My theology degree did not equip me to live in this world. I travelled and tried my hand at teaching and oily engineering, before immersing myself in the new multimedia technologies. I cut my programming teeth making arcade games for Ben & Jerry's at the end of the millenium. But it was hard to apply this skills really usefully. After a year in India I freed myself from the need to save for a pension and the need for female affirmation. I wanted to responsible for no part of the systemic inequality and injustice in this world, which meant fully committing to political and personal change. I re-started my career aged 31 from scratch, learning php and using it to support a local nonprofit, Shelter Centre. That organisation hit the 'big time' in 2006, and my apprenticeship in activism lasted a further 2 years with them in Geneva amongst the champagne humanitarians! In 2008 I turned my attention to local money systems and to building really useful community accounting software so that communities could easily design and run their own economies in the event of a more serious economic calamity. That was when Tim Anderson and I co-founded Community Forge, to help the LETS movement upgrade and manage its software.
The work was vast, and I didn't want to waste time working to pay rent in a place I didn't care for. I hit the road as a digital nomad, staying in the cheapest countries but after a year, the money and the freelance jobs dried up and I found accommodation and food with Tim and allies amongst our LETS partners in Belgium. All this was done with the energy of a spiritual calling or mission. Tracking the news, visiting other allies, reading voraciously about money, exploring so-called 'conspiracy theories', I built up a picture of the world and a way of talking about it, that more and people are finding useful.
My hope is that, once communities have made sensible software decisions for themselves, we can join their economies together so that people can reclaim for themselves the business of issuing credit. If human nature itself has been subverted by the nefarious debt-money system, which makes an artificial scarcity which drives growth and consumption, then access to more equitable terms of credit might make the world a better place.
Now Community Forge is hosting over 130 active sites, and the largest nonprofit exchange network in the world, CES is partially financed to upgrade to the forthcoming Drupal 8. I'm living mostly in the gift, currently nomadic, getting to know and connect people as many people in the movement as possible by staying with them. Increasingly I have understood that monetary reform is not a panacea, and everyone is needed to build the kind of world in which abundance of the few doesn't depend on the poverty of the many - a world in which I could live normally with a clean conscience. I'm focusing less on building software and more on being open to opportunities that present themselves. In that spirit, I've co-created the trading floor game with Sybille Saint Girons, and a co-written a MOOC with Prof Jem Bendell. In 2016 I co-authored the Credit Commons white paper with CES creator Tim Jenkin, describing a money system for the solidarity economy.