Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Publisher's media release focusses on pressure for economic growth, spiralling debt and alternative money systems


Healthy Money, Healthy Planet:
Developing sustainability through new money systems

By Deirdre Kent * $34.99 * Published June, 2005 * 320 pages * Craig Potton Publishing
Review copies available * contact Phillippa Duffy * * Ph 03 548 3553

Healthy Money, Healthy Planet argues that much of the relentless pressure for global economic growth, which results in so much environmental and social damage, is due to our money system.

At a time when superstars, such as actor Brad Pitt and U2 singer/songwriter turned third-world debt-relief advocate Bono, are encouraging world leaders to consider collective approaches in relieving Africa’s spiralling debt crises, it is timely that New Zealanders look at their own monetary systems and its impact on our society. How often do we hear or read reports on increased household debt in New Zealand or new research into the impact and burden of student loans, and think only of the consequences, rather than any of the systemic causes?

Deirdre Kent, in Healthy Money, Healthy Planet, goes some way to addressing this, offering the reader accessible information to better assess and consider what some of these contributing factors are. In Part 1: ‘Sick Money’, Kent outlines the money multiplier effect and how banks create money through interest bearing debt. She then goes through the consequences of this: a growing debt spiral; a widening gap between rich and poor; the transfer of money overseas; and resultant instability.

We all deal with money in different forms every day – whether it’s through handling cash, using credit, personal loans and credit cards, understanding our or our children’s student loans, or taking on a mortgage. This book gives the ordinary New Zealander, those without an economics or finance background, an opportunity to really understand the mechanics of New Zealand’s monetary system and the impacts it has on our society. Some of what Kent discusses will be controversial, some worrying, and some illuminating. However, rather than just focussing on the negative impacts, Kent spends much of the book looking at solutions and alternatives such as barter and community-based currencies. In Part 2 ‘Healthy Money’, ideas and examples are offered on how we can make individual and community-based decisions to limit our reliance on, and exposure to, the damaging aspects of a spiralling debt system. The chapter on ‘Privately Issued Currency’ includes an interesting recap on the Chathams Islands Notes issued for the Millennium, their use on the island, and the ensuing media and public attention and resultant Reserve Bank action.

Deirdre Kent has been an environmental activist, a maths teacher, a Values Party candidate, a city councillor and a full-time campaigner as Director on ASH (Action on Smoking and Health). Her passion is to inform people how the money system we have inherited contributes to world-wide environmental and social problems and to promote monetary literacy to avert further degradation. She is a trustee of Living Economies (, an organisation set up for this purpose.

Deirdre Kent is available for interview. Contact Phillippa Duffy, Craig Potton Publishing to arrange an interview or seek more details for review purposes.


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