“When it ceased to be the means for fair transactions and became the determinant of transactions, it caught hold of the whole world, and enthralled it to arbitrary power. It was a brilliant confidence trick, the more so because people still believed in it no matter how many times it failed them personally or nations generally.” – Justin Barrett, ‘The Nationalist Reset’
The Irish nation has produced a disproportionate number of unorthodox economic theorists. We’ve certainly punched above our weight, whether one examines our people’s contribution to protectionist theory – Matthew Carey was a forerunner to the ‘American System’ and his son, Henry Charles Carey, was its leading theorist – or our conspicuous involvement in monetary reform circles in the 20th century.
Justin Barrett’s new economic booklet, ‘The Nationalist Reset’, is the latest addition to that proud, albeit unacknowledged, tradition. Those who are unacquainted with the finer points of economics may be hesitant to read this work. However, they should not be dissuaded. Barrett writes about the subject in a clear and intelligible manner, without mitigating the substance of his points.
The obfuscation of otherwise simple ideas by economists is a frequent theme throughout the text: “Certainly there are niche areas of economics, as in all areas of life, where precise technical skill is required, but the basics… are not beyond the understanding of the ordinary mind” – given the criminal nature of the financial system, is the professional economist’s desire to confuse you surprising?
“usura, sin against nature”
Although Barrett conceives of the nation in non-materialist terms, he nevertheless is cognisant that “the national economy cannot be ignored when thinking in practical terms about a Gaelic Ireland or its freedom”. Key to the text is the distinction between productive capital and finance capital, and the latter’s parasitic relationship with the former.
To illustrate his point: almost every loan conferred to individuals by banks requires not only that the individual in question pays back the loan, but also that they pay back interest as well. And furthermore, that interest is compounded: “If it’s 6% per annum then that’s 6% on the original sum in year one but it’s 6% of 106% of the original sum in year two”.
Rather than assisting production, such lending hinders it by forcing individuals to pay back interest on top of the loan – if there was no interest, that money could be used to buttress production. It is also ethically problematic that banks accrue profit from lending money – money which is contrived, as Barrett explains in his section on Fractional Reserve Banking – rather than from productive endeavour.
Barrett’s opposition to usury is by no means novel. The critique of usury on moral grounds stretches back to Aristotle, who stated in his ‘Politics’: “usury is most reasonably hated, because its gain comes from money itself and not from that for the sake of which money was invented. For money was brought into existence for the purpose of exchange, but interest increases the amount of the money itself; consequently this form of the business of getting wealth is of all forms the most contrary to nature”.
It would be exhaustive to reproduce and fully detail each argument made throughout the booklet, but suffice to say that Barrett argues for his contentions cogently. After making the delineation between productive and finance capital, he goes on to contend that short and long term debt cycles—the latter resulting from the incremental growth of the debt burden after each short term debt cycle—derive, ultimately, from the parasitic finance capital system.
Conspiracy or Systemic?
The next section ‘Past and Prediction’ is more topical, dealing directly with the rationale underpinning the last two years of lockdown. In contradistinction to others who opposed the lockdown, Barrett is sceptical “of those who propose to give definitive explanations”.
One is forced, if they are to approach this matter reasonably, to speculate based upon the disparate facts within their purview—this is Barrett’s approach, and it is refreshing when juxtaposed with the less than lucid approaches of others in the anti-lockdown movement.
When one considers the radically oscillating narratives about covid, as well as the sheer pervasiveness of slogans such as “Build Back Better” and “The Great Reset”, it is transparent that something strange underlay the last two years of lockdowns and mass hysteria. Barrett aptly states: “There is no point anymore in anyone arguing that any of these things are the invention of conspiracy theorists or mad people”.
Barrett refuses to ascribe every happening to conspiratorial intrigue. Equally, he refrains from conspiracy denial—the position that posits that clandestine, powerful groups exercise little influence on the affairs of mankind. Eliding both extremes, Barrett contends that systemic forces—namely the long term debt cycle; itself the outcome of the system of finance capitalism—has impelled such groups to adopt a broadly similar agenda.
Nationalism vs Globalism
Barrett conceives of two mutually exclusive solutions to the long term debt cycle: a globalist reset or a nationalist reset. The globalist reset is internationalist in nature and, if instantiated, would mark the death knell of private property, according to Barrett. Concomitantly, a new transnational elite would emerge.
The Nationalist reset, as envisioned by Barrett, is a thorough repudiation of the finance capitalist system. Against a laissez-faire approach to usury, Barrett believes that money should be a “representation of production, not the controller of it. Money should never be interest bearing”. Furthermore, he believes in the “State ownership of all private banking, for only a State Bank could see itself as servant of the economy in service to the Nation and not of itself a profit-making device”.
The German philosopher of history, Oswald Spengler, argued that the final conflict in Europe would be between blood and money (international plutocracy), and that the former would indubitably triumph.
If this is true, then works such as the ‘The Nationalist Reset’ represent an important development against the rootless forces of international finance capital. For only the politics of blood, history, and identity can overcome the power of money. I strongly encourage all Irish Nationalists who take an interest in the economic aspect of our revival, as well as those that simply desire a primer on nationalist economics, to read this booklet.