Private Currency Vouchers: an Answer to the Money Problem

Unlike, government and central bank fiat currencies which promise nothing but their acceptance as tax payments, private currency vouchers promise to be redeemed for real valuable goods and services. If the issuer is trustworthy and can be counted on to honor their pledge of redemption, their currency vouchers can provide traders with an exchange and payment medium that is superior to government and central bank fiat monies. Such honest currencies are neither novel nor odd, but have a long history and are an absolute necessity for the decentralization of economic and political power and the emergence of a peaceful and equitable social order.  

So what sorts of entities can be trusted to keep their promises, how do they put their currencies into circulation, are such currencies legal, have such currencies ever been issued before? In brief, a currency voucher is spent into circulation when the issuer offers it as payment to a supplier, employee or a creditor, who accepts it as such. In the United States and most other “free” countries, private currency vouchers are entirely legal and there are numerous historical instances of their issuance and circulation. These questions and many other details have been fully answered over the years in my various writings and presentations, most of which have been posted or linked on my website, https://beyondmoney.net/.  Particularly relevant are my book, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization, as well as my 2021 presentation, Transcending the present political money system–the urgent need and the way to do it, and my 2021 webinar series, Our Money System – What’s Wrong with it and How to Fix it.

A few years ago I wrote up a proposal for a private currency voucher that I call the Solar Dollar which attracted some significant interest. My intention was twofold, one, to provide an independent payment medium for a local community, i.e., a currency that can be created outside of the banking system and thus empower participants in a local economy by compensating for shortages and mal-distribution of government fiat money, and two, to incentivize the shift of energy production, sales and usage toward solar and other renewable sources of electric power. My hope was that some electric utility company somewhere would implement the plan and become a model for others utilities to follow. That, unfortunately, has not yet happened but I am confident that it, or something like it, eventually will. In the meantime, I’ve continued to publicize it, and in 2021 I was invited to give a presentation titled, Solar Dollars–Empowering Communities While Powering Communities With Renewable Energy, for a virtual conference that was sponsored by the Zero Carbon Lab at the University of Hertfordshire (UK). Later that year, under the good auspices of Professor Ljubomir Jankovic, my original white paper was revised and published with the title, Solar Dollars: A Complementary Currency that Incentivizes Renewable Energy, in the academic journal, Frontiers in Built Environment.

Overall, the primary objective of my work has been, and remains, the decentralization of financial, economic, and political power. The most promising strategy for achieving that is the design and deployment of private credit currencies that are spent into circulation by trusted issuers that are ready, willing, and able to redeem their currencies promptly for the real goods and services that are their normal stock in trade. By breaking the credit monopoly that the banking cartel presently holds, and empowering producers and sellers of real value, it then becomes possible to reverse the longstanding trend toward ever greater power and wealth in the hands of the global elite who have captured the machinery of finance, economics, and government.

The Solar Dollar is a special case and example of a private credit currency issued by a trusted producer and provider of real value, but similar objectives could be achieved by companies in other lines of business, for example, by:

  • The issuance of local Farm Produce Dollars that would be spent into circulation by a single local farmer or jointly by a cooperating group of local farmers and ranchers, or by
  • The issuance of local Shelter Certificates that are spent into circulation by a single local owner of rental property or jointly by a cooperating group of local owners of rental property, or by
  • The issuance of Service Certificates by a local provider of some sort of professional or household services, or jointly by a cooperating group of such service providers, or by
  • The issuance of currency vouchers by all of the above producers/providers and others  who band together to cooperatively issue a sound complementary currency under a common “brand.” Such a currency would provide a means of payment that is not only independent of the banking system but solidly backed by the combined production and distribution capacity of all participating businesses. (Many “community currencies” have been created over the years in many places around the world but virtually all of them are  “sold” for government fiat currencies which defeats the main objective of creating a currency that is independent of government and the banking system).

All of these currency vouchers or credits are able to circulate as payment media throughout their local communities to enable trading despite any scarcity or unavailability of official money. There are many historical and contemporary examples of such private credit instruments, so most of what I’m suggesting has already been shown to be workable. The main problem I have observed is getting producers of real value to recognize the power they already have and to exercise it on their own behalf and that of their communities.

In his 1944 book, Private Enterprise Money, E. C. Riegel made that point very clear, saying:

The stream of political monies from the beginning to the present day runs deep and dirty, yet to suggest that money can spring from any other source is to surprise if not even to dismay. So has tradition dulled men’s senses. No matter how often the state fails to supply a virtuous money system, men rush back to it in desperation and beg it to try again. Indeed, until we learn that the money power resides in us, we must abjectly beg the state to give us an exploitative system because we cannot return to a moneyless civilization. Yet, no matter how often and earnestly the state tries to provide a true money system, it must fail because of an inherent antipathy between the money issuing power and the taxing power. A money issuer must be a seller who bids for money, not a taxer who requisitions it in whole or in part, as politically expedient and without a quid pro quid.” — pp. 25-26.

Political democracy cannot work without economic democracy; and the money power is the franchise of the latter. — p. 35

It is the false concept of political money power that converts citizens into petitioners, and makes government a dispenser of patronage instead of a public servant. This power of patronage utterly destroys the democratic system of government – since the people cannot be both petitioners and rulers.” — pp. 78-79

Throughout my career as a monetary theorist, educator, and advisor, taking up where Riegel and others have left off, I have tried to influence producers, entrepreneurs, and social organizers toward effective action based on sound principles of credit allocation and management. But superstitious myths die hard and old habits are difficult to break. The great majority of people remain in thrall to official currencies. That is what the oligarchs depend upon to keep us in debt and under their control. I have learned to be patient and await the changes in financial, economic, and political conditions that will open people’s minds to adopting self-help and cooperative approaches to getting our needs met, specifically, the need for free and fair exchange of value in the marketplace.

Surely, the day will come, and is rapidly approaching, when the failures and demands of the dominant global central banking, political, interest-based, debt-money regime will become so clearly evident and abysmal that the only peaceful option will be for we-the-people to implement our own systems of exchange and finance grounded in our own initiative and judgment in allocating credit based on productive capacity and trustworthiness.

Diagram of the reciprocity circuit.
Issuance, circulation and redemption of Private Currency Vouchers
Issuance, circulation and redemption of Private Currency Vouchers

_______________________

Webinar reprise: Our Money System – What’s Wrong with it and How to Fix it

Last year (2021) I gave a three part webinar presentation for The Henry George School of Social Science. In case you missed it, here is the description and the link to the recorded sessions. For each part you will find a list of recommended resources and references.

Our Money System – What’s Wrong with it and How to Fix it

A critical look at the present global system of money and banking, how it has evolved, why it is problematic, and where it is trending.

The series will also look into past, present, and future exchange and payment alternatives, like Depression-era script, local and private currencies, commercial trade exchanges and LETS systems that apply the “credit clearing” process, and the more recent emergence of crypto-currencies and blockchain ledgers and their potential role. It will include discussion of how these have evolved, their advantages, limitations and future potential and what needs to be done to take them to scale, their political and economic implications, and innovations that are making conventional money obsolete.

WHAT is money?

WHY do we need money?

WHAT is wrong with our money system?

Can we live without money?

HOW can business be conducted without money?

What are the economic, social and political implications of monetary policies and systems?

What is the likely impact of present day monetary innovations?

May 21 – Session 1 provided an overview of the present system of money and banking, how it has evolved, how and why it is problematic, and where it is trending. I spoke about the interest-based debt-money system, how it causes the growth imperative and the politicization of finance and exchange, and the political and economic consequences of its continuation. I outlined the fundamental concepts of exchange and finance and the principles upon which sound and sustainable systems are being developed. Participants were asked to read or listen to some specific materials in preparation of the subsequent sessions.

June 4 – Session 2 was more interactive and provided ample opportunity to discuss questions that were evoked by the previous session and the assignments, including topics like inflation, depressions, asset bubbles and busts, the savings and investment functions, and government responses to shocks like the 2008 financial crisis and the more recent pandemic. This lead into discussion about possible solutions to the problems caused by the present system, and the role of local currencies and other alternatives for the exchange of value.

June 18 – Session 3 concentrated on past, present, and future exchange and payment alternatives, like Depression-era scrip, local and private currencies, commercial trade exchanges and LETS systems that apply the “credit clearing” process, and the more recent emergence of crypto-currencies and blockchain ledgers and their potential role. It included discussion of how these have evolved, their advantages, limitations and future potential and what needs to be done to take them to scale.

To round out your education you can also read my recent articles.

Continue… Our Money System – What’s Wrong with it and How to Fix it

#   #   #

Bitcoin, Blockchain, and the end of money as we’ve known it

Whether one likes it or not, the end of money as we’ve known it is at hand. From a more or less conventional perspective it may look something like what David G.W. Birch describes in his Forbes article, Payments In The Metaverse Will Be Huge, But They Won’t Be Based On Cryptocurrencies (Or People), but my view is rather different. Still, Birch highlights the three main issues that we both agree are crucial: trust, security and privacy.

I long ago concluded that ALL of our institutions, systems, and structures of western civilization have been thoroughly corrupted by greed and the hunger for power which are reactions to false beliefs and artificial scarcities. I take that as given and try to avoid being distracted by it while trying to keep my attention and energies focused on what I think I can do to change things. What that has meant for me has been to learn everything I could about the money system as it exists — its inherent dysfunctions and dishonesties, and to discover and develop better ways of performing the functions that money is supposed to serve, especially the function of reciprocal exchange of value. The decentralized allocation and control of credit is the key to creating an honest, efficient, and sustainable system of exchange, and there are well established ways of doing that without the need for political fiat monies. Many of these systems, like the WIR Economic Circle Cooperative and the scores of commercial trade (“barter”) exchanges, have been operating successfully for many decades or longer.

What remains to be done are:
1. The optimization of the procedures and protocols used in credit clearing systems like the scores of commercial trade exchanges now operating in many countries around the world, such as the optimizing prescriptions I’ve made in A Model Membership Agreement for a Credit Clearing Service contained in my book, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization, and,
2. The development of effective ways of dealing with interference from governments, banks, and the vested interests that is sure to come when these competing systems become big enough to be perceived as a threat to the status quo.

I consider the wave of cryptocurrencies that has emerged since the launch of Bitcoin to be attempts to address the second of these objectives by providing virtual commodities that are generated outside of the government/banking system and to hopefully provide some degree of anonymity and privacy in value exchange transactions. Those motivations are all well and good but reverting to the use of commodities, either virtual or real, as exchange media takes us back to a more primitive stage in the evolution of the reciprocal exchange process, and unlike real commodities, they have no inherent use value other than their use as media for speculation. Add to that the fact that the primary motivation in the creation of most “cryptocurrencies” or virtual “coins” has been profit seeking by their creators, and what we have now is a milieu that is littered with “shitcoins,” corruption, and fraud. It’s very difficult and time consuming to dig deeply enough to evaluate each new entry into the field, and I see no advantage in doing so.

However, the use of blockchain technology that accompanied the creation of Bitcoin may have a useful role to play in a credit clearing network or private credit currency as a way to create exchangeable “token” vouchers that represent a claim upon real valuable goods and services that the issuer has promised to deliver. Such vouchers would be real currencies.

Questions that need to answered about any currency:

  1. Who is the issuer?
  2. What is the value basis upon which the currency is issued?
  3. In what units is the currency denominated?
  4. Is the issuer, ready, willing and able to redeem the currency?
  5. Is the issuer credit-worthy, reliable, trust-worthy?
  6. Do they have the goods on hand or sufficient service capacity to deliver promptly?
  7. What are the terms of redemption? In what form? When? At what rate in relation to the units specified (face value, discount, etc.?)
  8. In what form does the currency exist? Paper notes, Physical tokens, Digital tokens, Ledger entries?
  9. What other characteristics of the currency contribute or detract from its use as an exchange medium?

If you want a comprehensive overview of my work and my vision, you can get most of it in the presentation I gave last year for the University of Hertfordshire.
https://beyondmoney.net/2021/11/27/transcending-the-present-political-money-system-the-urgent-need-and-the-way-to-do-it/, and if you want a deeper understanding of “the money problem” and its most promising solutions please read my book, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization, which is even more pertinent today than it was when first published.


2022 September Newsletter – Economic Prospects and Exchange Innovations

In this issue:

  • The Legacy and Vision of Dee Hock
  • My Upcoming Presentation: Private and complementary currency systems
  • My Latest Article
  • There once was a river …an allegorical tale of money and credit
  • Will 2023 Be the Year from Hell?
  • Central Bank Digital Currency, a the Totalitarian Nightmare

The Legacy and Vision of Dee Hock (b. March 21, 1929 – d. July 16, 2022)

I had occasion to meet Dee Hock in September of 1995 when we were both invited to participate in the first of a series of symposia titled Peace Building for the 21st Century, a semi-annual gathering that was jointly organized by the Institute of Noetic Sciences, the World Business Academy, and Pathways to Peace and convened at the Fetzer Institute in Michigan. When prior to the meeting I read that Hock was CEO of VISA International, a rather lofty position in the world of conventional banking, I wondered how his beliefs and objectives about money and exchange could possibly find any agreement with my own. I soon discovered that my pre-judgments about him could not have been more wrong. During the symposium he impressed me as being a man of integrity and vision, and more a “monkish” philosopher than a banker.

That impression was strongly reinforced when in 1999 I read Hock’s newly published book, Birth of the Chaordic Age (later republished as One From Many), which told his personal story along with the story of how the VISA organization came into being and became “the largest commercial enterprise on earth.” To give you a sense of what captivated me I will share just a few quotes from the book. In the prolog, Hock said, “We are experiencing and epidemic of institutional failure that knows no bounds,” and, “The organization of the future will be the embodiment of community based on shared purpose calling to the higher aspirations of the people.” Such an observation and expectation were quite remarkable and unexpected but consistent with my own observations and aspirations. Then, on the back of the dust cover I read, “We are at that very point in time when a 400-year- old age is dying and another is struggling to be born–a shifting of culture, science, society and institutions enormously greater than the world has ever experienced. Ahead, the possibility of regeneration of individuality, liberty, community, and ethics such as the world has never known, and a harmony with nature, with one another, and with the divine intelligence, such as the world has always dreamed.”

Such ideas could not have resonated more closely with my own, and as I delved further into the book I was delighted to find a great deal more of that sort of visionary, humane, and wise thinking and expression. I took some time to ponder all of that as I went about my own work trying to move forward toward the development and implementation of innovative systems of exchange and finance that would embody the values and aspirations that Hock and I seemed to share. Then, in January of 2001, I wrote to Hock and was pleased when he responded a couple weeks later.  Rather than try to excerpt the essence of each letter, I think it appropriate to present each in its entirety (I don’t think Dee would mind).

Dear Dee,

I’ve been meaning to write you ever since I finished reading your book almost a year ago. I guess my procrastination is due to the fact that I was not, until now, clear about what I wanted to say to you, or how to say it so you would take it seriously.

Certainly, praise is due. The Birth of the Chaordic Age is a masterful story, but, of course, it is more than a story, it is a philosophical treatise – and a work of art, studded with gems of wisdom. (In that, your monkish, contemplative bent is evident). I’m most grateful to you for seeking out these gems and fetching them back for us to admire and use. I especially like your four ways of looking at things – how they were, how they are, how they might become, and how they ought to be. It serves me well in the research I’ve been doing, and serves to remind me of why I’m doing it.

 I am in full agreement with the testimony of your vision which appears on the back of the dust cover. I believe that, in the present era, the thing that is “trying to happen” (as Willis used to put it) is a fundamental shift from elite rule (command and control) to a more participatory, democratic, inclusive, just, equitable, and sustainable order. This means that, in addition to our own spiritual and interpersonal work, there is a need for thoroughgoing restructuring of our institutions and the emergence of networks and communities which will supplant limited liability corporations and much of the government bureaucracy.

As I approach my 65th birthday, I have a sense that my most important work is yet to be done. Despite your great accomplishments, I have a sense that that may be the case for you as well. Of particular relevance for me is the area of money, banking, and finance. This is where I think I can make a major contribution, and this is what I want you to know.

You have the distinction of having been the leader who guided the development of the world’s first global payment system. Yet, you express dissatisfaction with the outcome. It doesn’t satisfy me either. You say (on page 193),


“I could think of no way to fully realize the concept by including merchants and cardholders as owner-members. The slightest hint in that direction raised a storm of opposition. We should have included them. Perhaps, with more time, tenacity, and ingenuity we could have.”

Well, storms of opposition should be expected when those in control are asked to share power. The bankers have been a privileged class for a long time. Why should they give up such a powerful and lucrative position? There is only ever one compelling reason – because they can see that it is in their best interests to do so, and they have the courage to let go. Are you ready to show them the economic “magna carta?”

For the good of the people and the planet, the monetary system must be changed and economic power must be more widely dispersed. The key lies in the payment system. There is plenty of ingenuity being applied to the “money problem” within the current grassroots transformational movement, within the commercial “barter” business, and within the realm of emerging internet commerce. Proper leadership can draw out sufficient tenacity. And, time? Well, “carpe diem.” “The future is not about logic or reason. It’s about imagination, hope, and belief.” (p. 152).

Can you envision a federation of credit-clearing circles which include everyone who wants to be a member? Which is democratically organized and operated? Which allows each person the power to monetize some of their own resources and productive potential without having to pay interest to anyone?

It is my hope to assist in launching such a system. I believe that it is possible to assemble, right now, sufficient talent, resources, and commitment to get the job done. This could be your prototype socio-economic chaord which would demonstrate to everyone the kind of model needed for 21st century organizing.

I have no illusions about the willingness of bankers’ to accept such systems right now, but I must do what I can to harmonize how things might become, with how they ought to be. If we can create the seed crystal, the rest will take care of itself.

What do you say?

Tom Greco

About two weeks later I received this reply:

Dear Tom:

Thank you for your most kind, thoughtful letter. Indeed, people in position of privilege and power cannot be expected to surrender it to others, especially when no better alternative has emerged which the public trusts and demands, which captures the imagination of the powerful and privileged, ameliorates their fears, and which is allows them to make an orderly, safe transition. Power is never given, it is always taken. How to take it without destructive confrontation and brute force is the perpetual problem. In my view, that can only be done by creating new concepts which do not attack and destroy the old, but transcend and enfold them.

There is no doubt in my mind that more than enough intelligence, communication capacity and experimentation has already emerged to allow such new concepts to be devised and implemented. However, to transcend and enfold a system that is already global, ubiquitous, deeply entrenched in all societies and organizations and embedded in the consciousness of the whole world is not something that can be done by any one person, or even a narrow segment of them. Nor do I have any illusions about the desperate need for better means of exchanging value among all people. We have had much contact over the years with many people in emerging systems of barter, local currency, internet commerce and alternate currencies – Bernard Lietaer, Hazel Henderson, James Fierro and a host of others.

One of the concepts we think will take shape within the Terra Civitas movement is something we call, for want of a better term, the “resource commons,” a coming together of people with financial expertise of all kinds, new and old, to reconceive and bring into being new concepts of organizations and instruments that “result in more equitable distribution of power and wealth, improved health and greater compatibility with the human spirit and biosphere.” That is, I think, precisely what you refer to, albeit in other terms.

We are simply overwhelmed with response to chaordic concepts. Opportunities to create such organizations in various fields already exceeds our present resources and capacity. This is not something we can, at the moment, call into being. The initial interest and impetus would have to emerge elsewhere. We might act as a catalyst, a “strange attractor,” to put in terms of complexity theory and would gladly lend what legitimacy and expertise we could.

I have no doubt that with sufficient commitment from a design team of the right thirty or forty people and a hundred or two others to critique the work and reasonable resources, a “chaordic, fractaled organization” for the purposes you envision could be conceived, perhaps even implemented, before the end of 2002.

Again, many thanks for your thoughtful letter and kind comments about the book. With all best wishes,

Dee

Of course, 2002 came and went and twenty years later we are still seeking allies, supporters and resources, and wondering what else it will take to make this grand vision a reality, but surely its time will eventually come. That is not to say that progress has not been made. Promising innovations and improvements in exchange processes and moneyless payments have been made in both the grassroots and commercial “barter” realms, and I continue to work with several of those groups and individuals.  

Numerous Dee Hock obituaries have been published online including the VISA website and Market Watch, and you can glean much more of his wisdom from Dee Hock’s webpage which is still accessible.

____________
My upcoming presentation

I’ve been invited to be a keynote speaker at the 6th Biennial RAMICS International Congress in Bulgaria, October 27 to 29. RAMICS is the Research Association on Monetary Innovation and Community and Complementary Currency Systems which includes both academics and practitioners.

My illustrated presentation titled, Private and complementary currency systems: purposes, principles, practices, and performance, is slated for Thursday, October 27. It will summarize what I have learned over more than forty years of research and experimentation in this field, and describe what must be done to realize the full potential of decentralized private and community exchange mechanisms. You can see the full abstract here. For various reasons, I am planning to deliver my presentation remotely from Arizona. This congress promises to be exciting and productive, and if you wish to participate you can find program details here and register at https://ramics2022sofia.sciencesconf.org/registration.
____________
My Latest Article
My latest article, The Money Economy Is Not the Real Economy: “The Global Banking and Financial System is Fatally Flawed,” was published last week by Global Research, and recently republished on Medium.
____________
There once was a river …an allegorical tale of money and credit
One of my most popular posts has been, There once was a river …an allegorical tale of money and credit. If you missed it when I first published it, you may want to check it out. I’ve used metaphor to try to show how we have all become slaves to money and those who control money. Using water to represent money, I’ve also tried to show that we the people can free ourselves and take back control by thinking outside the box to end our fixation on political fiat money, and deploy better ways of enabling the exchange of real value that our own labor and creativity produce.

Every metaphor, of course, is limited but I am hoping that readers/listeners will come to understand that there are alternatives to conventional money that we can use to reduce, and eventually eliminate our dependence upon conventional political fiat money. Credit is the foundation of an honest system of exchange and we have the power to give credit to each other in accordance with our own values and objectives, outside of conventional banks and without charging interest. You can access the story on my website (audio with transcript) or on YouTube (audio only).  

____________
Will 2023 Be the Year from Hell?
Noted economic forecaster, Martin Armstrong, says it will and makes a very convincing case in this interview on Greg Hunter’s USA Watchdog podcast; and it is very instructive to see the remarkable story of Armstrong and his work in the documentary movie, “The Forecaster,” if you can get hold of it. Amazon.com says “This video is currently unavailable to watch in your location,” but you can watch the trailer on IMDb and buy the DVD here. The movie includes the story about the persecution he suffered at the hands of the US government, being imprisoned for 7 years without a trial, and eventually forced to plead guilty to regain his freedom.  

____________
Central Bank Digital Currency, a the Totalitarian Nightmare

If that isn’t enough to get your attention and stir you to action, this article, Just Say No to CBDCs, by N.S. Lyons clearly describes the nightmare world the technocratic oligarchy has prepared for us and will very shortly pressure us to accept. Some difficult choices are in prospect.

____________
Despite the gloom and doom that these present circumstances portend, I believe humanity has never been in a better position to create a world of peace, freedom, and conviviality. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “When the people lead, the leaders will follow.”

Thomas

____________
Permission to reprint contents from this newsletter in whole or in part is granted on the condition that full credit is given and a link to the original source is provided. – t.h.g.
To forward this newsletter to a friend you can send them this link or the link to it on MailChimp where yiu can also subscribe to future newsletters.

June 2022 Newsletter–Reconnecting the Monetary Economy to the Real Economy

I’m a little late in posting this here, but if you didn’t see it when I first sent it out, I think you will find it interesting and useful.

2022 June Newsletter ― Reconnecting the Monetary Economy to the Real Economy

In this issue:

Reconnecting the Monetary Economy to the Real Economy
The Banker’s Last Gasp and the Great Monetary Reset
The Usury Conjecture on the centralized, interest-based, debt-money system
What about China?
Is this a clear picture of the New World Order?
Take responsibility
Food security
Friendly, kind, and generous

If you want keep tabs on what I’m been thinking, feeling, and doing, you can follow me on twitter (tomazgreco), or Facebook (thomas.h.greco), or follow my blog at https://beyondmoney.net/. _____________

Reconnecting the Monetary Economy to the Real Economy

Money is the “hole” that is defined by the “doughnut” of real goods and services; it is the nothing that serves only to account for that which is available in the real economy. When pseudo-money can be created by fiat, apart from anything of real value, confusion and madness ensue. — T. H. Greco, Jr.

I’ve been arguing for more than 40 years that the global system of money, banking, and finance is fatally flawed, and now its condition has become acute. Since 2008 it has been on life support. The connections between the monetary economy and the real economy have long been tenuous, but in recent years have been severed to the point of non-existence. When banks and governments can create quasi-money out of nothing without any real value basis and allocate it selectively to advance political agendas, you know the end is near. The last vestiges of budgetary restraint on federal government spending have been eliminated along with any concern about what people really need and want. The results have been the ever-increasing centralization of power at the federal level, central planning of the economy, worsening price inflation, declining purchasing power of fiat money, increasing corporate ownership of real assets, especially residential real estate, zero or negative returns on people’s savings, and increasing disparities of income and wealth. The only way this system can be perpetuated is by the complete elimination of any semblance of democratic government. As E. C. Riegel observed almost 80 years ago:
“Society is in the twilight of a passing day. The state now undertakes to finance the
economy, and, since a free economy is manifestly impossible where the state assumes the responsibility of supplying the money circulation, the politician is compelled to choose between fascism and communism.”
Private Enterprise Money

— Read the entire newsletter <here>.

Reprising Beyond Money Podcasts

During 2019 and 2020 we recorded a series of ten podcast interviews with leading experts and social entrepreneurs who have been working on developing and implementing improved means of exchange aimed at making the economy more equitable and ecologically sustainable. Each podcast is valuable in its own way and the series in total provides an excellent overview of what one needs to know to get a proper start to working in this field.

Among practitioners, Will Ruddick and his associates at Grassroots Economics continue to make exciting progress in developing Community Inclusion Currencies and organizing exchange circles throughout Kenya and other parts of Africa. Our September 2019 discussion with Will is a treasure trove of information about their innovative work that will be of great value to others who aim to organize similar exchange alternatives. Listen to it here.

The entire podcast series can be found here.

One of my most popular posts–There once was a river …an allegorical tale of money and credit

One of my most popular posts has been, There once was a river …an allegorical tale of money and credit, in which I’ve tried to show how we have all become slaves to money and those who control money. Using water in this little fable to represent money, I’ve also tried to show that we the people can free ourselves by thinking outside the box to overcome our fixation on the sort of money that has been provided for us and over which we have lost all control.

Every metaphor of course is limited and what I am hoping that readers/listeners will come to understand is that there are alternatives to conventional money that we can use to reduce, and eventually eliminate our dependence upon conventional political money. It is credit that is the foundation of an honest system of exchange and we have the power to give credit to each other in accordance with our own values and objectives, outside of conventional banks and without charging interest.  

You can access the story on my website (audio with transcript) or on YouTube (audio).
Or listen here.

You are welcome to post comments.

Shall We Have Honest Money–or Inflation, Depression, and War?

This little vignette written by Don Werkheiser remains one of the best concise explanations of inflation I’ve ever seen. It was published in the spring 1982 edition of Green Revolution, the journal of the School of Living a non-profit organization with which I was associated throughout the 1980s and into the early 1990s. The story helps to elucidate the nature of the dysfunctional political money system that has plagued the world for hundreds of years, but in its brevity and simplicity neglects to mention another feature of the money system that adds to our misery; that is the fact that the “Mayor” and his friends do more than spend counterfeit money into circulation, they have also established “banks” and require that other people who need money to do business must borrow their pseudo-money into circulation and pay interest on it. That enables the bankers to extract even more wealth from the rest of the people while creating an unending and unsustainable expansion of debt. I have articulated that “debt-growth imperative” in my paper titled, the Usury Conjecture.  

An Honest Money Would Stop Inflation by Don Werkheiser

A rural village has no money. All trade is by barter. A farmer comes to town and deposits 10 bushels of corn with a man who has a store room. This operator gives the farmer 10 receipts, each redeemable in a bushel of corn. But the farmer asks for receipts in smaller denominations. The storekeeper gives him 40 receipts for 40 pecks. The farmer trades ten of these corn-receipts for other products; they are each accepted at the value of a peck of corn. That acceptance constitutes the issue of corn notes as money.

Such receipts are generalized credit instruments. They refer to stored corn, but not to any specific peck of corn. When the seller wants a peck of corn the receipt is redeemed. Otherwise it is spent again, and ownership of a peck of corn is conveyed to the next seller. The next day the farmer returns to town and spends 10 corn notes (each of one peck of corn in value) for his wife’s birthday present. Now the farmer has doubled the money supply in circulation, but there is no inflation; there are redeemable goods back of them.

What then is inflation? We must understand “money” and the storekeeper’s actions.

The store room owner noticed that the corn notes were accepted in trade. So he made 40 more “peck-receipts” looking just like corn-receipts and then he spent them into circulation. That is inflation–counterfeit receipts passed as valid receipts. Assume that the counterfeit receipts were accepted at face value. In that case, the counterfeiter effected a robbery of commodities equal in value to 40 packs of corn, while those who accepted them received receipts which measured the extent to which they had been robbed. So long as confidence lasts, the game would continue and receipts could be spent. New sellers would be holding empty receipts. The game would collapse when all the corn in the warehouse was redeemed, and holders of the 40 counterfeit receipts found no one who would take them in trade.

Worse could happen if the counterfeiter had the skills of a politician. If, when confronted by angry holders of his counterfeit receipts he declared himself a benefactor of the community–and showed that the original issue by the farmer was too limited, and that his own issues stimulated industry and trade (he would not mention that the farmers issue was redeemable while his own was not). He noted that most people did not want corn; they wanted a medium of trade that they could use to speed up trade.
More to come.

They were told: “If the game stopped then, the holders would be losers, but if they continued, they could all buy what they wanted. In fact if they elected him Mayor he would declare pseudo-corn-notes to be legal tender, and he’d also begin a program of public works. Soon everyone would be rich.” An ignorant public agreed.

Elected Mayor, the counterfeiter issue another stock of corn-notes called “pecks” and declared them to be worth a peck of corn in the market (but not anywhere redeemable). On each note was a picture of a peck-basket, but what it contained was not specified.  Just a peck of value.

The “pecks” circulated and trade increased. Then a strange thing happened. The Mayor and his agents could outbid everybody for produce and services. They also controlled the printing presses for printing “pecks.” Prices were bid up on the things the Mayor’s group approved. Workers and businessman migrated into those industries for wages and profit. The stock of other things became short. Everyone couldn’t buy what they wanted. People threatened to recall the Mayor if he didn’t improve things. So he issued more “pecks” and then more and more.

The more money people had, the less they could buy. Only the Mayor and his friends had enough — rather too much — money. They gave expensive parties, bought votes, hired police and soldiers; and gave everyone a vested interest in continuing the game, through welfare, social security, profitable contracts, and “peck-funded” jobs.

Confusion resulted. It is evident there are two kinds of money: honest redeemable money and inflatable unredeemable money. These keep our economy teetering between “prosperity” and “depression.” Have we any proof that those in charge of our money system intend to create an honest system? That would break their power. A sound alternative is for people to operate their own money system. American and world history have produced workable patterns; some are underway today.

#   #   #

Take note that the story does not mention any need for gold or silver backing for money to be honest. As E.C. Riegel makes plain in his book, Private Enterprise Money, “When businessmen resolve to set up a money system, they agree to hold in trust for each other goods and services that are pledged against the drafts which they have issued in the form of money. These values — that are held in trust by all for any who may present a money draft therefore — constitute a vast pool, not housed at one place, but scattered throughout the trading sphere. This vast pool of goods and services is the basis or backing for the outstanding money supply. “Reserves” and metal hoards are but window dressing. Only that which is purchasable is back of money.”  

To learn more about honest and effective forms of money and how to create them, see my books, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization, and, Money: Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender.

The Politics of Money and the New World Order

In light of the current surge in the rates of inflation in countries around the world, the dominant political monetary regime is once again being called into question. Perhaps this time there will be sufficient interest and concern about its dysfunctional and destructive nature to induce a significant surge toward the adoption of the sorts of private currency and exchange systems that we have been articulating and advocating for more than 40 years.

The Library on this website contains a number of references relating to the politics of money. Among these are Dr. Carroll Quigley’s book, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time (1966), and Cleon Skousen’s review of that book titled, The Naked Capitalist (1970).

Tragedy and Hope outlines in great detail the plans of the elite class of international bankers and their minions to create a New World Order under their absolute control. In my books and presentations I have often repeated this quote from Quigley’s book:

“…the powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank, in the hands of men like Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, Benjamin Strong of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Charles Rist of the Bank of France, and Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank, sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world.”

The Cold War was just a facade to give the appearance of division while the banking elite proceeded with their agenda in both camps. In Chapter 5 of The Naked Capitalist Skousen says:

Dr. Quigley bluntly confesses that the International Bankers who had set out to remake the world were perfectly confident that they could use their money to acquire the cooperation and eventual control of the Communist-Socialist conspiratorial groups. In fact, John Ruskin of Oxford had persuaded the original Rhodes-Milner Round Table Groups that the way to federate the world was along socialistic lines, i.e., by having all property, industry, agriculture, communications, transportation, education and political affairs in the hands of a small cadre of financially controlled political leaders who would organize the world and its peoples in a way which would compel everyone to do what was good for the new, world-society.

It may seem somewhat contradictory that the very people whom Marx identified as the epitome of “Capitalism” should be conspiring with the followers of Marx to overthrow traditional Capitalism and replace it with Socialism. But the record supports the Quigley contention that this is precisely what has been happening. The reason is rather simple.

Power from any source tends to create an appetite for additional power. Power coming from wealth tends to create an appetite for political power and visa versa. It was almost inevitable that the super-rich would one day aspire to control not only their own wealth, but the wealth of the whole world. To achieve this, they were perfectly willing to feed the ambitions of the power-hungry political conspirators who were committed to the overthrow of all existing governments and the establishments of a central world-wide dictatorship along socialist lines.

That may have seemed fantastic at the time but it is blatantly obvious today to everyone except those who cling desperately to their belief in the benevolence of the relative few who control money, finance, politics and virtually every other system and institution around the world. If you want an up-to-date assessment of the geopolitical situation, watch this panel discussion Interrogating Cold War 2.0,featuring Patrick Wood, Iain Davis, Catherine Austin Fitts, and Kit Knightly, who discuss “the nature of the East-West dichotomy and whether the rise of Eurasia and the fall of the West were engineered by certain factions of global elites and for what purpose.”  

Now is the time for “we the people” to decide whether we will docilely follow the “masters” into their feudalist New World Order, or take responsibility to work together to build a new society of peace, justice and liberty for all based on the establishment of systems and structures that serve the common good instead of the further concentration of power and wealth. You can get an idea of how we might proceed in the realm of money and finance by reading this Draft Manifesto of Monetary and Financial Rights and Liberties.

# # #

The debt crisis spreading around the world

A recent news post blames pandemic spending, a rising dollar and poor leadership for the debt crises in Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Ghana, El Salvador, Zambia, and Pakistan, but while those may be the proximate causes of the crises, there is a more fundamental underlying cause.

The real cause of debt crises in those countries, as well as worsening crises even in “developed” countries, is the flawed, dysfunctional, and destructive global interest-based, debt-money system, which is designed to extract wealth and accumulate it into the hands of a small global power elite. The system has been doing that for a very long time but now the adverse effects are becoming acute and spilling over beyond the financial and economic realms and into the political and social realms as well.

Total Global Debt as percentage of GDP

These problems will not be solved by ever greater amounts of poisonous debt. Any real cure must include massive amounts of debt forgiveness and the deployment of new systems of money, credit and exchange that are decentralized and interest-free. Such systems are described in my book, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization.