after Collapse: Political Structures for Creative Response to the Ecological
by John Culp
As society grapples with the reality of
climate change, many believe that technology will somehow save the planet. As
this book argues, that is not enough: larger-scale collaboration, coordination,
and funding is needed. Individuals and groups, even with significant personal
resources, will not be able to reverse the present course of ecological
disaster. What our endangered planet needs is broadly supported community
action, which is what happens when people come together and organize for the
common good. What we need, in short, is political structures and actions. The
essays in this book examine the political structures that have led to our
present crisis and offer concrete lessons from the U.S., Japan, Brazil, and
Greece, that can, if heeded, bring us back from the brink and toward an
This book of essays emerged out of some of the presentations
that were given at a major conference, Seizing
an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization. that was organized by Center
for Process Studies and held at Pomona College (CA) in June 2015 and attended
by more than 1500 people. It includes two of my own essays, Greece and the Global Debt Crisis, and How Private Currencies and Credit Clearing
Exchanges Can Help Save Civilization, as well as essays by John Cobb, Ellen
Brown, Gayle McLaughlin and several others.
The full list of contents and order form can be found here.
The book can also be ordered on Amazon.com
Posted in Developing Alternatives, Economics, Emerging paradigm, Environment, Exchange Design, Geo-politics, Implementation Strategies, Politics
Tagged community building, community currencies, credit clearing, debt crisis, decentralization, local activism, oligarchy
I have long argued that the interest-based, debt-money, central banking regime is both dysfunctional and destructive, and advocated for the decentralization of control over credit and the creation of exchange alternatives that use privately issued currencies and direct clearing of accounts among buyers and sellers.
There is a considerable body of literature that makes the case for free money and free banking, most of which has been ignored. These ideas have been overwhelmed by the economic and financial orthodoxy which stands in support of the political status quo which centralizes power and concentrates wealth.
For governments, central banks serve as “lenders of last resort,” enabling deficit spending through their purchase of government bonds and manipulation of interest rates, while for the banking cartel, government serves as “borrower of last resort,” sustaining their privilege of lending money into circulation and charging interest on it. Whenever this unsustainable system threatens to implode (as it did in the crisis of 2008), the government steps in to take bad (private) debts off the bankers’ hands and place them on the shoulders of the citizens (“bail-outs”). When the next bubble reaches its climax, we will likely see another round of “quantitative easing,” but when that proves to be inadequate, we will likely see some combination of inflation and outright asset confiscation known as “bail-ins” (partial seizure of bank balances).
In his recent review, Leonidas Zelmanovitz, highlights the main points in Vera Smith’s book, The Rationale of Central Banking and the Free Banking Alternative, which was published in 1936. Paraphrasing Smith, Zelmanovitz concludes that [Keynsian policies are] “not necessary to solve the problems they are purported to solve; most likely, they are part of the cause of the problem. Furthermore, there is an alternative, and that alternative is free banking,.” and, ” You can have good money without central banking and central banking does not guarantee good money.” You can read the entire review on the EconLib website.
Another classic source on free banking is Henry Meulen‘s, Free Banking (London: Macmillan, 1934). Free download available here. I will provide some excerpts from that source in a future post.
Posted in Banking, Developing Alternatives, Finance and Economics, Geo-politics, Government, Prescriptions
Tagged bail-ins, bail-outs, free banking, free money, Henry Meulen, quantitative easing, Vera Smith
Why is it so hard these days to tell fact from fiction? Who can be trusted to tell us what’s really going on? Can the New York Times and Washington Post still be believed? And what about money? Can we still trust the dollar, the euro, the pound sterling? What supports national currencies, anyway? Is this Bitcoin thing real or fake money, and should I buy some?
Here’s a compelling presentation by Andreas Antonopoulos, that addresses all of these questions. Antonopoulos is a technologist and entrepreneur and probably the most knowledgeable and insightful expert on bitcoin, blockchain technology and the profound changes that lie just ahead.
Here’s the YouTube link: https://youtu.be/i_wOEL6dprg
Now take a deep dive into the political realities of our time by watching this presentation by CIA officer Kevin Shipp, in which he exposes the Shadow Government and the Deep State. If you question his credibility here is a brief bio from Information Clearing House:
Kevin Shipp, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer, intelligence and counter terrorism expert, held several high-level positions in the CIA. His assignments included protective agent for the Director of the CIA, counterintelligence investigator searching for moles inside the CIA, overseas counter terrorism operations officer, internal security investigator, assistant team leader for the antiterrorism tactical assault team, chief of training for the CIA federal police force and polygraph examiner. Mr. Shipp was the senior program manager for the Department of State, Diplomatic Security, Anti-Terrorism Assistance global police training program. He is the recipient of two CIA Meritorious Unit Citations, three Exceptional Performance Awards and a Medallion for high risk overseas operations. Website/book: fortheloveoffreedom.net
Here’s the YouTube link: https://youtu.be/rQouKi7xDpM
Local Currencies—what works; what doesn’t?
By Thomas H. Greco, Jr.
Community currencies, and mutual credit clearing exchanges are key elements in the emergence of a new economic paradigm. These approaches to enabling the exchange of value are not entirely new, they have a long and varied history, but their enormous potential and possibilities have become widely recognized only within the past three or four decades. This is largely the result of increasing disillusionment with conventional money and banking systems, the emergence of Bitcoin and other non-governmental, non-bank currencies, and the growing interest in decentralized, peer-to-peer approaches in all realms of human activity.
The latest wave of exchange alternatives has seen the emergence over the past few decades of scores of commercial trade or “barter” exchanges, and hundreds, if not thousands of local currencies. The scores of commercial trade exchanges that have been operating in many countries around the world for the past four or five decades enable moneyless trading among their business members, and collectively “clear” tens of billions of dollars’ worth of trades annually. Their success provides the strongest proof of the viability of decentralized, non-governmental, non-bank, moneyless exchange options.[i]
On the other hand, the plethora of local and community currencies that have popped-up all over the world have not been so encouraging. The avowed purpose of local currencies has generally been to keep money circulating locally instead of “leaking out” of the community. It is hoped that by keeping exchange media circulating within the local community, the vitality of the local economy will be enhanced and local businesses will be better able to compete with large global corporations and merchandising chains.
That is well and good, but it misses the main point of what ails our communities, and our world. It is the very nature of the dominant political money system that is problematic. So, localization is not the end in itself, but the necessary means to an end, which is personal re-empowerment and freedom; community resilience, sustainability, and self-determination; and the revitalization of democratic governance. Community currencies and exchange systems provide an essential tool kit for achieving those goals but they need to be designed in such a way as to make people less dependent upon political money and banks. So long as we remain harnessed to the dominant money and banking regime, there will be little chance of significant improvement in the human condition, in fact, the trend has been exactly opposite. …. Read the full article or download the full PDF.
Broadly speaking, technology is the organization of knowledge, people, and things to accomplish specific practical objectives. It includes processes, practices, techniques and systems as well as things. So what are the disruptive technologies in money and finance? Or is that even the right question to be asking? Is it Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other so-called crypto-currencies? Is it the blockchain, “smart contracts,” “big data,” algorithms?
To find out, watch this 15 minute video, which was extracted and adapted from a longer recording of the presentation, I made to the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on October 10, 2016. It describes how communities and businesses can escape the debt trap and become more resilient and self-reliant? New independent approaches to payment and reciprocal exchange are being deployed which are making conventional money obsolete.
Links to this video:
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/ty7APADAa8g
Vimeo link: https://vimeo.com/245661935
Many thanks to Ken Richings for doing the hard work of editing and preparing the video for publication.
The full Malaysia presentation titled, A World Without Money and Interest: A pathway toward social justice and economic equity, can be found here.
Posted in Basic Concepts, Developing Alternatives, Emerging paradigm, Finance and Economics, My activities, Prescriptions
Tagged community currencies, credit clearing, currency, disruptive technologies, innovation, money, reciprocal exchange