Republish of Ivo’s Book “Bank Robbery” with Updates

BANK ROBBERY by Ivo Mosley.

The way we create money, and how it damages the world.



Why I Wrote This Book.

Like a lot of people, I woke up a decade or so ago and noticed that many things in this world were getting worse rather than better, with serious implications for all our futures. Looking for explanations, it seemed that a lot of these things relate to how power is concentrated in large organizations which don’t necessarily have our best interests at heart.

Looking further, I saw these powers getting their strength and unaccountability from a single source: from the way money is created, cancelled, and re-created for those who already have money and power. This method of creating and managing the money supply benefits corporations, governments, and individuals who chase money and power.

I wanted to read a simply-written book that would tell the story of how money-creation works and how it came to be. I couldn’t find one, so I decided to write it myself. Many years later, here it is. It is not an attack on individuals, or a rant against bankers. It is an examination of a system which supports unaccountable and destructive power, and a pointer to simple reforms which are necessary to create a more just and equitable world.

It’s time to change things now if we want humanity to flourish much longer on this earth. Already, powerful individuals are designing rockets to take them to other planets when they’re done with this one. These other human-friendly planets, of course, are fantasies; they don’t exist. And even if you fancy a trip to nowhere, there won’t be many places on board!

Money and Power.

Because money can buy almost anything, control of the money supply is an obvious goal for anyone who wants to become massively wealthy and powerful.

But getting control is only a beginning. How to use the money supply to make more money is the challenge.

Very early on in history, a simple way of doing this emerged. When money was gold and silver, palaces and temples in ancient Mesopotamia hoarded the gold and silver and lent out ‘promises-to-pay’ written on clay tablets (see Chapter 8). These ‘promises-to-pay’ circulated as money, and the gold and silver stayed put in the palaces and temples.

Occasionally, someone would ask for the gold or silver promised on the tablet, but mostly, the tablets just circulated as money. When debts were repaid, these ‘promises-to-pay’ were returned to the temple or palace. This meant that temples and palaces could lend out a lot more promises-to-pay than they had in gold – and charge interest on them.

This is banking: storing the ‘real’ money and renting out ‘promises-to-pay’ that circulate as money. We are used to this system today, and it may seem quite natural, but again and again in history it has emerged as a device of power. Legally, a bank’s promises-to-pay are debts, and the bank owes money to whoever holds them. In other words, the bank lends out its own debt at interest.

Debt lent at interest! It’s an idea that still seems strange and unfamiliar, even though it has dominated the world of wealth and power on and off for thousands of years. This strange hybrid of debt and money is known today as ‘credit’.


The workings of the system mean that vast amounts of money are conjured out of nothing, used to acquire things and make profits, and then retired so that the money can be created once again to make more profits, without necessarily increasing the money supply. This is very different to the world we are told we live in, where money merely circulates, and where lending means doing without the money while it is lent.


This highlights the most significant difference between types of money. Does it exist in a permanent form? Or it is created, rented out and withdrawn again once its work of taking from the working poor is done?


Since those ancient times, banking has surfaced again and again as a way of maintaining power for governments and producing huge concentrations of wealth for individuals.

There is, of course, another way of getting and maintaining wealth and power: sheer violence. Feudal powers depended on violence, and they did not like banking, but over time they too grew to depend on it.

Today, the two powers of State coercion and banking have coalesced and are in cahoots with one another. The vital ingredient in this collusion is law saying that debt can pass from hand to hand as a commodity. Without that, bank-money would not work: it is debt from a bank, and unless the law says debt can pass from hand to hand and still be valid, it will have no value.

When debt can be bought and sold, it is called ‘negotiable’. Bank-money is ‘negotiable debt’: the bank owes each of us in turn when we make payments to other. From the bankers’ point of view, the money they create has a different name: it is ‘circulating credit’.

Two illusions about banks that need addressing straight away.

The first common fantasy about banking is that behind the scenes, bankers pull the strings and ‘run the show’.

This is wrong. A State does not make debt ‘negotiable’ out of love for bankers and financiers: it does it to increase the power and wealth of the State. I include here a paragraph written by an economist (I have taken the liberty of translating it from ‘economese’ into simple human language):

‘Negotiable debt is not just a way of oppressing the lower classes. It has other functions too. Firstly, by creating large concentrations of capital, it allows governments to create military power and to exercise control over wide areas. Secondly, it involves wealthy people in government where they all profit together. Third, it creates a system of dependence, poor on rich, that ensures social stability. Fourth, when debt itself becomes money, a huge variety of speculative techniques is opened for the wealthy to increase their wealth. Lastly, negotiable debt enables governments to reward their supporters with stable and long-lasting incomes.’[1]


These factors are listed as motives in favour of negotiable debt, increasing a nation’s economic capacity for war-making and the ruling class’s ability to profit from workers. Today, war, robbery and exploitation are (in theory) looked on askance; in fact, they carry on, administered by a system which is protected by the fact that few people understand it.

The money system destroys community. By taking surplus value – in the form of money – off to a far place, where it is used to create more mechanisms for extracting surplus, the system removes the interdependence, the opportunities for generosity and charity, and the circulation of wealth on which a prosperous community depends. It replaces these with dependence on remote powers.

Not only that; the activities of the powerful are putting our whole world in jeopardy. It is surely time for ‘peoples’ – ordinary citizens – to have a greater say in the management of world affairs. For this to happen, the main instrument of oppression and exploitation – negotiable debt – should be dispensed with.

The second common illusion about finance is that ‘the Jews’ are somehow responsible for, and control, banking and finance. Anti-Semitism is a sickness which tends to get worse when an economic situation deteriorates, and it can degenerate into murderous, psychopathic madness. As the situation today is due to get a lot worse before it gets better, it seems important to address the anti-Semitic delusion right here.

The delusion is so far from the truth that it says a great deal about the sickness of anti-Semitism. All serious historians of banking address this.[2]

The tradition of banking goes back to Ancient Mesopotamia, and comes to us via Greece, Rome, Italy, the Lombards, the Dutch, the English, the Germans and the Americans. Banking is a collusion between the State and those who create and destroy money. In all civilisations where banking has flourished, Jews have been excluded from banking: in Western history this was reinforced by a requirement to take Christian oaths.

This simplicity became a little less clear when large money-lending organizations began to call themselves ‘banks’: for instance, merchant banks and investment banks, some of which were run by Jews. This gave ignorant and malicious people an opportunity to blame the destructive effects of the system on ‘the Jews’. The system that dominates and exploits our world today, however, is not money-lending; it is banking, which is a continuous cycle of creating, renting out and destroying money for power and profit.

More recently, especially in the last forty years, the situation has been changing. Bankers today can be members of any religion, any ethnicity. In addition, ‘deregulation’ has blurred legal boundaries between types of institutions, allowing many new ways of creating valuable debt. ‘Deregulation’ is a misnomer: it has allowed more and more institutions to flout and mock fundamental law and to evade existing ‘regulations’.


When the money story comes together, it points to a simple way of reforming things. The money system was designed for theft on a grand scale. It originated at a time when theft on a grand scale – war and empire-building – was thought glorious. Theft on a small scale, of course, was punishable by death! Our money system is a toxic left-over from that time.

The book finishes with a simple recipe for reform. In a single sentence, what we need is an end to negotiable debt: to laws that enable money and other valuable debt to be created out of nothing, for those who already have power and money. In ordinary language, this means returning to a time when debt could not be bought and sold as if it was a commodity like burgers or beans.

Only then can we begin to move on towards a more civilized future.

[1] The original paragraph (complete with economic jargon) is in The Origins of Value (2004) p.163.

[2] For instance, Raymond de Roover (1962): Jews ‘confined their activities to money-lending on a small scale and the leading international bankers,such as the Medici or the Fuggers, were all Christians. There is, therefore, nothing to support Sombart’s thesis according to which the Jews were the originators of international finance and the founders of modern capitalism.’