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Adventures in mutual credit

More fiat vs mutual credit

I have understood for some time now that by ignoring the currency issuing account or creating other accounts, a mutual credit system can be easily adapted to different sets of needs. As a systems thinker, I like the elegance of zero balance systems where balances add up to zero and there is always exactly the right amount of money. However the fiat approach though a little messier has some interesting different qualities.

Sustainable Money

Following a presentation I made on the subject of money and sustainability, I thought it would be useful to note a list of the characteristics of the present dominant monetary system, and why it is unsustainable. Anyone care to add, or elaborate?

Settled in Tamil Nadu

Just a quick post to say Nick and I are settling in Auroville, an experimental community on the coast of Tamil Nadu. We are sorting out regular cheap sources of food, regulating the electricity and internet supplies, meeting people connected with the project, and also working on Community Forge 1.0, which is eagerly awaited by several communities in France and Belgium.

For those whom it may concern, pictures are below!

Street view

Facade

Choosing Cc software 2009

Now communities have a choice of software, they need advice as to which is best for them*. Here are the questions they should be asking. (Like most of my blog posts, this is a work in progress, so when you need to refer to it, come back to the site itself, not to your RSS reader)

Not-for-profit blues

Appeal for sponsors

Summary

As faith in the banks and the conventional economy is waning, we are seeing an increase in interest in complementary currencies, but the large scale adoption of these systems is hampered by lack of software.

New kid on the block

After one year's voluntary development, and a handful of implementations, the Complementary Currencies project for Drupal is now attracting significant attention. See Appendix A for a list of some sites using or in the process of implementing the module.

Mutual credit Transaction API

This api is a work in progress...

User story

Annie from Adelaide Exchange went on holiday and agreed that the accommodation should be paid in local money to Brian from Brisbane exchange.

Ben logs on and goes to the external payment form, where he chooses Adelaide from a list of participating exchanges in the network. He knows Annie's id already and enters

Shopping list

Complementary currencies in Drupal is here to stay. It is still the only open source 'module' which manages mutual credit transactions. It now does all a community really needs, but it can never do all a community wants!

Alone I can no longer develop the software, set up a business, maintain existing users and support one intern. This post explains how much needs to be done, and how quickly it can be done, and with how little resources.

Mutual Credit systems and scalability

My Drupal package was designed with local LETS groups in mind: a few hundred people, no more than one order of separation, trading a few times a month. I realised that an integral zero balance system would use transactions at its base - not user balances. If balances are re-calculated after every transaction by adding up all the previous transactions, then theft is impossible, all errors can be logged and reversed and the data cannot contradict itself.

Coming of age

Tim (from Seldulac and Community Forge) is this week showing off http://french.communityforge.net at a mini festival of the SEL groups in France. The response, he reports, is pretty good, but like the English before them, they are balking at our proposed price of 5 Euros per person per year. Some are asking if they can have the first year free.

More and more groups are choosing Marketplace for Drupal not only because this is exactly the product for communities doing mutual credit, but because there is nothing else available that can help them. Well, the nearest 2 products are:

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