The conference “Our Money, Our Banks, Our Country” will take place at the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institut (GDI) in Rüschlikon near Zurich on 5th February 2018. The main theme of this will be Sovereign Money. Over the course of one day world-renowned international and Swiss experts will give presentations and debate the problems and possible solutions to our ailing banking and money systems. The list of speakers (including Martin Wolf of the Financial Times) and the full program are on the GDI website.
In the morning the experts will explain and analyse the problems of our current money system, and the afternoon will be dedicated to explaining and discussing the Sovereign Money system, and whether it is the right solution. Strong speakers both opposing and supporting the Sovereign Money Initiative have been invited to ensure a serious and lively debate.
Renowned Events Location near Zurich
The conference is being organised by the GDI together with CFA-Society Switzerland and the Global Interdependence Centre. All three organisations enjoy an excellent reputation amongst academics, business people and politicians. The fact that such organisations are hosting this event shows the need for a high level of discussion about the Sovereign Money Initiative.
Registration is via the GDI website. The ticket price is 650 CHF, with early bird bookings before 5th December 490 CHF and academics and students only 25 CHF.
The conference will take place in English with German and French translation.
Latest publications in English
The Background to the National Referendum on Sovereign Money in Switzerland 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. Published by MoMo, the organisation bringing the Swiss Sovereign Money Initiative
(Report, 16 pages, downloadable as PDF from the Vollgeld website. Hard copies also available to order.)
Would a sovereign money system be flexible enough? Some critics have argued that a sovereign money system, in which banks are unable to create money, would not be flexible enough to meet the needs of an economy. In response, this paper explains the range of policy options that mean that a sovereign money system can be as flexible – or inflexible – as authorities would like it to be. Published by Positive Money.
(Report, 19 pages, downloadable as PDF from the Positive Money website)
Would there be enough credit in a sovereign money system? Some economists, journalists and politicians have claimed that Sovereign Money proposals, in which banks are not permitted to create money, would result in the economy suffering from a shortage of credit. This report deconstructs the underlying assumptions behind the criticisms with empirical evidence and shows that stripping the banking sector of its ability to create money would not result in a shortage of credit. Published by Positive Money.
(Report, 37 pages, downloadable as PDF from the Positive Money website)
When's the referendum in Switzerland going to take place? A brief update
The earliest possible date is 10th June 2018, and the next possible date is 23rd September 2018.
Why isn’t it sooner?
The government and both houses of parliament as well must give their recommendations to voters, these recommendations being sent out along with the voting papers. To achieve this the Initiative is discussed in various committees to which experts are invited - all of which takes time. (They may also make suggestions for "counter proposals" to go on the ballot papers - which has not happened in this case).
What is the outcome of these discussions?
So far these discussions have, as expected, been dominated by “traditionalists” who have focused on what they perceive the possible downsides to be: banks won’t make money anymore from offering current accounts (but Switzerland has negative interest rates so they already don’t make money on current accounts now); the Swiss franc may have a less stable exchange rate (but under the Sovereign Money system there are more degrees of freedom to tackle problems such as exchange rate fluctuations compared with the current system); and Switzerland would be the guinea pig for an unproven system (true in current times, but remember the Sovereign Money system should be compared with the current system which is proven to result in build-ups of unsustainable debts and major financial crises. In earlier times most transactions were carried out using bank notes and coins issued by a national bank i.e. Sovereign Money systems predominated).
Surprisingly there was little discussion on the potential upside of money flowing to the national coffers when new money is brought into circulation – sums likely in the order of billions of Swiss francs.