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Adventures in mutual credit
Does cooperativism work?
Since 'political economy' became a subject in the 18th century, the predominant political dichotomy has been framed as labour versus capital. Marx talked about 'control of the means of production' as the essential political power that the workers needed to wrest from the capitalists. A great deal of activism and political theory continues in that vein: Gar Alpowitz work What then must we do? is all about rebuilding worker-owned coops and similar institutions.
In the complementary currency movement most of us have been so preoccupied with our software platforms that we haven't had the capacity to build apps; when apps are built, they are tightly coupled to one platform, making them difficult to share.
Building a mobile phone app means defining an API in which all the objects to be manipulated are described field by field. The app and the server send these objects back and forth, and, knowing the fields, the app can apply the data objects to built in templates to display them.
I just spent rather longer than I care to admit completely revamping the wikipedia article on mutual credit.
This seemed valuable to me because that idea has been the focal point of my work, and source of much inspiration, since starting this blog in 2008, and I feel it is a simple yet profound idea which is appreciated only by a few money geeks.
I've just discovered that the mailing list on my website hasn't been working, so if you receive this by mail, do have a look back at my blog!
In particular I'd like to draw your attention though to two things.
Firstly in considering how to build on my career so far, how to reduce technical dependence on me, and how the whole complementary currency movement can move forward, I wrote this analysis:
Readers less interested in the story of Community Forge may wish to skip the text in grey.
In 2008 grassroots social organisations were (and still are) behind the curve both in uptake and in appreciating the importance of open source. Most local community currency groups were unaware of the software options available and still using paper although migration to online packages was underway.
This week I was honoured to be part of the Money & Society Summit, organised by Jem Bendell. It was a chance to bring some unusual monetary thinking to newcomers and especially some Bitcoin enthusiasts who have a stronghold here in Bali! During the final Panel, Gary Dykstra, host of the Bitcoin Filter, asked the panelists, me included, what the Bitcoin movement could learn from its elder sibling the complementary currency movement.