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Adventures in mutual credit

Neal Gorenfo in Shareable did a great job of introducing the upcoming platform cooperativism conference by explaining the rise of Death Star platforms and a counter-proposition that these platforms could or should be run as cooperatives. I'm dubious about the way in which these horizontal platforms conceive of community. As Gorenfo said, Platform coops may be able to create a deeper community experience than Death Stars, which routinely feign community ethos for profit. This is because the 'community' in one of these horizontal platforms is a group oriented around one particular need....
For some years I have been drawn towards the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN) and around 3 years ago started talking to them about exchange and the benefits of not using money. This was never going to be a quick win for me or the movement and I have been employing all my relationship-building skills, my deep listening, my nomadic powers, my Drupal expertise, and my patience in order to serve them. Last year I attempted to get a sense of ecovillage economies by touring several to share explicitly on that subject. It turns out that many in the movement are aware of economics and the benefits of...
I was honoured to be invited to Skala ecovillage in Greece. Anna and Nikiforos are 3 years into their fourth attempt to build a community on their property near Thessaloniki on which currently abide 7 adults plus 3 volunteers and some children. I'm still not sure what they thought I would bring, but their main concern is to take the project from merely living together to building a future together. Nikiforos is a highly skilled engineer running a family business 50km away putting all his income into Skala. Most of the others are paying a fixed rent for basic accommodation but not investing...
A long time ago, when Stewart was an estate agent, interest rates jumped from 5% to 15% in a day (Thanks to George Soros) and three of his clients committed suicide. Stewart decided to design a new, less money-centric life, and started New Morray LETS in Forres, near Findhorn, Scotland twenty years ago. His energy and commitment helped the LETS to grow steadily and now he reckons 60% of his economic life is through LETS. Working with a friend, he developed and fine-tuned a MS Access application to administer the whole system, including printing the directories. Soon he was travelling all over...
The wonderful Robin Hood Collective is gathering for 4 days in London and I so regret being unable to attend that I'm writing this post for all the assembled! I'd like to introduce myself and share what I'm doing and what I would like to see Robin Hood doing. I've been working on community money systems since 2008, firstly writing free software for timebanks and LETS, and then nomading and networking and teaching amongst them. In fact my software is by far the most used open source software in the field, since it is mature and highly configurable. The organisation I co-founded in Geneva...
While anecdotal evidence abounds for strange coincidences mind to mind communications, and the supposed laws of physics being broken in ways we find meaningful, it has been very hard to capture these events in a laboratory in a way that the rump of the scientific body finds acceptable. Rupert Sheldrake has spent a whole career applying scientific method to try to measure and understand these phenomenon but while many 'common' people seem perfectly accepting of those ideas, serious and professional scientists are not, and such topics continue to be outside the realm of serious science despite...
The first 'Transition Pounds' in the UK, Totnes, Brixton, Stroud, Lewes, and then Bristol lacked proper theoretical foundations, and achieved very limited circulation. Even today, on its fourth issue, the Totnes pound is extremely sluggish. Even with discounts, pound-backed (proxy-pound) models in which national money is captured for the local economy lack incentives for those local pounds to circulate. These projects no longer promise economic development, but instead acknowledge that local notes act as a 'nudge' in people's wallets to encourage them to spend locally, where they otherwise...
Having kept an eye on the altcoins for a good while I wasn't initially impressed by the claims of Faircoin. There have been several coins issued attached to good causes but without a clear monetary function. The idea is usually to set up a cryptocurrency, premine some, market the brand and sell the premines for a good cause. In this, there is no consideration of what makes the coin a desirable purchase, and the coin is so useless i.e. unused and therefore unusable, that its purchase constitutes little more than a straight donation. It seemed to me that Faircoin was something similar,...
The Troubles of Northern Ireland were to a large extent kept out of the press at the time, being mentioned only when prominent people or the mainland were attacked. Judging by the lack of coverage in the media, we might still be forgiven for thinking that the troubles are over, In many ways the Troubles are over. English Soldiers have been replaced by heavily armed police; Paramilitaries have faded away leaving only violent thugs. Tales abound about 'dirty tricks' on both sides, Bloody Sunday is still a live issue for some, but the English establishment has closed ranks and attempted to...
We all have an idea of what needs to happen; we are piecing together the Transition to a better world in the ways we know how; many of us are reaching out to potential allies, although building productive partnerships is difficult. The internet is a powerful tool that brings together people who share ideals, languages, and passions and so we spend a lot of time connecting to allies online. Where else in my life could I find people to advise me, support my work and use my software? Yet I realised yesushterday that this specialisation may have gone too far. The Transition seems to consist...

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