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Adventures in mutual credit

I was privileged to attend the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) 2019 Congress just now where I drew attention to the role of complementary currencies and attempted to dispel any fantasies about the role of blockchain in transferring wealth. I’ve always supported Basic Income (BI) in principle. It is probably the most direct possible strategy to address the perennial problems of poverty and inequality. It works by giving enough money to live to everyone, effectively putting a floor on poverty, and taking away the fear and want that drives people to underprice their labour. It is...
At the Basic Income Earth Network 2019 Congress I had a chat with Kang Nam Hoon, designer of the Young Person's Basic Income in Geonggi, in the Suwon province of South Korea. This Basic Income is not paid in the national currency, won, but in a token issued by the regional government and 100% backed by won. Each young person is given a plastic card, and their balance is topped up every month. All the shops can accept the currency using their existing payment infrastructure (which sounds a bit smarter than our Western systems) being able to handle national currencies and other kinds of units....
Last month I expressed personal alarm at the weather and the unexpected speed of change. Since then the global weather continues to break records, and I've thought of something slightly more constructive to say. The asteroid which brushed passed the earth on Thursday was only identified as such the day before. Presumably our instruments calculated that it wasn't a risk and the alarm wasn't raised. But had the trajectory been six earth diameters to the side, how much notice would we have had to prepare ourselves for a 30 Hiroshima-bomb impact somewhere on the earth? What if the authorities...
The cryptocurrency world is reeling this week from the white paper of Libra, a coming cryptocurrency with so much corporate buy in, it threatens to change the payments industry. Most people are saying this is a Facebook Coin, but that's not how Facebook wants it to be seen. To businesses, Facebook is a somewhat tacky brand, known as a vehicle for fake news, and selling people's data for money, and for all its users being dumb fucks. So although Facebook incubated the project, and will provide the initial users, Libra is a separate entity controlled by many multinational corporations. The...
I suspected for a long time that our civilisation wasn't viable. When the banks crashed in 2008 I paid attention to a lot of apocalyptic reporting that said we came this close to economic Armageddon - whatever that meant. As I better understood how capitalism is a stupid dogma preached increasingly only by self-serving, vain sociopaths, how it requires exponential consumption of resources, and how it has failed to respond to increasingly shrill science-based warnings. I came to expect the ultimate financial collapse at any moment, or at least in my lifetime. I was alarmed in early April...
As climate change inevitably rises up the political agenda, the shame of being seen not to act on it increases. Climate concerns everyone, even the rich, even the unborn, and everyone is invited to participate. Unlike with race, gender and class struggles, no one group can claim to own it. But what about those non-human persons, corporations? A few days ago, an initiative for businesses to join the rebellion started, but after objections from within the movement, it has been dropped - for now. Natural skepticism Many people who struggle for climate and other forms of justice have...
The usual mechanism of exchange in daily life and in cryptocurrency markets is using an intermediate commodity called money. If you want to swap the goods and services (G...
The Credit Commons is my design for a financial exchange based on the principles of mutual credit, and autonomous communities voluntarily and trustfully collaborating. As such it differs from the more common exchange architectures in fundamental ways. This post explains how and why there is a difference, and hence why mutual credit exchange is not well suited to current exchange architectures, and hence why the mutual credit exchanges in general, and the credit commons in particular, shouldn't just be grafted onto some existing technology. A normal exchange: assumes that all assets are...
It is easy to do mutual credit or any accounting inside one organisation running one software instance on one server. Accounting between organisations on different software on different servers is much harder though. For a convention payment you have to ensure that one account is incremented AND one account decremented, because if only one of those events happen then 'money' has been created or destroyed. Movement of a virtual commodity from one ledger to another requires only consensus between those two ledgers. Thus all the attempts to join ledgers together, like atomic swaps and...
I've learned in the last decade just how hard it is to work outside the money system. Its like trying to work outside of Facebook - there just isn't anything else equivalent, and all your connections are there. If you drop out of the money system you lose all your trading partners and may struggle to build a new network in a field which is narrower and has less powerful tools. So if we want to make an alternative to bank-debt money, we need to be working at scale. There is almost no point replacing one money for another if every local pound is to be converted back to cash at the end....

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