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Adventures in mutual credit

Currently the vast majority of complementary currencies are local initiatives. I'm talking about real initiatives with daily trades rather than mere ideas, models, exaggerations non-starters, and dead systems. That means mostly about a few thousand business barter exchanges, LETS and Timebanks, and some others which don't fit those categories. For reasons which nobody seems to know, local systems rarely grow larger than about 150 (The Dunbar number?) and that means, as economic islands in a global economy, they are not very useful and seem condemned to remain marginal; many people join these...
This is just a few notes about why the Credit Commons design is better than bitcoin. This is not an article and is written for no particular audience, but it could be! We have to thank Tom Greco for bringing the phrase 'Credit Commons' to our attention. It reminds us that everything which was common is being enclosed, and that the abstract, misunderstood and very simple thing, credit is the most critical to bring about a fairer and more sensible society. When I read in 2010 Greco's book, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization I was starting to give cookie-cut open source...
Published last year in Open Democracy blog Recent currency innovations like Bitcoin and an economic recovery now dragging into its seventh year have led many people to question what money is - and more importantly, what it should be. Answering this question is fundamental to any attempt to transform society. Economists will tell you that money has many different functions, most importantly as a store of value and a medium of exchange. Wealthy people tend to focus on the former function, while those who must work to eat may think the latter more important. Over time these functions have been...
Just heard Matthew McStravick today talking about Economy of Hours, his widening of timebanking to include local businesses. Running the Timber Wharf Timebank in Hackney, London, he was frustrated by the limited scope of the project which, following donor priorities, had to focus a single social problem. But donors (usually the government) fail to appreciate that the essence of marketplace is that everyone brings something different and needs something different. Matthew considered the wider needs of his organisation, and of other nonprofits and believed he could broker exchanges between...
In 2011 after second deluge of Quantitative Easing in the US, congressman Ron Paul challenged Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke asking him, "Is Gold Money"? Do you know what money is? Have you noticed that there are competing definitions? How could money have become so pervasive in our minds and relationships without being properly defined? How can we improve the technology of money when we don't even know what it is? Economists usually answer the same way when you ask them what money is. They say it is "a medium of exchange, a store of value and a measure of value". So in a prison...
In the process of writing and researching for the forthcoming Money and Society MOOC, Jem Bendell and I learned a great deal about the subject we to were teaching. In Lesson 1 in which we investigate the very essense of money Jem introduced me to Georg Simmel's The Philosophy of Money. Simmel was not an economist, but a sociologist, and his understanding of money runs far deeper than any economist I've read. While economists may give a passing nod to the theory of value and the notion that all value is subjective, this idea doesn't stop them measuring the whole world in a unit produced and...
[One condition for my GEN ambassadorship was a writeup at the end of the year. This is it, though I've written up a handful of individual ecovillages previously in this blog] I've had the honor of spending a several days in several ecovillages, but I didn't manage to write economic profiles of all of them! Valle Sencaciones Lakabe Amalurra Los Portales Sieben Linden Damanhur Schweibenalp The variety of economies was as wide as could be, ranging from Lakabe which uses no money internally and has a single account for handling everybody's cash, to larger ecovillages like Sieben...
Evgeny Fedorov, from the Russian Parliament, explains what Russian Central Bank's role in the currency war, and then outlines how the USA is planning a coup in Russia. It is 20 mins of subtitled Russian, so I took notes... Thanks to Trade with Dave for bringing it to my attention. In Russia Central bank interest rates are high (they just jumped from 10 to 17%). Compare this to Developed countries' interest rates which are low. That means that Roubles are used for exchange...
Is it a good idea to start a LETS in 2014? The brand is 30 years old, and has a track record littered with poor governance, currency collapse, low participation and high turnover. The domesticated hippies of the 80s and caring sharing consumers of the 90s are not the same as the Occupiers and Transitioners of today. The existing LETS projects at least in UK are failing to thrive even in recession. The movement preferred decentralisation over software coordination, and slicker projects emerge every week. Could there be be anything worth picking from such a carcass? What would a modern...
Of course I'm jealous. People tell me every other day that my work is important, but much funding flows to demonstrably stupid projects. I no longer seek funding or material support or even volunteers for my work. I no longer worry about funded projects overtaking mine. I have understood that what I'm doing is antithetical to money, and unlikely to be funded by any reasonable plutocrat or angel. Just as states and banks simply can't see moneyless people, projects which neither beg nor boast are invisible to donors. Before I go further I should tell you that for six years I haven't been...

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