Hackney campaigner takes on banks as he aims to tackle widening gap between rich and poor and escalating house prices

16:41 27 December 2013

Ben Dyson, founder of Positive Money

Ben Dyson, founder of Positive Money

Archant

The first time I hear author and campaigner Ben Dyson speak is at a social enterprise in Dalston.

He is giving a talk at a screening of documentary 97% Owned, a film in which he features and uncovers the way money is ­created by banks in the UK.

There are audible gasps and people shaking their heads at the event at Passing Clouds in Richmond Road as he reveals that most money being created in the economy is not ‘‘real’’, but an accounting trick.

Mr Dyson, 28, of Dalston Square, Dalston, was so appalled about the current situation that he founded not-for profit organisation Positive Money, based at Goswell Road, Finsbury.

It is aiming to change the UK money system to reduce boom and bust cycles, reduce the widening gap between the rich and the poor, stem unemployment and stabilise rising housing prices.

Mr Dyson believes that the current economic system is not working as banks are producing more and more money ­unchecked.

He said: “97 per cent of our money is numbers created by banks making loans.

“When you walk into a bank to get a mortgage, that money does not come from somebody’s life savings.

“It comes from a computer system. What it means is that the more debt people go into, the more new money is created. The amount of money in the economy keeps rising at the level of debt.”

He first came across the issue while studying economics and development at the School of Oriental and African Studies in Bloomsbury.

He discovered a book called The Grip of Debt by Michael Rowbothan while in the university library one day and it opened his eyes to what was happening in the banking industry.

He left university after his ­second year to join a start-up which trained professionals entering the financial world and although he enjoyed it, he said he “got frustrated that no one was talking about this issue about money”. So he started a blog and after he attracted around 500 followers, he decided to set up Positive Money.

“I took a 50 to 60 per cent pay cut”, he said. “It was not a good career move but it needed to be done.” He is now campaigning for a change to the system which allows banks to create money unchallenged.

“We are working on a policy level to get the policy makers to change how the system works,” he said.

“We say that we should take this power to create money from the banks to a democratically ­accountable body so it can’t be misused. The debt doubled in the eight years running up to the financial crisis in 2008.

“It went from £1 trillion in 2000 to £2.2 trillion by the time of the financial crisis. Overall, it makes inequality worse.

“People who can afford to invest in property tend to benefit more and it increases the gap ­between the rich and poor.

“When you look at the economy, it redistributes from the ­bottom 90 per cent to the richest 10 per cent.

“We want to see new money go to the real economy instead of property bubbles and financial markets.

“With quantitative easing, banks have created £375bn which has gone to the financial markets and has never really reached the high street.”

He urged other people to get involved and back his campaign.

He added: “People can write to their MP. If anybody wants to find out more, there are videos on www.positivemoney.org.

‘‘There’s also a Hackney Positive Money group, which meets every month and people can learn more about how the banking the system works.”

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London news

Saturday, February 28, 2015
Alan Cartwright

The teenager stabbed to death while riding his bike in Islington last night has been named as 15-year-old Alan Cartwright.

Saturday, February 28, 2015
A 15-year-old boy was stabbed to death on Caledonian Road Pic: Google

Teen managed to carry on riding before collapsing - murder investigation launched

Friday, February 27, 2015
CCTV footage shows when the driver loses control of the black Honda car in Hampton Road

This jaw-dropping footage shows the moment a speeding driver smashes his Honda into five parked cars in a quiet residential street before fleeing.

Friday, February 27, 2015
A teenager was stabbed near the Emirates minutes before Arsenal's Champions League game

Knife attack - just prior to Champions League game - fifth in borough this month

Friday, February 27, 2015
The job spec says the succesful applicant will have to 'remain calm under pressure' (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images.)

Looking for a new job? Like driving, fan of the Royal Family? Then the perfect role for you might have just come up as the Queen is looking for a new chauffeur.

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Russell Tovey has admitted he didn’t realise he was being offered the lead in Banished at first.

Read more

The Sherlock actress says she won’t hear a word said against her famous co-stars.

Read more

The actress is excited that Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass are making another Bourne movie, and hopes to get in on the act.

Read more

Promoted content

A look at one of our previous Design Fairs

Chelsea Old Town Hall will be the venue for the renowned Desire Fair from 6-8 March 2015. This stunning mixed media jewellery and silversmithing event where visitors can purchase direct from contemporary designer makers selected from the best in the UK is an event not to be missed.

Take our quiz and find out!

A survey conducted last year revealed that Britain is the fourth sexiest country in the world, with the UK sex toy industry worth an estimated £250 million a year.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

The political editor will be taking time off for treatment.

It involves a picture of a hand. You can guess what shape it is making.

Quirky London