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 ."