Money

As I watch Greece seemingly fall apart, I am wondering if much of the problem isn’t to do with the nature of money itself, an invention which had a very different purpose when it came into being than it does now.

Greece has apparently sold many bits of land and maybe an island or two, to little benefit?

This was the view this May, but will that change as reported debt reaches £300 billion? Well, that was a figure I was told. This report says it has already changed.

Maybe the Transition Movement will help solve the problem by extending the reach of local currency?

Looking through the Transition Links, I can only find Chichester and Lewes having created a local currency, not sure if John Lewis Partnership are taking them to buy goods, but they should be, given their ethical mission?

I am surprised Totnes doesn’t have a currency, given they seem to do just about everything else.

Given the cuts in budget for most local councils, maybe we should be encouraging them to create local currencies, care at home by local currency anyone?

This is meant to sound flippant, and then create a response from you of, well, why not!

We are staring in the face of massive contradictions in the monetary system, and perhaps some of the energy in the protests on the streets reflects that. You can buy and sell on Ebay, or at Car Boot Sales, you can have your own garage sale but sell stuff you have bought at car boot sales. They call this the black economy, but in many ways it is normal trading, exchanging, that was there before wages, salaries and pension schemes existed.

My gut feeling is I want to have my freedom back. I want to be able to say to my neighbour, look, I will look after your cat when you go away if you give me a lift to the airport next week. Of course that is OK, I think. But why,when so much underemployment  is around, can we not formalise is.? Which is where local currency comes in. It is as if being inefficient is OK but being efficient is illegal?

This kind of local freedom agenda is very appealing, so, being rational, we may want to ask, what is wrong with it?

The answer which will be given is, well, who pays the taxes then? Who pays for the care of those who are not in some kind of shared community support system? Who pays for the education of those who will not get free lessons from their educated friends? Who pays for the upkeep of the roads, and ultimately, the protective emergency services and the army and navy and airforce?

It seems to me this is not going to be resolved by one side arguing against the other. We have the society we have because we, in the UK, adopted free education and free health services, and free use of the roads, mostly.

Surely this has to be resolved by communities engaging with the masters of our economy about where local currency applies and where national, or even, as we know it, continent wide currency applies, (not a lot of votes in joining the Euro today I think).

Those in the Zeitgeist movement have been offering a radically different view of national and global currency fixes, or maybe we call them frauds.

At this time of crisis, it takes a brave or foolhardy person to say ‘I know what to do’ (exit the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the opposition).

My gut feeling is that I  have been treated badly, but more strongly, I feel the poor and the vulnerable have been treated so much worse than I, and maybe the planet has been raped in the name of economics.

We need to find a better system of money.

Agree or disagree, but please, have your say.

 

 

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2 responses to “Money

  1. Totnes launched their Totnes Pound in 2007 so I think they were probably the pioneers. I support the aims of local currencies but share Nanos’ feelings about the inefficiency if all towns were to adopt them. They are effectively vouchers which you can only spend in one town and only with participating retailers. Unless there’s wide support you might find you can’t use your local money to buy what you need and not many of us can afford to tie up money in a form we can’t spend. Perhaps widening the area by creating county or regional currencies could retain some of the benefits whilst widening the appeal? For trading time and skills with your neighbours setting up some kind of LETS scheme might work better.

    I think businesses need to find imaginative ways to encourage people to buy local. In Horsham a number of the small local businesses have got together to create an incentive card – you get a stamp when you purchase something from any of the participating shops and they each donate a prize for the monthly draw of all the completed cards. All helps to raise awareness of some of the smaller shops and build up some community feeling.

  2. I can imagine local currencies helping, another one to add to your list is:

    http://brixtonpound.org

    I have heard there are difficulties in making such currency legal in the UK, so it is perhaps not as easy a solution as it first appears.

    I also wonder about the idea of a global currency, on the basis that if everywhere has a local currency, you will have an awful lot of different currencies to trade in and this strikes me as somewhat inefficient!

    If one looks at the MMORPG world, there you will see the likes of Linden Dollars, and others which are traded between real world currencies, as such I don’t see it being a big leap from a MMORPG currency to one that everyone could use globally.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Second_Life

    As to the issue of taxes, I imagine once a government agrees to be paid in a local/global currency, that taxes would be paid as they are currently 🙂

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