Over the past few hundred years, Britain has moved from a gold-based currency based upon the physical metal, through to paper receipts claiming that that gold is stored in the vaults of a goldsmith, through to paper without backing, and now to electronic, debt-based money created by privately owned banks, on a whim.
What do I mean? The Bank Of England used to print many notes, and produce many coins, free of debt which people could exchange to pay for goods and services.
Now, most of those notes and coins over the past few decades have been replaced by electronic money, created by banks, issued as credit on which interest is owed. This has happened as people have liked the convenience electronic cards offer.
But what's the effect? Now, we pay an awful lot of interest on merely the cash in circulation, back to privately owned banks, who never created the wealth necessary to give that cash its value in the first place.
It amounts to a private tax.
This is not the sort of problem though to be solved on an online forum about freedom, but it is a forum in which it should be brought to light.
Set up a panel investigating social injustices of the financial system as it has evolved. Banking as it stands at the moment exists because a legal system is in place allowing it to grow and develop.
This panel should consist of those qualified to speak on the subject – for example academics, former banking employees who have less interest and pressure to support the system as it stands, and most of all, awareness of this issue should be significantly increased by finally encouraging a debate on the subject.
Why does this idea matter?
We live in an age where, clearly, banks are disproportionately enriched and those who produce the wealth to back the currency they issue are fraught increasingly with the instability and risk that those banks are not.
Our population, unknowingly for the most part, is paying what could be expressed as a private tax on the money in circulation, because the responsibility for issuing our currency has fallen, and will increasingly fall into, the hands of privately owned banks.
The solution is not necessarily putting currency generation into the hands of the government. It may be a return to a currency backed by real value.
By real value, I mean that the value that the money has is there in the first place. It is not issued first by fiat ("out of nothing"), the currency temporarily inflates (devalues) to compensate, then some people "out there" generate real wealth to back it.
It should have value first.
This is a complex subject, but it is high time it had a debate. And that debate should happen at a number of levels: between impartial experts in the field, and within the wider public by education and discussion. They should know the money system in which they float, it is only fair.