My latest interview with Greg Magarshak

This discussion between Thomas H. Greco, Jr. and Intercoin founder Greg Magarshak covers a wide range of topics including the principles of sound currency issuance; mutual credit clearing; proper allocation of credit; the problems of centralized power, depression, and inflation; empowerment of small businesses and local communities; crypto-currencies; universal basic income (UBI), and more.  

Moneyless Exchange in One Easy Lesson

When the division of labor has been once thoroughly established, it is but a very small part of a man’s wants which the produce of his own labor can supply.  – Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations.

We have become so accustomed to using money to get the things we want and need that most people find it nearly impossible to conceive of any other possible way. Whenever I tell people that my work is about exchanging goods and services without using money they invariably ask, “Oh, you mean barter?” Then I go on to explain that barter requires a coincidence of wants between two people — I must have something you want, and you must have something I want. No, we must think beyond barter.

Through intensive study of monetary history and exchange principles extending over a long period of time I’ve come to a deeper understanding of the exchange process and the possibilities for advancing beyond our present dysfunctional and destructive monetary system.

“Mutual credit clearing” is a process that enables producers to trade goods and services directly among themselves without the need to use money. The credit clearing process is not a new invention; banks have been using it for a long time to settle accounts among themselves. But businesses can also use it to trade with one another and settle accounts among themselves, and they have been doing so for the past several decades. There are now scores of commercial “trade exchanges” operating around the world to provide credit clearing services for their tens of thousands of member businesses. While these exchanges are often referred to as “barter exchanges,” they do not do barter in the conventional meaning of the word. Rather, they utilize the collective credit of the members themselves as the internal payment medium. Members earn “trade credit” when they sell goods or services to another member, and they spend trade credit when they buy goods or services from another member. It is a simple process of accounting for value given and value received. When a member sells something their account is credited (increased) and when the buy something their account is debited (decreased). 

What enables the system to work is the fact that some trusted members who offer for sale goods and services that are in high demand are allowed to spend trade credits before they earn them. In other words, these trusted members are given a line of credit against their future sales; their account balances are allowed to be negative, up to some predetermined limit that is based mainly on the amount of value they are ready willing and able to sell to the other members.

Here, in a minute and a half, one of the major trade exchange operators explains the processes in its utter simplicity:

Note, this is not meant to be an endorsement of Bartercard or any other company. I refer to this video only as a good description of how credit clearing works to enable producers to trade among themselves without needing to make payment with conventional money, nor the need to borrow from banks.

And in this video a member of another trade exchange describes how credit clearing works for his business:

Properly organized and managed mutual credit clearing exchanges provide an effective, stable, and sustainable means of creating interest-free local liquidity and enabling companies and individuals to enhance their opportunities for success despite the adverse policies of banks and governments.

A more complete description of the credit clearing process can be found in my book, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization, particularly Chapter 12, Credit Clearing, the UnMoney.

Addendum: This subject is further explicated in my recent conversation with Greg Magarshak, founder of Intercoin, in which we discuss the essence of money, reciprocal exchange, credit allocation and whether or not cryptocurrencies and/or blockchain have a role to play in the reciprocal exchange process. A particularly pertinent clip is here. The entire two hour conversation can be seen at https://community.intercoin.org/t/interview-with-thomas-h-greco-community-currency-economist/1341.

The time is now for a new civilization

In 1997 I produced a monograph titled, The Cooperative Community Commonwealth: A Prospective Outline for a New Socioeconomic Framework. Over the ensuing years I’ve revisited and edited it a few times. It was when written and until now ahead of the wave, but the peculiar turn of events of the past few years, and especially those of 2020, have intensified both the urgency and the opportunities for the kinds of actions described in this visionary plan. After making a few additional minor edits I’ve published it on this site and on Medium.

The Cooperative Community Commonwealth: A Prospective Outline for a New Socioeconomic Framework

The present state of civilization, even in so-called “democratic” or “free” countries, is one of dominance by massive hierarchical structures which are centrally controlled by a relatively small group of people. These individuals wield enormous power by virtue of their control of the established structures and mechanisms, especially those of money and finance, and through their ownership of the vast majority of the land and capital.

The further development of civilization and the fuller realization of the human potential depend upon the further liberation of people within a context of increasing global awareness and concern. This, in turn, requires broader, more democratic access to land and capital, the devolution of power to the community level, and progress beyond familiar modes of domination and coercion. Such a process will require reliance upon the gentlest of means, higher levels of awareness and personal responsibility, the creation of new, inclusive structures, and their implementation under popular control.

…. Read the full article here.

Truth, Propaganda and the Media

Today I received a link from a correspondent in Ireland that featured this Dilbert cartoon.

I think that clearly sums up the the main thing that divides people in today’s pandemic world. There are those who still trust “the system,” including the media, the government and medical establishment, and those who don’t. Each faction has their own good reasons for their position. What can possibly bridge the divide?

Ultimately, I think it comes down to emotion. People believe what they want to believe and will hold fast to that belief until the weight of evidence becomes sufficiently dissonant to flip them. That threshold level is different for different people. We also are inclined to screen out evidence that runs counter to our preconceived notions and to add more weight to evidence that supports them, this is known as “confirmation bias.” Then there is the fact that competing interests send out messages that are designed to promote their particular agenda. This is the stuff of advertising and propaganda, and those that have a bigger megaphone tend to drown out competing messages. Thus the battle for freedom of speech continues and becomes ever more crucial.

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Alternative History — What If?

This Power Point slide show presentation was delivered virtually to the Alternative History Festival in Poland in September 2020. It highlights several historical turns as modern civilization has evolved that led to our present predicament and then asks how things might have been different and how they ought to be.

You can download it here.

Newsletter February 2021 — The Impending Failure of Wikipedia and other news

In this issue:

  • “Artificial Intelligence,” Bots, and Censorship: Why Wikipedia can no longer be trusted
  • Censored on Facebook
  • Consolidating and Preserving my Legacy
  • The Farm
  • Now, for your edification and amusement

Read it on my Mailchimp site.

James Corbett addresses the topic of alternative currencies

In his presentation that was part of The Greater Reset, James Corbett (of the Corbett Report) provided an overview of alternative means of exchange. In it he mentioned community currencies, LETS, trade exchanges, and my book, Money: Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender, as well as this website.

You can view his excellent presentation here. Scroll down to find James Corbett: Why We Need a Survival Currency

The New Reformation?

Luther-Nailing-ninety-five-theses
The election of Donald Trump was just a symptom of a major shift of civilization. In this essay, Mike Krauss (http://thekrausscommentary.com/) compares it to the Reformation of the sixteenth century.  It seems an apt analogy.

From Martin Luther to Donald Trump: Reading the Signs of the Times


Martin Luther published his Ninety-Five Thesis in 1517. Some histories record that he nailed them to the door of the chapel of the Wittenberg Castle. His challenge to the monolithic authority of the Catholic Church in Western Europe  set off an upheaval among the governing class and peoples of the European continent that was not only religious, but was also political, cultural and intellectual.
 
That upheaval did not follow immediately on Luther’s bold action, but erupted about four years later as the Church banned citizens of all the nations from espousing, defending or disseminating Luther’s ideas, and hardened the division into what would become the Reformation and Counter Reformation, decades of strife and bloody conflict within and between the peoples and nations of the continent. Lives were unspeakably brutalized. Property was confiscated and families destroyed. Mobs desecrated or destroyed churches and pulled down or defaced their statues and relics. Justice was whatever princes and popes said it was.
 
In the end, Europe was changed and the course of western civilization altered, as more democratic norms of government gradually displaced centralized royal and ecclesiastical power and the rule of law grew stronger.
 
It is tempting at this remove to compare Donald Trump’s 2015 ride down the escalator in his cathedral to capitalism, Trump Tower, to Luther’s arrival on the scene. But with Trump, the reaction of the monolithic governing class was immediate, as they recognized the power of Trump’s challenge to their authority and mounted a fierce counter attack. It has become as brutal as that of the 16th century, as the Counter Reformers now seek to politically, socially and economically excommunicate, exorcise, punish and destroy utterly Trump and any vestige of his American Reformation.
 
Now as then, the opposing sides in the contest use the same language of centuries of a shared “faith” to claim the moral high ground, with this difference: Trump’s reformers just want to be left alone by controlling, centralized authority to live their lives as they think best, while the statist counter reformers demand conformity to their “civic virtues,” and take no prisoners in an all out war to regain and retain power.
 
Where is this leading? In the short term, to fascism and repression. The counter reformers have seized both the government and the means of communication of an entire nation. This contrasts with the Protestant Reformation; in that, as the printing press came into wider use at that time, the ideas of Luther and other reformers were more widely circulated than had ever before been possible. New technology aided the Reformation. Now in the United States, new means of communication serve the Counter Reformation and the governing class. For the foreseeable future there will be only the “party line” heard in the United States. 
 
But even the dullest of ears will by now have picked up the incessant, preening moralizing of the counter reformers. Completely self sanctified and utterly un-self aware, these elites are likely to drive the Biden administration. Biden is not strong enough to resist.  He may not want to.
 
 “Joe Biden, Savior of the Republic” may be the story Biden has going in his head. Legislation has been introduced in Congress to establish a domestic surveillance agency with authority to define any reforming thought, speech or action which challenges the governing class as “domestic terror,” the modern equivalent of heresy.
 
There is one element to this conflict today that was not present in that of 16th century Europe and is entirely modern and American: race. The resentments of some whites on the right and some blacks on the left are equally poisonous and capable of overcoming any hope of reason and accommodation among the warring parties.
 
American liberalism, the former church of the secular left is dead, having collapsed under its own failures. The two greatest failures have been the decades long reduction of the mostly white middle class, its wealth redistributed to a permanent governing class of corporate overlords and their political retainers; and the simultaneous creation of a mostly black, permanent underclass, consigned to the apartheid landscape of American cities which liberal policy created, islands of white prosperity in a sea of mostly black poverty.
 
Until these twin failures of the governing class are remedied a time of conflict and turmoil in America is inevitable,.
 
Trump simply called out the reality of the decadence of the American governing class, as Luther called out that of the Medieval Church.  Leading up to Luther’s challenge, Pope Sixtus IV began the practice of selling Indulgences to wealthy sinners  –  ecclesiastical get-out-of-purgatory- free cards  – the way Congress sells legislation to lobbyists. Pope Alexander VI enforced celibacy on the priesthood but was the father of seven  (!) children, operating with the same hubris on display daily in the American governing class today: “rules for thee, but not for me.”
 
Hubris invites nemesis: then Luther, now Trump.
 
In the weeks ahead there may be a period of relative calm, as the people wait and watch. But it won’t last long. As the government of the American Counter Reformation becomes steadily more repressive, authoritarian and fascist, it will run up against something Luther did not have to help fuel his Reformation: a people with the experience of centuries of democratic government, the protection of individual liberties and the rule of law.
 
This conflict will not be resolved any time soon.

And this assessment, That’s All Folks, from former Congressman Ron Paul, provides another take on the matter. And his latest essay, When Fascism Comes, It Will Be Wearing a Mask, spotlights actions by the Biden administration that look a lot like a counter-reformation.

Let’s see if we can find ways to enjoy the ride and take advantage of the opportunities to build a better world.

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Who’s Reset will it be?

The oligarchs, plutocrats, and technocrats have a plan for you. It’s been called the “New World Order,” and now, “The Great Reset” which is being promoted by the World Economic Forum. Despite their high sounding rhetoric, you and I will have no role in formulating this plan, rather it is self-elected “global leaders” who will “come together to design a common recovery path and shape the Great Reset.”

It is imperative the people around the world come together now to plan our own future, one that is based on our own common values, needs, and a shared vision of how humans can live in harmony with nature and with each other. One current initiative that intends to facilitate that effort is “The Greater Reset” which is upcoming starting Monday, January 25th and continuing through Friday, January 29th.

Our World. Our Way.

The Greater Reset Activation: January 25th – 29th, 2021

“The Greater Reset is the world’s collective response to the World Economic Forum’s Initiative: The Great Reset.

“We offer an alternative to the WEF’s top-down, centralized, authoritarian vision. Our desire is to help all people find community and liberty by providing practical steps and knowledge for co-creating a world that respects individual liberty, bodily autonomy, and choice. We invite you to join us for 5 days of discussion about the diverse opportunities available for those who seek to live in harmony with humanity and the planet, while respecting our innate freedom.”

You can get program details, and sign up for “The Greater Reset” at https://thegreaterreset.org/

R.I.P. Spencer Heath MacCallum

Spencer MacCallum and Emalie

Spencer MacCallum and Emalie Caley

Spencer Heath MacCallum (b: December 21, 1931; d: December 17, 2020) was truly an amazing and wonderful person–multi-talented, intelligent, kind, and compassionate. Spencer was an anthropologist, archeologist, editor, publisher, entrepreneur, and philosopher. The world is much poorer without him. I was privileged to count Spencer as a friend for more than 25 years. Among his significant achievements were his preservation and promulgation of the works of E. C. Riegel (b. 1878; d. 1954), a man whom I’ve described as a “master of monetary truth” whose insights have greatly inspired my own work on the “money problem” and the development of innovative and equitable means of exchanging value.

In his Editorial Preface to Flight From Inflation, Spencer tells the fascinating story of how he happened to meetSMECTG_Cr Riegel, how he subsequently rescued Riegel’s literary legacy from oblivion, and then went on to preserve, reprint and republish much of his work. Among the treasures discovered in Riegel’s papers was an unpublished manuscript titled Flight From Inflation that Spencer went on to edit and publish in 1978.

Spencer was also the person who discovered the work of potter Juan Quezada, helped him to develop his craft, and made the pottery of Mata Ortiz, Mexico famous throughout the Americas. That story and more about Spencer’s remarkable life is told by Walter Parks and Richard O’Connor in this remembrance.

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