P2P Foundation

The Foundation for Peer to Peer Alternatives

Users of the P2P Foundation wiki will know that we focus part of our attention to the emergence of open money systems.

The logic for me is undeniable:

1) just as we can now peer produce content, software and now designs, I think it is a logical conclusion that we can also produce civil society based money;

2)the current money system uses protocols that induce pathological behaviours and ultimately destroys the biosphere.

Once we have said this though, things get a little more complicated, as there seem to be quite a plethora of open money or 'monetary transformation' proposals out there.

I'm familiar with the following:

- Bernard Lietaer, former Belgian central banker, who takes a macro view of change, building on the existing, but transforming it to a different logic. He proposes a four-tiered monetary system, combining local and affinity based open monies with a global Terra to replace the dollar and any other sovereign currency that may aim to take its place.

- Thomas Greco, who has studied extensively the experience with alternative currencies (and their failures, for example in Argentina ), stresses the mutual credit function, but also wants objective safeguards to maintain the value of such new money

- Michael Linton, who stresses that money is only trust, and has written money to easily create such open source money systems, on a local and affinity basis

As you may guess, various people are criticising the weaknesses of other proposals, and though I would wish for an integration, it is beyond my skills to offer it, so I'm hoping for the next best thing, opening up a dialogue.

Here are my own a priori assumptions:

1) I'm partial to Lietaer, because he covers all the different levels and recognizes the existing world structure to inform strategies of change

2) Thomas Greco is very precise about why local currencies fail. Having myself been familiar with LETS, I see it as a high effort alternative that cannot structurally replace what we have now. From Greco we can learn what is needed to make such initiatives work better and grow into a real alternative

3) Michael Linton has done and is doing what needs to be done to have open money tools at our disposal

What prompted my initiative is that I was contacted by Michael Linton, who is proposing a podcast conversation on the issue, at Blogtalk Radio's Open Money channel .

He described open money as an expression of our capacity for social agreements - money systems are systems of agreement and varieties are virtually unlimited - almost any practical community can enhance its process with appropriate community money systems / measures / records.

Practical requirements for open money include

1) an accessible operating platform that enables users to form or join networks generally rather than one by one

2) an intelligible social organization for collaboration on naming accounts, systems, registries

3) a menu of standard cc systems and provision for variations

4) ideally, some education, maturing and appreciation

Michael Linton and co-conspirator Ernie Yacub say that "generally, open money means we can end monetary poverty - quickly, and for ever."

They believe that "community way systems will soon demonstrate the engine of open money with sufficient clarity for others to replicate - software matters, and will matter more as networks emerge and populate - open money tools will become increasingly used in open source projects, media ventures, creative processes - carbon counting cards are coming ."

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Hi Michael,

Just to clarify, I was not talking about trust 'in' money, but on money based 'on' trust, which is an entirely different thing. It means it is not based on any objective backing, but on the subjective relationships within the community.

Also, between what you understand as alignement, which seems somewhat coercive, and the 'live and let live' that you suggest, there is an alternative, which is an integration of various movements that understand that they are in fact striving for similar goals.

It is my conviction that the world needs such an integrative approach, a systemic change, rather than a tinkering with any particular aspect, be it money or something else.

My understanding is that creating the possibilities for the spread of the opportunities for voluntary self-aggregation in the pursuit of common value creation, is the underlying logic of the type of social change that we need. This needs both a transformation on the macro-scale of existing globalized currencies, and the freedom for communities to create their own money streams (or to forsake the use of money altogether). These goals are better achieved when aligned, so this is why Lietaer's approach makes a lot of sense to me, and I see not contradiction, but possible integration of various efforts.

Alignment, trust, subjective / objective, intergration, tinkering ....lots to talk about.

Voluntary self-aggregation & common value creation is good, but I have generally found the mechanism more likely to be effective than logic.

And I wonder what sort of alignment you see between Bernard's work and open money? Certainly there's no contradiction - there's room for all of both - but what synergies are you thinking of?

I look forward to discussing all these points with you - and no doubt other points - soon. Next week on the blogtalkradio channel? If it was early enough here - 8 am? - for it to be not too late there - 10 pm? - then we won't be competing live with the Olympics.
Hi Michael,

do you have a concrete date for that talk?

I have no concrete answer to money transformation integration, but I think it is healthy to look continuously for possible congruent approaches that mutually strengthen and learn from each other,

look for common ground, ignore the differences in the cooperation, and continue working on your own for the differences ...

Almost any day this week is possible, perhaps Tuesday?
tuesday is fine, morning or evening, bkk time (gmt plus seven)

Then let's say Tuesday morning 8 am here, Tuesday evening 10 pm there - for about an hour? I can move an hour up or down if it's better for you. Earlier than that I'm totally incoherent, and later you could be similarly compromised.
allright, today 10 pm
Look forward to listening to this show :)




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