14, 17 and 18 June 2013
I initially thought his first language might be English or, when it became clear he is the same person as someone who can also write native-looking Dutch, that he might be bilingual, English and Dutch.
This native English language background I suspected because the English sentences that Jake writes, are usually rather complicated, and because his English vocabulary is so erudite that I can only understand what he writes with the help of a dictionary. And even then I find it difficult.
So I thought his possibly native command of the English language greatly surpassed my own non-natively acquired abilities, and that that explained my comprehension difficulties.
Later on I noticed that not all of these convoluted phrases were grammatically impeccable, but hey, anyone can make a typing error and even a native speaker can get entangled in the middle of a long and complex sentence.
That I have such difficulty in understanding written English, some written English, is in fact alarming. That’s because since 1995, I have earned part of my living by translating English and German texts into my own language, which is Dutch. Yet another alarming fact is, that I never received any formal training in that area.
Shouldn’t a translator know far more words than the average non-native, and be capable of unwinding even complicatedly structured sentences? If my vocabulary is so limited, this worrying question arises: am I a charlatan who thinks he can do what in fact he can’t? Did I fall victim to the Dunning-Kruger effect?
I have one useful trait though, to compensate for my deficiencies: I recognise it when I don’t get it what someone wrote, when I’m not sure what a word means, and when a word might have other meanings than only the ones I happen to be aware of.
So I know when to reach for a dictionary or other knowledge resource. And I have many available, paper, digital offline and digital online. I think it’s better to know little and be aware of how little it is that you know, than to know much and fail to notice what you do not know.
Let’s now focus on the one word that this article is essentially about: ‘consideration’. It occurs in this Freedom of Information request and surrounding discussion, from which I quote:
Mike Montagne on 29 May 2013:
“[...] – with the consequence being a terminal escalation of falsified debt to a banking system, which, because it gives up no commensurable consideration in the entire life cycle of the money it purportedly creates…”
Jake on 2 June 2013:
“People can only deduce that the only consideration actually given up by banks is the costs of publishing further representations of our promissory obligations. A cost we are much better advised to absorb ourselves through the peoples Common Monetary Infrastructure (which is merely an accounting system) at much less cost and consequence.”
I didn’t know what that is, “to give up a consideration”. That’s because, I found out some time later, the only meanings of the word ‘consideration’ I knew were these (or maybe I did know others but unconsciously considered (☺) only these):
Merriam Webster online:
“1: continuous and careful
thought <after long consideration he agreed to their
2a: a matter weighed or taken into account when formulating an opinion or plan <economic considerations forced her to leave college>
2b: a taking into account
4: an opinion obtained by reflection”
Collins English Dictionary, 30th Anniversary Edition:
“1 the act or on instance of
considering; deliberation; contemplation
4 a fact or circumstance to be taken into account when making a judgment or decision
8 thought resulting from deliberation; opinion”
My English-Dutch dictionary, the “Van Dale Groot woordenboek Engels-Nederlands” – my edition is from 1989, a newer one is for sale here – has this for the countable noun:
“0.1 (punt v.) overweging ==> (beweeg)reden, considerans
0.2 weloverwogen mening ==> overtuiging”
and for the non-countable noun:
“0.1 consideratie ==> aandacht, beschouwing, overdenking, overweging”.
With this class of meanings I could not make any sense of the expression “to give up a consideration”. Or is it actually “to give up consideration”?
But with all those dictionaries at hand, I quickly noticed that the word ‘consideration’ can also be used in another, specialised sense, that seems to fit here very well.
Collins English Dictionary, 30th Anniversary Edition:
“7 payment for a service; recompense; fee”
“0.3 <vnl. enk.> beloning ==> betaling, compensatie, vergoeding”
Terminologie financieel management 2001:
“b. vergoeding, beloning, betaling, tegenprestatie”
If this, what I call, Sense group B is indeed the right and intended meaning of the word ‘consideration’, we could interpret Mike’s “it gives up no commensurable consideration of the money it purportedly creates” as: ‘the bank creates money that never existed before, for its own benefit, just to demand interest for it, and it itself never paid for obtaining that money. It got the money for free itself and makes others pay for borrowing it and that’s unfair.’
And Jake’s “the only consideration actually given up by banks is the costs of publishing further representations of our promissory obligations” would mean: ‘banks have no other expenses or costs than those for said publishing, so their charging so much interest is unjustified’.
(Do I have to explain? These are not my views, but how I linguistically interpret statements and questions by MPE adherents. I do not agree with those ideas, but that’s not the topic of this article.)
I hope I interpreted also the seemingly simple expression “to give up” correctly. Merriam Webster has:
“1: to yield control
or possession of
4b: to devote to a particular purpose or use”
Seems to fit.
On the web page under consideration so far, the questions that Jake had asked to the Bank of England (the British central bank) are not directly visible. But they are in an attachment to the Bank’s reply dated 29 July 2011. (Yes, this is all from quite a long time ago, but I found it only recently.) That attachment is here.
In it, the Bank refers to earlier questions and their
answer to them.
The questions are on the web page
which redirects to
Demonstrable Facts of a Categoric Fault, and they were
posed by a certain “Mark-Lee of the Giles family”.
(Does that mean his name is actually Mark-Lee Giles, but he is in the “Claim your Name” movement? I heard of that via some Dutch bloggers, but I didn’t know it was international. Anyway, different subject. I think it’s plain nonsense and not worth writing about.)
That sheds some new light on my false impression of Jake’s language background: I now think his English is no better than that of the average Dutchman, but he copies and reassembles sentences from other people, including complicated syntactic structure and rich vocabulary.
Nothing wrong with that, except that I’d rather have seen him mention that in the first place himself. Perhaps he did, somewhere, and I missed it.
And perhaps even Mark-Lee Giles is not the original author of the sentences, but he has them from Mike Montagne? He is the founder of the MPE (Mathematically Perfected Economy) movement. He’s an American, from California, now in Oregon.
Interestingly then, a trait they all share is using the word ‘then’ after an adverb to introduce their convoluted sentences. Possibly then too, that is just a coincidence.
(Well, no, I’m not really good at imitating their style, am I? I’d better stick to my own.)
Interestingly, the fourth Dutch question is more or less a translation of the first question by Mark-Lee Giles, so:
“1) What lawful consideration do you claim the BoE gives up when it creates money ?”
“Op basis van welke wettige (contractuele) overweging claimt de bank dat het eerder bezit opgeeft wanneer geldcreatie plaatsvindt?”
On superficial perusal I concluded that Jake had translated the English word “consideration” by the Dutch word “overweging”.
“@mike_montagne @Holland4MPE "Commensurable consideration" (dffclt wrds, that Jake doesn't understand) [...]”
Now that I look at the matter in more detail while writing the article (18 June), I think Jake did notice the lexical and semantic difficulties, and tried to build also sense B into his Dutch question, by writing “[...] claimt de bank dat het eerder bezit opgeeft wanneer geldcreatie plaatsvindt?”, meaning as I understand it: ‘[...] does the bank claim it gives up previous property, earlier assets, when money creation takes place’.
And perhaps Mark-Lee Giles and/or Mike Montagne did also hint
at sense A, so that the question:
“What lawful consideration [does the bank] give[s] up when it creates money ?”
‘Who (governmental authorities) and what (laws, contracts) gave the bank the right to create money? Why does the bank think it is allowed to do that while others can’t?’
Be that as it may, it is still my opinion that all those questions are unclearly worded, that they rely on grave misunderstandings, that they are rhetorical in already suggesting incriminating answers, and are full of unfounded reproach against banks in general.
Moreover, the questions are directed to central banks, which by the nature of what they do, are not directly involved in money creation themselves. They do control the boundaries of how non-central banks can create money, though.
All of these characteristics of the questions make it difficult for the central banks to answer them, and it would be quite understandable if they tacitly thought “why would we?”
This purportedly lacking “commensurable consideration” seems to be the quick of MPE, or at least part of the quick.
Central banks understandably do not provide targeted answers, but I think I can, and I am willing to do so. I can even answer the questions in several interpretations, be they intended, implied of not intended at all. I’ll try to do so in one or more subsequent articles.
In fact, all the answers are already in my existing series of 19 articles, but last weeks’ twittering shows that Mike and Jake are unable (or unwilling? but let’s not assume that) to match what I wrote there with express or implied elements in their questions.
So I will be more explicit. I think they deserve that.
Stay tuned and watch this space.
The Canadian section of MPE was willing to explain and corroborate the meaning of the word “consideration”, as follows:
“**Consideration: something valuable exchanged as part of a contract** Dictionary of Banking and Finance, 4th edition, page 76”.
This corresponds to what I called sense group B.
Copyright © 2013 R. Harmsen. All rights reserved.