Proposal for an English edition of THE MONEY SYNDROME by Helmut Creutz


The majority of literature dealing with problems in the economy or associated fields, such as society and the environment, concentrates mainly on decisions made in economic, financial or political institutions and organizations and offers solutions on these planes. Little attention, however, is paid to money itself, which is usually taken for granted and only appreciated as a useful tool in everyday life. After all, what should be wrong with it? And yet, looking closely at various phenomena, at processes that don't develop as they are supposed to, it is almost always possible to find the root cause in a tiny flaw in the structure of this otherwise handy tool. The conflict arises from the contradiction between money as a medium of exchange and as a means for saving value. It cannot fulfill both functions at the same time. Getting storable money back into circulation, demands interest and compound interest.

For the first time The Money Syndrome offers a close analysis, giving meticulous evidence of the varying and extensive consequences that derive from this tiny flaw. The author investigates the dysfunctional effects of money, using the example of Germany's economy since World War II. He shows how, in the beginning, interest helps to accumulate the new capital necessary for developing a collapsed economy. Going on to present how, as the economy grows and capital accumulates, interest charges claim an increasing share of the national product. In Germany, monetary assets have doubled roughly every seven years, which amounts to an exponential increase. Since no economy can grow exponentially in the long run, the collapse of the whole system can be anticipated.

A variety of dysfunctional effects in different fields have accompanied the growing discrepancy between the financial economy and the real economy. At first glance, it is difficult to see a common link between such varied phenomena as environmental degradation and unemployment. A link can, however, be detected in the accelerating demands of capital that call for increasing profits by recklessly exploiting natural resources and the Third World, while at the same time cutting personnel costs in the production area. By looking closely at various phenomena, it can clearly be seen that the existing monetary order is a system doomed to strangle itself.

The basic problem was discovered and fully described by a man named Silvio Gesell about a hundred years ago. Renowned scientists such as John Maynard Keynes and Irving Fisher not only acknowledged his findings, but endorsed his proposals for a solution. Since Keynes' suggestion for a global reference currency "Bancor" was turned down at Bretton Woods, no significant change has occurred in the world's monetary system, with the EURO for example representing no fundamental change either. The Money Syndrome invites the reader to take a new look at the works of Gesell and Keynes by offering solid and full ranging evidence for the dysfunctional effects of the world's monetary system.

Coverage and Organization

The author, who has had more than thirty years professional experience in financing, economic calculations and viability testing, carried out his investigations for about twelve years before the first edition of The Money Syndrome was published. Through careful study and research he wanted to provide material that would withstand close scrutiny and present it in a way that would be comprehensible for anyone. He lucidly explains the economic terms and functions that surround money and shows his factual findings in numerous diagrams and graphs, using the example of Germany's economy since World War II. He then shows the various effects of our monetary system on a vast range of fields including agriculture, social instability, the degradation of the environment, the over-indebtedness of the Third World and a trend toward triggering wars. For the English edition, the author plans to further enrich the material, by including diagrams of other major industrial nations in order to highlight their similar developments in the monetary field.


Since mainstream economics still maintains a taboo on money as a topic, The Money Syndrome is designed to be a popular non-fiction book mainly aimed at a discriminating general audience. There does however seem to be a growing interest in the work of Gesell and Keynes on the part of national bankers as the following two working papers imply (both papers explicitly refer to S Gesell and J M Keynes):
  • Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, Willem H Buiter, Liquidity traps: how to avoid them and how to escape them (available from the Bank of England as PDF-file)
  • Marvin Goodfriend, Overcoming the Zero Bound on Interest Rate Policy, Working Paper (Marvin Goodfriend is Senior Vice President and Policy Advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank, Richmond, USA.)

Existing books

The majority of literature about money deals with topics concerning the infrastructure of money, i.e. banks, funds, and organizations like the IMF or WTO. There is practically no literature that deals with the circulation medium itself, its structure and the resulting implications. There is a growing number of books, however, that deal with alternative economies such as local exchange trading systems, barter rings and the like. Since the issuance of private money would clash with the legislation in most countries, these resort to alternative ways of banking, i.e. accounting.

The Money Syndrome is therefore unique among books on economic topics. There are three titles that it could be compared with:

  • Margrit Kennedy, Interest and Inflation Free Money. This book which was largely inspired by Helmut Creutz' work, can be seen as a more popular summary of The Money Syndrome. The fact that this book has been translated into eighteen languages up to now may indicate a growing worldwide interest in the topic.
  • Gero Jenner, Das Ende des Kapitalismus. Triumph oder Kollaps eines Wirtschaftssystems?, Frankfurt/M. 1999, Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag (in German only: The End of Capitalism. Triumph or Collapse of an Economic System?) While relying on data from Helmut Creutz' book as a standard work of reference, the author lays emphasis on international scale industrial and sociological effects.
  • Bernard Lietaer, The Future of Money, 2001, Random House. Impressed by a rapid worldwide increase in alternative methods of economy, such as local exchange trading and barter systems, he probes deeply into the psychological and sociological implications of money. As a former manager of the Belgian National Bank Lietaer also promotes an innovative global reference currency similar to Keynes' proposal of "Bancor".


Helmut Creutz

Born in 1923, in Aachen, Germany. From 1949 a Company Manager, since 1972 a freelance Architect and Author, and since 1982 an Economic Analyst. Engaged in anti-war-, environmentalist-, Third World-movements and a founding member of the Green party in Aachen and NRW. (a few more details about the author in German)


  • Gehen oder kaputtgehen - ein Betriebstagebuch, Franfurt/M. 1973, Fischer Verlag
  • Haken krümmt man beizeiten - Schultagebuch eines Vaters, 1977, Bertelsmann Verlag, [presented as 'Book of the Month' in German television]
  • - 1983 Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag (dtv) [newly revised edition]
  • Bauen, Wohnen, Mieten - Welche Rolle spielt das Geld, Hann Münden 1987, Gauke Verlag
  • Das Geldsyndrom - Wege zu einer krisenfreien Wirtschaft, München 1993, Langen-Müller/Herbig Verlag [1st edition hardcover]
  • - München 2001, Econ Verlag, [6th (5th paperback) edition]
  • Dieter Suhr, Werner Onken, Helmut Creutz (co-author), Wachstum bis zur Krise, Berlin 1986, Basis-Verlag

Since 1980 he has held more than 600 public lectures, and published many articles in magazines and newspapers. In 1990 he accepted a teaching position at the University of Kassel and over the years he has been suggested for the Alternative Nobel Prize a number of times.

General Background

The Money Syndrome favours a constructively critical look at economic phenomena and their interrelations with a variety of fields. The main feature of The Money Syndrome is, that it gives solid and comprehensive evidence of the dysfunctional effects of the existing monetary system which leaves no doubts about causes and effects. Thus it allows the reader to evaluate economic phenomena more precisely and is an inspiration for new viable solutions in vitally necessary areas.

CONTACT: For more information please refer to Robert Mittelstaedt