Economists have long sought aboriginal peoples using primitive monetary systems in order to understand how they originated, but haven’t found any resembling a modern sense of common currency. That is because native societies are built on organic trust and reciprocity and when they break down, the result is schism and conflict, not lawyers and bankers. It is only as societies grew too large for individuals to be relatively familiar with most other members of the group that forms of tradable currencies became necessary.
Centuries ago there wasn’t enough economic data to determine how much currency the economy needed to function, so a banking system evolved where the money is essentially borrowed into existence. Since debt tends to grow in tandem with economic growth, this proved quite effective. The problem being that growth was required to pay off the debt and debt grew to finance the growth, so it tends to spiral out of control, until some form of event causes sufficient debt to be written off and the system resets. Now modern math, social fears and norms, along with computer information processing have manage to sustain the growth of debt far beyond any previous bubble. Those controlling this system have both closed off as many avenues of debt relief possible, while allowing the growth of debt to continue. The result being that the currency is being drained out of the larger economy and only those parts of the economy which sustain the enormous bubbles of stored currency have access to this flow of funds. It amounts to huge storm clouds of excess wealth over a parched economy.
What gives money its intrinsic value is the willingness of the larger society to assign it value and trade you other forms of value for it. As such it is a multi-party contract and its value is derived from faith in the system it represents. It is notational trust. The fact is that we really don’t own this money, because it would be close to worthless if it were our own currency. That’s not your picture printed on it and if it were, no one who did not know and trust you would take it. Just try printing up some and find out who owns the copyright. Now if it is a private system issuing that money, be it Caesar, the king, or a private banking consortium, then everyone else is sharecropping in their system. With a public system, the profits from its management go back into the larger society and not just financial vampires. Monarchists thought “mob rule’ would never work, but democracy does work by pushing authority down to the level it is most responsive and effective and using that local foundation to build a larger, federal structure. With banking, a system of local community banks, with state regulations, would serve local communities and use profits to fund infrastructure in those communities. Only as the system became more resilient, would it serve as a foundation for a revived national and world economy.
So if people understand that money is a form of public utility and not actual private property, then they will naturally be far more careful what value they take out of social relations and environmental resources to put in a bank account. This would serve to make people’s own self interest a mechanism to put value back into society and the environment. Thus building back up the more organic forms of trust and reciprocity, of which money is the notational derivative.
A related problem is the current system of public spending. In the current system, enormous bills are bundled up by the most powerful interests and enough extra “pork” is added to gain sufficient support. The result is production of public debt to feed the banking system and facilitate its control of government. To budget is to order one’s priorities and spend accordingly. A possible method to apply this to government would be to break these bills into their “line items” and have every legislator assign a percentage value to each item. Then reassemble them in order of preference and have the president draw the line at what is to be funded.(The buck stops here.) This would still divide responsibility, as well as spread more power out over the entire legislature. The percentage voting would give legislators far more maneuvering room than a yes/no system. Since this would undoubtedly reduce Federal spending on local needs, having a bottom up public banking system, that would funnel profits back into the infrastructure of the local economies, rather than draining it off to New York, to be borrowed by Washington and then sent back to those communities, would fill that need.