“Why is there no money left?”

Contents: Headlines in 2010 - Basic problem 1: interest - Basic problem 2: origin of the money - Consequence: a constant redistribution from poor to rich - Solutions! - Links

Headlines in 2010

Protest auf der Akropolis     Foto: Message of counterattack from the Acropolis rock, Communist Party of Greece

Since I currently do not follow any English-speaking newspapers I must refer to the Wikipedia article about the financial crisis of 2007 to the present, which also includes a lot of information on the situation in the European Union and Greece. This whole page is not an exact translation of the German original, but uses different quotations and gives different (and less!) recommendations for further reading.

Basic problem 1: Interest

Something must give when the mathematics of interest-bearing debt overwhelms the economy’s ability to pay. For awhile the growing debt burden may be met by selling off or forfeiting property to creditors, but an active public policy response is needed to save the economy’s land and natural resources, mines and public monopolies, physical capital and other productive assets from being lost to creditors.
From Michael Hudson’s Why the “Miracle of Compound Interest” leads to Financial Crises (2007)
$100 “invested” (or owed) at different interest rates
  1.00% 2.00% 3.00% 5.00% 7.00% 10.00%
10 years 110.46 121.90 134.39 162.89 196.72 259.37
20 years 122.02 148.59 180.61 265.33 386.97 672.75
30 years 134.78 181.14 242.73 432.19 761.23 1744.94
40 years 148.89 220.80 326.20 704.00 1497.45 4525.93
50 years 164.46 269.16 438.39 1146.74 2945.70 11739.09
60 years 181.67 328.10 589.16 1867.92 5794.64 30448.16
70 years 200.68 399.96 791.78 3042.64 11398.94 78974.70
80 years 221.67 487.54 1064.09 4956.14 22423.44 204840.02
90 years 244.86 594.31 1430.05 8073.04 44110.30 531302.26
100 years 270.48 724.46 1921.86 13150.13 86771.63 1378061.23
doubling in: < 70 y < 36 y < 24 y < 15 y < 11 y < 8 y
What happens when you lend out (“invest”) a certain sum of money at a certain interest rate? The amount of money grows, just as “on the other side“ the dept - and that happens exponentially! Here are some examples that I created with a spreadsheed application: what happens with $100, when you lend them (out) for a specific time at a certain interest rate?
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exponential functions
As you see $100, “invested” at a (up until recently) modest interest rate of 5%, would become more than $13,000 after 100 years. Calculating with an “annual rate of return” of 10%, like some investors and CEOs do, these $100 would have become $1.4 million! The doubling time, which is given in my table’s last row, is less than 8 years at an interest rate of 10%. If you know about binary numbers, like any mathematician or programmer would, you know the powers of two by heart, i.e. you know what repeated doubling means: times 2, times 4, times 8, times 16, times 32, times 64, times 128, times 256, times 512, times 1024 (after doubling 10 times), ... the growth “explodes“ and soon excesses any imaginable dimension.

Basic problem 2: Origin of the money / being forced into dept

The system of banking we have both equally and ever reprobated. I contemplate it as a blot left in all our constitutions, which if not covered, will end in their destruction, which is already hit by the gamblers in corruption, and is sweeping away in its progress the fortunes and morals of our citizens. [...] And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; and that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.
Tho­mas Jef­fer­son (1743-​1826), Third President of the United States, in a letter on republican government to philosopher John Taylor.
No Jobs Power The story The Ear­th Plus 5% written by the Australian Larry Han­nigan in 1971, strikingly explains why money at first was good for most people, but in the course of time made more and more of them fall into poverty. Thus our current money became the culprit for the worst of crimes, especially the constant wars. Incidentally it does not matter whether you see evil forces at work, as the story suggests, or if you consider it an unfortunate automatism of the money produced so far: the interest system’s repercussions described in the story and currently witnessed by us are real. When you click the link the the story you also get to hear the text, if your computer supports sound. If English is not your preferred language there is an extensive list of translations available (albeit without the audio version): Bulgarian, Catalan, Czech, Dansk, English, Español, Francais, German, Italian, Japanese, Latvian Malay, Indonesian, Polski, Portugues, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Turkish, Urdu.

Consequence: a constant redistribution from poor to rich

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The redistribution visualised
According to a combination of available data, estimates, and calculations more than 250 billion € are annually redistributed from the “poorer” 80% to the richest 20% of Germany´s population! The main argument in this calculation is: the interest the well-off receive has to be earned by someone and thus must be part of all the product prices. Today this interest component already amounts to an average of about 35% and when the assets (the capital) double (which is bound to happen at some point, as shown above) the interest component will have risen to more than 50% - of course only if no counter-measures are taken.
My redistribution calculator allows everyone to experiment with his or her own values for capital and interest!


Money requires the State, without a State money is not possible; indeed the foundation of the State may be said to date from the introduction of money.
Silvio Gesell in The Natural Economic Order (1920)

I chose this quote to show that the existing (i.e. produced by the European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, or their respective counterparts) money needs not be accepted as “natural”. In fact it is just an agreement between men, which can be cancelled or modified.


I pin a lot of hope on a new money like the “Freigeld” Silvio Gesell describes it his book The Natural Economic Order. The full text of the book seems to be available online in English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian.

Based on Silvio Gesell’s ideas (“on the shoulders of giants”) I developed the concept of an online market place with its own neutral money: freimarkt.org
I hope to be able to make this operational as soon as possible - or for someone else to implement the concept!

The ideas of and the motivations for the monetary reform proposed on this website are related to the ideas behind a basic income guarantee - so I conclude by “quoting” a pictogram the Pirate Party Berlin uses to advertise the basic income guarantee:

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Grundeinkommen-Piktogram der Berliner Piratenpartei
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