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Adventures in mutual credit

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 English Soldiers have been replaced by heavily armed police; Paramilitaries have faded away leaving only violent thugs.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...
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...

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