Dear Media Representatives,

Please note the press release below for the launch of the referendum campaign for the Sovereign Money Initiative. The referendum will take place on 10th June this year.

Best wishes,

Emma Dawnay
Tel. +44 7958458386 

Press release Thursday, 22nd March 2018

Who should create our Swiss francs?

Berne - The referendum campaign for the Sovereign Money Initiative is being presented in Berne today. The people bringing the initiative put a question to the Swiss voters: Who should be allowed to create our Swiss francs? Private commercial banks like UBS and CS in the interests of their shareholders? Or the Swiss National Bank in the interest of the country as a whole?

The Sovereign Money Initiative poses a very important question for Switzerland: Who can manufacture our Swiss francs - i.e. create money? Who is to be given this power and privilege, which, by implication, is also linked to social responsibility?  Who is to benefit from the creation of money and the billions in profits from it? Who should be allowed to exercise the huge power related to this?

Money rules the world - but who rules money?
The Sovereign Money Initiative launches a fundamental discussion about who is better placed to have the power and privilege of money creation to ensure the overall well-being of our country. Private commercial banks with their duty to maximise shareholder value and which are answerable to their shareholders around the world? Or an institution such as the Swiss National Bank, which has a constitutional mandate and is obliged by law to work for our country, and whose profits benefit everyone?” asks Dr. Reinhold Harringer from the initiative committee. The Sovereign Money Initiative aims to transfer the right to create money completely to the Swiss National Bank, as was actually envisaged after a referendum in 1891 on changes to the Federal Constitution.

The creation of money as a public service
The Sovereign Money Initiative advocates for a separation of powers in the monetary system: money creation by the Swiss National Bank. Lending by the private sector. The private commercial banks will continue to be responsible for lending, payment transactions and asset management. However, with the Sovereign Money Initiative, money becomes a public good, a public service, where the profit from producing this money will benefit the  general public - and not, as today, the shareholders and managers of big banks.

UBS and CS create most of our money
The two big banks UBS and CS produce around 50 percent of our electronic Swiss money (1). Today, 60-80 percent of UBS and CS shares are held by foreign investors. "It is unacceptable that foreign banks create our Swiss money," says economist and former banker Sergio Morandi, who is helping to organise the Sovereign Money campaign in Ticino. The creation of money by private banks leads to an erosion of Swiss sovereignty and, due to high associated debt, to a restriction of the political and social capacity to act.

The Sovereign Money Initiative: advantages for all
Today, commercial private banks generate 90 percent of the money in circulation, namely all electronic money – i.e. the numbers in our bank accounts (book money). Because banks combine making a profit with money production, they often create too much money, which leads to financial bubbles and currency devaluation. Moreover, electronic money is insecure because it - in contrast to cash - can disappear in financial crises when banks become bankrupt. With Sovereign Money, electronic money becomes as secure as cash in a safe, and society can no longer be blackmailed by banks which are "too big to fail". And fewer financial bubbles will arise because, with Sovereign Money, the National Bank can control the money supply again.

(1) Calculation of the share of money creation by different banking groups (in German): 

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions.  

Emma Dawnay
Tel. +44 7958458386 

Further information from today's media conference
Text of the presentations (translated into English)
Presentation slides 


What is sovereign money?

Sovereign money is full-value legal tender which is created and brought into circulation by public institutions, typically a central bank, rather than private banks. Currently coins and banknotes are the only forms of sovereign money available to the public. The money in people‘s bank accounts is neither sovereign money nor legal tender.

What is electronic money?

It‘s the numbers in bank accounts, also known as "book money". Currently the money in people‘s bank accounts is not created by the Swiss National Bank, but by private banks when they make loans. This "virtual" money on our bank accounts isn‘t legal tender, it‘s just a promise made by the banks to pay us cash and settle payments on our behalf, when requested. Legally it belongs to the bank, not to the holder of the bank account.

What is a Swiss people's initiative?

It's Switzerland’s system of direct democracy: if 100,000 people sign an official petition for a change to Switzerland’s written constitution, there has to be a binding national referendum on the proposed change.

Over 110,000 signatures supporting the Sovereign Money Initiative were formally handed over to the Swiss authorities in December 2015. The referendum on adopting a Sovereign Money system will be held in Switzerland on 10th June 2018.

General Information
The Background to the National Referendum on Sovereign Money in Switzerland (this 15 page booklet explains Sovereign Money, the Swiss system of direct democracy and gives the proposed changes to the text of the Swiss constitution as well as explanations and technical details)
Yes to the Swiss Sovereign Money Initiative: Campaign Messages

The Swiss Sovereign Money Initiative: Five questions with answers
The Swiss Sovereign Money Initiative: Answers to Criticisms

Scientific Advisory Board

Technical Studies on Sovereign Money

Articles and Interviews
The Cobden Centre in London has interviewed us about the Swiss Sovereign Money Initiative.
Further articles and press cuttings in English can be found on our website

The Sovereign Money Initiative was launched by the independent NGO Monetäre Modernisierung (MoMo).
The advisory board has 23 members including Philippe Mastronardi, Professor em. for PublicLaw, Sergio Rossi, Professor for Macroeconomics
and Monetary Economics and  Peter Ulrich, Professor em. for Business
Our mailing address is:
Postfach 3160
Wettingen 5430

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Vollgeld-Initiative · Postfach 3160 · Wettingen 5430 · Switzerland

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