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For Self Determination, we need Free Currencies!

by on October 26, 2011

We can all agree on one thing: our money is at the heart of our problems. It is issued at interest by private banks and inflated and deflated and nowadays stagflated at will. It finances those it owns or wants to own and starves the rest. It has literally financed and bought the world as we know it today.

Everything we want, socially equitable relations, ecological sustainability, room for personal development, etc, will have to be financed and today’s money will not, and frankly, cannot do it.
We are not going to finance the Kingdom of God, or the New Age, or the Aquarius era, or whatever with interest. We are not going to hand over 50% of our labor’s efforts in building this new era to some vampire class pushing computer buttons while monopolizing wealth.

Whoever runs this world is not important. They rule it because they own and control our money, and we allow them to own it by putting our money in his banks and not demanding alternatives.

So let’s take our money out of these banks and support or build our own private currencies, operated for the common good.

Like in Germany, where dozens of regional currencies have sprung up in the last decade. Or like the WIR in Switserland, active for more than 80 years and turning over the equivalent of 2 billion CHF per year and 1 billion outstanding credit. Or in the US the Berkshares, or even the Liberty Dollar.

On the internet there is Bitcoin, but also the currencies of on-line games and applications like Second Life.

Because of increased economic awareness, great momentum is leading how to create low cost, fundamentally fair, high-powered working capital for local, national and international communities. Providing reliable services, easy means of payment, low cost credit, convertibility to other units, run by highly capable people in small organizations.

Both the theorists of Gold and interest free currencies agree that the current system must go and each suggests competition between currencies in a free market.  So what are we waiting for?

There are wonderful rewards out there for people willing to develop and run these systems. Business opportunities, but also the satisfaction of doing something profoundly worthwhile. So many wonderful and inspired people are out there who want to work to express themselves while making a living. That is what labor should be all about.

And what better work can there be at this point in time than building cheap, stable and abundant currencies for millions of people, allowing them to do what they do best?

Let’s face it, the dollar and euro are such atrociously expensive and unstable currencies, they would be completely destroyed if determined by competition providing legal alternatives to networks of businesses and consumers.

If the system is reformed and the people reassert their control over currency, they would still not be able to provide the best possible money. This must be organised by the market. The market is ours, if we have the balls to reclaim it. In fact, we ARE the market. Banks nor Governments are the sugardaddies we hoped they would be. We shouldn’t be looking at them for answers.

We need people who understand what is at stake and make the effort of deeply grasping money and what is needed to bring it to the market place.

And yes, regulators are inimical to these schemes. So what? That’s just another hurdle. Not an easy one to take, but doable. Even regulators are bound by law and their regulations lag behind developments. Find out what legal limitations exist in your area for competing currencies, and help expand their use.

I know from hard experience, that there is nothing in the laws of Euroland that will stop currencies capable of overwhelming anything the ECB has to offer. The situation is not worse in the US. When streetwise and not naive, comprehensive strategies to deal with regulators can be devised.

And let’s be real about something else: regulators lack legitimacy. They back up the scheming cronies while claiming to protect us and the markets.  They, by themselves, are not the solution but rather part of the problem that stems from monopoly currencies.

And yes, the struggle to take on entrenched money interests can be a dangerous game. Let’s accept the fact we’ll die soon now, so we can get on with living free during the little time we have left. In other words, we’ll always face struggles and sacrifices, so why not work toward true freedom.

The internet is still almost free, and it may be the platform needed to provide for diverse money systems. On the other hand, the internet may be a little amorphous: currencies express identity and should exist on several levels of identity: electronic, physical, personal, regional, national, and international.

But for all currencies the internet is an incredible boon, as it provides easy ways for all sorts of applications aimed at transactions. Just look at how banks rely on the internet these days.

A good currency needs to circulate widely. It needs a good architecture, providing the services we need. But it also needs users to trust and accept it. This network must be built. In order for this network to grow, currencies must provide added value for all involved or it won’t survive competition.

Interest-free money would end the pressing urge for economic growth to finance ever higher cost for capital. A more relaxed society can develop, where work and inspiration find rewards, where there is work for everybody, where no small cliques monopolize vast swathes of resources, where nobody is left behind — because there would be plenty to go around.

If not money but labor was the scarce factor of production, everything would be different. People will no longer be forced to prostitute themselves for cash. They will be able to be productive in a way that is suitable to them and their passions.

Whatever our differences are, one pressing need we all have is for better money. There is no need to beg the system to provide it. The system was created to exploit and create monopolies. We cannot reform something so fundamentally opposite of free and fair. We must look for new ways. These ways are becoming available.

By providing capital alternatives, we can stop pleading and start leading.  A great many people will never care to understand the ways of the world, but they will always recognize a better deal. Self-determination can never be achieved without genuine choices and competition.

It’s time to put alternative monetary options on the table and let the market choose.

This article was written for Activist Post

9 Comments
  1. Example of commodity-based currency, Virginia, 1779:

    The principal trade of Petersburg arises from the exporting of tobacco, deposited in warehouses and magazines; but before it is lodged in these warehouses, it is examined, to confirm it is a proper state for exportation, by inspectors, who prove the quality of the tobacco; and if found good, they give the planter a receipt for such a quantity, and these receipts pass current as cash: thus, any one depositing tobacco in these warehouses, and obtaining a receipt, may go to Williamsburg, or any other city in the province, and purchase any kind of commodities, paying with receipts, which circulate through a multitude of hands before they come to the merchant who purchases the tobacco for exportation: thus this valuable commodity is equally bank stock and current coin; and the inhabitants in describing the prices of their different purchases, instead of saying, “I gave so many pounds [sterling] for such an article,” say, “I gave so many hogsheads of tobacco.”

  2. (what?! no one responded to this article?)

    This article is not exactly about ‘competing currencies’. Regional (city state) currencies don’t, necessarily, have to be competing currencies.

    My response to the “competing currencies” suggestion (of whoever):
    Only a scum-bucket or a moron would recommend such thing.
    Historical example(s):
    Between 1800 and 1863 in the United States there were 100s of currencies competing –what a blessing it was

    Common sense and logic:
    Out of 20, 30, 100 different currencies which one would people spend (get rid off, pass on) the first; and which one would they hold onto the longest ?
    They would spend first the least credit-worthy notes, and hold on the longest to those notes which have the most reasonable expectation of having as much purchasing power 6 months from now as yesterday.
    What would be the result?
    Bad currency drives out good; the least trusted notes would circulate fast and furious, while the notes of good credit would sit in somebody’s matress (gold is not a coward, people are; people hold onto something reasonbly stable, and spend that which can loose its purchasing power during breakfast)

    Currency must be uniform (in purchasing power), and must be one –and, somehow, should buy tomorrow what it bought years ago. (if it took me one hour’s labour to earn it, it should buy me one hour’s labour 10 years from now

    • This is exactly what I have been telling the Daily Bell, calling it Gresham’s law. people pay with the depreciating unit.

      But that’s no problem at all: the issue is we should not try to create units that are both a good means of exchange AND store of value. A good unit is a good means of exchange. Interestingly, the faster it depreciates, the better it is as a means of exchange. Of course there is a limit, when it depreciates too fast, businesses will stop accepting them.

      This is basically the idea behind Silvio Gesell’s demurrage also.

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