TURMEL: Jubilee 2001? Letter to Martin Dent

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John Turmel

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Oct 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/27/99
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Jubilee 2001?

Mr. Martin Dent,
Jubilee 2000 founder.

Dear Mr. Dent:

I heard you speak when I attended the 1998 TOES (The Other
Economic Summit) Poor People's Summit in Birmingham and laud you for
getting so many people focused on the problem of international debt
for the first time in history.

This year, I attended the Poor People's Summit in Cologne, the
ATTAC conference in Paris and the 50 YEARS IS ENOUGH conference in
Washington D.C. and will be attending the anti-WTO (World Trade
Organization) demonstration in Seattle. Jubilee 2000 supporters have
been prominent at all of them.

While the goal of a debt cancellation Jubilee for the 42 poorest
nations is laudable, it is no Jubilee for the rest of us. As the
Ecuadorian speaker at the 50 YEARS conference pointed out, "we spend
over 50% of our government budget on the interest to service the debt
but we're not poor enough to qualify for Jubilee this year."

At Jubilee 2000 workshops I attended, I heard them say: "The debt
service is 10 times greater than our social services;" "the interest
on debt is killing us." Debt cancellation may help those 42 poorest
nations for a while but it doesn't stop the problem that mires us all
in debt in the first place: the growth of debt due to interest, the
usury. They all agreed when I suggested cancellation of the debt
service would provide 10 times more funds for health services. And it
could help everyone while preventing future unpayable debt growth.
When debt is cancelled, someone has to take the loss of writing it off
and convincing them to take such a loss is an onerous task. It's
another form of charity. But if we cancel future service on debt, no
one has to write anything off.

All our Good Books inveigh against the cause of unjust debt, the
interest, not the symptom of the debt itself. Nehemiah 5:10: "Let the
exacting of interest stop." Thomas 95: "Christ said: If you have
money, do not lend it out at interest." Koran 2:275, "Give up the
demand for usury." Yet, Isaiah 55 says that honorable debts should be
repaid. Mohammed agrees. So while they condemn the debt service, they
never condemn the honorable debt itself from being paid.
I'll pay my debt for army and police to handle strife;
I'll pay my debt for doctors, nurses who protect my life;
I'll pay my debt for all engaged repairing road and sewer;
I'll pay my debt for social servants helping out the poor;
I'll even pay my debt for bureaucrats with no regret;
But I'll resist my debt for useless usury on debt.

A tactical error is playing golf with the wrong club. Distances
may be off but the ball will eventually get into the hole. A strategic
error is not aiming at the hole. I consider the goal of cancelling all
debt when only the interest portion is objectionable to be a strategic
error. Debt is always necessary to balance assets in any fair and
honest financial system.

The good news is that at all these conferences, the interest-free
L.E.T.S. Timecurrency banking system was cited as a solution. Sure
there's still debt but it doesn't grow to unpayable proportions. At
the 50 YEARS conference, our information folder contained the
following item about L.E.T.S.:

<<LOCAL CURRENCY:
Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS) are a dynamic way to help
control local economies in an era of globalisation. LETS, in essence,
are bartering networks that community members use to exchange skills,
resources, and products using locally produced currency... LETS are
designed to enable communities at the local level to regain control of
the social and environmental effects of commerce. LETS can protect
communities from some of the destructive tendencies of the global
economy such as speculation, rapid movement of capital, and the
extraction of wealth. By setting the value of local currency to a
labor hour, foregoing interest payments on money lent, and making
speculation unprofitable, LETS set a good example for how national
currencies could or perhaps should operate... By using money as a form
of exchange rather than as a method of exploitation, LETS helps build
a sense of community. One of the major drawbacks of LETS is the dearth
of local currency organizations in developing countries. L.E.T.S. have
succeeded in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia but
the issue of whether local currencies can be successful in the South
is questionable. Local exchange trading systems are feasible
alternatives for small communities, but they are only capable of
addressing local needs... It can serve as a good example of the type
of initiative that is needed at the global level.>>

There are now thousands of LETS in over 40 countries of the
world. The only way we'll have Jubilee for everyone by the year 2000,
not just for the poorest, is to interconnect them into a world-wide
L.E.T.S. timecurrency system. It's now possible with the advent of the
Internet. See: http://www.cyberclass.net/turmel/urlsnat.htm

To that end, I've written to Bill Gates and asked him to help
install such an on-line L.E.T.S. system which would immediately offer
all nations a source of interest-free credit with which to trade
locally, nationally and internationally.
See http://www.cyberclass.net/turmel/praybill.htm

I have no doubt that if Bill Gates were to support the
establishment of an on-line Internet L.E.T.S., we could have Jubilee
for all by 2000! If not, we'll next be marching for Jubilee 2001. Then
Jubilee 2002. I hope to convince the Seattle marchers to add one more
stop on their itinerary, Microsoft Headquarters, so that we
demonstrate not only against the guys who are hurting us with
exponential debt but also for help from the man who can save us from
it with L.E.T.S.

Many Jubilee 2000 supporters are L.E.T.S. members. As a founder
of the Jubilee 2000 movement, if there is to be success in the
struggle against exponential debt, I urge you and the many Jubilee
2000 supporters around the world to write Bill Gates at
ask...@microsoft.com to promote the cancellation of the debt service
by the installation of a world-wide L.E.T.S. It is the only hope for a
global Jubilee by 2000 we have.
--
John C. "The Engineer" Turmel, Founder, Abolitionist Party of Canada
915-2045 Carling Ave., Ottawa, K2A 1G5, Tel/Fax: 613-728-2196
LETS Abolish Interest Rates http://www.cyberclass.net/turmel
For TURMEL topics http://www.egroups.com/group/turmel

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