Response to Gary North

Dear Mr. North:

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to sit down and write such a detailed and useful critique of Web of Debt. As an author, you will know how satisfying it is to find that someone has actually read and absorbed the product of one’s labors.

Please know that all of your observations will be carefully considered prior to the publication of the next edition and where necessary the text may be revised to reflect any errors or omissions.

Thank you again for your time and effort which are sincerely appreciated.

Yours truly, 

Ellen Brown

Read more here.  An excellent discussion of the larger issues was posted by another blogger here.

See Response to Gary North #2: IN PURSUIT OF A NEW MONETARY PARADIGM here.

50 Responses

  1. Gary North (and his Austrian friends) have lost the argument as to what should come next so he now makes a violent, desperate attack on what is winning. Virtually everything North says is inaccurate, perverse or plain wrong. For example he says only two books have been written about Germany’s economy in the 1930s (and he gives their titles and dates, 1939 and 2006) but there is a THIRD — The Economic Recovery of Germany, 300 pages by C.W. Guillebaud (a UK Cambridge University lecturer) and published in 1939 by MacMillan & Co. And his own text refers to a FOURTH! What a muddlehead and ignoramus!

    • Big deal. I’m still waiting to hear any kind of response to the dozens of points he made. Ad hominem attacks and “but there’s a book he forgot to mention” are weak and unconvincing.

      • gary north didn’t make many points about ellen brown’s work. he merely used logical fallacy to try to associate ellen brown’s work with socialism and fascism.

        about the only truth he stated was that many ron paul supporters are defenseless because they’re not educated in economic history nor economic understanding, unless you consider the same banker propaganda that gold is “sound” and “honest’ money, which incidently was used by the bankers and grover cleveland to demonetize silver and cause a deflationary depression in 1873. most ron paul supporters don’t even realize the federal reserve was originally a gold standard.

      • I made one more attempt at the Gary North explanations for your sake (I’m an anarcho-idealist), but he mal-quotes and misrepresents her so badly that I am unable. I do not think that he read the same book I did. Certainly the views he says she has are not the ones I read about in the book, and must have come from his own projection of an ideal opponent.

        I couldn’t get through all the appendices to his tirade, but it seems that his basic criticism is based on the idea that her book doesn’t mesh with his addiction to the myth of a free market. He appears to be in favour of big government and corporate welfare, despite his bellyaching to the contrary – but it’s really hard to tell because he doesn’t actually seem to say anything at all by the end of it. He nit-picks lots of facts, often erroneously or irrelevantly, but avoids any form of substance. It’s really hard to tell what he stands for, only that he stands against almost everything except corporate welfare and power centralization through land ownership. A pitiful way to live a life.

      • “Big Deal”? The alleged dozens of points have no support from your statement. If you agree with North’s “argument,” then defend it.

        Put up or shut up.

        Your argument is weak and unconvincing without evidence. That’s what we’re waiting for, and then how this connects to the main argument of how to structure a nation’s monetary system.

        If you have the intellectual integrity to discuss a nation’s monetary system, go for it.

        But I think all you have is disinformation. Prove me wrong.

  2. Gary North is having some sort of brainstorm and is obviously predisposed to violence. For example, he says:-
    In winning a nation to the gospel, the sword as well as the pen must be used.
    —Christian Reconstructionism, p. 198.

    And, elsewhere, he says that only Christians should be allowed to vote.

    Keep taking the pills, Gary!

    • Yet another guy who attacks North personally rather than dare confront his article. I agree with you on those two points (did Gary actually say that, or are you pulling an Ellen Brown and saying that people have said that he said that?), but can we keep our eye on the ball and discuss the message and not the messenger?

      • so it is ok to use logical fallacy to paint ellen brown as a nazi or socialist using VERY stretched arguments (reminds me of the 9/11 ommission report) but it isn’t ok to point out that Gary North is a christian-fascist?

      • Oh! Then discuss the message, if you can.

        Please: accurately explain Ellen’s proposal for a nation’s monetary system and then refute it.

        Put up or shut up, Anarcho-libertarian.

  3. Ellen says that her bogus quotes “are left in, not because some famous person made the statement, but because they make a point …and whether he said it or someone else said it really makes no difference. It is a true and quite revealing insight…”

    Okay, so then why don’t you say the true and revealing insight instead of pretending that a famous person said it? What you do is like telling you boss at work, “I can’t come in for work today, I have a temperature.” Technically true, but misleading and is why you cant be trusted as Gary North said.

    Why don’t you say:

    “There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.” and leave out the misleading and fictional idea that is was John Adams who said it?

    Or say:

    “President John Adams is quoted as saying, though he never actually said it, ‘There are two ways to…’”

    • You don’t know if he said it or not, but the point is that it really, really doesn’t matter. If it was attributed to him a long time ago, there’s probably a good reason, but maybe not – regardless, it is more respectful to do as Ellen did than to perhaps plagiarize and not give credit where it is due, or to add convoluted semantics to cover every possibility.

      The message? The banksters and their associated land owners have us over a barrel because they control money. Society was subverted for the financial gain of the powerful. Since so much power lies in money creation, how can we get some of that power back? Wow, a simple understanding of the situation illuminates some simple solutions. Imagine that!

      The message is damn simple, and attributing quotes doesn’t change that a whit. If you’re so into splitting hairs, then you go through and figure out why we think North’s criticisms are hollow and pointless. Most of us have better things to do, we’re sick of pandering to obfuscation. If there are some points you just can’t figure out, post them here and I’m sure we’ll be able to help. I’m not going to go through and pick out each point and refute it. He’s a bully, a dime a dozen, and capable of sucking a lot of constructive energy from constructive pursuits.

      • OK, I have realized that I was splitting hairs. So I will take up your offer and ask about a point that I can’t figure out.

        It seems the underlying theme in Greenback arguments is that because of the “social contract,” we are the government. So if the government owns the currency, then that means that “we” own the currency. But as Murray Rothbard said:

        If “we are the government,” then anything a government does to an individual is not only just and untyrannical but also “voluntary” on the part of the individual concerned. If the government has incurred a huge public debt which must be paid by taxing one group for the benefit of another, this reality of burden is obscured by saying that “we owe it to ourselves”; if the government conscripts a man, or throws him into jail for dissident opinion, then he is “doing it to himself” and, therefore, nothing untoward has occurred. Under this reasoning, any Jews murdered by the Nazi government were not murdered; instead, they must have “committed suicide,” since they were the government (which was democratically chosen), and, therefore, anything the government did to them was voluntary on their part. One would not think it necessary to belabor this point, and yet the overwhelming bulk of the people hold this fallacy to a greater or lesser degree.

        We must, therefore, emphasize that “we” are not the government; the government is not “us.” The government does not in any accurate sense “represent” the majority of the people. But, even if it did, even if 70 percent of the people decided to murder the remaining 30 percent, this would still be murder and would not be voluntary suicide on the part of the slaughtered minority. No organicist metaphor, no irrelevant bromide that “we are all part of one another,” must be permitted to obscure this basic fact.

        The Social Contract and Other Myths -

        http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/shaffer14.html

        A very good piece deconstructing the social contract mathematically can be found here -

        http://www.strike-the-root.com/52/davies/davies7.html

        How “We the People” is a lie, for blacks, women, and white males that didn’t own enough property weren’t allowed to vote. And because “the People” of that time are long dead, their contract dies with them and can’t bind future generations who weren’t even alive to agree or disagree with the original contract. Doing so is as absurd as making marriage or business contracts for future generations, which is unjust and tyrannical enslavement.

        http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig4/spooner1.html

        The Anatomy of the State –

        http://mises.org/pdf/anatomy.pdf

        • Now you make an argument against the idea of government???

          Please explain: are you an anarchist?

          Are you a propagandist or just unable to focus on the issue: accurately explain the monetary policy of Ellen Brown and then refute it.

          That’s the ethical standard, if you truly have something to say. Again:

          put-up or shut-up.

          Tell ‘ya what: accurately expalin Ellen’s monetary policy and refute it within 24 hours, or suffer my retort that you really do have nothing to say, because you do, in fact, say nothing.

          • Wolgang and F. Beard did a fine job of reaching agreement between Greenbacks and libertarians in the third section of comments here, which even Brown liked:

            http://webofdebt.wordpress.com/response-to-gary-north-2/

            These different sections are getting confusing trying to jump between them all.

            Here’s the deal. All of these economic systems (capitalism, communism, fascism, greenbackism, gold-bugism or whatever) can be either just or unjust depending on their relationship to coercive government. I don’t know what Ellen Brown’s view on this is, so if you could inform me I would appreciate it. Let me explain further by quoting the eminent anarcho-libertarian Walter Block, who is reviewing a book which I read called The Noblest Triumph: Property and Prosperity Through the Ages by Tom Bethell ( http://mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae2_3_3.pdf ):

            Another problem with Tom Bethell’s vision of private property arises with regard to communalism. He states (p. 25): “Broadly speaking, there are three configurations
            of property rights: private, communal, and state.” This is entirely erroneous. The truth of the matter is that there are but two divisions of property: just and unjust.

            …There is nothing intrinsically wrong with communalism. Yes, when combined with force, it is a particularly evil brew. But take away the coercion, and it is rendered powerless, even, sometimes, beneficial. It is the same with practically anything. For example, there is nothing wrong with pizza. But if everyone were forced to eat this foodstuff, every meal, every day, numerous deaths would no doubt ensue, perhaps, even, who knows, equivalent to the loss of life which resulted from forced communism. Does this mean we should oppose pizza
            (communism)? Not a bit; only when it is imposed through force.

            …Is communism of the voluntary variety always unsuccessful? Not at all, as even Bethell himself admits. For example, he acknowledges that this is indeed the system which most families utilize. As well, religious orders and organizations such as monasteries, nunneries, Hutterites, Jesuits, etc., live by the maxim, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Yet, such is our author’s visceral and Chicago-school-of-economics antipathy toward allowing people to be free to choose their own paths in life, that he still cannot give up his opposition to capitalist acts between consenting adults of a socialistic variety. This sounds like a contradiction in terms, but only because Bethell cannot discern which system is the real enemy of the free society.

            Consider, then, the following chart:

            Socialism / Capitalism

            Coercive: A B
            Voluntary: C D

            Here, A stands for coercive socialism of the Soviet variety, and C depicts voluntary socialism of the kibbutz, commune, family, religious order. D represents laissez-faire capitalism, where all economic action is based on legitimate private-property rights and voluntary contract, while B features the veneer of capitalism and private firms, but these are hedged in with a welter of government interferences with the market. Examples are Hitlers Germany, Italian fascism, and, of course, the present economic system of the United States.

            Most commentators, Bethell specifically included, think that the crucial debate in political economy is between socialism and capitalism. This, in our terms, would place A and C on one side of the barricades, and B and D on the other. Nothing,
            however, could be further from the truth. In fact, the real contending parties are A and B versus C and D. It is not socialism versus capitalism, but, rather, a purely voluntary system which allows full sway to the choices of the owners of private property (whether they wish to use their holdings individually or communally it matters not one whit) vis-à-vis a coercive system where some people dictate how others can use their property rights. And again, it matters little whether there is a superficial coating of capitalism or socialism to which lip service is given.

            Here’s a good piece on why arguments about anarcho-libertarianism/capitalism “not working” are confused and not based on justice:

            http://www.lewrockwell.com/kinsella/kinsella15.html

            And the book that explains how everything would work without the gang of thieves known as the state:

            http://mises.org/books/newliberty.pdf

            • Those terms – all those isms – indeed, even ismism itself, is long outworn and useless. That was a nice little demonstration there, but until you consider an alternative to the exclusive private ownership of land and the rights thereof, you haven’t provided an alternative at all.

              Every life form that is born has equal claim to the Earth, yet most are screwed out of that right by a few who claim property rights – who don’t want anybody to coerce them out of their property rights.

              The idea that some people own property for ever while others never will is not an idea that will ever result in any sort of justice or equality. The idea the some people have the right to own vast tracts of land they never intend to use while other people are homeless – that they can charge rent on the speculative value of land while others can’t find land to work on even though there is work to be done – that they can do this and not have to pay, or indeed do anything, for this right – is downright sick. We don’t need a coercive system that tells land owners what to do. We need a simple system that impels land owners to do something productive.

              How many vacant lots sit in high demand urban centres because land owners are waiting to make the biggest profit they can? What right allows them to do that, while there are hordes of industrious people that can’t do anything because they haven’t the land?

              Private land is the exception to the normal way our species organizes, and goes directly counter to the natural flow of things. We have accepted it as a deity, but it is a false deity, and serves only to tear us apart.

              • “Every life form that is born has equal claim to the Earth, yet most are screwed out of that right by a few who claim property rights”

                Under the libertarian approach, which is based on Lockean and Rothbardian homesteading principles, the first to use an unowned scarce resource—the homesteader—becomes its owner. So any person may homestead unowned land and resources, but of course that means that they then have property rights to it. The first possessor has better title in the property than any possible challenger, who is always a latecomer. By having a just, objective rule for allocating control of scarce resources to particular owners, resource use conflicts may be reduced. Nonowners can simply refrain from invading the borders of the property— that is, avoid using the property without the owner’s consent. But property rights are not only acquired, they may also be lost or transferred to others. For example, the owner may abandon the property so that it once more becomes unowned and available for appropriation by a new homesteader. Likewise, the owner may give or sell the property to another. The owner might also commit a crime or tort, thereby forfeiting his rights to the property, in favor of the victim.

                “The idea the some people have the right to own vast tracts of land they never intend to use…” This right is important. Environmental groups like the National Audubon Society and The Nature Conservancy buy up land and use it as nature preserves. And if a rich dude does the same thing, then good.

                “…while other people are homeless” There are plenty of homes for sale and there is plenty of land for sale. Land is a scarce resource that everyone wants, and people don’t value it all the same. Can’t a homeless person who is able get a job and work for a wage and then buy a house or buy land and build his own? If you say it is because their aren’t enough jobs for them, or the houses are expensive, or wages should be higher, well, that’s all because of the coercive fascist and socialist government intervention into the economy that we have, which I think you would agree at least partly to.

                “…that they can charge rent on the speculative value of land while others can’t find land to work on even though there is work to be done…”

                The purpose of jobs is to create things that we want; things like pizzas, i-pods, and TV’s. If pizzas and i-pods and TV’s rained down from heaven, we wouldn’t need to work anymore. The purpose of jobs isn’t to have everyone work. If that’s all you want then here is the solution: Have one-half of the country dig holes, and have the other half of the country fill them up.

                Most people don’t want to work the land because it is so labor intensive. Even if it was free to work on they wouldn’t. Thankfully for them, in a free market, there is always work to be done because there is no end to what people want. Think of jobs as a wish-list with all of the things that we want and dream of on the list. The more jobs we do at the beginning of the list, the further down the list we can go. Think of it like Swiss Family Robinson. At the beginning of the list for them are tasks like “Get Coconuts,” then “Build House,” then “Build Raft,” then eventually maybe “Create work of art.” The more things they can produce, the further down the wish-list they can go. So it is for us. Some people have become so productive at farming that they can feed us and other nations as well. It used to be that we all had to do that for ourselves. Thankfully we can now move down our wish list of jobs.

                “How many vacant lots sit in high demand urban centres because land owners are waiting to make the biggest profit they can? What right allows them to do that, while there are hordes of industrious people that can’t do anything because they haven’t the land?”

                What do you mean by “can’t do anything?” This looks like you are speaking of “wage slavery.” I have to say that that is not totally inaccurate given how hard the government has made it to start a productive enterprise for one’s self nowadays. But there will always be simple wage earners for the reason that it will be more productive than having everyone act as owner/operators. The line of reasoning that nobody would be a “wage slave” if they only had access to free land, or that working for a wage is somehow bad isn’t true. After all, if there were no one to do the trucking or run machine tools or fly aircraft or any of the myriad wage earning roles then we would all be infinitely poorer as a result.

              • I’ve further realized that government zoning is an answer to why people supposedly can’t work without new land. Government coerced zoning laws are a violation of property rights. They destroy the sense of community in neighborhoods, increase crime, favor big business over small businesses, increase traffic congestion, contribute to urban and suburban air pollution, contribute to poverty, contribute to reliance in government — and, thus, reduce self-reliance — and contribute to the ruin of our schools. Most of our urban and suburban problems arose with zoning and other antiproperty laws, to which welfare programs and public housing projects have contributed. Each of these policies came out of the idea that society could and should be engineered from the top down to give rise to efficiency, community, and prosperity. What in fact resulted was the opposite outcome.

                http://blog.mises.org/12598/zoning-laws-destroy-communities/

                http://blog.mises.org/10150/how-zoning-rules-would-work-in-a-free-society/

                For example, Zoning laws force you to have your business only in certain locations. This drives up the price of property for businesses, making it harder to start a new business. If I wanted to sell cookies (and I do make some good cookies), I would have to either buy some expensive commercial property or rent a place in a shopping center, get the proper permits and licenses (another barrier to entry into the marketplace), buy stoves and mixers, etc.

                By the time I did all this, I wouldn’t be able to afford the ingredients to make the cookies. I would either have to save up a small fortune or go in debt. But if the local government would leave me alone, I could bake cookies in my home, using the mixer and stove I have, and sell the cookies in front of my house to my neighbors. As I began to make money from selling cookies, I could buy a bigger mixer and a better stove to make more cookies. I could hire a neighbor kid to sell the cookies for me so I could bake more, and I could maybe start selling my cookies to local stores. As I started making more money with higher demand, I could put an addition onto my house for the cookie store, or buy or rent another place and make the cookies there. I could thus start my own business with little initial cost and without going into debt while providing a service to my community and to my neighbors.

                And people used to do this. My wife’s grandfather sold fruit trees from his yard until the city passed an ordinance prohibiting people from selling anything on residential properties. They made an exception that you could hold two yard sales a year — but only if you got a permit.

                The result is that big business is favored over upstarts. Walmart and Home Depot can afford to buy as much commercial land as they need to build a store. And they don’t have to worry about a bunch of people selling similar items locally. Most Americans are like me, and we cannot afford to buy property like large corporations can, so we are prohibited from participating in the marketplace as anything other than employees to others.

                With as many barriers to starting a new business as there are, it’s surprising how many do get started. It’s typically done by going into debt. This makes it even more difficult for the poor to get out of their poverty. Barred from starting a business at home by zoning and other prohibitory laws, they also cannot get loans due to their poverty and bad credit.

              • After thinking more about your response Birch, and doing a little more researching, I came across this debate:

                http://mises.org/Community/forums/p/2017/27474.aspx#27474

                I now see that one doesn’t buy title to land, they buy title to the labor product of the land. If the labor product of the land ceases to be used then a claim on the land is no longer valid. The land can be re-homesteaded by anyone. To do otherwise is to create unnatural scarcity. And of course the government is not a legitimate owner of any land, for the people that constitute the government never homesteaded it. I knew property could be abandoned, but I thought of that as freely giving it away. But now I see that if you don’t use it, you lose it whether you like it or not. You either make use of the land or otherwise transform it to make it yours, and to keep it yours. Otherwise it reverts to nature. The debate started off about how that would work with nature preserves.

                I held the views of “kingmonkey” before but by the end my mind was changed.

                • Exactly. Very well put. In Europe, where land has been densely occupied for longer than in North America, squatter laws reflect what you just said better than they do here. I was in Greece recently, where anarchists occupy vacant aristocrat properties. After a certain period of time if their occupancy isn’t challenged the land title is transferred to the “anarchist society”. They have collected some very nice properties in prime locations, even in city centres, where anarchist youth can live for free.

                  By a weird twist of bureaucratic illogic, the Greek government is obliged to provide those properties with electricity and water – free of charge! I wasn’t able to figure that one out, and the report might have been a bit exaggerated I don’t know, but it results in a pretty sweet deal for anarchists anyway.

                  Canada’s land that isn’t private or land claim is called Crown Land on the pretence that the Queen owns it all. We call it public land, but in reality no one owns it, and the ‘public land’ description is merely a social obligation to pay it due respect and not degrade it. Many native bands have a more realistic family approach to land title, and some of the latest nations to settle (the ones that didn’t sign treaties back in the bad old days) have come out with huge chunks of land they can allocate as they choose.

                  Cheers. I’m going out in the bush for a while, so I wish y’all the best with your crazy foreclosure scandal.

            • Anarcho-L states: “I don’t know what Ellen Brown’s view on this is, so if you could inform me I would appreciate it.”

              Ellen can respond, of course, but here’s what I see: Ellen provides a structural solution to transform current Robber Baron-era monetary policy that creates a national “debt supply” that can never be repaid and always increases in interest costs to a true “money supply.” The benefits of this shift is over a trillion dollars every year to the American public.

              When you speak of “coercive” government, you add a different factor apart from the structural solution. Sure, all solutions can be twisted to suit an oligarchy’s profits and controlling agenda. Part of any structural solution MUST also be full transparency and accountability, otherwise you’re correct that it’s no solution at all.

              The point of these comments is that Mr. North compared Ellen’s structural solution to being “Hitler’s cheerleader,” and we’re off and running to crush that propaganda.

              The facts of monetary reform as articulated by Ellen speak for themselves, and should.

              That’s the point we should communicate.

          • What Anarcho-Libertarian is saying—and saying quite well—is that you cannot trust the State. And you most definitely cannot trust the State with the power to create money, no more than you can trust the bankers with that same power.

            It is true that Hitler pulled Germany out of the doldrums of the Great Depression with interest free state money, but the power to issue money also gave him the power to direct it wherever he wanted. Guess where the money went after the infrastructure improvements of 1933-1935?

            The State can always be relied upon to extend its power militarily. After all, the individuals who crave “public service” are the same kinds of individuals you see in the halls of Congress—for the most part swaggering egos harboring a desire to lord it over their fellow man! The statesmen are few and far between

            • Thank you for confirming that government-created and interest-free money causes economic “miracles” from government being an employer of last resort for infrastructure investment.

              Yes, that’s the point of how a nation should create money.

              This is in contrast to private banks creating a national “debt supply” whereby aggregate debt can never be repaid without extinguishing the supply of “money” (debt/credit, really), and government borrows what should be its own money at interest.

              Nobody is arguing to “trust government;” that is a strawman fallacy. Money only works ethically when it is transparent and fully accountable.

              Nobody is surrending to inevitable military domination; the same public voice that demands public money can direct it to constructive projects that help human beings rather than kill them.

              Therefore, there are three challenges:
              1. Public money created debt and interest-free rather than bankster debt peonage.
              2. Full accountability of money creation that would be…
              3. Directed to creative projects for human “livingry rather than killingry” as Buckminster Fuller would say.

              • Thank you acudoc. By the way, if anyone is wondering, I’m an anarcho-capitalist libertarian, not anarcho-socialist.

                Gary North: “The institutional question is: How can society defend itself against the imprudent decisions of politicians and central bankers? This, Ellen Brown and the Greenbackers not only do not answer, they do not think it is a relevant question. In their world, there cannot be hyperinflation caused by government.”

                As far as Hitler goes – http://www.garynorth.com/public/7248.cfm

                “I argued along the lines that Hayek did in The Road to Serfdom (1944): Hitler’s centralizing economic policies led to his reign of terror. The Left always has denied Hayek’s thesis. We can have centralized economic planning without tyranny, the Left says. So does Ellen Brown. This is one more reason why we should regard her as a leftist…

                Did Hitler use fiat money to fund the state’s projects? No; the government used bank-provided debt. The Nazi economy was Keynesian, as I said in my original critique.

                Yet with additional expenditures exceeding additional revenues by almost 300 percent, public debt increased in the first two years of the Nazi regime by 10.3 billion reichsmarks (p. 38).

                She tries in her response to say that she was talking only about 1933-35. But this expansion of debt took place in 1933-35. Thus, her arguments for Hitler’s success, 1933-35, collapse like the proverbial house of cards. Hitler’s regime offers no evidence for her case for Greenback economic salvation.”

                • Anarcho’s response of Nov. 18 is a lying sack of spin.

                  It begins with a strawman argument of what Ellen Brown so cleanly explains and what monetary reform is as a structural solution to the US debt-based monetary system.

                  It then lies saying that the German government of the 30′s didn’t use fiat money for infrastructure. They did.

                  Readers of these comments: the bottom line is that YOU have to understand the multi-trillion dollar issue of who gets to create a nation’s money supply, and whether it’s done directly for the people as government-created money to purchase infrastructure (both hard and soft), or whether banksters create a national debt-supply that damns the public to perpetual debt-slavery.

                  That’s the issue.

                  Propagandists WILL WRITE TO DISTRACT YOU. Understand the topic of Ellen’s book; that’s the issue.

                  Think for yourself and act.

                • Is Brown’s way better than the current sytem? Sure. But that doesn’t mean that it is just nor is it the only option we have. Here are some free articles and books to read to get started. Read Brown’s book, but read these too:

                  http://www.fff.org/freedom/0290b.asp

                  http://www.lewrockwell.com/rozeff/rozeff329.html

                  http://mises.org/books/lessons_for_the_young_economist_murphy.pdf

                  http://mises.org/books/whathasgovernmentdone.pdf

                  “We have always had bad money because private enterprise was not permitted to give us a better one. … Government has prevented enterprise from equipping itself with the instruments that it required to protect itself against its efforts being misdirected by an unreliable money ….the only way to avoid being driven by continuing inflation into a controlled and directed economy, and therefore ultimately in order to save civilization, will be to deprive governments of their power over the supply of money.”

                  - F.A. Hayek, Nobel Prize in Economics (1974), The Denationalisation of Money, Third Edition, 1990

        • Interesting reading. Although the authors make quite logical tirades against the existence of government, they make no sound proposals that would replace it, or allow a large body of free people to remain free if their neighbors chose to enslave them. Nor do they make any provision for setting rules and limits that will allow a great many people to live together with a minimum of conflict. Nor even how a large body of people could work together to benefit everyone when some would benefit greatly while contributing little and others would have to contribute a lot while receiving little benefit.

          Without sound principals to provide for the common welfare, anarchy will quickly devolve into open violence where those most willing to harm their neighbors quickly become robber barons and everyone else a serf. Perhaps all government comes into existance this way, but even a bad, stable government with predictable rules is much better than living in constant fear of robbery, murder, or other violence..

          • The libertarian creed rests upon one central axiom: that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else. This is known as“nonaggression axiom.” “Aggression” is defined as the initiation of the use or threat of physical violence against the person or property of anyone else. Aggression is therefore synonymous with invasion.

            In other words, libertarians maintain that the only way to violate rights is by initiating force—that is, by committing aggression. (Libertarianism also holds that, while the initiation of force against another person’s body is impermissible, force used in response to aggression—such as defensive, restitutive, or retaliatory/punitive force—is justified.) Libertarians apply this axiom to all of human action, including, radically, to unions, taxes, and even government itself.

            The state necessarily commits aggression (even small ones) by using intimidation, threats, and coersion to force people to pay taxes based on its bogus social contract and by using the same thing to outlaw competing defensive agencies, so the consistent libertarian, in opposing aggression, is also an anarchist.

            If the non-aggression axiom is the basic building block of libertarianism, private property rights based on (Lockean and Rothbardian) homesteading principles are the foundation.

            Of course we recognize that in homesteading, without the support of one’s neighbors, one’s claim to ownership will never be respected. As Rose Wilder Lane explained in The Discovery of Freedom, the protection of our property ultimately depends upon human decency:

            “The only safeguards of property seem to have been possession of the property, individual honesty, and public opinion…. [C]abins were never locked on the American frontier where there was no law. The real protection of life and property, always and everywhere, is the general recognition of the brotherhood of man. How much of the time is any American within sight of a policeman? Our lives and our property are protected by the way nearly everyone feels about another person’s life and property.”

            Many Americans today believe that law and government are nearly the same thing, but this is incorrect. Law and government are different institutions and don’t necessarily go together. For example, an early common law judges had no connection with government. So could a criminal simply walk away? Yes and no. If they refused to pay restitution to the victim, the judge would use a procedure called outlawry.

            He’d say, “We will not force the law on you. But since you don’t accept the responsibilities of the law, neither shall you have its protections. From now on your legal status will be no different from that of a rabbit or any other wild animal outside the law.” Then anyone could hunt him down and kill him or take his things or enslave him. It was none of the courts business. He had made his choice. The victim might even hire a bounty hunter to track the criminal down and sell him as a beast of burden to other individuals or corporations. This is just, for the criminal owes a debt to the victim, not a license-plate making debt to “society.” Society is just a shorthand word that is used in place of naming every single individual.

            Here are some of the best articles I’ve come across that explain the philosophy:

            How in the world could a laissez-faire society deal with aggression by foreign nations, since it would have no government to protect it? See:

            http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig11/tannehill1.html

            How would a free market deal with pollution?

            What about secession?

            http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig/dilorenzo2.html

            What about copyrights?

            http://www.lewrockwell.com/tucker/tucker128.html

            What about patents?

            http://blog.mises.org/10217/yet-another-study-finds-patents-do-not-encourage-innovation/

            How would juries work?

            http://www.lewrockwell.com/tennant/tennant37.1.html

            But isn’t a society without government utopian?

            http://www.lewrockwell.com/kinsella/kinsella15.html

            A study guide of articles by Tom Woods and Walter Block:

            http://www.lewrockwell.com/woods/woods98.html

            http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/49720.html#more-49720

            http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/49731.html

            Ten common objections to anarchism, which Walter Block dubbed the best he has read:

            http://www.lewrockwell.com/long/long11.html

            And Murray Rothbard’s book that details private courts, private police, private roads, and everything in between:

            http://mises.org/rothbard/foranewlb.pdf

            Though it might be good to read the Ethics of Liberty first:

            http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics/ethics.asp

            Whew!

          • Solutions here:

            http://mises.org/rothbard/ethics.pdf

            And here:

            https://mises.org/books/newliberty.pdf

            And here:

            http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/49731.html

  4. we all know that adam smith was a socialist and nazi according to the gary north’s logic because he believed in the redistribution of wealth from the producers to the bankers who create money as debt with government issued charters to do so.

    actually adam smith wrote against the “free market currencies” of the colonies that many “anarcho-libertarians” [neo-feudalists] support and wrote in favor of one national note issued by private banks chartered by the government.

    adam smith also wrote in favor in property taxes to fund government. he didn’t believe economic rent was earned wealth but rather public wealth. i’m sure a few anarcho-fuedalists would be horrified at the fact that adam smith believed the wealthy elite should be taxed to death if they buy up all the land.

    • Anarcho-libertarians don’t care much for Adam Smith. “Mr. libertarian” Murray Rothbard thought that Adam Smith should not be called the founder of economics, nor a theorist who improved on economic science, nor even a consistent defender of the market economy. Rothbard saw him as unoriginal, confused, opportunistic, vastly overrated, and even dishonest. See:

      http://mises.org/daily/2012

  5. Off topic … But you may enjoy Damon Vrabel, if you don’t know his stuff already. His analysis of present day money overlaps with yours. His videos:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/councilonsper?feature=mhum

    His blog:

    http://csper.wordpress.com/

    • Yes I saw that. He’s great!

  6. A rebuttal to Mr. North’s “Economic Error #2: There Is Not Enough Gold to Facilitate Trade in a Growing Economy.”

    “Ellen Brown cites one of the most ancient errors of modern inflationism: the shortage of gold.”

    ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

    Gary North is dead wrong as it is true, the scarcity of gold makes it a poor medium for exchange. It boils down to a very basic question…should money be a medium of exchange store or a store of wealth?

    The answer is that one should enjoy the best of both worlds. Money should be plentiful as a medium of exchange, and one should always be free to transfer accumulated wealth to the assets of their choosing; be it gold, silver, land, etc. The decision should be left to the individual.

    If the United States returned to the gold standard the economy would quickly collapse as we have little if any gold in the treasury (it hasn’t been audited in over 50 years). At best, and this is very questionable, the United States has around 8,200 metric tonnes of gold. At $1,350 troy ounce, the gold would be worth around $356 billion while our current money supply, measured as M2, is close to $8 trillion.

    The interest alone on our national debt in 2009 was around $384 billion ( http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/ir/ir_expense.htm ); if we had a gold backed currency, at $1,350 troy ounce, it would equate to over 8,800 tonnes of gold. Within one year, the interest on the national debt would deplete our gold reserves.

    The principal of our national debt is just over $13.5 trillion. At $1,350 troy ounce, we would need over 311,000 tonnes of gold to pay it off. According to the World Gold Council ( http://www.invest.gold.org/sites/en/why_gold/demand_and_supply/ ), there are roughly 163,000 tonnes of gold above ground (total amount mined through history, with 2% unaccounted for). The current national debt is roughly two times as great as all the gold ever mined.

    In 2009, the gold supply totaled just over 4,000 tonnes ( http://www.research.gold.org/reserve_asset/ ) with roughly 2,300 mined and 1,700 available from scrap. At $1,350 troy ounce, this only represents around $173 billion in new gold coming available. This is not near enough to support our yet alone the global economy.

    Mine Web reported ( http://www.mineweb.com/mineweb/view/mineweb/en/page33?oid=95497&sn=Detail ) that “China – gold’s No 1 producer and consumer is taking control of the market. With China now the world’s No. 1 producer and consumer of gold, and the prospect of Chinese and Indian demand alone exceeding 1,000 tonnes a year in the next few years, gold’s price looks to be under new control.”

    China has become the world’s largest gold producer followed by Australia, South Africa, USA, Russia and Peru ( http://seekingalpha.com/article/208666-the-top-five-gold-producing-countries ). Why would we ever want to rely on imported gold to run our economy? We are a debtor nation while China is the greatest creditor in the world, how long would it take for China to corner the market?

    Gold bugs will rightfully claim that if gold were adopted as money, the price would greatly increase which is a big reason why the industry and investors work diligently at promoting the gold standard. By raising the price of gold, we would be simultaneously be devaluing the dollar and our savings in dollars and dollar denominated investments. This happened in 1934 when the price of gold was increased from $20.67 to $35 troy ounce. In one day, the dollar was devalued by over 40% causing great financial suffering and massive foreclosures.

    The good old days of the gold standard were not really very good as it failed in every country it was attempted and caused the bankruptcy of the United States in 1933. The problem has always been that there simply wasn’t enough gold available to support a vibrant economy for the middle class.

    Bill Still warned us years ago in the now famous Money Masters ( http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-515319560256183936# ) “Beware of calls to return to a gold standard. Why? Simple. Because never before has so much gold been so concentrated outside of American hands. And never before has so much gold been in the hands of international governmental bodies such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

    Likewise, beware of any plans advanced for a regional or world currency – this is another international banker’s Trojan Horse – a deception to open the national gates to more international control.”

    The great issue in front of us is not the specie of currency but rather, who is issuing it. The United States has the sovereign power and congress the constitutional duty to issue and control our independent currency. If we sincerely want to take our constitutional republic back, we must first reestablish our financial sovereignty and independence by issuing our own money.

    Gold money advocates are standing in the way of meaningful reform. They are unwittingly supporting the new world order and helping to destroy America.

    Larry

    • @Larry

      Your argument is based on the rational that the current market price of gold is a valid one ($1350). If we convert the gold supply to dollars based on the current market price, then we would eventually (and very quickly) default on debt trying to use gold to pay it off. This is true if the gold were exchanged at the present market value.

      What you fail to realize is that in a commodity based monetary system, the fiat dollar would actually lose all its value. What this should actually tell you, if you think about it and take some time to study monetary theory, is that gold is severely undervalued.

      • @Shane,

        I did mention that the price of gold would greatly increase and I agree, a move towards a gold backed currency would spell the demise of the dollar – which would collapse the economy.

        The point I am making is that we have little if any gold, so it really isn’t an option. See my post for a better explanation of our situation with gold:

        http://webofdebt.wordpress.com/2010/10/12/the-after-the-fed-solutions-debate-begins-greenbackers-vs-goldbugs/#comment-9853

        How can we consider gold backed money when we may not have any?

        Larry

  7. I went to search for “Gary North” on the web. This is what I found.

    There’s Something About Gary North
    by Declan McCullagh
    3:00 a.m. Jan. 7, 1999 PST
    WASHINGTON — For decades Gary North has made a living predicting modern society will end in panic and ruin. In 1980, he forecast rationing of housing and a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. He warned his followers to buy “gold, silver, a safe place outside the major cities.”
    Then AIDS became the threat: “In 1992, we will run out of available hospital beds…. The world will eventually panic,” he wrote in 1987.
    Now North has found Y2K and a skittish audience receptive to predictions of doom. A recent advertisement for his Remnant Review newsletter proclaims: “A bank run like no other will bankrupt banks all over the world in 1999.”
    If you fork over $225 for a 24-issue subscription, North will cheerfully equip you with “the tools you need to build untouchable wealth.”
    His advice is familiar, if unsurprising: Close your bank accounts, sell your stocks. Buy guns, gold, and grain. Move to a remote cabin where you can survive the collapse of Western civilization, safe from riots and hungry looters.
    “The code is broken. It cannot be fixed. The panic is inevitable. It’s a question of when,” he wrote on garynorth.com last month. “Through his Web site he can help to fan the flames of Y2K panic to create social disorder so the social systems of the world crash. It’s out of the ashes of those systems that he thinks the kingdom will rise,” says Frederick Clarkson, author of the book Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy.
    The kingdom? Some sort of cultish year-2000 prophecy, perhaps? Nope. It’s none other than the Kingdom of God and the return of Jesus Christ, events that North believes won’t happen until a Draconian biblical law is imposed for a thousand years. For North, there’s no better way to pull the plug on an ungodly society than fanning the flames of Y2K panic. “He wants to make sure the banking system crashes. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Clarkson says.
    Out of this wreckage, North and many other Christian Reconstructionist men hope to build a harsh biblical order where sinners, such as adulterers and gay men, can be severely punished, even executed, preferably by stoning.
    “Female homosexuality, or lesbianism, is a manifestation of the same evil as the masculine form, but the death penalty is reserved for the men,” wrote R. J. Rushdoony, North’s father-in-law, in The Institutes of Biblical Law. North contributed an appendix on Christian economics to the 1973 treatise, which laid the intellectual foundation for the Reconstructionist movement.
    “What amazes me about Gary North is that he was such an obscure figure. Nobody ever heard of him until this came up. He’s found his niche,” says Skipp Porteous, a former fundamentalist minister who is now the director of the Institute for First Amendment Studies. “This mind-set believes that things are happening that we don’t know about and they’re going to get us. The source of it all is Satan,” Porteous says. “Y2K is of great interest to these people.”
    North refused repeated requests for an interview. “I get daily requests for interviews. Without exception, they want to interview me about: (1) survivalism, (2) me. I turn down all such requests…. Another interview would be superfluous,” he told Wired News in an email message. “At zero price, there is greater demand than supply. That’s how I assess my time. Since I do not sell interviews, I do not give them.”
    Last year, North invited ABC News to his rural retreat, though the televised segment didn’t mention his doomsaying history. Neither did a Wired News article, which merely dubbed North an economist. That’s no accident. North has selected over 3,000 documents and news articles and painstakingly sorted them into 24 categories on garynorth.com. He adds about a dozen more each day to the pile, with his own comments — often witty, always downbeat — attached.
    The site is wildly popular. In just the past few weeks, the discussion forum on relocating to the countryside received some 1,000 posts. But North doesn’t highlight his incendiary views or his Institute for Christian Economics.
    “He wants to present himself as a secular expert on Y2K,” says Chip Berlet, editor of Eyes Right! Challenging the Right Wing Backlash. “It’s much easier to take a Y2K expert seriously who doesn’t promote Reconstructionism and its death penalty for adultery.”
    The true mark of success is, of course, imitators and detractors, and North has plenty of both. The Gary North on Y2K and Gary North is a Big Fat Idiot Web sites complain about North’s “latest ruse for bringing about ‘Christian Reconstruction.’” And garysouth.com, which launched this month, lampoons North’s relentlessly dire warnings. Unlike some Christians, North has not said he views Y2K as a religious portent. “Pre-millennialist” Christians believe Christ will appear during the Antichrist’s reign to rule for a thousand years — and some have pointed to the Year 2000 as a likely date. But “post-millennialists” like North believe a thousand-year reign of the righteous must come first, and it doesn’t matter what year it begins.
    North recently wrote that Y2K “will call into question science, technology, the free market, and the welfare state. It will call into question all of modern humanism.”
    His plan: “Christians will be in a position to win this battle. I’ll put it bluntly. Y2K is about handing out blame. The corporate judgment of God always is.” This blame is to be squarely laid on the shoulders of the current technological — and to North, corrupt — society that produced Y2K in the first place.
    What will the Internet’s best-known doomsayer do if Y2K results in just minor disruptions? “A few years later he’ll reappear with another apocalyptic scenario,” Berlet predicts.
    Copyright © 1994-2001 Wired Digital Inc., a Lycos Network company. All rights reserved.

  8. Where is Gary North? Why does he remain hidden from publicly fielding any questions about his positions and assertions?

    Mr. North, please come out of your Y2K bunker and respond!

    Larry

  9. Hi Ellen,

    As you know, I don’t like personal attacks.

    But if you can be big enough to get past the Hitler comment and also the nit-picking about some less consequential details, Mr. North does make substantial points, the essence of which is that money cannot just be created at will.

    Thus, interest, the price of money, is legitimate. And “backing” paper with something tangible that is relatively difficult to produce and has a history of being used in that fashion has a lot to recommend it.

    That is the heart of the matter.

    An independent central bank in India (RBI) has not prevented Indians from suffering very high rates of inflation.

    What would make it different here?

    What makes you object to private banks printing money backed by gold, and offering depository and investment services competitively in the market?

    Thanks for your contribution and for creating this debate.

    Lila

    • Hi Lila,

      The idea that money cannot be created at will is really strange: it is after all the way it is now.

      The problem is that the money is not created in the right way: it is created as an interest bearing debt to the bank. And if they feel like it, the controllers of the printing presses can create too much of it resulting in inflation.

      So we need to create money the correct way: debt free, or as interest free credit. And of course, in the right amount.

      If you start to realize what the real cost of interest is, I’m sure you will never again say it is justified. To get an idea of the real implications of interest go here:

      http://www.activistpost.com/2010/10/hidden-slavery-of-interest.html

      At the end of the day, the only thing that is going to stop people from abusing the money system either to inflation or interest is when the population at large can no longer be fooled, because at least a few percent of them understand the basic tricks.

      There is no intrinsically stable or fair mechanism or system. They can all be abused and people simply MUST start taking responsibility.

  10. I could be wrong, but didn’t Ellen deal with all those issues extensively in her book?

  11. I have read Gary North’s comments on and off over the last 20 years. I have found some interesting ideas, but I tend to take people who attack others ideas from a religious base less than helpful in most attempts to solve complicated problems. I suggest you avoid a face to face debate which would by neccessity be too short to effectively argue this complicated subject. Your conversations in writing with civil opponents like The Daily Bell will serve everyone and the truth much better. Keep up your great writing. I beleive you are doing God’s work.

    • Thanks John. Yes the Daily Bell was so civilized!

  12. North is definitely wrong … but Brown is not entirely correct either.

    Those who control large quantities of gold can, under the gold standard, manipulate the money supply, causing expansions and contractions, and can rip everybody else off by timing the market.

    Market-determined interest rates are a legitimate way to help ensure that resources are allocated efficiently.

    There is nothing wrong with the Central Bank loaning out money … the principal and interest paid back to the Central Bank can be retired from circulation, and new loans can be made so as to keep the money supply expanding at a rate which ensures zero inflation.

    • The problem with a central bank – or any institution – creating our money supply by lending it at interest, is that it quickly makes the lenders “winners” in the market while everyone else becomes “losers”. The mechanism of interest ensures that ownship of all the wealth is transferred from the producers of wealth to the producers of money. Although money is necessary for large, complex societies, there is no valid reason to give those who produce money a significant economic advantage over the rest of society.

      And that is what Ellen’s book is all about. In the current system, the banking and finance industry has an unwarranted economic advantage over everyone else and rather than using that advantage to serve all of society, they use it to serve themselves at society’s expense. This power is left in the hands of a privileged few who can use their money to manipulate our political, legal, and economic systems for their own benefit. The consequence is that most people, even in the wealthiest nations, feel like they are spending their lives running a rat race and getting nowhere.

      Ellen’s proposal is to move the money creation power into public hands, keep its operation open, honest, and accountable to the people. Hopefully, this will level the playing field between individuals and the banking industry. It should also cause the flow of wealth to shift from going into private hands and instead go to the public. So long as the public at large has ready access to how the government spends that wealth, they can quickly demand it be spent to benefit everyone – perhaps by improving public infrastructure, public services, lowering taxes and interest rates, and if there is still wealth left over – handing out national dividends to each citizen.

  13. [...] Brown, calling her a ‘Greenbacker’ and expecting to have some fun with destroying her. Here’s Ellen Brown’s retort. Here’s a high class framing of the debate by Eric Blair which was widely [...]

  14. Regarding.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north891.html

    which is an attack article against Ellen Brown by Gary North,

    I think Ellen Brown is brilliant and relatively practical,
    although naive about how evil banksters really are!!!

    After skimming through North’s Ellen Brown article,
    my impression is that North may be able to point out
    particular errors … but the finally effect is no big deal.

    Surely not the whole list of errors,
    since many there are open to
    different interpretations …

    however, probably some mistakes,
    indeed, it would be surprising if
    there were 0 errors anywhere!

    Getting stuck in a bunch of historical details
    does not seem to matter that much to me …

    A big picture is escalating runaway fraud
    done through triumphant monolithic usury,
    through privatized money-as-debt systems.

    That was the achievement of trillionaire mass murders
    that we are up against, and against which nobody else
    seems to have any practical way to stop that insanity!

    The world is controlled by huge lies, backed up with lots of violence, and the banks are at the center of that entire system, and any alternatives have a very tough time, since the real monetary and taxation systems are simply the result of the triumphs of the best organized gangs of criminals taking control over most governments …

    I see nothing in North’s criticisms of Ellen Brown
    that lead to better overviews of the real problem.

    I regard North as being a slightly worse kind of
    “reactionary revolutionary” than Ellen Brown is.

    The money system fight is not between
    different versions of whatever might
    be more historically accurate facts.

    Money system fights were about
    organized lies running robbery!

  15. “Money cannot be created at will.”
    Yes, I know that’s what they do now. That’s the problem, though.

  16. Gary North has a problem, he responded this when I wrote him an email about his being a gold bug.

    You a jew hating bigot die, go the way of the us federal reserve note

    this is all i said,

    I believe also the system Is messed up with fiat currency which is controlled by the Unseen hand called the money masters/Rothchild dynasty. I think where you are wrong is going with gold . Your reasoning is flawed if you think that the gold market is not controlled by those same bankers who have been playing America from the start. After all there are two golden rules, and they play by the one called “he who has the Gold makes the Rules” not the “do unto others as you would have them do to you.” The Gold market is captured and cornered, if you want to go your route you’d have to go with silver backing the currency because it is 20 times more plentiful and not cornered. I am all for getting the international bankers out of America, but every President that has touched this has been meet with a bullet. This game of gold is a fools game if you don’t think that 90% of all gold is cornered and owned by the families pushing this world order and destroying America. I at one time thought like you, but have been digging very deep after the towers fell because there is a dark shadow that has engulfed America with deception and half truths.

    • Well put, Bob. Yep, looks like North has sanity and maturity issues, not conducive to clear thought or truth seeking.

  17. I have moved this discussion to the comments section the post on October 12 on the “The After-the-Fed Solutions Debate”.

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