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Edward Holloway: the first task is to gain widespread agreement on what constitutes money creation

December 13, 2014

Thomas Attwood would have appreciated the work of Edward Holloway, who founded the Economic Reform Club and Institute (ECRI) in 1936. He became interested in economic and monetary policy in the depression years of the 1930s when a number of prominent people, concerned at the poverty around them, started to question the use of a monetary system that had failed the nation in the past and was liable to go on perpetuating the sequence of boom, slump, boom of the 1920s.

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In 1948, when 46% of the money supply was issued by government, schools, hospitals, housing and social investment had been funded and inflation kept at a low level.

Holloway made a mighty political effort to persuade the government to set up the Radcliffe Committee on credit and currency in 1957 which, in 1959, insisted that banks do indeed “create” money and attained the ECRI’s main objective.

fed radcliffe reportIn 2009 a confidential report written by Samuel I. Katz in 1959 was released; “Radcliffe Report: Monetary Policy and Debt Management Reconciled?” was published by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Division of International Finance, Review of Foreign Developments.

Edward Holloway was a founder member and cornerstone of the Economic Research Council – Britain’s oldest economics-based think tank – and Honorary Secretary since 1955.

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Like the Economic Reform Club it ‘steered’ along non-party political lines.. Heads of industry and leaders of Trades Unions addressed the meetings and maverick MPs on both sides have given support as well as those following the ‘party line’.

Over the years Holloway lectured to hundreds of audiences including fifth and sixth forms at many of the leading public schools, the RAF, Navy etc. His publications included:

money matters holloway cover“Money: The Decisive Factor”, 1959

“Inflation and the Function of Monetary Policy in Britain”,1971 and

“Honest Money: The Case for a Currency Commission”,1976.

“How Guernsey Beat The Bankers”, pamphlet1981

“Government Debt and Credit Creation”, 1981 See

“Money Matters”, posthumously, 1986.

Jim Bourlet became Edward Holloway’s successor as Hon Secretary of the Economic Research Council in 1985 when he unexpectedly died at the age of 79.

Bourlet writes that “Money Matters”, an autobiographical account recalls events from 1932 onwards when Edward co-ordinated a group of senior statesmen.

In the interwar years Edward organised meetings, established organisations, stood for Parliament, gave lectures in schools and universities and devoted his retirement years to the cause to the very end. John Maynard Keynes he respected but felt that he had befuddled the main issue. At the same time he saw Irving Fisher as mechanistic, and so he preferred the contributions of often lesser known writers such as Frederick Soddy (though not Major Douglas), as interpreters of monetary processes. Bourlet summarises:

”Edward knew that the first task was to gain widespread agreement on what constituted money creation. Bank lending to private individuals does, of course create debt and thus money. It seems almost incredible to us now that it took a mighty political effort to persuade the government to set up the Radcliffe Commission which, in 1959, insisted beyond argument that banks do indeed “create” money. Edward played a key role behind the scenes in all of that, and the result marked, I suggest, the highest achievement of his career”.


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