The thousandfold accursed money.
Silvio Gesell’s attempt to counter capitalism with negative interest.
A few months ago, the film ‘Das Wunder von Wörgl’ with Karl Markowics in the lead role was released. It tells the story of an extraordinary experiment that took place in the small Tyrolean municipality in 1932. Despite the devastating consequences of the world economic crisis, they managed to create prosperity and reduce unemployment almost to zero by introducing the so-called demurrage. The theoretical basis of the experiment was based on Silvio Gesell’s monetary theory, to which a themed evening will be dedicated on 13 June at the Academy of German-Italian Studies in Merano.
How does money lose its predominant value? This is the question that Silvio Gesell asked himself, who, as the merchant, financial theorist and social reformer, was considered one of the most influential figures in Bavarian finance and exactly 100 years ago, in the spring of 1919, introduced the negative interest rate. At that time, the Bavarian Republic of Councils existed in Munich for five weeks, which aimed to establish a socialist republic on the Russian and Hungarian model. Silvio Gesell’s economic theory envisaged applying a negative interest rate to economic resources deposited in banks and thus removed from the production cycle, in order to promote investment for the benefit of the community.
Writer and journalist Ralf Höller will present and discuss aspects of Silvio Gesell’s financial theory with his colleague Martin Hanni. As part of the event, the book ‘A Companion to Ezra Pound’s Economics’ (Traugott Bautz editions, 2019), edited by Ralf Lüfter and Roxana Preda, will also be presented. One chapter of this publication is devoted to Ezra Pound’s studies on Silvio Gesell.