Monthly Archives: October 2012

How to integrate community currency with commercial barter exchange

by Chong Kee Tan

As more grassroots organizations launch new community currencies in different parts of the world and exploring alternatives to the traditional economy, more are starting to discover the commercial barter exchange industry.  At the 2012 IRTA annual conference – IRTA  is an association of the commercial trade and barter industry – Rob Van Hilten from Qoin, a community currency organization, called for dialogue between the two so that each could learn from the other.

Commercial barter exchanges focus on B2B (business to business) trade whereas community currencies tend to focus on C2C (consumer to consumer) exchanges. Both are now moving towards the B2C space and trying to figure out how best to do it.

Another key trend is the use of software to facilitate trade in complementary currencies. When transactions are captured electronically, it immediately raises the question of tax reporting.

Right now, IRS ruling for reporting is that all barter trades must be reported using 1099-B. Corporations can report the aggregate amount, while individuals and sole proprietors have to itemize every transaction. This makes individuals and sole proprietors balk at participating in barter transactions because receiving a 1099-B will force them to become businesses that must file at minimum a Schedule C.

Thomas Greco suggested four possible solutions:

1.     Get the IRS to take a more reasonable attitude on this.

2.     Get the regulations changed by pressuring legislators.

3.     Drown the IRS in reports. It can be more easily automated these days.

4.     Allow members to draw paper vouchers against their account balance or line of credit. Eliminates the paper trail of transactions and reduces admin burden. Vounchers should have an expiration date.

#1 is risky because it brings small community exchanges that were previously under the radar under the IRS microscope. The IRS could easily make a rigid ruling. It could then take a long time to undo the damage.

#2 is a long and drawn out process. #3 is unlikely to produce any change. But #4 is promising as an immediate solution.

Vouchers can be issued in a few fixed denominations, like $1, $5 and $10. To prevent counterfeiting, the vouchers should have security features. This makes them look very much like paper community currencies such as BerkShares, or Bristol pound, or the greenbacks.

They function just like paper money too. When a business accepts it as payment, they account for and report tax on it just like when they receive cash. But this paper complementary currency can circulate among consumers without any electronic trail.

It is even more tax compliant than cash because when a business deposits the voucher into their trading account, the software will recognize it as an income from sales and will report it in the 1099-B.  Banks on the other hand do not report cash deposits to the IRS as income.

Thus, we see that B2B transactions in complementary currency can take place on software platforms through electronic credit and debit of accounts. C2C transactions can take place through the voucher mechanism, which is available in most commercial software packages. Finally B2C transactions can take place both through the voucher mechanism when accepting payment from consumers, and through the software when depositing vouchers received into their accounts.

What this means is that community currencies can be implemented in a tax compliant way using commercial barter exchange software. Furthermore, using a commercial barter exchange software also allows community currency initiative to offer B2B barter and B2C loyalty programs. In short, it enables a fully integrated solution.

IRTA is currently evaluating all available barter software platforms. Stay tune to find out which platforms are good for such an integrated implementation.

The above is a summary of a discussion between Thomas Greco, Annette Riggs, K. R. Hughes and Chong Kee Tan on 9/21/12. Reported by Chong Kee Tan.

Advertisements

The Greek Tragedy

The link below takes you to a Reuters report on the Athens protests of yesterday, Thursday, October 18.

http://news.yahoo.com/clashes-erupt-greek-anti-austerity-protests-032423852.html

I traveled yesterday by motor coach from Volos to Athens, getting off at the Patissia train station and boarding the metro line. At the metro station where I got off there were taxis waiting and picking up passengers. Everything seemed normal to me. It seems that the reported demonstrations must have been limited to the area around the Parliament building, and the strike may not have been as general as the press reported.

In any case, the developing situation here in Greece is a clear manifestation of how nation states are being forced to surrender sovereignty upward to the elite international power group that controls the global system of money, banking, and finance. All other countries are caught in the same usury-debt trap and will follow in order. As this plan for an (undemocratic) new world order proceeds, national politicians will do the bidding of their global masters and the police and military will be used to suppress popular dissent. Demonstrations are often infiltrated by agents provocateur whose role it is to initiate violence and provide an excuse for police brutality and ultimately the imposition of martial law.

While it is important for people to express their disapproval and outrage, and to speak truth to power, it is essential that we exercise the power we already have to take care of ourselves and each other.

We must first of all reduce our dependence on the global systems that are controlled by the power elite and are used to exploit and repress us. We must begin by becoming independent of their money system.

It is essential that we join together in solidarity to assure that everyone’s basic needs are taken care of. We must cooperate in building new structures that enable us to satisfy our basic needs together in our own communities. Most important amongst these new structures are trading networks that enable us to exchange our goods and services without borrowing from banks and without the use of political money. This is the pathway toward economic democracy, without which political democracy remains an elusive dream.–t.h.g.

Realpolitik 201, by Richard K. Moore

Realpolitik 201 by Richard K. Moore

The money power preys upon the nation in times of peace and conspires against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, more selfish than bureaucracy. —President Abraham Lincoln, before his assassination by Rothschilds’ agents

The real rulers in Washington are invisible and exercise power from behind the scenes. —Felix Frankfurter, United States Supreme Court Justice, 1952

Of course there is a class war, but it’s my class, the rich class, that is waging the war, and we’re winning. —Warren Buffet

There is something behind the throne greater than the King. —William Pitt, 1770

What is not already obvious here? —A Plebeian

Greetings,

In Course 101, we examined the work of some thorough and reliable researchers, giving us a basic picture of who is guiding world events, how they exercise their power, and what their basic agenda is. In 201, we will be looking at how to make use of this basic information, and we’ll look at some examples, re/ interpreting ongoing events.

But first, let’s summarize a few key points about the bankster elite, using a few quotations from our sources.

—-

…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 arrive at infrequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements [BIS] in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations.

In the years before and during WW1, the Secret Elite took control of virtually the entire banking, industrial and armaments might of the British Empire and the United States… Namely, J. P. Morgan, J.D. Rockefeller, Jacob Schiff and Paul Warburg in the US, and Lord Nathaniel Rothschild in England

They controlled the press, the politicians and more importantly perhaps, they controlled the Federal Reserve System and the Bank of England. Professor Quigley clearly explains and details their ‘triple front penetration’ of politics, the press and education. Virtually every major geopolitical event over the last century stems from this tiny, all-powerful clique.

—-

The first thing one needs to do, to make use of this kind of information, is to contemplate a bit on what it implies, and on how it relates to what’s going on in the world today. One observation that emerges from such a contemplation is that we seem now to be in the endgame of the installation of the ‘feudalist’ system envisioned by the banksters, back in their early planning days…

By acting in concert and in secret, in alliance with associated financial institutions, the central banksters orchestrated the banking system collapse of 2008. By their control of politicians, they then achieved a transfer of insolvency from banks to national treasuries (the bailouts), creating an economic regime of unrepayable sovereign debt, a trap that will soon also ensnare the USA, Germany, and the rest. The banksters are then using this debt-enslavement to impose an austerity regime that is reducing Western populations to the level of feudal serfs, disempowered both economically and politically.

The feudal model applies quite closely to what is happening. As nations are forced to sell off all their assets (universal privatization), in a hopeless attempt to escape from insolvency, a situation is created where all land and resources will be owned by corporations, and ultimately controlled by the banksters, just as in feudal days all was owned by the lords of manors, and ultimately controlled by the crown.

The main difference seems to be that the bankster regime will be more centralized than the feudal system was. With modern communications and technology, there is no need for subsidiary lords and nobles, with their own semi-automous realms, to provide a stable political platform for the royal realm. In the bankster regime, it is more like all estates will be owned directly by the crown, with centrally-appointed estate-manager technocrats enforcing central directives locally. Exactly as we see unfolding now, most clearly in Greece, Italy, Spain, and Ireland, where Goldman Sachs, co-orchestrator of the collapse, is providing some of the estate-manager staff.

It seems that we have a very good fit, between design and outcomes – the bankster clique is evidently still very much in charge, on course, and in the endgame of installing their long-sought neo-feudal world order.

I emphasized that paragraph, because it is the central thing to keep always in mind when seeking to interpret the meaning of unfolding events. In particular, it is important to contemplate on what it means to be in an endgame scenario.

When you begin making your bold endgame moves, pushing toward a forced checkmate, you must have a combination worked out, so that you prevail against all available lines of defense. Otherwise your bold moves may open you up to a decisive counter-attack and rout. And quite clearly, the bankster clique has demonstrated over the years its proficiency, and thoroughness, as regards chess-like great games. If we are in the endgame, then we can be sure they have preparations in place to deal with all aspects of the transition to the new regime, taking into account alternatives available to other players in the game.

One of those players is us 99%, who might be expected to rebel, in one way or another, as we see our society being destroyed, and as the perpetrators become more and more visible, as they reveal their endgame moves. Their preparations to deal with us are very clear: the ‘anti-terrorist’ no-civil-rights legal regime, militarized and federalized police forces, and crowd-control protocols based on suppression by any means necessary. All of this facilitated by false-flag events that created the excuse. Ducks carefully arranged in a row, prior to endgame moves.

Russia and China are the players, at the geopolitical level, who have alternatives available that can effect the nature of the endgame. They are also players with an impressive centuries-long track record with chess-like engagements. They know very well the nature of the endgame they find themselves in, and they want desperately to force a multi-polar draw, and prevent a unipolar checkmate.

The bankster elite, however, have demonstrated over the years singleness of purpose, and a total unwillingness to accept anything as an outcome other than complete, unchallenged, unshared power. A multi-polar outcome is not on the table for consideration, in their endgame plans. If Russia and China will not capitulate, the regime will be forced upon their territory by whatever means necessary, based on the preparations that have been made.

Among those preparations is a first-strike nuclear capability, with US bases and missle-defense systems surrounding Russia and China, with tactical nuclear weapons widely deployed, under the control of local commanders, and with electronic satellite-based systems that can critically disable the communication and defense systems of adversaries.

In order to interpret unfolding events, one needs to be aware, at a visceral level, that we are in the midst of a dynamic transition process, involving the rapid demolition of an old order, and the rapid creation of a new order, all being carried out according to a carefully designed game plan. With this awareness, the mainstream media can be very helpful in tracking the ongoing moves of the endgame. For the mainstream media has a very predictable way of covering key moves in the game, key shifts in the board positions.

For a start, such moves are always given front page attention, as leading news items. Always with these moves some old-system taboo is being violated, and some new-system principle is being put in place as a justification. The function of the media is to dismiss the taboo as out-of-date thinking, and embrace the necessity and wisdom of the new principle, despite unfortunate side-effects that cannot, unfortunately be avoided.

Thus torture becomes acceptable, along with unprovoked invasions, drone strikes on the civilians of allies, targeted killings of your own citizens, supplying arms to active Al Qaeda terrorists, and the list goes on. By following the headlines associated with dramatic incidents, and reading the propaganda copy, you can track the step-by-step demolition of the old order, and the systematic construction of the new system architecture.

This applies to all aspects of society, not just to geopolitical events. Wherever you see dramatic precedents being set, in leading news stories, you are probably seeing signs of what is being abandoned, and what is being planned for the future. The example that comes most quickly to mind is the celebrated swine flu ‘pandemic’, which was carried on mainstream media for many months, and which led to the setting of several important precedents.

Not only was the definition of pandemic given a nonsense redefinition, but a regime was set up where the bankster-controlled WHO can decree a pandemic on the flimsiest of excuses, and can designate which vaccines must be used in treating it, with no accountability as regards testing, and with no liability being assumed for any ‘side effects’. In addition there was an intense and ongoing worldwide propaganda campaign about the value and necessity of getting vaccinated.

And there were clearly steps being taken toward creating a forced-vaccination regime, beginning with health workers all over the world as a test population. If total control over the global population is the goal, then the ability to inject arbitrary substances at any time into the bodies of any segment of the population is certainly a very powerful tool to have in your toolkit, whether it be to narcotize, hype-up, temporarily disable, or eliminate altogether.

And this ends Course 201, of the Realpolitik series. If some of you want to try your hand at interpretation, by delving into some dramatic media story line, we can perhaps continue with a seminar series. Your analysis is just as important as your conclusions, as regards any seminar contribution. What we’re after is an understanding of why a given precedent is relevant to the new regime, and what that indicates about the nature of the new regime.

rkm

Richard K. Moore is a political analyst and author of Escaping the Matrix

Why Congress Will Not Prevent the Crash

As economists go, Robert Reich is one of the more rational and humane, but he suffers under the same delusion as the others.  In a recent blog post, he describes why he thinks that “January’s Fiscal Cliff Turns into a Gentle Hill by February (or March).

What Robert Reich, and most economists fail to understand is that the federal budget cannot possibly be balanced so long as we have a debt-money system in which banks create money based on interest-bearing debt. This system contains a debt-growth imperative. As time goes on total debt must continually increase to keep the money supply pumped up. When the private sector is all “loaned-up,” government becomes the “borrower of last resort.” Failing in that role, we have a contraction of the money supply, defaults, unemployment and recession. If government assumes that role, we have inflation. So take your choice: recession or inflation, or some of each.

No amount of “Quantitative easing,” or tax cutting, or spending reductions will get us out of this dilemma. Politicians may be able to delay it a bit longer, but no amount of policy tweaking can prevent the inevitable crisis. The problem is systemic and only a complete restructuring of money and banking will solve it. -t.h.g.

 

An innovative currency project in Kenya achieves impressive social benefits

A currency project that was conceived and operated by Will Ruddick in Kenya last year has reportedly achieved significant social benefits at very little cost. A full report titled, Eco-Pesa: An Evaluation of a Complementary Currency Programme in Kenya’s Informal Settlements can be found at the International Journal of Community Currency Research.

New Ways to Pay and Be Paid

I had a Skype chat recently with Ken Banks who pointed me to an excellent article about m-Pesa, a system operating in Kenya that uses mobile phones to provide an easy way of making payments. The article is, The Invisible Bank: How Kenya Has Beaten the World in Mobile Money, by Olivia O’Sullivan.

In his introduction to the article, Ken Banks says this:

 Click a few keys, exchange a few numbers, and it’s done. With just a mobile phone and a registration with Safaricom, Kenya’s mobile service giant, you can pay for anything in seconds – no cash, no long journeys to towns to reach a bank, and no long lines when you get there. This is m-Pesa, the revolutionary approach to banking which is changing economies across Africa. The service allows customers and businesses to pay for anything without needing cash, a bank account, or even a permanent address.

Here is a brief description from the article itself

So how does it work? m-Pesa relies on a network of small shop-front retailers, who register to be m-Pesa agents. Customers come to these retailers and pay them cash in exchange for loading virtual credit onto their phone, known as e-float. E-float can be swapped and transferred between mobile users with a simple text message and a system of codes. The recipient of e-float takes her mobile phone into her nearest retailer when she wants to cash in, and swaps her text message code back for physical money. There are already more m-Pesa agents in Kenya than there are bank branches.

This case demonstrates how any credible entity (like a phone company or power company) can now become a depository “bank” that enables credits denominated in any chosen units (hopefully, objectively defined units like phone minutes or kilowatt hours) to be easily transferred from one account to another via cell phones.

Networks of existing storefronts (like 7-Eleven convenience stores) are being added on top of cell phone technology to enable deposits into and withdrawals from any account. That could potentially be done in any desired currency. As an example, 7-Eleven stores in Thailand have begun to accept payments for purchases made online. The advantage is that no credit card is required. I’ve used this service myself when I booked flights online with NOK Airlines, a Thai low cost carrier. Once booked, one has 24 hours within which to trot on over to any conveniently located 7-Eleven and pony up payment, usually in cash. In my case, I paid in Thai Baht notes that I drew from a nearby ATM using my debit card and drawn on my credit union account in Arizona. 7-Eleven also sells prepaid cell phone minutes. They could easily add acceptance of cash payments to add credits denominated in any desired units to an account (i.e., deposits).

While m-Pesa fees are relatively high for small transactions, that is likely to improve as competing companies enter the field.

Here, is a chart of the m-Pesa fee schedule.

(Chart prepared by Will Ruddick)

The monetary and financial revolution is just a matter of putting existing components together. The hardest part will be in negotiating the minefield of laws, regulations, and taxation policies that protect existing monopolies and fiefdoms. But once begun, it will be increasingly difficult to stop this snowball from rolling downhill. –t.h.g.

Money Malfunction, and What We Can Do About It

We have in Professor Jem Bendell a very competent spokesman for monetary transformation. This video hits all the right points, provides all the right answers, and gives viewers some direction for positive action.