ARTICLES & Conference Papers
 
Report
by Rodney Shakespeare

International Conference
Monday/Tuesday, 26th/27th January, 2004
Trisakti University, Jakarta, Indonesia,

on
Money and the Real Economy

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In order to understand the significance of this Report, it is necessary, firstly, to go to www.globaljusticemovement.net, then to Articles and then read the following:
Foreword written by Rodney Shakespeare to Professor Masudul Choudhury’s magnum opus The Islamic World-system
Paper on Binary Economics for the Trisakti conference
Speech given to the Trisakti conference

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Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago of more than 17,000 islands of which 6,000 are inhabited. The population is estimated at 235,000,000 of whom around 90% are Muslims. Indonesia is a vast polyglot nation. It faces severe economic development problems. There is rich-poor division and extensive poverty of the $1 to $3 per day level. Given the poverty it is at the side of motorways, underneath the flyovers, sitting on the footbridge etc unemployment figures are essentially meaningless (and, in any case, government figures, where they exist, are not to be believed).

In 1998 there was the East Asian crisis and, the international advice was that there was no alternative to the policy recommendations of the IMF. At Trisakti University there was protest and, given the widespread poverty (patently obvious in Jakarta, for example) it was perhaps inevitable that the protest would be violently crushed. Four Trisakti students were killed. The memory of those students is honoured because, in a crude way, they got things right and international advice was wrong. It is not surprising that, today, the CIA describes Indonesia’s relations with the IMF as “strained”. Furthermore, it is highly relevant to note that Malaysia did NOT follow the IMF recommendations indeed, it did the opposite and two years later, in 2000, the IMF was forced into a grudging admission that Malaysia had got things right.

So, broadly, Indonesia has big problems, the conventional remedies have failed and right in the centre of Jakarta is a university which has stood up and paid a terrible price for doing so. Yet that university got things right and hence now has high status. Moreover, it knows that anger at the failure of the conventional nostrums is pointless rather, it has to find new policy, a new solution, indeed, find a new paradigm. Without that new paradigm Indonesia cannot hope to solve its long-term problems. And, at the same time, moderate Islam is also out to find something new, indeed, a new paradigm to express Islam in a modern and immensely positive way and, if it does not find it, then, one way or another, the potential for destruction is huge.

At the conference, therefore, two forces or streams of thought and activity (rather than one) were expressing themselves:
• Trisakti University, determined to find a new, creative, positive thinking for Indonesia
• moderate Islam determined to find a new modern, positive thinking for Islam.
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There is little point in attempting to go into detail about the papers which were presented and what was the discussion in and out of the conference hall, but the overall result was clear Trisakti university and moderate Islam believe that they have discovered key elements of the necessary new paradigm and, although there are many other elements (particularly with moderate Islam), the terminology being used is “the new paradigm of binary economics” or “binary economics, the new paradigm”.
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As to what those phrases mean the following is an attempt to provide a little more detail:
The supply of exogenous money should be decreased and the endogenous supply (in the form of interest-free loans) increased for the purposes of:
Public capital investment thereby allowing hospitals, roads, bridges, schools etc. to be constructed for one half, one third or even less of the present cost. One half or one third of the present cost because there is no interest to pay.
Private capital investment if such investment creates new owners of capital and if such use is patently for the benefit of all and is non-inflationary. This is binary economics. By using interest-free loans, administered by the banking system, a company would get cheap money as long as new shareholders are created, new shareholders who are not the existing rich. All individuals would eventually have a basic income coming from productive capital.
Green investment, particularly for clean, renewable energy. At present, using interest-bearing money, a lot of green technology is not financially viable. With interest-free money, however, it would become viable.
Thus we could have clean electricity through tidal barrages, dams, windmills, wave machines, solar electricity, and geothermal power stations.
Small and start-up businesses thereby freeing them from the crushing pressure of interest-bearing debt. In the case of small businesses, there would be no requirement for wide ownership.

Very importantly, these four uses for public capital projects, private capital projects if wide ownership is involved, green capital investment and small business:
• would back the currency with assets,
• break the grip of usury,
• and because they are directly related to productive capacity, would be counter-inflationary. The counter-inflation would happen because, once the capital project is built, and the money is repaid, the money is cancelled, leaving the productive capital asset behind.

The four uses, moreover, would:
• implement a genuine free, fair and efficient market;
• throw off foreign and financial elite control,
• address social and economic justice through the spreading of wide capital ownership and its associated capital income. A basic income for all would be possible.
The four uses of the new endogenous money would run alongside Islamic Banking as it is developing in Indonesia.
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Readers of this Report will recognise that, while the term “binary economics” is being used, the ideas above are also those of Seven Steps to Justice and the Global Justice Movement as well as of binary economics. But binary economics has a specific and practical focus, concentrating on the real economy, and Trisakti University, at the very least, can, in future, be expected to use the binary description.
There were many aspects to the conference situation which had extensions and intertwinings everywhere but, of many matters, two of particular interest to the Global Table are noted:
• Canon Peter Challen is to be invited to write the Foreword to a new book by the foremost (by far) top moderate Islamic academic Professor Choudhury
• Rodney Shakespeare, who was presented to the Vice-President of Indonesia, is to be invited to return to Triskati to lecture.

Rodney Shakespeare - Christian Council for Monetary Justice, UK (ccmj.org), & London Global Table - www.globaljusticemovement.net. Private address: 11, Charman House, Hemans Estate, London, SW8 4SP, UK.
Tel: +44(0)20-7771-1107. Email: rodney.shakespeare1@btopenworld.com

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