By February 17, 2012 4 Comments Read More →

Money & the Rise of the Alternative Currency

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Giving Is All We Have

We’ve entered an exciting transformative period in which the role of money in our society is being reconsidered. Did you know for instance that all over the world alternative currencies are popping up? No? Well, buckle up then!

Money is essentially created to overcome the limitations of reciprocal trade by creating a quantitative ecosystem that makes exchange and value storage more flexible. But our current monetary system comes with some downfalls as well, which have become ever so apparent in our current time frame.

Some issues around money

Money promotes hoarding: For instance, €90 now is worth €100 in a years’ time at an interest rate of 11% (I know, I know, approximately ;-). So it promotes today’s hoarding of money instead of investing it in sustainable productive resources. Demurrage, which is instigating a negative interest rate is an instrument to promote the latter.

Money doesn’t bare true value: the true value in a transaction between you and a baker is the bread that’s baked. We tend to ascribe value to money, where in fact it doesn’t have any unless it is backed by an asset or commodity (which in fact often isn’t the case).

Money drives immoral decision making: Money is an abstract figure. Accumulate billions of them and our brains lose sight of the reality behind that figure. Take for instance the sub-prime mortgage crisis in 2008; our bankers cut up spreadsheet numbers into risk-assigned variables and resold them into packages to a party willing to take the higher risk-return rate. Not one of them considered the idea of the potential disastrous effects a moral appeal. After all, they’re just numbers, right?

Money alienates us from each other: money has a tendency to render every interaction into a transaction. On top of that, the system of interest redemption and payment drives people into competition for their share of the pie.

The rise of alternative currencies

Acknowledging these downfalls of our current monetary system, some alternatives arise. These so-called complementary currencies are designed to encourage investing in productive assets rather than hoarding. On top of that, they encourage (local) trade and cooperation and are less susceptible to inflation because they are backed by an external reference such as a commodity or service rather than the fiat of a central authority. They come in various colours and flavours, some of which we’ll explore below.

Time Banking, also known as services exchange or Time Trade, is backed by hours of work delivered. It is nowadays primarily used by communities to provide and incentive for work such as teaching children, helping the elderly or just what we used to refer to a being neighborly. But it has its social goal as well. By participating you gain credits for your time invested, gain the opportunity to meet others, confidence and on top of that, it gives a sense of meaning to life. So it builds social capital within a community. Timebanking is applied within communities all over the world. Some examples? Caire (Dutch), Ithaca Hours (US) Timebanks USA, TimeBanking UK.

Another alternative currency is for example Regiogeld in Germany. Basically, this is a alternative currency backed by the national currency with the goal of promoting local trade in the community.

Now, some electronic currencies are evolving as well, such as Bit Coin, their main advantages being that there is a fixed quantity (just like metal, gold) and no one has the ability to create new bitcoins, there’s no interest so it promotes investment in sustainable assets and there’s no need for a central authority.

The world is going free anyway: peer-to-peer.

Enabled by peer to peer advances online, we have a decreasing necessity for large corporations. In times of insecurity, we tend to seek security and progress in each other. We can slowly see how the world is going free, as millions of us around the world are freely giving and sharing places to stay over, music, skills, knowledge & compassion. It all stems from the natural urge of everything in our universe to want to be free.

Complementary currency systems such as time banks are the next step in evolution towards a world that revolves around unconditional giving. Slowly but steadily, we getting there.

Giving is All we Have doesn’t stand still either and is currently participating in a ground-breaking initiative to fuel that evolution, of which I’m sure you will hear more within a year. Sorry guys, I’m dying to tell you more. But be patient. Meanwhile, find some more inspiration here!

The Future of Money from KS12 on Vimeo.

4 Comments on "Money & the Rise of the Alternative Currency"

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  1. Ted Parrish says:

    My dead grandmother could write articles better than this…are you kidding me? What about the Liberty Dollar fiasco? What about Utah’s recent law passed, recognizing silver and gold coin as legal tender? What about the state of Virginia, who currently has a Bill on the table to follow Utah? What about the history of money, like a time when SALT was legal tender? What if I offered to pay you a one oz. GOLD bullion coin for your $1,500. garage sale item? Does that make me a criminal?

  2. dimitri says:

    Enslaved populations have no need for money. They are allowed to hold only that which supports their biological existence. Be very suspicious of anybody propounding a moneyless society. All they want is control over YOU.

  3. Victor Gagnon says:

    I tend to agree with dimitri. One must be aware, first of all, of who has all the money? If I have all the money then I get to say what changes will be made for me to make more money or to simply have more power. Some will try like the Euro. There is no conspiracy here, its plain and simple, its those that have all the money, and lots of it, that controls how much we have. How many of you simply carry cash only today or pay by cash (paper that the Federal reserve prints) or do you just have a card. We are almost in a moneyless society now. Credit cards and debit cards etc, plastic is our money for most of us. Yes there are many who want to make some changes but really if you don’t have all the money you don’t get to make the rules and the rules will only be changed if it benefits those who have all the money (gold, paper, silver, copper, etc). So is money the root of all evil? and some say that its the love of money which is the root of all evil but do we not all love money and live in a world of lack, which means, not enough time to make enough money to get to the future and yet the future never comes. Remember if I had all the money then you would have to cow tail to me, I would make all the calls (banks). Focus on those who have all the money and you will notice they are mostly silent but their profits are always increased and reported to us in the form of the economy is doing well because we are doing well. Then in my opinion the future of money means control. If you have none (money), regardless of what it looks like, then you don’t get to eat, or live and those who have all the money really don’t care if you die tomorrow.
    So in my opinion it matters not what money looks like but how it controls us. It is the ultimate control of beings on this planet. We live in Lack!!

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