Politics  Comments Off on Zeitgeist
Dec 232012

One of those documentarys that will keep you thinking about it way after you’ve watched it. Debunks religion, questions 911 with some chilling theories, explains the connection with banksters and the war machine. Must be seen by everyone.

 Posted by at 2:26 pm

Simple Solution to the Debt Crisis from Positive money

 Money  Comments Off on Simple Solution to the Debt Crisis from Positive money
Nov 302012

 Posted by at 8:36 am

Bristol Pound – is this the start of the people’s currency?

 Money, Politics  Comments Off on Bristol Pound – is this the start of the people’s currency?
Feb 072012

I’m half way through reading Detlev Schlicter’s excellent book Paper Money Collapse, when I came across this….

A group of independent traders in Bristol are launching their own currency, with the backing of the council and a credit union.

The “Bristol Pound” will be printed in notes, and also traded electronically.

via BBC News – ‘Bristol Pound’ currency to boost independent traders.


Marvellous… and backed by our good friends at the City Council. Have they inadvertently understood the need for monetary reform? Will we start to see currencies popping up everywhere in defiance and in direct competition with the banksters cartel? Lets hope so. But I doubt it, sadly I suspect this is more about marketing than serious reform but I hope those that are involved are educating themselves on the way money has been hijacked from the people by those that wish to control and manipulate economy for their own ends however innocent or misguided they may be.

Heres some more quotes from the article

“Big companies just hoover up money from a local area,” he told me.

“Money goes into their financial system and typically out into London and into the offshore sector.”

But by definition, Bristol pounds must stay in the city. Spend a tenner in a Bristol bakery, and they must use it to pay their suppliers or staff. In turn, those companies will have to use the money within the local economy.

“We’ll be driving more business to independent traders, and ensuring the diversity of our city, which is one of the things people love about Bristol,” Mr Mundy said.

Well done Mr Mundy I look forward to hearing more


Detlev Schlichter explains why our current paper money system will collapse

 Money  Comments Off on Detlev Schlichter explains why our current paper money system will collapse
Jan 202012

This Adam Smith Lecture debunks several important myths.
Firstly that our current paper money system is the norm. Its not, its exceptional, and has only been around since Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard in 1971, since then the entire world has been on an elastic ever expanding paper money system and this has never happened before.

Secondly, we dont need to have an elastic fiat paper system in order to expand the economy.

Thirdly, fractional banking creates boom and bust cycles and this cannot be avoided or managed by the state except to make matters worse i.e. by artificially propping up the inevitable and delaying and increasing the size of the bust. He makes an interesting point that fractional banking will cause this whether its on a gold standard or not, although the pure paper system is far better at creating even bigger booms and busts.

Fourthly he makes it clear that this is not a crisis of capitalism and explains that this is not capitalism at all. Its a rigged system disguised as capitalism which has stolen the control of money from those that own and need it ,i.e. the people and given it to the banksters and politicians.

His grim conclusion, after explaining that all paper money systems either end voluntarily or end in disaster, is that it will end in the latter which doesnt surprise me at all given the power the politicians , generals and bankers appear to have over us all. Depressing but I’d rather understand why we’re doomed than be ignorant so I invite you to watch and find out more.

Review of MoneyWeek

 Investing, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Review of MoneyWeek
Jan 142012

MoneyWeekMoneyWeek is packaged as the financial sister of The Week and is published by Agora Press and claims itself to be Britain’s best selling financial magazine which it probably is. Is it as it proposes to be, an independent and informative tool for investors and savers and an unbiased reporter of economic and financial news? It depends on how you read it

I read it most weeks and usually feel suitably depressed afterwards but a little more informed each time. It’s aimed at reasonably intelligent, reasonably wealthy and reasonably well financially educated people so it suits me well. Its not as high brow as the Financial Times or the Economist which I occasionally dip into, and like The Week is designed to get the information over to you as quickly and as easily as possible and it succeeds in doing so.

Having been a reader now for over a year I’m starting to see which are the essential parts of it and which are a bit suspect or not worth spending time on. You could just read the first page, which is usually written by the excellent Merryn Somerset Webb , Editor-in-Chief  or occasionally by John Stepek, Editor, then turn straight to the back page and read Bill Bonner’s entertaining and rather dark musing’s on his regular last word page. It’s worth mentioning that Bill Bonner is the founder and president of Agora Press.

The stuff in between is a mixture of market commentary, educational articles and tipsters. The latter I particularly dislike, it’s a pity that MoneyWeek feels it needs to host and promote some of these as I suspect like most tipsters they are about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

If you subscribe to MoneyWeek you’ll also get a plethora of email newsletters and invitation to join various tipsters newsletters. Now theres some good stuff here but you need to filter out the hideous tipster adverts and those awful invitations to join exclusive clubs and offers that are once in a lifetime opportunities (don’t worry you’ll get plenty of opportunities to join their once in a lifetime deals!) Don’t be tempted to join paid-for newsletters promising trading systems that work, none do consistently, investing unfortunately is about avoiding losing money and getting lucky, but thats another article or more likely a book!

The very best email newsletter is by John Stepek and I always look forward to reading his daily email. If you read nothing else John will make your subscription to MoneyWeek worthwhile. John’s strength is in explaining exactly whats going on in the world of economics and politics in a precise, simple to understand and illuminating way. He cuts straight to the meat and his advice always seems sound and reasoned.

It’s also worth subscribing to Bill Bonner’s Daily Reckoning despite the tipster’s adverts. He’s a good read and will direct you to places unbeknown to you and of great interest if like me you are tired of UK politics and yearn for some radical ideas to shake things up. However my advice to Bill would be to make it a bi-weekly as sometimes it can get a bit repetitive (I suspect he does it to please his advertisers), but hats off to him for managing to produce what he does

The other sections I look at are the ‘best of the financial columns’ similar format to The Weeks best articles section, the best blogs, sometimes the cover stories are interesting and the profiles of big players especially if they are of the maverick kind.

The question as to whether MoneyWeek is useful to an investor depends on which parts you read, I’ve outlined the parts I think you will useful to understand how things work in the economy and how the politicians screw it up. The magazine is both an independent view sadly interspersed with the usual snake oil merchants with axes to grind and fees to make, and as long as you understand which is which its a publication I would highly recommend is part of an investors regular research and education. Its not going to be the be and end all, since I’ve been reading it theres been a section called the core portfolio, MoneyWeek’s core recommendations and every week its been Gold, Japan and Defensives (Blue chip dividend paying staple goods kind of thing….) If I’d gone with that last year I’d likely be about flat, possibly up a bit depending on how lucky I was. In other words not bad. I do note though that in the weeks when it looks like those recommendations have had a bad run the core recommendations seem to disappear  , then re-appear a few weeks later when things look rosy again! You could of course save yourself some money and just read the website , some articles are not available but the best usually are. Hmmm thinking about it I might just do that now….

 Posted by at 2:44 pm

Growing up with Social Media

 Psycology  Comments Off on Growing up with Social Media
Jan 132012

social media kidI’ve always been a defender of kids using the internet, social media, computer games and texting etc. Too often I’ve felt that the media portrays these things as bad, dangerous and sinister. What can be the harm compared to all the benefit of information, ease of communication, creativity, and new skills they are learning. But recently I think maybe I’ve not considered it enough. A child psychiatrist pointed out to me recently how this generation of kids are the first to have constant 24 hours a day social interaction. Literally he said, kids were so concerned about missing out on whats happening amongst their friends and peers that they would be waking up at 2 in the morning and logging in to se what they had been missing, plus invariably with such large numbers of online friends all feeling the same pressure there would be someone there to chat with thus affirming their belief that they had to be constantly interacting. If he had his way he would get rid of all social media.

Whilst as a self confessed geek I think this is all amazing and wonderous and would find it hard to argue with turning back the clocks, what I have been failing to see is that theres no longer any time for kids to reflect, to grow up on their own for a bit. Earlier generations would have had the holidays away from their school friends for weeks on end not communicating with them and so the pressures of their school social life would have been taken away from them so that they could reflect, re-adjust and move on. There would be cousins and old friends that lived away from their home town or country that they would only see a few times a year or maybe not for years. When you got back together you would carry on where you left off in the relationship

But not anymore , the tendency now is for it to be on constantly, and its so hard to stop it; if its not facebook, its twitter, if you cant tweet you text, and so it goes and the temptation for an aspiring teen (or pre-teen) to check up with whats going on is immense.

Plus its not just physical friends and family anymore, theres a potential army of virtual friends and acquaintances all over the world in different time zones even that you can feel the need to communicate with. Impress, amuse, assist, befriend , protect, belittle, bully, love and hate not just those in your immediate vicinity but across the globe potentially

Reflecting on this its not just teens that are effected. We all are impacted to a greater or lesser extent depending on how much we have embraced these new-found means of communicating. For myself the fact that I am writing this blog is a symptom of this new affliction if thats what it is. I am determined to discover the ins and outs of social media, to find out the best ways of using it and to discourse and discuss with an ever-increasing audience. But I guess I’m an adult and dealing with that pressure (or ignoring the urge) is something that I’m better equipped to deal with.

But I’m grateful to my psychologist friend for reminding me that just because the kids are so much better at using technology, we oldies mustn’t forget that we are better at dealing with the issues they bring and we never had the experience they are now having at the life-stage they are at.


 Posted by at 11:26 am

Do banks record your phone conversations – is this legal?

 Ranting  Comments Off on Do banks record your phone conversations – is this legal?
Jan 062012

I recently did a search for an app to record phone conversations on my iphone. I thought this would be a handy gadget as I have no memory at all and I wanted to be able to play back what was said and make notes after, plus using it to interview people on the phone for this blog or whatever would be great. Anyways it turns out that theres a law against it in the UK and in several states of the US that forbids you from recording phone conversations without the other person being made aware of it. I dont really understand why this law exists, so maybe someone would like to explain the ethical difference between my memory and that of a mechanical recorder.

If there is good reason then I would also like to know why when I talk to my financial advisor at the Bank that he repeats everything back to me. He was obviously doing this ‘for the record’. It’s kind of weird so I laughingly pointed out that he might as well just tell me he’s recording it to cover his back in case I decide to try and sue him for whatever. He sort of laughed embarrassingly and admitted he had to do it for ‘compliance’ or whatever, and I thought no more about it. Till now, when I find out that I’m not allowed to do it. Is this another example of banks being able to do stuff the rest of us cant do, stuff like like create money out of thin air and then earn interest on it, pay themselves whatever they fancy whether they succeed or not,  and be bailed out when their bets go wrong?

By the way I started writing this by naming the bank then thought better of it as I didn’t want to do battle with the giants or am I being too soft/paranoid? Does anyone understand the libel laws? Anyway I suspect if one bank does it they probably all do so its probably irrelevant. Would really like to know more about this so do comment.



 Posted by at 9:37 am

Alternative currency exchange to the banks

 Money  Comments Off on Alternative currency exchange to the banks
Dec 122011

Any savvy person who is used to making transfers abroad knows that the banks rip you off on the currency exchange , typically around 5% of your transfer goes into their trousers and bureau de change are even worse. Far better are currency brokers like IFX.com or Currenciesdirect.com that will shave more like 1% or even less for larger amounts. The trouble with these guys though is they are still on the make and you have to have a rather robust conversation with their salesmen who wont offer you the best deal unless you tell them you’ve done your research and you know the best deals out there. They will then change from being your best friend into finding you tiresome particularly if you are not bringing them loads of business and will want to get off the phone to talk to someone more important and profitable. If like me you dont like these kind of conversations then you will like the following websites where you get shown the price , you know the deal is market leading and you can just get on with it. Simples.


CurrencyFair is basically peer to peer currency trading and the video below explains the principle well so I’ll let it do the talking

I’ve just changed some money successfully and its possible to even beat the mid market price if theres someone on the other side whose desperate enough to get hold of the cash enough. At the time of writing CurrencyFair were  not taking a commission but in a few days time they will be adding a 0.15% commission within the price. I think we should stomach that and congratulate them for creating another bank busting service.


TransferWise is a neat bank busting solution , they allow you to make currency transfers (currently only Pounds and Euros) at the mid range exchange rate for a fixed fee of £1 for amounts up to £300. They charge higher fees above that and the maximum at the moment is £5000 for which my online quote at time of writing was £24.50 , still not bad compared to say Barclays at a cost of nearly £350! Plus of course the banks wont explain to you what they charge it will be all hidden in mumbo jumbo and the usual deep voiced, red braces twanging sniffy tones that make you feel embarrassed to have asked.
There are of course much better alternatives to the banks in the shape of specialist currency brokers but they typically charge 1% compared to TransfersWise’s 0.5% as in the illustrated quote above and they would only become more competitive for larger amounts.

Hopefully in time TransferWise will have a wider selection of currency swaps and be able to handle larger sums and hopefully maintain their competitive edge, time will tell.


 Posted by at 11:43 am

Storyville – inside Job

 Money, Politics  Comments Off on Storyville – inside Job
Dec 112011

Brilliant documentary from Charles Ferguson documenting the key players involved in the financial crisis. Many are interviewed , many decline to be interviewed and sadly none seem to show any guilt or remorse for their actions or lack of them. The section on accountability is particularly good.

The link below takes you to BBC Iplayer where it will be shown for a limited time or you can download it, you can also get snippets from YouTube


 Posted by at 10:03 am

The Money Masters

 Money  Comments Off on The Money Masters
Dec 072011

Fantastic documentary by Bill Still that explains how money really works. You’ll discover that money is really debt created out of thin air, and that the Federal Reserve is actually a private bank. Other amazing facts are that Fort Knox has been robbed by the banksters, it was set up to house all of Americas gold including all the gold that was confiscated from the American citizens , the film reveals that the vault has never been audited and suggests that’s because most of the gold has gone – where?

This film will shock and anger you in equal measure and should be compulsory viewing in schools.

The film also argues that the Bank of England is run like a privately owned bank even though it was nationalised in 1945. It argues that all central banks are not banks at all and are certainly not run in the publics interest but rather for a cabal of super rich shady banksters. Is this how it really is ?

Watch Ben Still’s film and make you’re own minds up and do comment as I really want to know what you think



Be warned this is a long documentary , it covers a lot of history but I found it gripping. If you want more he’s made a new film called The Secret of Oz. If on the other hand you want something thats in the same vein but a bit shorter and more of a primer into money and banking but still edgy I highly recommend Money as Debt


 Posted by at 10:19 am

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