Monthly Archives: August 2009

Do Deficits Matter? We’re All About to Find Out.

Most red ink ever: $9 trillion over next decade

By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

(08-25) 21:30 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) –

In a chilling forecast, the White House is predicting a 10-year federal deficit of $9 trillion — more than the sum of all previous deficits since America’s founding. And it says by the next decade’s end the national debt will equal three-quarters of the entire U.S. economy. More…

Launching a Community Currency

Many people have gotten at least some sense of the inherent empowering potential of community exchange alternatives, but have no idea of how to make it happen. They ask, “How can we go about launching a community currency that will be widely accepted and make a significant beneficial impact on the local economy?”

Achieving the desired results requires proper system design, effective implementation strategies, and adequate management practices. These are matters that I have addressed in my books and articles. My favorite, and the most empowering approach, is to organize and/or support local credit clearing exchanges or associations that include several major businesses, service providers, and/or local government entities. These “trusted issuers” provide the economic foundation needed for a high volume, credible medium of exchange.

That is the centerpiece of the multi-stage regional development plan that I have described in my latest book (Chapter 16) and elsewhere. There are, however, other possible approaches that may be taken as preliminary steps to prepare the ground. These include loyalty schemes, discount or rebate programs, and currencies based on charitable donations.

The choice will depend upon the prevailing economic conditions, local circumstances, and available resources. One promising approach based on in-kind donations from local businesses to the non-profit sector has been articulated by Michael Linton, the originator of LETS. Linton calls this plan Community Way. He describes the basic plan in these videos: Part 1 and Part 2

Community Way monetizes some of the excess capacity of local businesses (transforms their valuable goods and services into a spendable medium), and allocates it to non-profit organizations and community improvement groups which can then spend it or sell it to cash-rich supporters who will then redeem it for donors’ goods and services..

There are of course a few details that must be added to make this approach operational. There needs to be some entity (non-profit) that will organize, recruit, and manage all of the myriad details involved in the process. That entity must eventually generate sufficient revenues to cover its costs and sustain the operation of the program. – t.h.g.

Activity Report and Upcoming Tour

I’ve been extremely busy of late doing radio interviews by telephone, preparing upcoming presentations, keeping up with correspondence, and adding content to my blogs. As I get these interviews and presentations processed and edited, they will be added here. See the sidebar under My Audio-visual presentations.

I’ll soon be on the move again doing presentations and visits in various parts of North America. Here’s a partial list of my still evolving itinerary.

Featured presentation. Sustainable Tucson, August 12, Tucson, AZ. http://www.sustainabletucson.org/

Keynote presentation. Pennsylvania Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Festival on Sept 18-20, 2009 in Kempton, PA. The festival is hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association (MAREA). http://www.paenergyfest.com/general.shtml

Featured speaker. The International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA), October 1-3, Dallas, TX. http://www.irta.com/

Featured speaker. The Economics of Peace conference, October 18-23, Sonoma, CA. http://economicsofpeace.net;  http://www.praxispeace.org

Presenter. In the lecture series titled Reinventing the World––Redefining Wealth, Rethinking Economics, Reforming Health Care & Rebuilding Community. October 27, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA.

Keynote presentation at The Conference on Michigan’s Future Energy, Economy & Environment, Crystal Mountain Resort, Thompsonville, Michigan, Friday, Nov. 13 – Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009. http://futuremichigan.org/index.htm

New Dimensions Radio Interview

Before leaving California in May, I journeyed to Ukiah where I spent a couple hours being interviewed by Michael and Justine Toms for their nationally syndicated New Dimensions radio program. (See description below). That program is scheduled to air during the week of September 23-29, 2009 (their broadcast week begins on a Wednesday).

A shorter (11 minute) interview that we did, entitled “Toward a Credit Commons,” is available now and can listened to or downloaded at New Dimensions Café. Go to http://www.newdimensions.org and on the left-hand side click on New Dimensions Café Listen Now!  If you would like to subscribe to the New Dimensions Café podcast which features many of the guests that appear on New Dimensions, it is available for a free subscription on the home page as well.

The one-hour “flagship” New Dimensions radio program, “Investing in the Bank of You and Me” (Program 3308) will be airing the week beginning Wednesday, September 23-29. You can hear it streaming on the New Dimensions website that week for free. You can also hear it on a radio station close to you during that week. Go to “Listening Options” in their website for a list of stations that carry “New Dimensions.” It will also be available to download for a small charge. This interview, as well as over 850 others, is part of their wonderful archive. New Dimensions is working in partnership with Stanford University Library to digitize their entire archive of over 8000 hours of deep dialogues with hundreds of the most innovative movers and shakers on the planet.  More hours are added to the archive every week.

INVESTING IN THE BANK OF YOU AND ME, with THOMAS GRECO, Jr.

Our financial system is in disarray. In 2008 and 2009 banks and investment companies have collapsed faster than taxpayers can dish out money to prop them up. At the same time the United States economy is being depleted as rapidly as the rainforest, and our global credit is looking as dingy as our once pristine rivers. But Thomas Greco has a solution. With his fresh perspective on money, credit, and…well…civilization, he believes we can save our economy and our planet by reconstructing our financial system—and find ourselves happier and healthier in the bargain. By reclaiming control over our money and credit, so that neighbors rather than banks are at the center of our transactions, we can restore balance to every aspect of our lives. Mr. Greco tells us, “We’re facing a mega-crisis that includes several things converging at the same time. We’ve got peak oil, we’ve got climate change, we’ve got resource depletion, we’ve got pollution. Our institutions are failing us—they fail to educate, they fail to provide health care adequately to everyone. And so we have to take a hard look at what we’ve been doing and look at new ways of doing things. We’re about to embark on an existence that’s quite different from the past, a new steady-state economy. I see it as a more peaceful, more pleasant life for everybody. Hopefully we’ll see an end to war. We’ll see an end to starvation. We’ll see an end to deprivation of the essentials that we all need, and an opportunity to realize our full potential.”

Among the topics to be covered:

  • Why the global political money and banking regime is extremely dysfunctional
  • How our monetary system contributes to the depletion of the earth’s resources
  • How community based initiatives are available to reclaim the “credit commons,” empower people, and enhance the health of local communities
  • Why local, grassroots currencies have failed—and how we can help them thrive
  • How you can get credit without going to a bank

Recent Articles

I recently wrote a couple articles that were published in the web journal, Alternet. Both are linked from my blog, beyondmoney.net. The first is titled, How Bad Will the Economy Get? It begins with the claim that:

Historically, every financial and economic crisis has been used to further centralize power and concentrate wealth. This one is no different, and in fact the moves being promoted by the Obama administration and the central banks of the Western powers will take the whole world to the pinnacle of financial despotism — unless enough people wake up and claim their own “money power.”

It continues with an outline of recent and historical developments that make the case, but concludes on a hopeful note with my brief description of existing cashless exchange mechanisms that are not dependent upon political money or banks. You can read the complete article here.

The second, titled, The End of Money: Take Power Back From the Money and Banking Monopoly, begins:

The dysfunctional nature of the dominant global system of money and banking has for a long time been apparent to anyone who has cared to look at it. Now, in light of the present financial meltdown, it has become painfully obvious to virtually everyone. What most people have failed to recognize is that, regardless of the nominal form of their government, their political power has been neutralized and exhausted by the privatization and misallocation of credit money.

The political money and banking system disempowers communities and enables a small elite to use the present centralized control mechanisms to their own advantage and purpose. It misallocates credit, making it both scarce and expensive for the productive private sector while enabling central governments to circumvent, by deficit spending, the natural limits imposed by its above-board revenue streams. Read more..

That article also explains how the “Greenback solution” being proposed by many monetary reformers, fails to address the fundamentally undemocratic nature of centralized control of money.

Be sure also to view the important imbedded videos on this site featuring Peter Schiff, Matt Taibi, and Congressman Alan Grayson.

This is a time of transition that requires us to inform ourselves and to take responsibility for our own health, education, and wellbeing, not in isolation but in communities of cooperation, sharing, and mutual support.  –t.h.g.

More Interviews

Over the past few months I’ve given many interviews in which I answer questions and discuss my ideas about money, the exchange process, and how to make the transition to a steady-state economy and a more just and peaceful world. I try to post links to those interviews here on my blog. You’ll find them in the sidebar to the right under “My Audio-visual Presentations.”

One of these, is an 11 minute excerpt titled, Towards a Credit Commons with Thomas H. Greco, Jr., posted on the New Dimensions Radio website at the New Dimensions Café. You can download it from there. The full interview is scheduled to air during the week of September 23-29, 2009. Check the New Dimensions website for radio stations in your area, or to find out about other Listening Options.

I’ve also just posted the interview I did with Joyce Riley for her Power Hour radio show on June 30, 2009, and will soon be posting a follow-up interview with her that was recorded on July 29. That program will also feature commercial trade exchange operator, Annette Riggs (Community Connect), who answers questions about the practical details of operating a private cashless trading system.

The Facts Were There to be Seen by Those Who had the Courage to Look

Peter Schiff was the one lone voice saw the reality of the impending financial meltdown back in 2006 and 2007. This video shows his repeated warnings that were scoffed at by the other TV commentators.  Who’s laughing now? You’ve got to watch this.

If you want to save your bacon, watch Peter’s daily commentary on his blog.

Happy Talk About the Economy–What are the Facts?

Is that daylight we’re seeing at the end of the recession tunnel, or is it the headlight of an oncoming train?

The “ticker guy” shows some charts that seem to answer that question. See it here.