Switzerland’s Vollgeld initiative
In June Fran Boait of Positive Money wrote about sister organisations making progress and pushing the message into the mainstream media, adding that new campaigns are being set up by people from all over the world – most recently in India and Bulgaria.
The International Movement for Money Reform is a global movement to democratise money so that it works for society and not against it. It is taking off in several countries (below) Australia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, France, Finland, Greece, India, Germany, Israel, Iceland, Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Greece, New Zealand, Sweden, UK, Puerto Rico, Spain, Switzerland, Ireland.
“Just over six years ago, at the height of the crisis in 2007/08, the booklet “Creating New Money” by Joseph Huber and James Robertson was translated into German. At that time we decided to start a sovereign money (Vollgeld) initiative in Switzerland”.
By November the “Vollgeld Initiative” had successfully managed to collect 100,000 signatures – the number required to trigger a nationwide referendum on the issue. The Swiss population will be the first in the world to vote on their banking and monetary system, thanks to the tireless efforts of a pro-Sovereign Money campaign.
The signatures were formally delivered to the Swiss Parliament on 1st December and under the Swiss Federal Constitution, if a petition gathers at least 100,000 signatures within 18 months, a referendum is held on the issue a few years later.
The Vollgeld Initiative proposal, which aims at granting the Swiss National bank the exclusive power to create new money, is similar to the one Positive Money UK is advocating. The official website of the initiative summarises it:
“In a nutshell, the proposal extends the Swiss Federation’s existing exclusive right to create coins and notes, to also include deposits. With the full power of new money creation exclusively in the hands of the Swiss National Bank, the commercial banks would no longer have the power to create money through lending. The Swiss National Bank’s primary role becomes the management of the money supply relative to the productive economy, while the decision concerning how new money is introduced debt free into the economy would reside with the government”.
The success of the Swiss campaign is a major milestone for the growing international movement for monetary reform, which has already caught the attention of Reuters, which feeds the international media. However a lot of work remains to be done, says Raffael Wüthrich (below right):
“Our work doesn’t stop here. On the contrary, now, we have to convince the Swiss population of the importance of Vollgeld. We expect this will be an even greater challenge. As we don’t have a big sponsor so we have to be creative in the next years to reach the Swiss people with our messages.
“Thank you so much for your support! Please donate to our cause and help spread the message to help us make the most of this incredible opportunity” – (Ed: the site is not in English, so we hope another avenue for donations will be offered.)
Gavyn Davies of the Financial Times (macroeconomics, economic policymaking and financial markets) asks: “Could such an extraordinary step ever become conceivable? Clearly, if the newly printed money were piled into extra public expenditure, Corbyn-style, it would be implacably opposed by the political right”.
Cynically, he adds “But if it were used to finance tax cuts, with lower marginal rates for income and capital gains tax, it might gain some surprising converts”.
We prefer the constructive Vollgeld approach to ‘newly printed money’: the management of the money supply relative to the productive economy.