A Christian Banking System
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
– Matthew 6:10 ESV
Christians who follow Christ Jesus sincerely should be aware that they have a responsibility to improve the conditions of life on earth. Rather than simply accepting the existing systems, Christians are called upon to improve or replace those systems. Christians are responsible for manifesting God’s will on earth.
Made in the image of God, humans have a value that is greater than all the gold and silver in the world. Human value must become a standard principle of living. Christians are commanded to first love God and then to love their neighbor as they love themselves. Loving God is first, because in that Divine Love a new worldview is formed. It is only with this Christ-like worldview that Christians can fulfill the commandment to love others.
Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image. — Genesis 9:6 ESV
Today’s banking system and monetary policies shed the blood of man. The current global system steals the intrinsic value of human life and then lends that value back at a high interest rate.
Following is an article that I first published on my Substack platform. Value-based banking will flip the current system from oppression of human life to affirmation of human value. My fellow Christians must step up and mature into taking the responsibilities that Christ and God has commanded they fulfill.
(first published on edsharrow.substack with minor edits here)
To avoid another global banking and monetary collapse, citizens must rise up and demand better bank services and a value-based monetary policy. Individual growth and free commerce is hindered by today’s banking system and the government’s approach to currency. Western banking was first established in 1694, when the King William III of England and the Parliament approved the creation of a private bank to manage the investment that Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax, provided to initially fund the creation of a British Navy to rival that of France.
As the world became more connected, new forms of currencies were needed to support global commerce. Carrying a large amount of precious metals from place to place to trade for goods and services was neither practical nor secure. Bartering of physical products was also impractical beyond the local community. Bank notes and paper currencies backed by precious metals became more common and eventually numerical transfers via bookkeeping entries became the standard in widest use today.
Partly due to British Imperialism that placed British policies over one-quarter of the world’s population and land, Western style central banks have been adopted globally. In spite of multiple cycles of banking abuses that have been followed by economic collapse, the current system in theory and practical application remains largely unchanged since 1694.
The outdated system that delegates power over the economy to private individuals and independent central banks, is once again bringing the world to an economic collapse, perhaps bigger than the Great Depression of the 1930s. While there are layers of convoluted calculations and built-in delays to prevent individuals from collecting their wealth in cash on a single day, today’s global currencies and monetary policy is more over extended than it was in the early 1930s. The crash and subsequent bailouts of 2008 were warnings regarding the inherent flaws in a crooked system. The system remains unfixed and continues to oppress the world’s working class.
CURRENCIES REPRESENT TWO VALUES
With the onset of the industrial revolution and a shift away from an agrarian society, an ever-increasing percentage of society was no longer able to directly support their basic needs for food, housing and clothing through independent self-effort and simple bartering with neighbors. The world continues to shift from a survival economy to a leisure economy. This shift to a largely consumer economy requires a form of currency that is not attached to either a commodity nor to a set value for final products and services.
Great Britain was one of the first to realize that leaving commodity backed currencies was needed when they left the Gold Standard in 1931. It took other nations years to catch up, for example the United States of America didn’t completely leave the Gold Standard until 1972. Many still argue against currencies that are not directly tied to the value of a specific commodity such as gold. However, for a currency to be effective in a broad-based economy, the value a currency represents cannot be tied to one product or natural resource. For example, the cost to purchase an automobile should not rise and fall with the price of gold. Instead a national currency must be based on the total value of a nation’s potential and productivity.
Currencies are like carnival tickets that represent a generic value. Some carnival games require two tickets while the best rides might require ten. The ticket represents the value of exchange between dissimilar items. In a carnival setting, cash from the outside world is traded for tickets to be used within the area of the carnival.
In society at large, the original value of these currency-tickets represents resources, improvements on resources, and the labor required to create and bring products to market. For example, some labor may earn one ticket per hour, while another may be paid a hundred tickets per hour.
In a just system, the value is relative to the supply and demand for the resources, goods and services produced within an economically contiguous area. [For example, agrarian areas have different values and needs than municipalities so currency-tickets in those areas may have different relative worth when spent.]
The purchasing power of these currency-tickets is determined by the demand for the products available. Extending the carnival example, when guests visit a large amusement park like Walt Disney World, part of their budget includes paying an exorbitant amount for basic services such as food and housing, compared to their home expenses for these survival items. In addition, a premium is paid for the unique branded amusements available on-site. Experiencing Walt Disney World is not a basic human right, so the fact that not everyone can afford the complete Disney experience isn’t an immediate concern.
The point is that currencies have two values. The first value is the original value, let’s call it the natural value. The natural value is determined by all the resources, improvements, labor and value-added to produce a desired product or service. Second is the market value, let’s call it the applied value. The applied value is the price the final consumer of the goods or services pays.
The natural value of a currency is the baseline as measured against the requirements for living which include food, housing, clothing, government services, and a minimum of healthcare in any economic zone. In other words, the minimal applied value of the currency-tickets must cover the basics of survival for individuals and families.
Since Christians and other religious declare humans are made in the image of God, and most agnostics and atheists believe that every person has a right to survive, a just system must acknowledge the basic value of being born human. Regional economic zones must decide when and how to distribute the number of currency-tickets needed for survival. Some might view humans as natural resources, unworthy of any survival unless they choose to refine their resource by contributing to the community. In these communities human capital is not assigned a value until it is improved upon, just like gold ore is useless until refined.
Other communities may decide that those who choose not to contribute to the community by refining their abilities or applying their inherent skills such as labor, still deserve one-quarter, or one-half, or even one-hundred percent of the requirement to survive. Using this minimum human capital value, the non-contributors (which includes people such as children and the elderly) can bargain with others to meet their needs and improve their standard of living by making group arrangements.
The basic value assigned to individual survival needs to be left up to economically contiguous communities. Regional experiments in the balance of carrot or stick (reward or punishment) methods of survival are necessary to learn what works best to enable individuals to realize their potential.
Distribution of natural value currency-tickets thus represents the minimum requirements for human survival within that region. In an economic zone where housing, food, clothing and healthcare require 100 currency-tickets per week, perhaps every human being is granted 25 tickets regardless of age or ability to produce anything else. For those who work, the minimum wage might be the additional 75 currency tickets required to survive, or perhaps any number deemed needed to provide positive motivation to work. For example, all individuals get 25 tickets and the minimum wage might be 100 additional tickets.
The applied value is simply the values assigned by the market to purchases above the minimal requirements for life.
Even under the current system of banking and monetary policy, each currency has two functional values. The natural value which corresponds to the requirements for the basics of human living and the applied value which applies to all non-essential purchases. However, rather than recognizing value, the current banking system operates on a theory of debt. You have no intrinsic value and natural resources have no material worth until a banker assigns a value to them. Once this value is assigned, the banker then lends that value back to the system as debt.
DEBT VERSUS VALUE
Currently, banks and the related monetary practices work on a fear-based assumption. Governments have given all of the basic value of humanity, natural resources, improvements on goods, and even profit determinations to bankers.
Abdicating value and currency management to banks has created a fearful debt-based economic system (rife with ethical abuses) versus a credit or real-value oriented system. The bank determines who can enjoy the actual value of the labor and how they can enjoy it. For the privilege of enjoying the benefits of one’s work, for example when purchasing a car, the banks take a hefty interest rate.
Bankers provide bookkeeping services to transfer the value of one’s natural value and labor enhanced value to products and services. For basic bookkeeping services, now almost all completed electronically, bankers charge high and often variable interest rates. Interest rates on the real value of resources and labor serve only to consolidate wealth in the hands of a few. The bankers’ power, granted by the “people’s government”, lies in their ability not only to deny luxuries, like the trip to Disney mentioned earlier, but also to limit access to basic survival items such as housing.
A system which requires individuals to live in a state of perpetual, negative debt in order to collect the real value of their contributions to the community is an evil system. In the practice of charging interest, bankers are profiteering off the actual value of humanity, of labor, of resources, and of the value added by craftsmanship and other improvements.
VALUE BASED MONETARY AND BANKING POLICIES
The first step toward a just and equitable economic system is to end the debt-based practice and replace it with value-based applications.
Humans have an intrinsic value that is not beholding to either government or banks or even to specific employers. Left alone in an environment with a variety of natural resources, humans will find a way to survive. Humans have a basic value and productive ability without any government, bank, religion, or monetary system. With the end of the frontier, where anyone could, in theory, pick up and establish their own homestead through sheer power of will and hard work, it has become necessary to retain a human value separate from any government.
Humans have a basic, intrinsic value. The labor of individuals also has a value relative to the demand and supply of the labor required by the community. There is a natural value to the property where people currently live whether or not they “own” or “rent” in the current definitions enforced by the system.
Private individuals and bank companies issuing currency (loans, bank notes, credit cards, mortgages, etc.) and directing when, where and by whom that currency may be used with little respect to potential value or actual worth is discriminatory and oppressive.
In recent years, banks have become more active politically. Banks have refused to provide services to those who disagree with their political agenda. Banks have denied individuals and organizations access to their funds not by government demand but by whim of the bank leadership. These banks are a direct “clear and present danger” to the sovereignty of every nation where they operate.
To switch banks to a value-based, non-discriminatory system two steps are required.
END INTEREST AND LOANS
Banks provide a valuable service — bookkeeping. They should be allowed to charge fees for keeping track of the value of natural resources, businesses and individuals. However, they should not be allowed to charge interest, nor to make loans. Let banks compete for providing affordable bookkeeping services to all.
If an individual laborer is providing enough labor value to pay for a mansion versus a minimal apartment, no banker should be allowed to charge interest on realizing the value of the labor. Interest, which effectively reduces the value of labor, must be outlawed. Ending interest-bearing loans, does not end the ability of companies and individuals from making large investments. Switching from debt to a value system flips the currency-ticket system from a negative debt perspective to a positive credit approach.
The judgement and discrimination of a loan officer can be replaced by a simple formula. For example, a laborer can realize the value of their current rate of production over many years, simply and without a wealth-stealing interest rate by acknowledging that labor has an actual value. Banks might charge a flat fee of say $50 annually, to process the transfer of the value of labor to the previous owner of the property each week or month.
The outcome here is to assign real value to the bookkeeping services of banks versus allowing discriminatory processes that are interest-based debt profiteering on bookkeeping services.
Possession is nine-tenths of the law, and the individuals living in the residence retain the title (possession) of the property. Not a bank, not the government, not a previous owner. Certainly, the present owners have a responsibility to reimburse the previous owner the remainder of the purchase price at the time of resale. It is also to their advantage to make property improvements if they wish to sell the property at a profit at some future time. However, banks no longer steal the value of individual labor and previously accumulated wealth.
ESTABLISH NATURAL VALUE CURRENCY
In the current system the government (or an independent central bank created by the government — in the USA this is the Federal Reserve) issues currency. These currencies are distributed according to the government’s monetary policy (usually also created by the independent central bank). Private banks are then allowed to expand the amount of the currency-tickets that have been given to them. These ratios typically range from having as little as 1.35% of the currency-tickets on hand to perhaps as high as 33% depending on the track record of the bank and the sort of loans or investments that the bank is making. (I found the percentages of government issued currency-tickets to the actual amount distributed by individual banks difficult to determine, especially for banks outside of the USA. I encourage someone to correct these percentages of reserves on hand.)
The result is the government has given an incredible amount of power to private banks. If a portion of banks decided to stop issuing consumer credit today, their collusion would cause an immediate contraction of the economy. Likewise, if a significant portion of individuals who have deposits in banks demanded to cash out their deposits all at once, a Great Depression style “run on banks” would result in the collapse of the banks. In the USA, the FDIC and laws allowing banks time periods to produce withdrawals for high requests for currency-tickets only delays the inevitable. It’s still a house of cards, even as it was one hundred years ago when the Great Depression occurred.
A national currency tied to the total natural value of resources, production, labor, and improvements would stabilize the economic system and remove the power of a small group of individuals to destroy the livelihoods of countless citizens. Citizens must demand that the government, which has been formed to represent them, takes the power of interest rate profiteering out of the system.
A national currency based on natural value could still be distributed to banks to manage via bookkeeping services. The natural value currency could not be expanded and contracted at the whim of the bankers. No inflationary monetary policies. No rising interest rates. These practices are unacceptable in a just system.
While there might be a contraction in the natural value upon which the national currency is based, such as during the pandemic, the government could and should have an automatic lag of several months or even a year for contraction while increases in national productivity, resources and labor should be added to the value of the natural based currency, weekly or monthly. Thus while both inflation and deflation of some sectors might occur, it would never be broad-based.
END TRADING IN CURRENCIES
At present, there are markets that trade in currencies. Today the owners of one nation’s currency may trade it in when it rises against a more desirable currency. Likewise, when a currency dips in value, investors might buy it, if they see an opportunity to get more for it in the future. This is like school children trading their carnival tickets.
Trading in currencies should be illegal in all systems. However, in a system founded on value and not debt, trading in currencies is particularly egregious since the effect would be to devalue resources, labor, products and services that should always maintain a base value.
CITIZENS MUST DEMAND CHANGE
Now is the time to rise up, before there is another Great Depression due to inequitable, and unethical monetary and banking practices.
First, the currencies must be based on value, not on the methods of distributing wealth controlled by a few bankers.
Second, governments must end debt as the primary way to realize the nation’s value and replace it with credit or natural value tracking.
Third, governments must end private banks’ abilities to create currencies and charge interest. Instead, allow banks to provide fee-based bookkeeping services.
When the value of currency is based on the natural value of the nation, the people must also end the government’s ability to borrow from individuals, companies, foreign government and foreign banks. Instead all government expenditures become a charge against the natural value of the city, county, state, and nation where it is spent.
In addition, the practice of charging government expenditures against the real value of the nation’s currency ends the need for all taxation. The government must operate within the citizen-determined percentage of the real value of the currency. Any increase or decrease in this percentage must be approved by the citizens.
Government would have incentives to enable citizens to succeed because a small taxation percentage becomes more valuable when the real value increases. The government’s success is tied to the success of their citizens.
Switching from the evil, fear-based, debt system of monetary and banking to a natural value system will ensure that currencies forever reflect not only the natural resources of the nation but also the value added by human contributions. It also prevents a small percentage of the population from profiteering off the needs and labor of workers and average citizens. Humans have an inherent value in this world even as material resources have a value. It’s time our economic system reflects the value of human contributions.
ONE FOUNDING FATHER
Thomas Jefferson who drafted the Declaration of Independence, contributed to writing the U.S. Constitution, and served as the third President (1802 to 1809) was against central banks and against allowing private individuals to issue currencies.
Issuing of currencies is specifically assigned to the US Congress in Section 8 of the Constitution. The Congress shall have Power: To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures; To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States.
Citizens must demand that Congress exercise this responsibility. Congress abdicated this power to the Federal Reserve and to private banks over several decades in a series of steps. The real value of humans and the resources of the United States must be reclaimed by the People, the actual owners of this value.
In 1816, Thomas Jefferson commented on the inherent evil of banks and the divine origin of wealth in a letter to John Taylor. These ideas are relevant to the ideas presented above.
“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 it’s progress the fortunes & morals of our citizens. funding I consider as limited, rightfully, to a redemption of the debt within the lives of a majority of the generation contracting it; every generation coming equally, by the laws of the creator of the world, to the free possession of the earth he made for their subsistence, unincumbered by their predecessors, who, like them, were but tenants for life.”
“And I sincerely believe with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; & 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 to John Taylor, 28 May 1816,” Founders Online, National Archives, https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/03-10-02-0053.
[Original source: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Retirement Series, vol. 10, May 1816 to 18 January 1817, ed. J. Jefferson Looney. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013, pp. 86–90.]
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.