The Grip of Death:
A Study of Modern Money, Debt 
Slavery and Destructive Economics 
Michael Rowbotham
Jon Carpenter 2007





This lucid and original account of where our money comes from explains why most people and businesses are so heavily in debt. It offers important insights into subjects that concern us all: mortgages, building societies and banks, food and farming, transport, poverty and wealth, and what’s on the supermarket shelf.
It explains:

  • Why virtually all the money in the global economy has been created as a debt
  • Why only 3% of UK money exists as legal tender; and why in a world reliant upon money created as debt, we are kept permanently short of it
  • How and why mortgages are responsible for creating almost two-thirds of the total money stock in the UK, and 80% in the US
  • Why consumers can't get quality products
  • Why business and corporate debt is at its highest level ever
  • Why debts mean that a small farm can be productively very efficient, but financially ‘not viable’
  • Why national debts can never be paid off without monetary reform
  • How debt fuels the need to ‘grow’, thereby revolutionising national and international transport strategies, destroying local markets and producers, increasing waste and pollution, and exacerbating resource depletion
  • How ‘Third World debt’ is a mechanism used by the developed nations to inject ever-increasing amounts of money into their own economies, and why debtor nations can never repay the debts
  • Why politicians who rely on the banks to create money can’t fund public services
  • Why ‘debt-money’ is fundamentally undemocratic and a threat to human rights
  • The author proposes a new mechanism for the supply of money, creating a supportive financial environment and decreasing our reliance on debt.

“A radical, shocking and eye-opening expose of how our monetary system really works.”  
New Internationalist

“A work to be cherished... stands out not only for the quality of the research and the writing, but for the compelling vision that it unfolds”.  
Economic Reform

“Essential reading for social and environmental reformers. It fills a major gap in accepted theory... Rowbotham's work places him on a par with the social reforming economists E. F. Schumacher and Henry George.”  
The Ecologist