Money as Debt

By: Living Economies  05-Apr-2012

The film visually demonstrates the process of money creation by private corporations (banks), illustrates the historical background of this system, and warns of its subsequent unsustainability.

The film was conceived by Grignon in 2002 as an introduction to a 5-hour video commission for United Financial Consumers. He prefaced his video lecture with a re-telling of The Goldsmith’s Tale in animation form titled Money as Debt. The Goldsmith's Tale is noted in the film as being "a brief and broadly allegorical history of banking" and should not be viewed as a complete or entirely accurate account of the history of banking. Expanded in 2006, it was Grignon's first full animation project.

Much of the film explains what economists refer to as the money multiplier and the fractional reserve system, with the primary focus being how money creation works in the fractional reserve system. Other forms of money creation, such as quantitative easing, receive less attention. In the film's version, new money enters the economy through the indebtedness of borrowers, thus not only obligating the public to the self money-issuing private banks but also creating an endless and self-escalating debt that is to eventually outgrow all other forms of wealth generation. The film claims that this ever-increasing gravitation of money to banks is capable of impoverishing any nation. The film finishes by identifying some alternatives to modern banking, such as the nationalization of banks and payment of dividends to the public, establishing local exchange trading systems, or government printing of money.

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