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Credit and interest

Cooking the Books: Debts and Doubts

Debts and doubts
The public sector union UNISON has provided its activists with briefing notes on the economic crisis, based on the illustrations used in a talk by Barry Kushner that can be found on YouTube at
He shares the illusion that the economy is a tool which governments can manipulate to ensure growth or more equality (or less equality) or whatever.

Cooking the Books: Southsea bubble

On 17 June the papers reported the failure of a bank. It was only a small bank in Hampshire with a single branch. But it was a bank, subject to the same regulations and basic practices as any high street bank. It took in deposits and loaned out money.
Called the Southsea Mortgage and Investment Company, it had 267 depositors whose deposits totalled £7.4 million (Daily Express, 17 June) and lent money to people, mainly to buy a house, or to finance property developments. It was the failure of one of its property investments that led to its assets becoming less than its liabilities. In short, to becoming insolvent, to it not having enough assets to cover the value of its liabilities, in particular what it owed its depositors.
The Southsea bank was set up fifty years ago.

The Tyranny of Usury

The Tyranny of Usury; A Plea for the Nationalisation of Exchanges,  by John McLachlan. Manchester, Leventhulme. 1d.

Superstition dies hard. Driven from the human mind on the religious side it endeavours to find entry on another, and no subject has brought forward so many cranks, faddists and maniacs as the subject of the above pamphlet if we except religion.

The author, who, by his praise of Keir Hardie, is probably a member of the I.L.P., first defines usury as the total surplus taken by the capitalist class, and then narrows it down to the ordinary definition of interest, or the amount charged for the use of money or forms of credit. By a shuffling of these two definitions, when it suits him, he is able to skim over awkward points and give his case some small appearance of being worth consideration.

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