Monthly Archives: July 2019

A conversation with Ron Whitney

In our latest Beyond Money Podcast we explore with Ron Whitney the evolution of the commercial trade exchange industry, which over the past 50 years has proven the workability of credit clearing as a way of doing business without the need for money payment.

Ron operated his own trade exchange for 15 years, and since 2007 has taken on the role of President and CEO of IRTA, the International Reciprocal Trade Association, the premier trade association of, and advocate for, the commercial trade exchange industry.

Ron shares his vast knowledge and insights about the current challenges, prospects, and opportunities, including a description of the benefits of trade exchange membership and the increasing use of Universal Currency (UC) to enable purchases and sales over an extended trade exchange network.

This interview can be found at: http://beyondmoney.libsyn.com/ron-whitney-irta, or https://soundcloud.com/user-27167973/ron-whitney-irta.

You can find links to all of our Beyond Money Podcasts in the menu at the top of this page or at https://beyondmoneypodcast.wordpress.com/.

Summer Newsletter-2019

Greek mountain village

Monetary alchemy: how to turn bad money into good

In my latest article, just published on Open Democracy, I describe how fiat money can be transmuted into a truly effective and scalable community currency, while at the same time providing a way to finance community improvement projects like affordable housing. Key features that distinguish my design from other “fiat backed” currencies that have been tried before are (1) the limitations placed on cash redemption, and (2) the requirement that the community currency be issued as loans to businesses based on the amount of needed and desired goods and services they have available for immediate sale. You can read the full article here.

_____________________
Libre Not Libra: Facebook’s Blockchain Project

Facebook’s Libra crypto-currency project has caused a major uproar. In this talk, delivered on June 19th 2019 in Edinburgh, Scotland, respected technologist, entrepreneur, and crypto-currency guru Andreas Antonopoulos provides an interesting interpretation of the nature of Libra and its implications for the future of payments, privacy, and freedom, all of which is both exciting and terrifying. Antonopoulos couches his comments in the framework of what he sees as the emerging “currency wars,” distinguishing among government currencies, corporate currencies, and people’s currencies on the basis of the principles that underlie them. You can view the video here.

_____________________
Europe and the UK

I spent most of May and half of June on the other side of the Atlantic conferring with colleagues in the UK and Italy, and living in community at the Kalikalos Holistic Center in Kissos, Greece, where I’ve stayed many times before. My work in the UK has been ongoing for almost a year during which time I’ve been advising a group that has now formed the Open Credit Network.  

“The Open Credit Network is a cooperative of businesses who have come together, under a simple shared agreement, in order to trade with each other without the need for hard cash.”

This project is still in the formative stages but is making good progress. UK cooperatives and small businesses are invited to get involved.

During my trip I managed  to mix in a bit of R&R, enjoyed spending time with friends old and new, and toward the end of the trip had some fun with friends Yannis and Catherine rafting on the Voidomatis river in the Vikos gorge in northern Greece. This experience is one of many being offered through Yannis’ new travel platform, https://www.gofreedly.com/.

_____________________
How to Legally Not Pay Taxes by Tom Wheelwright

I discovered this video by accident while randomly browsing YouTube. Whether your goal is to play the system and become rich, or to change the system to make it fairer, you need to pay attention to this presentation. Tom Wheelwright, is a high powered CPA and tax advisor who describes here how entrepreneurs and investors legally avoid paying taxes. In this video, he points out that on average, those who are classified as employees pay a tax rate of about 40%, and professionals like doctors and lawyers get hit even harder with an average rate of 60%, while entrepreneurs pay only around 20% and big investors pay virtually zero. It’s all a matter of knowing the tax laws and how they favor capital over labor.

_____________________
Dr. Laurence Victor, R.I.P.

I was greatly disturbed by the content and tone of Larry’s last message to me on Friday July 5, so I dropped by his place to see him on Saturday morning, but when his wife greeted me at the door she asked, “are you psychic?” and told me that Larry had just died a few hours earlier. I’m sorry I did not have the opportunity to bid him farewell. His health had been in decline for several months, and he had reported suffering severe pain from a massive tumor at the back of his tongue that his doctors said was inoperable.

With PhDs in both physics and psychology Larry had a long career in academia. He was a brilliant and innovative thinker whose unique perspectives on life, civilization, “uplift,” and human “emergence” fascinated many. Larry was a good and respected friend of thirty years. He will be greatly missed.

_____________________
Movie reviews

I’d like to recommend two movies I’ve seen recently.

Pavarotti is the story of opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti (1935–2007) who had perhaps the greatest operatic voice of the past 100 years. Director Ron Howard does a masterful job of telling the story of a man whose life impacted the world of music well beyond the narrow confines of opera, and whose generosity touched the lives of many. The story and the music will move you deeply, .…if you let it.

The Biggest Little Farm. Exquisite in every aspect, this film tells the inspiring story of a professional couple who take a leap of faith into small-scale, diversified farming in southern California. Tracing their trials and tribulations over several years, it shows what can be achieved when working with nature to find balance.
_____________________
Wishing you a pleasant summer,

Thomas

P.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard wants the U.S. to stop its endless wars and do what it takes to REALLY make America great again. Let’s keep her in the Presidential debates by making a small contribution to her campaign.

Is Capitalism about to crash?

Richard Wolff provides an insightful analysis and historical perspective on the present state of capitalism and democracy. Clearly, Franklin Roosevelt saved capitalism in the 1930s by yielding a bit to the masses’ demand for a share of the economic benefits. Will there be a repeat of that in the coming decade under the next President?

That is doubtful. Conditions today are much different than they were in the 1930s. Big government is no longer in vogue since governments have ceded most of their power to transnational corporations. People now are much more aware of the need for structural change in politics, economics and finance. The vogue today is decentralization of power and restoration of the commons.

I don’t know if Marx has any answers because I’ve never studied Marxist economics.

I am convinced of one thing however that no one else seems to recognize, that is the fundamental flaw in the global interest-based, debt-money, central banking regime. It is the “debt-growth imperative” that derives from the way banks create money by making loans that require the payment of interest. One need only look at the empirical evidence of global debt growth over time to see that it conforms to the exponential growth function of compound interest. Even the richest countries have exploding levels of sovereign debt because there are limits to how much debt the private sector can bear, so governments become the “borrower of last resort” to keep the money supply from collapsing. That’s the reason for bank bailouts and “quantitative easing.”

The fundamental need is for a deep restructuring of money, banking, and finance to decentralize control of credit and eliminate the “debt-growth imperative.” Such an idea may seem radical in the extreme and will not be welcomed by the powers that be, but alternative approaches are already in the works and will be ready to save the day when the capitalist train crashes off the rails.