is an old thread now! Written a bit much there,,, oops.

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  3. McKie is just another Yoon attempting to control peoples thought’s.
    You need answers in great detail to this and this . . . . . . . and this!

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