James Robertson

See more about James’ life here.

Added to discussion papers: Dethroning the Dollar, written at the request of the editor of Businessworld [India], published in Issue 30 Sep-06 Oct 2008 and reproduced in Sustainable Economics.

A helpful summary of the message in his book: Future Money

future-money-coverWe may be destroying the ability of the Earth’s resources to support our present way of life and even our survival as a species. Present recognition of that coincides with our having evolved a globalised money system that influences the way of life for almost everyone on Earth.

We need to understand that those two things are closely linked.

(1) how the money system works motivates us to live in some ways rather than others;

(2) how it now works motivates us to live in ways that not only treat most people unjustly, but may also accelerate our suicide as a species;

3) so we clearly need to decide what changes we must make in the ways the money system works.

In other words, we need a revolution of understanding and action:

(1) to achieve a less primitive level of understanding how the money system works, as the Copernican Revolution did for our understanding of the solar system; and then, on the basis of that new understanding,
(2) to identify and carry out practical reforms to change the way the money system works and bring money values more closely into line with human values and purposes in the 21st century.

The book then offers lessons from the history of money and compares money values and ethical values, as background to its proposals for reforming at every level – national, international and local:

(1) how the money supply is created;

(2) what is taxed and what is not taxed; and
(3) what public spending is spent on and not spent on.

In conclusion the book explores whether these reforms are achievable and, if so, how we can achieve them.

James Robertson gardenJames sees a total leadership vacuum. In prophetic vein (2013) he writes:

“We face a great crisis. The current money system is motivating us to destroy the future for our grandchildren and great grandchildren by compelling us to compete against other people and countries, and encouraging us to destroy the planet’s resources.

The outlines of a solution are now clear. A reformed money system will be one that motivates and enables us to help one another to meet our needs, including the need for justice in our world society and the need to conserve the planet’s resources on which our survival depends. However moving to that solution, and overcoming doubts and vested interests, is going to require a great deal of energy and courage from us all. It will also require great leadership from our politicians . . . “ And later:

“The behaviour of almost everyone on Earth, with its effects on the lives of other people and the natural world, is now motivated to a great extent by how the money system works.

We need to understand:

(1) how that process of motivation happens;

(2) how it is now motivating us to behave in ways that threaten our future;

(3) how to change the way it works; and

(4) what we can do to make sure it is changed that way.

Assuming it is not already too late, radical reform of the whole worldwide money system is urgently needed, involving:

(1) a restructuring of national money systems, and a reduction of their present centralising power;

(2) further development of the international money system and local money systems; and

(3) the purposeful evolution of them all into a global system that serves the various common interests of all the world’s people more effectively, democratically and ecologically than the global system serves us today.

This may well involve a radical structural change in politics. See for example John Bunzl in The Huffington Post on “The Right Mourn Thatcher; The Left, Any Sense of Direction” – http://tinyurl.com/b26dloz.

And it will almost certainly require peaceful revolutionary action by squeezed middle class people, as described by David Boyle in his latest book, Broke: Who Killed the Middle Classes? www.david-boyle.co.uk/broke which I heartily recommend.

Failing that, we will continue down the road to self-destruction. See for example www.monbiot.com/2013/05/10/via-dolorosa.

James has now retired due to serious ill-health but many continue to draw on the valuable body of work he has produced.


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