It’s almost impossible for us to make a significant difference to environmental problems by installing solar panels or growing our own vegetables as long as we leave the debt-based money system unreformed.
While lending at interest was for centuries regarded as an evil, we take it so much for granted today that we actually pity people “unable” to burden themselves with vast debt. Consider much of the reporting of the ongoing decline in the housing market, and yesterday’s government interference in it. Some media coverage seems to suggest that the government’s initiative is designed to help individuals step onto the housing ladder. But are such individuals – anyway few in number – really so horribly deprived by being unable to tie themselves to an asset that, in all likelihood, will lose value?
Banks create loans out of thin air, by pressing a few keys on a computer. They do no work, and incur no risk. Borrowers, on the other hand, agree to work for years to repay the interest – effectively rendering themselves slaves to the bank for a certain time. (I’ve done it myself.) For these reasons, lending at interest – or usury – was for centuries reviled by every major religion and by great philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle. It’s still forbidden by Islam and when Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, talked recently about Britain learning from sharia law, there’s evidence to suggest that debt-free money was one of the things he had in mind.
This has always been obvious: an economy based on reckless growth to sustain its usury habit will put a price tag on every single thing on earth, sell them, destroy them, and then market plastic “undestroyed places” at luxury prices.