Future Money explains in plain language and convincing detail how our money system is propelling us toward the self-destruction of our species – and what we should do about it. Our present money system frustrates the well-meaning efforts of active citizens, NGOs and governments to deal with our present ills and problems – including worldwide poverty, environmental destruction, social injustice, economic inefficiency and political unrest and violence within and between nations. Failure to reform the world’s money system urgently and radically – that is, from its roots up – could bring disaster for human civilisation before the end of this century. Future Money shows clearly how our money system operates and how it could be reformed so that it acts for the benefit of people and society rather than the opposite, and describes the obstacles that currently prevent that reform.
The world’s financial experts and leaders in politics, government and business, and most mainstream academic and media commentators, have demonstrated that they are not yet able or willing to diagnose and treat the profound and pervasive problems that are directly caused by the money system. Future Money speaks explicitly to active, independent-minded citizens, including young people, with the hope that it will help them to understand why people committed to careers in almost every important walk of life today find it difficult to recognise the problem and grasp the nettle. It shows why we have to take the initiative now, and urgently, to get the issue on to mainstream agendas worldwide.
"James Robertson has long been the voice of wisdom about the critical need to reform how money is created and used. It has now become absolutely urgent for both ourselves and the planet that his voice be heeded. This book brilliantly explains both the current situation and the reforms needed."
- Stewart Wallis - Executive Director, the new economics foundation (nef)
"A brilliant and acccessible guide to the fundamental flaws in our financial and economic system, with simple but incredibly effective proposals for fixing them!"
- Ben Dyson - Founder, Positive Money
“James Robertson is an man of extraordinary experience and eminence. If we are looking for somebody to provide the world with the model it needs to save us from economic anarchy he is an ideal candidate. Unlike the critiques that have been published in their thousands by people who before 2008 had barely thought about what money is, this is a book of depth by a man who has been developing sane and equitable solutions for the past 40 years. He provides practical answers to the management of money systems at local, national and global levels. Every civil servant in the Treasury should be forced to read this book.”
- Molly Scott Cato - Reader in Green Economics, Cardiff School of Management
“James Robertson is the most experienced expert in the vital area of monetary reform, ever more urgent in the continuing financial debacles triggered by Wall Street in 2008. Future Money is his magnum opus, synthesizing his key insights from 30 years of practice and scholarly activism illuminating the role of money in human societies and the secretive politics of money-creation. Robertson’s proposals for reform from global to local are still the most realistic and achievable . Newly-energized and activated by the worldwide Occupy movements of aware citizens representing 99% of humanity, Robertson’s sane, humane, ecological monetary systems are at last , flourishing worldwide in many towns, and his lifelong ethical, tenacious crusading is bearing fruit.”
- Hazel Henderson - author, Ethical Markets :Growing the Green Economy, President, Ethical Markets Media,(USA and Brazil)
“If a Martian landed and said take me to your future leader, how much happier we would be if we could lead them to the door of James Robertson. He is the great, creative economic thinker of recent times. Future Money explores how better systems of value and exchange could set us all free.”
- Ed Mayo - Secretary General, Co-operatives UK
“James Robertson in lucid and clear arguments exposes the unsound system on which money rests. Through his deep analysis of today’s financial crisis, Robertson’s Future Money gives an honest and convincing look at how today’s money system has to change now, before it is too late. An important resource for all of us concerned to act to ensure our collective future.”
- Wendy Harcourt - Editor Development, International Institute of Social Studies, Erasmus University, The Hague
“James Robertson has provided clear, convincing and practical proposals for comprehensive modernisation of world monetary systems, a subject on which he has been a leading thinker for four decades. Given the current financial crisis the time has come for economic and political leaders to pay close attention to his wise counsel.”
- Mary Mellor - author ‘The Future of Money: from financial crisis to public resource’ Pluto 2010
“This is a book that has to be read not just by politicians and bankers, but by every citizen who wants to escape the tyranny of money and the austerity regimes that it is currently imposing on us.”
- James Skinner - Trustee, Organic Research Centre and Trustee Emeritus, nef (new economics foundation)
“People still ignore the chronic dysfunctionalities at the heart of our money system, and refuse to acknowledge how big a part that ‘failed system’ plays in our current economic crisis. Future Money lays bare those dysfunctionalities with forensic skill, unhesitatingly ‘naming names’ as to who is responsible, and then lays out a programme of radical reform for our money system that is utterly compelling. I can guarantee it will change the way people think about today’s crisis – and, hopefully, the way they act.”
- Jonathon Porritt - Founder, Forum for the Future
“The shape of the future depends on whether - and how quickly - the world wakes up and realises that the economy must work within ecological limits. Future Money explains why this is the case and is a call to each and every one of us to challenge prevailing assumptions about the economy, as well as contribute to a different way of thinking and acting. Recommended reading if you think the economy exists in order to benefit people and planet rather than just a tool for the rich to get richer.”
- Caroline Lucas, MP
“This is a truly remarkable book setting out the basis for a comprehensive modernisation of the world’s money system. It is extremely timely, easy to ready, up-top-the minute in its analysis and crystal clear on what needs to be done and how it can be done. James Robertson provides a badly-needed blueprint on how the money system can be redeveloped and managed purposefully to reconcile money values with ecological and social values. Up to the very high standard James Robertson has maintained for so many decades.”
- Dr Seán Healy - S.M.A, Director Social Justice Ireland
“With his usual clarity, James Robertson sets out the basics of what everyone ought to know about the global money system. Equally clear are his recommendations about what needs to be done about the system’s manifest current dysfunction. It is to be hoped that they start a wide public debate that takes financial reform far further and faster than seems to be envisaged at present.”
- Professor Paul Ekins - Energy and Environmental Policy, University College London
James Robertson grew up and went to schools in Scotland and Yorkshire during the war, and then studied classics, history and philosophy at Oxford. In the 1950s he worked in the Colonial Office in Whitehall, as the remaining British colonies came towards independence. Development plans for Mauritius and Seychelles introduced him to the UK Treasury and public policy-making on money. The highlight was travelling with Prime Minister Harold Macmillan on his 1960 ‘Wind of Change’ tour of Africa.
Three years in the Cabinet Office, working personally with the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service, led to his first book, Reform of British Central Government (1971), and eventually to leaving the Civil Service for management consultancy and systems analysis. James then worked for nearly five years setting up and directing the Inter-Bank Research Organisation (IBRO) for the big banks. In 1973, with Alison Pritchard (later his wife), James started working independently. As a writer and adviser on future economic, social and ecological change, he combined his earlier experience and a new interest in ecology, feminism, futures studies and the ‘convivial society’ and ‘small is beautiful’ ideas of Ivan Illich and E. F. Schumacher. His book The Sane Alternative followed in 1978. Then in 1983 James and Alison helped Jonathon Porritt and Paul Ekins to set up The Other Economic Summit (TOES), later the New Economics Foundation (nef).
James has worked and lectured in many countries for many organisations and people, including the World Health Organisation, the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). He has written other books and many articles and papers on aspects of sustainable development, government and money. In 1998 Green Books published his Schumacher Briefing (No. 1), Transforming Economic Life. His new book, Future Money, is due out in 2012.
In 2003 James received a gold medal from the Pio Manzù Centre, an international institute for the in-depth study of the main economic and scientific aspects of the relationship between man and his environment. Its Scientific Committee, whose President is Mikhail Gorbachev, called James “an outstanding example of a modern thinker at the service of society”.
James and Alison live in Oxfordshire. Until recently they have kept hens and ducks. They still grow vegetables and fruit, and get a modest amount of hot water and electricity from solar panels and photovoltaic (PV) slates.