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Adventures in mutual credit

Bases for issuing credit in mutual credit system

Mutual Credit systems require that half of their users be indebted, or in 'commitment' to the other half, yet the law does not recognise these debts unless they are measured in national currency. The money is only as good as the willingness / ability of the indebted users to repay. That makes it rather difficult to bootstrap such projects and to assure users that their credit will be redeemed. So when a mutual credit grows beyond the point where all the members trust each other, we should have some way to guarantee that the credit is good.

Why CCs fail: 3/3 - Other designs

In this final apology (in the classical sense) for complementary currencies, I will briefly survey the plethora of other currency experiments, and consider their success.

Why CCs fail 2/3: Mutual credit systems

Mutual credit systems have one, serious limitation - the credibility of the 'money' is the average of the credibility of its users and there is no way to enforce the debts which the system requires. If I borrow from a bank and fail to repay, with interest, I am accountable in law for that debt. if the debt is measured in some other unit, such as hours, it has no weight in law. In mutual credit systems, half of all the users should be in debt to the other half, and they rely absolutely on the confidence between the users.

Why CCs fail 1/3: Money backed by money

Will Ruddick (Eco Pesa) reached the last round of telephone interviews for a TED fellowship only to be confronted by an Important Person who flatly stated that CCs had been tried but failed. In this series of three I opine that CCs have hardly seriously been tried, and that many of the failures should be put down to the specific design or implementation of the projects.

My Lyon 2011

Initially, Tim and I decided that we wouldn't go to Lyon, as it was purely academic, and as practitioners, we neither had time to write an academic-style paper, or listen to theories that had no bearing on our work. However as time went on, and the practitioners day was announced, and we later timed the Community Forge General Assembly, directly after it, more and more people appeared to be coming, so we showed up in force.

One web site per community is too simplistic

I am working with groups who understand the need to re-localise our society and re-build community. In this context it is tempting to imagine pre-industrial landscapes where every village was mostly self-sufficient. But only a cataclysm would bring that about given that half of us live in cities, and our love of technology favours an economy with intense specialisation.

NEF, Transition Towns & Qoin: RFI response

Dear Josh, Rob et al.

Writing an RFI was exactly the right thing to do, since it shows everyone where you are, and that you are seeking consultation and collaboration, and are open to suggestions.

As far as possible I will stick to your prescribed response format, but my most important messages don't fit it. However, I don't think you'll find anything here irrelevant.

Charles Eisenstein on Money vs Community

I just wanted to share this chapter of Charles Eisenstein's seminal work, the Ascent of Humanity

Download 4.2 Alone in a Crowd (audio file, 22 mins)

It explains how our present money contributes to the breakdown of community by making people anonymous and replaceable part of a machine. The implication is that to build back community we need to rely less on money for our goods and services.

Drupal services documentation: what I pieced together

The services module has been much over-hyped and under documented, considering how hard it is to use. Version 3, we are assured, will be much better, but at the moment rest_server and soap_server don't appear to work. So right now we're between a rock and a hard place. But this post should help you to move forward.

Service and 'resources'

I supposed that I should use hook_service to define services as in the node_service module. However it turns out that there is another, similar but completely undocumented option, as epitomised in the node_resource module.

Reaching for consensus: Proposal for a Standard Protocol for Mutual Recognition Agreements

Many activists that I know recognise that small town currencies are simply not very useful in a globalised economy. One current response response in UK is Bristol which is soon to launch a regional currency. It's very conscious that most celebrated project in Germany, Cheimgauer is regional, and perhaps less conscious of the role of regional banks in that endeavour. Otherwise the strategy sounds to me like a host of other projects which aren't thriving. Insanity has been defined as repeating the same action and expecting different results.

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