The Emergence of Self-Organizing Systems of Exchange

Joseph Jaworski is the author of Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership. In a message today from the publisher announcing the second edition of the book, I noted the reference to Jaworski’s “Four Principles to Access the Source of Innovation.” Although I’ve not yet read the book, I did take a look at the blog entry that describes the principles.

This is an excerpt of what it says:

At the heart of what Joseph Jaworski discovered during this fifteen-year journey as a way to understand and access the Source of wisdom and creativity – the place from which profound innovation flows – are these four principles:

 1. There is an open and emergent quality to the universe; a group of simple components can suddenly re-emerge at a higher level of self-organization as a new entity with new properties.

2. The universe is a domain of undivided wholeness; both the material world and consciousness are parts of the same undivided whole.

3. There is a creative Source of infinite potential enfolded in the manifest universe; connection to this Source leads to the emergence of new realities.

4. Humans can learn to draw from the infinite potential of the Source by choosing to follow a disciplined path toward self-realization and love, the most powerful energy in the universe. The words of philosopher Pierre Telihard de Chardin speak well to this principle. “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we shall harness the energies of love and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”

Perhaps you own experience, like mine, will attest to the truth inherent in those principles.

I was particularly struck by the first principle and the statement that, a group of simple components can suddenly re-emerge at a higher level of self-organization as a new entity with new properties. This is highly relevant to the transition process that is currently underway in the world, especially the reinvention of money. In Chapter 17 of my book, The End of Money.., I describe the four basic elements required for A Complete Web-Based Trading Platform. These elements are:

1. A marketplace

2. A social network

3. A means of payment

4. A measure of value or pricing unit

These components are indeed “re-emerging” (based on our changing collective consciousness) “at a higher level of self-organization.” We are seeing more widespread recognition that:

  • money is nothing but a systems of accounting for credits and debits,
  • that it is the people’s collective credit that supports every national currency and payment medium,
  • that the creation of money based on interest-bearing debt requires continual expansion of debt, which drives economic growth that has become dysfunctional and destructive,
  • that we no longer need to depend upon banking wizardry to provide the monetary and financial means for exchanging goods and services and actualizing our productive capacity.

We now have many web-based marketplaces and social networks, numerous private currencies and payment systems that use direct credit clearing, and increasing recognition that there is an urgent need for a measure of value that is independent of any fiat currency or central bank.

As I pointed out in my chapter, there are a number of “disruptive technologies” that are emerging to completely change the nature of money and banking. These are:

  • Direct credit-clearing among buyers and sellers
  • The use of the Internet to create Web-based marketplaces
  • Transparency in Web-based accounting, information, and exchange systems
  • Strong identity verification
  • Secure encryption of information over the Internet
  • Social networking
  • Reputation ratings of vendors and buyers that are continually updated and available on-demand
  • The reemergence of mutual companies, co-responsibility, and localized Web-based markets

“It is not any of these individually but all of them in combination that will, I believe, result in structures that will provide superior performance in mediating the exchange process. Worsening economic and financial conditions, such as those experienced in 2007 and 2008, will create enhanced market opportunities for this sort of nonpolitical trading platform, and will assure their eventual implementation and wide acceptance.”

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8 responses to “The Emergence of Self-Organizing Systems of Exchange

  1. Dear Mr. Greco,

    I agree with three out of the four points you say are more widely recognized nowadays. And I am glad that they are.

    One of the four points I consider not true though: “that the creation of money based on interest-bearing debt requires continual expansion of debt, which drives economic growth that has become dysfunctional and destructive”.

    I don’t think the basic principle how money comes into existence today is a problem by itself — on the contrary, I consider it to be quite elegant. Interest bearing debt by itself doesn’t require the continual expansion of debt. Only when the debt/credit isn’t “spent” by the economic participants who own the money/credit, it will cause problems. As long as the economic participants that benefit from the interest payments are paying the indebted participants for their goods and services there is enough money for the debtors so they can pay the interest rates without going deeper into debt — no expansion of debt necessary. (I have a little Excel sheet containing an example using actual numbers. If you are interested I could write down my explanations of what the numbers in it mean and make it available to you and whoever is interested.)

    Only when the creditors don’t spend “enough” on goods and services, interest payments become a problem. And “enough” is what both creditors and debtors would both be OK with. This influences and is influenced by the interest rate: More people wanting to save (pensions, etc.) tends to make interest rates fall. Lower interest rates tend to lead to more spending and less saving.

    Now the current government currencies have one problem: There is a (quite arbitrary) lower bound for the interest rate at 0%. No one can guarantee that the market equilibrium interest rate will always be greater than zero. (People might still want to save for their pensions, even if the interest rate is already at 0%.) In fact I presume the equilibrium interest rate currently is way below zero. This situation cannot be handled well by the current monetary systems. We see the results of this failure as unusually high unemployment rates and increasing national debt.

    Sure — given there is enough economic growth the equilibrium interest rate will be high enough, and the problem does not show. This is why we so desperately cry for economic growth. And this, in my opinion, is the real connection between interest bearing debt and the drive for economic growth. This connection is only present though in monetary systems that do not allow for equilibrium interest rates in all situations — by establishing lower bounds. It is not a general connection between the creation of money as interest bearing debt and economic growth.

    I would really be glad if that could be more widely realized — that negative interest rates are a necessity for market equilibrium in some situations. And monetary systems need to be able to represent this state of the economy.

    I really think you do good work and hope to keep in touch with you.

    Best regards


  2. I would add “a brokerage” where people could pool their funds buying stocks and bonds to your list of basic elements.


  3. If it can be planned, it’s probably wrong. We’re entering a world beyond me chanical principles to biological information systems.


  4. Greetings professor Greco; I host and produce a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, just across the waters from you, and wonder if you would be interested in appearing on the program to discuss your work?

    Gorilla Radio airs live, every Monday between 5-6pm pacific time, and is broken into two, half-hour segments. There are no call-ins, or commercial breaks.

    Please let me know if you’re interested, and please too see below for more details on the show.


    Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, airing live every Monday, 5-6pm Pacific Time. In Victoria at 101.9FM, 104.3 cable, and on the internet at: He also serves as a contributing editor to the web news site, Check out the GR blog at:

    G-Radio is dedicated to social justice, the environment, community, and providing a forum for people and issues not covered in the corporate media.

    Some past guests include: M. Junaid Alam, M. Shahid Alam, Joel Bakan, Maude Barlow, David Barsamian, Mark and Rhoda Berenson, Diana Beresford-Kroeger, William Blum, Luciana Bohne, William Bowles, Mordecai Briemberg, James J. Brittain, Vincent Bugliosi, Helen Caldicott, Noam Chomsky, Michel Chossudovsky, Diane Christian, Juan Cole, David Cromwell, Ezili Danto, Murray Dobbin, Jon Elmer, Yves Engler, Reese Erlich, Anthony Fenton, Jim Fetzer, Laura Flanders, Chris Floyd, Connie Fogal, Glen Ford, Susan George, Stan Goff, Amy Goodman, Robert Greenwald, Denis Halliday, Chris Hedges, Sander Hicks, Julia Butterfly Hill, Scott Horton, Robert Jensen, Dahr Jamail, Chalmers Johnson, Diana Johnstone, Malalai Joya, Kathy Kelly, Naomi Klein, Brewster Kneen, Betty Krawczyk, Anthony Lappe, Frances Moore Lappe, Jason Leopold, Jeff Leys, Dave Lindorff, Jim Lobe, Jennifer Loewenstein, Stephen Marshall, Linda McQuaig, George Monbiot, Loretta Napoleoni, John Nichols, Kurt Nimmo, Ken O’Keefe, David Orchard, Riki Ott, Greg Palast, Mike Palecek, Michael Parenti, Robert Parry, John Pilger, Kevin Pina, William Rivers Pitt, Justin Podur, Lila Rajiva, Jack Random, Sheldon Rampton, Paul Craig Roberts, David Robb, Paul de Rooij, John Ross, David Rovics, Danny Schechter, David Schindler, Vandana Shiva, Tim Shorrock, Norman Solomon, Jean Saint-Vil, Starhawk, Grant Wakefield, Harvey Wasserman, Paul Watson, Bernard Weiner, Andy Worthington, Mickey Z., Howard Zinn and many others.


  5. Pingback: The Emergence of Self-Organizing Systems of Exchange - Tom Greco at Chelsea Green

  6. Pingback: Four Principles to Access the Source of Innovation « The Context: Our politics, history and future

  7. Pingback: The Emergence of Self-Organizing Systems of Exchange « Bill Totten's Weblog

  8. Your approach and mine are very much building on LETS / barter, which already put the marketplace, users, accounting and currency in the same space. But actually that conceptual space we are talking about is also host to many many more activities, and can be defined or reached from other premises.
    – Consider bitcoin, the geek’s solution for which people are now building marketplaces.
    – Consider, which provides many ways to interact and exchange, but so far no payment system.
    – Consider transition towns, who support all of these things, but offline!
    – And also the whole gift economy, where no accounting is even necessary.
    So I think that we need to keep our eyes wide open because elements of this complete web based trading platform are emerging in places and forms that we are not expecting.


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