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Adventures in mutual credit

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...
Reality check: Functions of money Store of Value for rich people Medium of exchange for traders/producers measure of value etc. No one monetary design is optimal for all functions. A typology of money Very little consensus on this. Important for the integrity and long term stability of the project. For all currencies note that the issuer has a tremendous benefit by being able to thrust the money into circulation and usually to control the quantity. Recession means not enough money circulating in the economy. Commodity money / Barter Fully backed. What is backing? Why Gold? What if...
Last time I described several solidarity economy networks and a bit about their software situation and needs. Today I want to look at some solutions which could help them work in a more integrated way. This article starts from the specific problem of accounting, and widens out to whole-platform approaches. For full interoperability the accounting needs to be abstracted out of the community portal into its own service, and made accessible with an API. For me the most interesting accounting system is Ripple because it is open and has a web API allowing anyone to plugin and log...
The failure of state-level economic policy is driving the emergence of many independent 'solidarity economy' networks accross the world. While the old story says that resources are short and the fittest will survive, these movements are forging a new story about creating local abundance together. As well as creating a new culture, a new spirituality , they are learning how to feed themselves from their gardens better than supermarkets maximise exchange between themselves (and each other) to keep the value local finance sustainable enterprises, pool risk use underemployed people to...
Most ecovillages are progressive outposts on the frontiers of a necessary transition. Damanhur however is the centre of a nascent civilisation. With over 500 adult residents and tens of thousands of connected souls it is the largest ecovillage in Europe; it has created its own culture and its own ways of living in community and understanding and practising spirituality. The heart of the community is a massive and magnificent work, the Temple of Humanity, secretly carved into the mountain over fifteen years before being betrayed to the public. Forty years ago the original founders held...

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