New Currencies For A New Economy

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Above Photo: Rossa O’Dowd/Flickr

To build local power, activists in Bristol are taking aim at the root of all evils: money.

  • TitforTat6

    Very interesting and thought provoking. 🙂

  • Yes, I agree. Local currencies as an alternative can have their economic advantages however, you might also notice that in the example given, ‘“while Bristol is getting wealthier, inequality is increasing and the city becoming ever more unaffordable.” While Bristol is a city of thriving local business, it’s also “fractured by race and class,” Rees said. Some neighborhoods are among the most deprived in England, with life expectancies nearly a decade under the national average.’

    Local currencies tend to help local economies much as do barter and trade such as, for example, local hour exchanges. These types of local ‘currencies’ always struggle for the simple reason that they are not universal, or closer to universal like national currencies tend to be. In colonial America, these #CurrencyWars were at the heart of the American rebellion. Today’s #CurrencyWars extend to cryptocurrencies, generally an attempt to decentralize the creation of money. All of this is merely an expression of economic warfare that is at the very heart of any competition based monetary market system.

    Why does our economic system have to be competitive? The answer is, it doesn’t have to be competitive. As a matter of fact, if we were to develop an economic system in which we all collaborated to meet the needs of all, we could greatly increase the degree of true economic and resource efficiency. We don’t so much have an economy today as we have an #AntiEconomy that is constantly wasting resources and devastating our natural environments in the name of profit. Even with local currencies, the same dynamics are still at play, only somewhat mitigated by the localized awareness of how our economic decisions tend to impact those immediately around us. Your starving neighbor is much more likely to break into your home to steal in order to survive than someone being economically exploited halfway around the world as multinational corporations are so good at doing. Localization tends to mitigate some of the worst impacts of monetary market economics, but it does not eliminate them.

    We need to begin considering ways to move beyond the culture of money, barter and trade all together. Technically, there are feasible alternatives but humanity seems to be so deeply addicted to the culture of money that we are nearly entirely blind to other very real alternatives. (#AlternativeEconomics #NLRBE)

    Can you imagine a human culture in which you could walk into a grocery store or restaurant whenever you needed food and simple get what you needed without using money, barter or trade of any kind? How about medical care, education, housing, energy and clean water? All technically highly possible. It’s called sharing as opposed to money which is all about hoarding. People seem to like to use the word ‘greed’. Humans are ‘greedy’ they say. We have a human culture of institutional ‘greed’ called ‘money’. What would people be like if we institutionalized sharing instead? Would we have so much difficulty switching to alternative clean renewable energy sources if there were no profits to be made? I don’t think so. We need an economy that serves life not personal greed.

    Sharing is very personal. You give of yourself to help another. You cannot get any more local than that nor any more universal. It is the way of nature and the way of human culture. But we have chosen to share the abstraction we call money which is all about not sharing. The plants and animals other than humans give what they are and receive what they need. Only humans use money. Only humans exhibit psychopathic greed. Only humans attempt to ‘own’ the resources of the planet upon which all life depends. The exclusion of ownership embodied in the use of money is a root cause of the 5th great extinction now underway upon our shared home. Money is a deeply flawed conception shared across the human cultural imagination, a very poor approximation of the sharing expressed in nature. With so much to offer, why does humanity give money to the world? Such irony or perhaps tragedy is difficult to wrap one’s head around.

  • chetdude

    Brilliant post. A Keeper!

    Thank you…

  • Please…these understandings need to be more widely shared…attribution is unimportant and irrelevant. All cultural understandings are emergent standing entirely upon so very much that has preceded them. The ‘ownership’ of ideas is a particularly stupid notion. I couldn’t possibly list attributions for all the ideas I have received from others that have allowed me to arrive at these insights.

  • Jon

    Wise comments, Gary. Thank you.

  • chetdude

    I’ve been working for years with some good folks who’ve been trying to create and pass on the better vision that will help us climb out of our pit.

    They also have synthesized ideas from others including James Kunstler, Joanna Macy, Daniel Quinn, Bill McKibbin, Richard Heinberg and many others. We’ve been working together on a book but health issues have been inhibiting us some…

    Anyway, thank you for the “better story” – a Sharing Society rather than the Hoarding One we’ve got now…