Kennedy's Contents Home Guestbook Some other texts about moneyreform


Who Would Profit from a New Monetary System?
INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIAL CHANGE seems to happen for three 
basically different reasons:
 (1) because a breakdown due to a particular pattern of 
behaviour has occurred, i.e., in order to avoid 
another occurrence;
(2) because a breakdown due to a particular pattern of 
behaviour may occur, i.e., in order to avoid the 
(3) because another pattern of behaviour seems more 
adequate in order to achieve the desired result.
The change in the monetary system proposed in the 
last chapter may happen for any one, any combination, 
or all of the above reasons:
(1) In the past, the cancerous accumulation of wealth 
has been dissolved regularly by social 
revolutions, wars and economic collapse. The 
unprecedented economic interdependency of all 
nations today and the multifold potential for 
global destruction renders this kind of conflict resolution mechanism 
unacceptable. We are forced to search for new 
solutions to avoid another war, social revolution 
or economic collapse.
(2) According to many specialists in the field of 
economics and banking the 1987 stock market 
crash in which $1.5 trillion vanished within a few 
days was only a small ripple compared to the 
imminent danger of a worldwide second Great 
Depression, which is likely to happen if we don't 
introduce fundamental change within the next 
few years. (18) Changing the monetary system 
now offers one possibility for avoiding the 
enormous human and material costs of such a 
(3) Whether or not we can see that every exponential 
growth curve eventually leads to its own 
destruction, the advantages of the change to a 
new monetary system are so evident in terms of 
social and environmental equity that this path 
should be chosen simply because it is a better 
one than what we have at present.
 However, the main problem in any transformation 
process is not so much that we want to stay where we are 
or that we don't see the advantages of where we want to 
be. It is more: How do we get from here to there, from 
this trapeze to the one over there, without endangering 
our lives?
 In order to make it easier to see how this 
transformation could assist in reaching the goals of 
many very different social groups, let us take a closer 
look first at the flaws in the monetary system and then at 
the advantages of a new monetary system for the rich and the poor, 
governments and individuals, minorities and the 
majority, industrialists and environmentalists, materially 
oriented people and spiritually oriented people. The 
interesting fact which emerges is that, at this particular 
point in time, in this crisis situation which we have 
created for ourselves, everybody would be better off with 
a new monetary system. We all are in a win-win situation 
if we implement the necessary change. But we need to 
do it soon.


 Up to this point of the analysis we have dealt with 
facts and figures which anyone can verify. From now on 
we are dealing with "educated guesses," based on 
experiences in the past. The accuracy of these predictive 
guesses will have to be validated by real-life examples.
The question, therefore, arises: why would any 
region or country opt for trying out, and serving as a 
testing ground, for a new monetary system?
If our analysis has been correct so far, then the 
proposed solution offers among other things the 
following main benefits:
 (1) the elimination of inflation;
 (2) the increase of social equity;
 (3) decreasing unemployment;
 (4) the lowering of prices by 30-50%;
 (5) an initial economic boom;
 (6) and thereafter a stable economy. 


 In most countries, the monopoly to print money rests 
in the hands of the central government. Any trial run of 
the new money system, therefore - even on a smaller 
regional scale - would have to be supported by the 
government. Obviously the introduction of an 
interest-free money would be a highly political issue. It 
takes courage for any government to admit that a system 
of such inequity has been tolerated so far. On the other 
hand, it is clearly very difficult for most people to see 
why a "fee" on money is a better solution than interest.
At present government leaders, politicians, bankers 
and economists try to respond to the problems which are 
caused by the basic flaws in the monetary system by 
treating symptoms and offering band-aid solutions. In 
election campaigns there are regular promises to combat 
inflation, to improve social services and to support 
environmental concerns and conservation issues.
 The truth of the matter is that they are fighting with 
their backs to the wall, and that the situation is not 
improving but rather deteriorating, as we come closer to 
the acceleration phase of the exponential growth curve 
of the monetary system. Instead of improvements in the 
social and environmental sectors, budget cuts force a 
deterioration. Whether politicians belong to the 
conservative or progressive wing, the room for real 
change in the present system is small indeed.

Figure 8

Figure 8 implies why this happens. In any highly 
diversified economy one sector is intimately connected 
with another. If we take away more than its share from 
one sector, we are bound to cause trouble - not only there -
but also in others. If government debts and interest rise,
more money flows to the owners of monetary wealth. At
the same time, those who work have less money to con-
sume. This, in turn, causes market fluctuations with in-
fluences on employment opportunities. Governments
which increase debts in order to close gaps in their in-
come invariably increase the "problem chain." The new
money system would help to reduce the disproportion-
ate rise in debts as well as the concentration of money-
wealth and would secure the steady exchange of goods and
services on a free market.
 If we think that the situation seems difficult in indus-
trialized countries, we must look at Third world coun-
tries which carry the worst consequences of the present-day
system. While large American and German banks are in-
creasing their reserves to be prepared for the fiscal break-
downs of their debtors in industrially developing countries,
industrialized countries continue to import capital from
developing countries. By exporting new loans to help pay
off old ones, they prolong and magnify the international
debt crisis. That this trend must change has been shown
clearly in the report of the UN World Commission on
Environment and Development entitled "Our Common
Future." It also proves that the seemingly separate crises
of the world's economy and the planet's ecology are, in
fact, one.
 Ecology and economy are becoming ever more interwoven
 - locally, regionally, nationally, and globally- into a seam-
less net of causes and effects ... Debts that they cannot pay
force African nations relying on commodity sales to over
use their fragile soils, thus turning land to desert ...
The production base of other developing world areas suffers 
similarly both from local failures and from the workings of 
international economic systems. As a consequence of the 'debt 
crisis' of Latin America, that region's natural resources are now 
being used not for development but to meet financial 
obligations to creditors abroad.
 This approach to the debt problem is short-sighted from 
several standpoints: namely, economic, political, and 
environmental. It requires relatively poor countries 
simultaneously to accept growing poverty while exporting 
growing amounts of scarce resources.
 Inequality is the planet's main 'environmental' problem; it is 
also its main 'development' "problem." (20)
By now according to Mr. Herrhaus, manager of the 
largest German bank (Deutsche Bank): "the structure 
and dimension of the problem defies traditional 
problem- solving techniques." (21)

Figure 9

 Those who operate the present money system know 
that it cannot last, but either do not know or do not want 
to know about a practical alternative. Figure 9 gives at 
least one explanation. Compared to the Gross National 
Product and the increase in debt, the banks have earned a 
disproportionate share of the national wealth. This is in 
part connected with lower interest rates which offer 
better profits for banks, but also to the increased 
speculation with money, leading to an increase in 
brokerage fees. The bankers with whom I have discussed 
this issue did not know of the alternative. After I 
explained it, they often felt that they could not pass the 
knowledge on without endangering their jobs.
Banks are not interested in an open discussion of how
the interest system works, unless they take a long- term 
view. At present, they behave rather to the contrary. 

Figure 10

Figure 10 demonstrates some misleading headlines 
which can be found in advertisements of banks in 
magazines and newspapers all over the world. Money- 
banks say- should "grow," "increase," "multiply." Most 
often, they try to impress people with the idea that 
money should "work" for them. However, nobody has 
ever seen money working. Work has always been done 
by people with or without machines.
 These advertisements conceal the fact that every DM 
or dollar which goes to the investor of money is the 
accomplishment of another person from whom this 
amount is being taken away, no matter in which way that 
might happen. In other words, people who work for their 
money are getting poorer at the same rate at which the 
investment of those who own money doubles. That is the 
whole mystery of how money "works," which banks do 
not like to have uncovered.
 In my experience, those who should be aware of the 
problem and the solution through their education, i.e., 
economists are afraid of being branded as "radicals." 
Indeed, by supporting interest-free money, they would 
be trying to get at the root (in Latin = radix) of one of 
the world's most pressing economic problems.
Two of the great personalities of this century, Albert 
Einstein and John Maynard Keynes clearly saw the 
importance of Gesell's monetary reform ideas. Keynes 
actually stated in 1936 that "the future would learn more 
from the spirit of Gesell than from Marx." (22)
This future, however, has not started as yet; although 
bankers and economists do not need to be terribly 
farsighted to recognize that a new money system would 
enable them to resolve the central dilemma which they 
have been wrestling with for decades. Instead, as 
economic historian John L. King states in his book On 
the Brink of the Great Depression II:
 Their number-crunching and computerized formulas have 
proven to be wildly irrelevant and thus their predictions have 
become famously wrong. It's as though we have educated these 
people beyond their capacities to think. (23)
 My observation is, that in contrast to most engineers, 
economists do not really understand the danger incurred 
in exponential growth. They may recognize its danger in 
the proliferation of AIDS or in the "population 
explosion." In their own field, however, they seem 
almost blind, and naively confident that symptomatic 
treatment, here and there, will prove sufficient to slow 
down the danger.
 Governments introducing monetary reform soon 
would go a long way towards securing social equity, 
ecological survival and curing the money diseases which 
have plagued the so-called "free market economies" for 


 The possibility to invest and produce without having 
to pay interest would not only lower the prices for these 
goods and services in the regions or countries which 
introduce the new money system, but also create an 
enormous advantage for industries and products competing 
on the national or world market. Whatever the going 
interest rate, products and services could be sold that 
much cheaper. This would result in a fast economic 
boom in the regions introducing interest-free money 
 A disadvantage could be seen in this change as being a 
threat to the environment. However, apart from the 
possibility of creating a better system of taxation (as 
described above), we might look at the following 
 Many products and services which at present cannot 
compete with the money-making power of money on the 
money market would suddenly become economically 
feasible. Among these would be many ecological 
products, social projects and artistic endeavours which 
often would be carried out if they could just "break 
even." This would result in a more diversified and stable 
economic base, which is anything but threatening to the 
Unemployment rates would drop when economic 
activities blossom, decreasing the need for social 
security payments, ever larger bureaucracies and higher 
 If introduced in a particular region, there would have 
to be an automatic low cost exchange rate to facilitate 
trade between this region and other regions in the 
country. Until the whole country would adopt the new 
money system, certain regulations might have to be 
established to prevent speculative exchange deals.
If introduced in a whole country, trading with foreign 
countries would continue as it does today. There would 
still be an ordinary exchange rate. Comparatively 
speaking, however, the "stable money" would attract 
higher exchange rates over the years in comparison with 
other currencies, because it would not be subject to 
devaluation through inflation. Therefore, investments in 
this money could be quite advantageous in comparison 
with fluctuating currencies such as the dollar at present.
As in the case of Wörgl described previously (see 
Chapter 2) - it would be possible even for two monetary 
systems to exist side by side. We could keep the one we 
have at present and introduce the new money, even in a 
smaller region or town. According to Gresham's Law, 
"bad" money displaces "good" money. What we are newly 
creating here is - in his sense - "bad" money - money 
which is subject to a use fee unlike the present money. 
Wherever people can 
pay with the "bad" money, they will pass it on - and 
they will hold on to the "good" money. Thus the new 
money will be used wherever possible, which is exactly 
what we want. The old money will be kept and used to 
the extent necessary. Therefore, introduced as an 
experiment in a specific region in the beginning, the 
proposed money system could also co-exist with our 
present system until it had proven its usefulness. Who 
else would benefit from a new monetary system?


 One of the critical questions which is always asked 
by people who begin to understand the effectiveness of 
the hidden redistribution mechanism in our present 
money system is: Will those 10% of the population who 
profit from this mechanism at present allow any change 
which might eliminate their chances to extract a 
work-free income from the large majority of people?
The historic answer is: Of course not, unless they are 
forced by those who pay. The new answer is: Of course 
they will, if they become aware of the fact that "the 
branch on which they are sitting grows on a sick tree" 
and that there is a "healthy alternative tree" which is not 
going to collapse sooner or later. The second means 
social evolution, the soft path. The first means social 
revolution, the hard path.
 The soft path offers rich people the chance of 
keeping the money they have gained through interest. 
The hard path will invariably lead to sizable losses.
The soft path means no accusation because of profits 
from interest, until we introduce the new money system, 
since their behaviour has been totally within their legal 
rights. The hard path of social revolution may well be 
more painful.
 The soft path means no more interest earning money 
but a stable currency, lower prices and, possibly, lower 
taxes. The hard path means growing insecurity, 
instability, higher inflation, higher prices, and higher 
 So far my experience with people in the "richest 10% 
category" has been that they are neither fully aware of 
how the interest system really operates, nor that there 
are any practical alternatives. With few exceptions, they 
would tend to opt for security rather than more money, 
since they mostly have enough for themselves and 
sometimes for many generations to come.
 The second question is: What happens if the rich 
transfer their money to other countries where they get 
interest, instead of putting it into their savings account 
where it retains its value but it does not accumulate 
 The answer is that within a very short period after the 
introduction of the reform, they may do just the 
opposite. Because the margin of profit between what 
people gain in other countries from interest after they 
deduct inflation would most likely be about the same as 
the increase in value of the new money in their own 
country which is not subject to inflation.
In fact, the danger may be precisely the other way 
around. What we may create is a "Super-Switzerland" 
with a stable currency and a booming economy. For 
several years in Switzerland, investors even had to pay 
interest in order to leave their money in a bank account. 
In contrast, the U.S.A. offered the highest interest rates 
in the early Reagan era and attracted surplus money from 
all over the world and soon had to devalue the dollar 
drastically in order to meet its obligations to creditors 
abroad. At 15 % interest, the U.S.A. would have had to 
repay about twice the amount invested by foreign lenders 
after 5 years. There was no way in which this could have 
been achieved had the dollar been kept at its original 
value. One further consequence of this policy was that 
the U.S.A. changed from being the largest creditor to 
being the largest debtor nation in the world within a time 
span of only eight years.
 The huge amount of speculative money which is 
estimated to be as high as $50 billion - circulating the 
world from one banking center to the next in search of 
profitable investment - shows that there is a shortage of 
sensible investment opportunities rather than a shortage 
of money. This would change, in any region or country, 
which by introducing interest-free money created a 
booming, and finally stable and diversified economy. 
Chances are that surplus money from outside would be invested here 
rather than that surplus money from inside would leave 
the region.
 In many ways, it would be more profitable for rich 
people to help monetary reform to happen and to 
support a stable system rather than to support growing 
instability and risk the inevitable crash.
A third question concerning the richest 10% of the 
population relates to those who live on their capital and 
are too old to work. What happens to them if interest is 
 An example taken from Germany (in terms of average 
interest and inflation rates) shows that those who can 
live off their interest now can live off their capital at 
least for one, if not for two or more, generations. If we 
assume capital assets of 1,000,000 DMarks, an average 
interest rate of 7 % and an average rate of inflation of 3 
%, the gross income amounts to 40,000 DMarks per 
year, without depleting the capital.
 In the new money system we abolish interest and 
inflation, thereby reducing the prices of all goods and 
services as well as taxes by about 40%. This means that 
this person needs a gross income of 24,000 DMarks per 
year in order to keep the same standard of living as in 
the present system. If we divide 1,000,000 by 24,000, 
we see that this person could live for 40 years off her or 
his capital.
 The point of this example is that almost anybody who 
can at present live off their own capital will also be able 
to live off their capital if we change the monetary 
 Among the richest 10% of the population in terms of 
wealth are those with assets over one million DMarks. 
But there are some who gain more than one million DMarks 
from their interest every day. According to official 
sources, (24) the daily income of the Queen of England, 
the richest woman in the world, was 700,000 pounds 
(roughly two million DMarks) in 1982. Although neither 
the Queen nor firms like Siemens, Daimler-Benz and 
General Motors have much official power, their 
ownership of money is, in fact, unofficial power. 
Scandals concerning the pay-offs by leading industries 
financing political parties in Germany, the U.S.A. and 
other western countries have demonstrated that all 
democracies are endangered where the monetary 
re-distribution mechanism is allowed to proliferate. As 
time goes on, those who think that they live in 
democracies will live at best, in oligarchies or at worst, 
under fascist regimes. In medieval times, people thought 
they were badly off when they paid tithes: a tenth of their 
income or produce to the feudal landlord. In this respect, 
they were better off than we are nowadays. Today, more 
than one third of each DM or dollar goes to service 
capital. Those who gain most are the super rich, 
multinationals, big insurance companies and banks.
The question is whether we are finally willing to 
comprehend the social injustice that is caused by our 
present money system and change it or whether we wait 
until a major world-wide economic or ecological 
breakdown, war or social revolution occurs. As there is 
no way in which single individuals or small groups alone 
can change the monetary system, we must try to bring 
together those who understand how it can be changed 
with those who have the power to change it. It should be 
clear that:
  - there can be no accusation of those who, at present, 
    profit from the interest system as this is totally within 
    their legal rights;
  - what can be stopped, however, is the continual ongoing 
    extraction out of a without work; 
  - there should be no given economy of money regulation as to where or how  
    money may be invested in the future by those who have 
    more than they need. If they are intelligent, they will 
    keep it in the country anyway, which would create a 
    new economic boom by abolishing the interest system.

Figure 11


 Would the poor also benefit from a new money system? If 
resources were averaged, every German household in 1986 
would have a private fortune of 90,000 DMarks. This would 
have been a splendid proof of our prosperity if it were evenly 
distributed. The ugly reality is that one half of the population 
owned 4% of that wealth and the other half, 96% (Figure 11). 
More exactly, the wealth of 10% of the population grows 
continually at the cost of all others.

This explains why, for instance, lower middle-class families 
in Germany increasingly seek financial support from social 
welfare agencies. Unemployment and poverty are growing in 
spite of a sizable welfare system set up to overcome both.
The largest factor in the redistribution of wealth is 
interest which transfers daily millions of DMarks from 
those who work to those who own capital. Although most 
governments try to rectify the resulting imbalance through taxation, the 
result is nowhere near a balance. In addition, the costs
of growing bureaucracies are affecting everybody 
through increased taxes. The human costs in terms of 
time and energy, plus the humiliation involved in getting 
through the "red tape," are seldom if ever taken into 
 The absurdity of a monetary system which robs 
people first of their fair share in the "free market 
economy" and then - through some of the most 
inefficient procedures imaginable - returns some of this 
money in the form of welfare payments to the same 
people, has rarely been exposed by the "experts" nor 
been discussed in public. As long as those 80% of the 
people who pay don't understand how they pay, could it 
be otherwise?

Figure 12

 A practical comparison of rising interest rates and 
increasing bankruptcies in business and industry, as well 
as unemployment rates following with a time-lag of 
about two years (Figure 12) provides another compelling 
argument for the introduction of an interest-free 
monetary system. Also, social costs like alcoholism, 
families breaking up and increases in criminal behaviour 
are additional costs which are not taken into account in 
the above statistics but could be effectively reduced by 
the monetary reform.

Figure 13

 If we look at the dilemma of Third World countries 
(Figure 13), we see our own situation through a 
magnifying glass. It is like a caricature of what happens 
in industrially developed countries, due to the same 
structural fault in the monetary system. However, the 
difference is that industrially developed countries as a 
whole, profit while the developing countries pay. Every 
day we receive $300 million in interest payments from 
Third World countries: that is, twice the amount of the "development aid" 
which we give them.

Figure 14

 Of the Third World countries' total debt of one 
trillion dollars in 1986, about one third was lent in order 
to repay interest on previous loans. There is no hope that 
these countries will ever be able to pull out of the 
situation without a major crisis or fundamental policy 
change. If war means hunger, starvation and death, social 
and human misery, we are right in the middle of the 
"Third World War" (Figure 14). It is an undeclared war. It 
is a war fought with usurious interest rates, manipulated 
prices and unfair trade conditions. It is a war which 
forces people into unemployment, sickness and criminal 
behaviour. Do we have to tolerate this indefinitely?
There is no doubt that those who are at present worse 
off in the monetary system we have created account for 
more than half of the world's population. The situation in 
the Third World would change momentarily if their 
debts were to be written off partially or totally by lender 
nations and banks. This is often advocated by progressive 
economists and, in fact, is already happening. However, 
unless the basic flaw in the money system is abolished, 
the next crisis is pre-programmed. Therefore, one of the 
important steps for a more stable economic system on a 
world-wide scale is to make known among those who 
would undoubtedly gain most - the poor and the 
developing countries - that an alternative system could 
be chosen. 


Many of the great political and religious leaders such 
as Moses, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Luther, Zwingli and 
Gandhi have tried to reduce social injustice by 
prohibiting interest payments. They understood the 
cause of the problem. However, they did not come up 
with a practical solution, and thus, the basic flaw in the 
system remained unchanged. The prohibition of interest 
payments in the Christian world by the Popes during the Middle Ages in 
Europe, for instance, just shifted the problem to the 
Jews, who became, at that time, the leading bankers of 
Europe. While the Jews were not allowed to take interest 
from each other, they could do so from the Gentiles. In 
Islam, people do not pay interest for a loan, but the 
lending banks or individuals become shareholders in 
their business and take part of the ensuing profits. In 
some cases this may be better - in others worse - than 
paying interest.
 Nowadays the Christian churches and charitable 
organizations exhaust their followers with calls for 
donations to alleviate the worst social problems in 
industrially developed and developing countries. This 
remains symptomatic treatment as long as the systemic 
fault in our monetary system continues.
What is needed instead is the dissemination of 
information and an open discussion about the effects of 
the present monetary system and the solution in terms 
of monetary reform.
 In Latin America, for instance, the Catholic Church 
is split between the conservative top hierarchy tending 
towards the western model of capitalism and the progres
sive base which is oriented towards the communistic model.
The historic opportunity now is to present an interest-
free economy as a third type of solution which is to be
found neither in communism nor in capitalism but tran-
scends both. It would go farther in providing social jus-
tice than any aid program. It would create a stable economy
and offer the churches significant assistance in their ef-
forts to bring peace to this earth.
In spiritual terms everything we find in the outside
world is a reflection of our own inner selves, our belief
systems, our wishes and our thoughts. A transformation
of the outer world, therefore, requires a transformation
of the inner world. One without the other is not possible.
The proliferation of esoteric knowledge and skills in
many parts of the world indicates a profound shift in con-
sciousness of an increasingly larger number of people.
Their work on inner change provides the basis for outer
change. Without this work a peaceful transformation of
the monetary system may be impossible. Therefore, a great
responsibility rests with those who serve humanitarian
goals and are aware of the practical possibilities of mon
etary reform as one aspect of global transformation.


 In an interest and inflation free economy the prices
of goods and services would be regulated, as in today's
capitalist societies, by supply and demand. What would
change, however, is the distortion of the "free market"
by the interest mechanism.

Figure 15

 On average, every workplace in the German industry
carries a debt load of DM 70-80,000 (> $35-40,000). 
Interest alone makes up as much as 23 % of the average 
labor costs (25) (see Figure 15). To the share of interest on 
borrowed capital must be added the interest share on the 
firm's own capital. The latter orients itself along the 
same interest rate as the former. This is why debts 
increase about two to three times faster than the 
economic productivity of the country (see Figure 5). The 
proportion is constantly getting worse for those who 
work and for those who want to start a business.
 We are witnessing increasing concentration in the 
industrial sector. Small businesses and industrial firms 
are being bought up by larger ones and larger ones are 
being bought up by even larger ones, until one day 
almost everybody in the so-called "free market 
economies" may work for a multi-national corporation. 
This development receives its impetus from the 
so-called "economies of scale" and from automation of 
larger industrial firms, but also from the surplus money 
gained by these businesses on the money market. 
Siemens and Daimler-Benz in Germany, for instance, 
earn more money through investments in the capital 
market than in the production sector. In fact, they have 
been characterized in the German press as large banks 
with a production front.
 In contrast, smaller and medium-sized firms in order 
to expand usually have to borrow money and, therefore, 
are trapped in the interest and compound interest 
system. They can not capitalize on the economies of 
scale, and they cannot capitalize on capital.
Up to now our economy depends on capital. The 
German industrial representative, Mr. Schleyer, once 
said fittingly: "Capital must be served!" But in the new 
monetary system capital would be designed to serve the 
needs of the economy. It would have to offer itself to 
avoid penalty, i.e., it must serve us!


 Because of the devastating effects of interest on our 
agricultural system, farming provides a particularly good 
case for a new money system. Agriculture is an industry 
based on ecology. In general, ecological processes 
follow a natural growth curve (Curve A in Figure 1) 
Industrial processes must follow the exponential growth 
curve of interest and compound interest, at present 
(Curve C in Figure 1). Since nature cannot be made to 
increase like capital, the industrialization of agriculture 
has created threatening problems for our survival.
In the first phase of industrialization, farmers bought 
bigger and better machinery. Then bigger farmers bought 
up smaller farms to become even larger, with the help of 
government subsidies and tax incentives. Then the signs 
of sickness began to appear and multiply: the depletion 
and pollution of water supplies; fertile soils becoming 
like dried-out and compacted deserts; the loss of more 
than 50% of all species; the overproduction of special 
items which could only be sold with more government 
subsidies; hybrid produce which is tasteless and 
poisonous; total reliance on oil for transportation, 
artificial fertilizers, insecticides, pesticides; vanishing 
rain-forest to supply packaging materials for long hauls 
between the places of production, storage, processing, 
selling and consuming. 
 While interest is only one factor contributing to this 
development, introduction of an interest-free money 
system would be of particular importance for this 
societal sector which secures our survival. Interest-free 
loans, combined with land and tax reforms (see Chapter 2 
), might allow a larger number of people than presently 
expected to return to the land. Together with new 
methods of sustainable agriculture, we may witness the 
evolution of a different lifestyle, combining work and 
leisure, hand and "brain" work, high and low technology, 
to serve a more holistic approach to individual, 
agricultural and social de


 When we talk about economic growth, measured in 
the percentage increase of the GNP and compared to 
previous years, we usually forget that this increase is 
related to a larger amount every year. Thus, 2.5 % 
growth today is, in fact, four times as much as 2.5% 
growth during the 1950s (Figure 16).

Figure 16
 Why politicians, industrialists and union leaders still 
call for measures to boost economic growth is easily 
explained: During phases of decreasing growth rates, 
the discrepancy between income from capital and labor 
or the redistribution of wealth from labor to capital 
becomes more severe. This means increasing social and 
ecological problems and economic and political 
 Continual economic growth, however, results in the 
depletion of natural resources. That means, in the 
present monetary system, we have a choice between 
ecological or economic collapse. In addition, the concentration of money
in the hands of fewer people and large multi-national cor-
porations creates a constant pressure for large scale
investments, e.g., atomic power plants, huge dams for hy-
droelectric power, and arms. From a purely economic
angle, the U.S.A. and Europe are displaying politically
contradictory behavior. Installing bigger and better weap-
ons against Russia on the one hand, and sending butter,
wheat and technological know-how to Russia on the other,
made perfect economic sense: Military production is the
only area where the "saturation" point can be postponed
indefinitely as long as "the enemy" is equally able to de-
velop faster and better weapons. Profits in the military
sector are far greater than any profits made in the civil-
ian sectors of our economy.
 As long as every investment has to compete with the
money-making power of money on the money market,
most ecological investments, aimed at creating sustain-
able systems (i.e., stopping quantitative growth at an
optimal level), will be difficult to implement on a larger
scale. Today, people who have to borrow money for eco-
logical investments usually lose - economically. If inter-
est could be abolished they might at least break even,
although the difference from other investments (e.g., in
the arms business) would still remain the same.
Let us take an investment in solar collectors as an ex-
ample. If we can expect only a 2 % return on our money,
it would be economically unwise to invest in this other-
wise sensible, ecological technology for producing hot
water, since our money in a bank might pay a 7 % return.
A change in the monetary system would provide people
with a chance at least to break even if they invest in the 
maintenance and improvement of the biological basis of 
life. This would create a very different impetus for 
individuals and groups to engage themselves in 
conservation measures and ecologically sound 
 Even the volume of economic activities would be 
more easily adjusted to real needs. Since high capital 
returns in order to pay off interest would not be needed 
any more, the pressure on overproduction and 
overconsumption would be considerably reduced. Prices 
could be reduced by 30 to 50% which pays for highly 
capital intensive technology. In theory, people would 
need to work only half of the time in order to keep the 
same standard of living.
 Within the new monetary system, quantitative growth 
would most likely be changed into qualitative growth. 
People would have a choice of leaving their new money 
in a savings account where it would keep its value, or 
investing it in glass, china, furniture, art work or a 
solidly built house, which would keep their respective 
values. They might well opt for those investments which 
would enrich their daily lives. However, the higher the 
quality demanded, the more it would be produced. Thus 
we could expect a total revolution of values, which 
would almost certainly effect cultural and environmental 
issues. Many investments in art and ecological 
technologies would be able to compete given a "stable" 
money and sustainable way of life, and pay without 
making large profits. Thus art and ecology would soon 
become "economically feasible." 


 Why do so few women operate in the money sphere?
Whether on the stock market or within the banking world,
this is still a man's realm and exceptions only seem to prove
the rule. I have ascertained from a fairly long-standing
experience with women's issues and women's projects that
most women intuitively feel that there is something wrong
with this money system, although, like men, they do not
clearly know what is wrong.
 Women's fierce fight for equality, which is also largely
an economic issue, has made them resentful about pro-
cesses that produce inequity, like the money game. Most
women understand experientially that whatever somebody
gains without work, i.e., through interest and compound
interest, somebody else has to work for it. The latter (in
many cases) will be female. Of that half of the popula-
tion which owns only 4% of the total wealth (Figure 11),
the majority are women.
 Women overwhelmingly carry the load of the economic
chaos and social misery caused by the present money sys-
tem everywhere in the world. The introduction of a new
money system which serves as a "technically improved
barter system" may well change their lot dramatically. For
this reason, I expect a high percentage of women to be
among the main movers for a more equitable exchange
medium. They understand what it means to be exploited.
Following the conversion, they may well get involved in
banking and investing to a much larger extent. This would
happen because they would understand that it would be
a life-enhancing rather than destructive system in which
they would operate. Last but not least, this money 
system fits their concept of power much better.
Men are used to the hierarchical model of power with 
an almighty top and a powerless base. Whoever gets a 
chunk of the cake leaves less for the others. It's a 
win/lose situation.
Women more often experience power as an infinitely 
expandable concept. Whenever someone adds power to a 
group, the whole group becomes more powerful. It's a 
win-win situation.
 A monetary system which expands with growing 
needs but stops when these needs have been met almost 
automatically creates a win-win situation for everybody 
in the long run. Even in the short run, in a crisis 
situation, which is what we are in right now.
What women will want most for themselves and their 
children is that, instead of another of the hard 
revolutionary transitions which have caused such an 
endless amount of human misery in the past, the change - 
if it could happen before the crash - would provide a soft 
evolutionary transition.