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Adventures in mutual credit

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...
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...

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