Category Archives: Finance and Economics

Qoin launches B2B exchange

Community Currencies in Action (CCIA) has announced the launch of TradeQoin , a business-to-business trade exchange in the Netherlands.

As their website describes it, “TradeQoin is a trading network for SME entrepreneurs to do business with each other and pay with their own digital form of payment: the TradeQoin. Entrepreneurs can use TradeQoin to purchase and sell quality products and services. By selling products and/or services the entrepreneur can earn TradeQoin. These can then be spent on making purchases within the network, which reduces Euro expenditure.”

The video below features members describing the benefits of the exchange.

http://youtu.be/7VuIpFO7zZM

You can read more about it here, http://communitycurrenciesinaction.eu/sme-tradenetwork/

 

Free Community Capital Toolkit

The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) is offering a Community Capital Toolkit that can be downloaded free of charge from the BALLE website.

In case you’re not familiar with BALLE, here is a brief description of the BALLE vision and mission from their website:

Within a generation, we envision a global system of human-scale, interconnected local economies that function in harmony with local ecosystems to meet the basic needs of all people, support just and democratic societies, and foster joyful community life.

At the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, BALLE [bawl-EE], our work is focused on creating real prosperity by connecting leaders, spreading solutions that work, and driving investment toward local economies.

BALLE equips entrepreneurs with tools and strategies for local success, and we provide the national forum for the most visionary local economy leaders and funders to connect, build their capacity and innovate. …more…

Toolkit includes: The 20-page Guide to Community Capital
Seven FREE past webinar recordings
Access to a community capital library of resources

You can download it here.

New video describes “A flaw in the monetary system”

This is an excellent video–clear, concise and accurate. If you want to understand why we have recurrent financial crises, dire want amidst plenty, and why debts keep growing faster than ability to pay them, this is a great place to start.–t.h.g.

“The new film ‘A Flaw in the Monetary System?’ depicts in 7 ½ minutes consequences of interest and compound interest in the financial world in descriptive graphics. It illustrates the systematic redistribution of money from the majority to the wealthy.”

See it here: https://vimeo.com/71074210

 

Welcome to Goldman Sachs

I’m a subscriber to Quora.com and receive a weekly digest by email listing things that I’ve expressed an interest in. One item this week consisted of answers to the question: “What are some of the most profound jokes ever?” I found this one below to be especially profound and timely.

Anonymous

5725 votes by Matthew Baldwin, Massimiliano Marangon, Vallabh Anwikar

A manager at Goldman Sachs has this to tell.

Once upon a time in a village, a man announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for Rs 10. The villagers, seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest and started catching them.

The man bought thousands at Rs 10 and as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort.

He further announced that he would now buy at Rs 20. This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again.

Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to their farms. The offer rate increased to Rs 25 and the supply of monkeys became so little that it was an effort to even see a monkey, let alone catch it!

The man now announced that he would buy monkeys at Rs 50!

However, since he had to go to the city on some business, his assistant would now buy on behalf of him.

In the absence of the man, the assistant told the villagers, “Look at all these monkeys in the big cage that the man has collected. I will sell them to you at Rs 35 and when the man returns from the city, you can sell it to him for Rs 50.”

The villagers squeezed up with all their savings and bought all the monkeys.

Then they never saw the man nor his assistant, only monkeys everywhere!

Welcome to ‘Goldman Sachs’!

Hmm, sound familiar?

More profound jokes here.

 

Do Banks Create Money out of Nothing?

One of my correspondents recently referred me to an article and asked for my opinion about it. The article is Creating Money out of Nothing: The History of an Idea, by Mike King, dated April 2012 .

I read the abstract, the conclusions, and part of the body text, but could not bring myself to make a detailed read. “The history of an idea” is not relevant to my interests nor to the debt crisis that plagues civilization. Verbose and tedious, it seems to be an academic exercise that I doubt  will be of interest even to historians.

On the positive side, it did prompt me to write a few words of clarification on the question, words that I think are both pertinent and helpful to those who truly wish to understand the nature of money and the role of banks in today’s world.

The accusation that banks create money out of nothing has, according to King, been made by many famous economists, including Schumpeter, von Mises, and Keynes. I too must admit to having once or twice used that statement as a sort of shorthand criticism of the global money and banking system.

It is surely true that saying that banks make “money out of nothing” is an exaggeration that can be misleading to the uninitiated.

Bank actually create money out of something. The question is, what is that something, and what is wrong with it?

The short answer is that banks create money on the basis of the promises of their borrowers to repay.

Mr. King would have us believe that banks simply take in money from savers and lend it out to borrowers. That is clearly wrong. Even the Federal Reserve, in its own publications, says that,

The actual process of money creation takes place primarily in banks.(1) As noted earlier, checkable liabilities of banks are money. These liabilities are customers’ accounts. They increase when customers deposit currency and checks and when the proceeds of loans made by the banks are credited to borrowers’ accounts.

In the absence of legal reserve requirements, banks can build up deposits by increasing loans and investments so long as they keep enough currency on hand to redeem whatever amounts the holders of deposits want to convert into currency. This unique attribute of the banking business was discovered many centuries ago.–Modern Money Mechanics

As I’ve pointed out in all of my books, banks serve two primary functions. They act as both depositories, reallocating funds from savers to borrowers, and banks of issue that monetize the promises of their borrowers. I’ve explained that in detail in Chapter 1 of my book, Money: Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender, and in Chapter 9 of my latest book, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization.

But not all promises provide a proper basis for creating money. As Edward Popp, describes it, banks create both bona-fide and non-bona-fide money. (See Money, Bona Fide or Non-Bona Fide at http://www.reinventingmoney.com/documents/bonafidePopp.pdf).

The vast majority of the non-bona-fide money that banks create, is created on the basis of loans made to national governments (when banks buy government bonds). Further large amounts of non-bona-fide money are created when banks make loans to finance purchases of consumer goods and real estate (see my books for details). This is a violation of the principle that money should be created on the basis of goods and services on the market or soon to arrive there, which includes promises of established producers who are ready, willing and able to sell for money the things they ordinarily offer.

The bottom line remains: the present global, interest-based, debt-money system, is dysfunctional and destructive.

The creation of money on the basis of interest-bearing loans is the cause of the growth imperative, and the creation of non-bona-fide money is the cause of inflation.

If we are to achieve a sustainable society and assure the survival of civilization, we must transcend the present money and banking paradigm and reinvent the exchange process.  – t.h.g.

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Developing a framework for an equitable, harmonious and sustainable global society

The current global mega-crisis is forcing us to confront the flaws and inconsistencies inherent in the present dominant structures of economics, money, and finance. As a result, we have before us a great opportunity to open up a conversation that admits to consideration ideas and proposals that may have heretofore be rejected out of hand as radical, impractical, or utopian, ideas like those put forth by Mahatma Gandhi three quarters of a century ago.

My good friend and scholar, Rajni Bakshi, has recently articulated that possibility and those ideas in her article, Civilizational Gandhi. You can download the full article here. I also recommend her article, Replacing Keynes With Gandhi.

Ms. Bakshi is the Gandhi Peace Fellow at Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations based in Mumbai, India.

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How to protect your “nest egg” while making your communty more resilient

This podcast featuring Michael Shuman, Jenny Kassan, and Elizabeth Ü, is a “must watch.” It clearly explains the options available to savers, investors, and entrepreneurs.

Reorganizing business: from serving stockholders to serving people

Part of the socio-economic transformation that needs to occur lies in shifting business motivation from profits for a few, to benefiting the common good. Cooperatives are not the full answer, but may have a useful role to play. A recent article, Six Ways to Fuel the Cooperative Takeover, provides some useful ideas in that direction.

Here is a summary of the Six Ways:

1. Find Money

2. Convert to a Co-op

3. Hook Up With Big Partners

4. Be Co-op Curious

5. Shop Co-op

6. Make Co-op Friendly Laws

The details can be read here.

Wealth Inequality in America

Here are some astounding facts about inequality, clearly presented and easy to understand, but very disturbing.

Thanks to the New Economics Institute for sending it along.

Crowdfunding Update – February 2013

Compiled by Thomas H. Greco, Jr.

There are two fundamentally different but related aspects of the “money problem” that urgently need to be addressed. One is exchange problem, the other is the finance problem. Recent history has made it clear that in both realms, existing structures and institutions are serious flawed.

The exchange problem stems from the monopolization and misallocation of credit by the banking cartel and the perverse and improper issuance of political currencies (dollars, euros, pounds, yen, etc.). Solutions to the exchange problem are intended to provide liquidity, i.e., a means of payment, wherever it is needed so that markets can continue to function, so that producers can continue to sell and consumers can continue to buy despite the shortage or abusive issuance of conventional money.

The finance problem is the shortage of investment capital to small and medium sized and locally-owned business. That shortage stems from bank investment policies and preferences and government regulations that favor the channeling of everyone’s savings into corporate and government securities. Solutions to the finance problem seek to enable savers to directly allocate their savings to enterprises and projects that enhance the resilience and sustainability of their communities, provide real security, and contribute to the common good.

Decentralization, relocalization, and disintermediation are the emerging trends leading to a new economic paradigm. “Crowdfunding” is raising investment capital from large numbers of small investors. This may be in the form of donations, loans, or equity shares.

This is needed today because,

1. People (justifiably) do not trust banks and Wall Street,
2. People are looking for better returns than can be had from banks and the stock market,
3. People are looking for ways to protect their savings from inflation,
4. People are looking for ways to assure their access to basic necessities through direct ownership of enterprises that produce them.
5. People are seeking security by making their local community economies more resilient and sustainable.

Unfortunately, there are legal obstacles that currently limit those possibilities. The Jobs Act that was passed into law in April of 2012 is intended to remove some of those obstacles, but the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has yet to act on its mandate to come up with new regulations that relax those restrictions.

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Among the leading organizations in the field, and one of the best sources of information about funding options, is Cutting Edge Capital. Their mission is “to develop tools that will make it easier and more affordable for businesses and nonprofits to do legally-compliant community capital raising.” Their website is http://www.cuttingedgecapital.com. /

A very useful article from their website, authored by Nathan Hyun, is titled, The Direct Public Offering – The Original Securities-Based Crowdfunding Model. Here is the concluding paragraph.

Ultimately, the new crowdfunding exemption (when it becomes legal) will provide companies with another option for accessing securities-based capital from the crowd and it could prove even more exciting for those wishing to build platforms and tools to offer issuers. In the meantime, the original crowdfunding model, the DPO, continues to provide companies with an effective way to conduct a self-underwritten and self-administered public securities offering. If you are a small or medium sized business, startup or nonprofit and are looking to immediately raise capital from the crowd through a public securities offering, a DPO is presently your only option and may be the best option even when the new crowdfunding law goes into effect.

Several informational resources related to crowdfunding are listed below.

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What is Crowdfunding and JOB’s Act?

http://www.rysalisbury.com/announcements/what-is-crowdfunding-and-jobs-act

This site provides a thorough overview of the present regulatory situation. It specifically states that, “Crowdfunding, or to be more specific, ‘equity-based crowdfunding’ is not yet legal.”

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Crowdfunding Predictions for 2013

2012 was quite a year for the crowdfunding industry. In April, President Obama signed the JOBS Act into law, which will open up equity-based crowdfunding for unaccredited investors. In May, the Pebble E-Paper Watch set a crowdfunding record and gained national media headlines, raising over $10 million on donation-based crowdfunding site Kickstarter. Research firm Massolution estimates the crowdfunding industry (equity + donation + lending +reward crowdfunding) will grow from $1.5 billion in 2011 to $2.8 billion in 2012.

Complete article at:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryancaldbeck/2012/12/11/crowdfunding-predictions-for-2013/

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4 Signs A Company Is NOT A Good Candidate For Equity Crowdfunding

1. The company is a tech company.

2. The company will need multiple rounds of financing.

3. The company is built on Intellectual Property, not brand.

4. The company is difficult to understand.

Read the entire article here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryancaldbeck/2012/10/16/4-signs-a-company-is-not-a-good-candidate-for-equity-crowdfunding/

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http://www.kicktraq.com/

Why 84% of Kickstarter’s top projects shipped late

http://money.cnn.com/2012/12/18/technology/innovation/kickstarter-ship-delay/

http://money.cnn.com/2012/12/18/technology/innovation/kickstarter-ship-delay/

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More About Legal Issues

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)

The SEC updated its home page (http://www.sec.gov/), with info re: JOBS act (http://www.sec.gov/spotlight/jobs-act.shtml)

with a specific reminder

“On April 5, 2012, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act was signed into law. The Act requires the Commission to adopt rules to implement a new exemption that will allow crowdfunding. Until then, we are reminding issuers that any offers or sales of securities purporting to rely on the crowdfunding exemption would be unlawful under the federal securities laws.”

http://www.sec.gov/spotlight/jobsact/crowdfundingexemption.htm

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Selected sites

Indiegogo

http://www.indiegogo.com/

Kickstarter

http://www.kickstarter.com/

Propel Arizona

http://www.propelarizona.com/

Propel Arizona is on the front page of the Arizona Republic business section on February 14, 2013. They did a good job of explaining what crowdfunding is, too.

Online version:  http://www.azcentral.com/business/arizonaeconomy/articles/20130213arizona-crowdfunding-propel-arizona.html

Gofundme

http://www.gofundme.com/crowdfunding-websites/

http://www.gofundme.com/

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Other related articles

SEC uses JOBS Act to set up new roadblocks to crowdfunding

Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2012/08/31/sec-uses-jobs-act-to-set-up-new-roadblocks-to-crowdfunding/#xOwOvdrWaKqW3Ysi.99

‘Rich Man’s Crowd Funding’

http://www.forbes.com/sites/groupthink/2013/01/15/rich-mans-crowd-funding/