Category Archives: Developing Alternatives

My reply to, Prof. Richard Werner on “the central banking system and how to start regional alternatives.”

Earlier this month Prof. Richard Werner posted a video on YouTube, which I thought was quite good in explaining the way banks create money, but I felt moved to post a response to it that provides some fundamental concepts and clarifies what is required to start regional alternatives  to dominant centralized banking system and political fiat monies. I recommend that you watch Werner’s 10 minute video, and then contemplate my responses.

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Thomas H Greco Jr

Prof. Werner makes many good and important points in this lecture, about how money is created and allocated by huge banking institutions which gives them enormous power over governments, people and the economy. Yes, control of money needs to be decentralized and democratized. Public and community banks are important elements in achieving that but they exist within the current dominant paradigm of creating money by making loans at interest, which is a fundamental flaw that forces a growth imperative. Debt grows exponentially as time passes so there is never enough money to enable all borrowers to pay what they owe. A distinction must be made between “exchange credit” and “investment credit.” The former should be allocated without interest to producers based on the value of goods and services each is able to sell immediately or in the near-term; the latter should be the reallocation of existing money from savers to entrepreneurs. The exchange function can best be organized as credit clearing circles, like the original WIR cooperative circle that Werner mentioned, then these various circles can be networked together into a global system of exchange. I have been articulating these points and more for the past several decades, most recently in a webinar I conducted for the University of Hertfordshire in November 2021: 2021-11 Transcending the present political money system–the urgent need and the way to do it. (https://beyondmoney.files.wordpress.com/2021/11/2021-11-hertfordshire-preso.mp4).  The Q&A that followed is at https://beyondmoney.files.wordpress.com/2021/12/herts-qa.mp4.  
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Vox Libertatis

Thank you for the insightful comment, Thomas. What are your thoughts on the concept of interest in general? Is a interest-based financial system doomed to always end with enormous inflation culminating in financial collapse?
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Thomas H Greco Jr

That’s a very good question. One must distinguish between primary interest that banks impose on “borrowers” in the process of creating debt-money, and secondary interest that is demanded by those who hold existing money when they lend it to others for whatever purpose.

The primary interest causes debts to banks to grow exponentially because the interest payments do not, for the most part, go toward consumption expenditures but to ever expanding pools of capital held by “capitalists.” Thus, the money supply available for repayment to the banks is always deficient unless the banks create more money by making more “loans” to stay ahead of the extinction of money that occurs when principal payments are made. The empirical evidence of debt growth over time clearly supports this; I call it the ‘usury conjecture,” which I hope will eventually be proven mathematically and/or through some realistic model of the system.

The so-called “business cycle” that oscillates between inflation and depression is natural result of that inherent flaw in the centralized, interest-based debt-money regime. The interest must be paid, one way or the other. Quantitative easing by the various central banks amounts to life support for that failing system. It is essential that the new system be ready to take over before the plug is pulled on the old one or it dies in a chaotic collapses.

Capital can dominate only when exchange media are scarce, either naturally (commodity money like gold and silver) or artificially (centrally controlled debt money). When exchange media are abundant there is no basis for demanding interest. That abundance derives from reconnecting to the real economy of valuable goods and services. As E. C. Riegel clearly showed, only producers are qualified to issue (credit) money. That is money that producers SPEND into circulation and is accepted by others as payment based on the issuer’s credible promise to accept it back as payment for their own goods and services that they are ready, willing and able to deliver immediately or in the near term. That credit money can take the form of currency vouchers (physical or digital) issued interest-free by individual producers, or more effectively, issued jointly by the members of credit clearing circles. Those circles can then be combined into a global network of exchange in which trade credits are allocated and controlled locally but are globally useful as payment. I outline that system toward the end of my previously mentioned webinar (https://beyondmoney.files.wordpress.com/2021/11/2021-11-hertfordshire-preso.mp4). Once that system is in place, interest on secondary “loans” will give way to returns on equity shares as a way of funding capital formation.

Riegel remains obscure but there is more to be learned from his legacy works that from any other source I know of. My annotated précis of his, Private Enterprise Money, can be found at https://beyondmoney.files.wordpress.com/2021/10/thg_precis-of-pem-1.pdf, and his main works can be downloaded from my website at https://beyondmoney.net/library/.    

My latest appearance on the Intercoin show

I appeared on today’s Intercoin show in conversation with crypto entrepreneurs that covered a range of interesting topics including cryptocurrencies, NFTs, exchange alternatives, and digital savings mechanisms. View and listen on YouTube, https://youtu.be/6FXsuBMG2VY.

Community Currencies Can Enable Universal Basic Mobility (UBM)

It may not be a basic necessity for life, but mobility surely is a basic necessity for living in a modern economy and for having a decent quality of life. This fact is increasingly recognized, and in response, many cities have been subsidizing public transit, and now many are considering making public transit completely free to all riders.  

Kansas City, Missouri implemented fare-free rides in response to the pandemic and then made free rides generally available in 2021. Tucson, Arizona, where a large portion of public transit costs have long been covered by the city budget, and where discounted fares have been available to certain low income groups, responded similarly to Kansas City and is now considering making zero fare rides on its Sun Tran system permanent for all.

A recent article titled, Is Universal Basic Mobility the Route to a Sustainable City?,  reports that the city of Oakland, California has recently begun a pilot project aimed at providing universal basic mobility (UBM), which according to the article, involves “a combination of policies, funding, and partnerships that aim to provide all members of society with a basic level of access to mobility.”

My own extensive efforts to help cities become more sustainable have been focused largely upon finding ways to provide them with locally created means of payment that are independent of the banking system and the federal government. Local currencies have a long record, hundreds of them have been created over the past few decades, and hundreds more appeared during the Great Depression of the 1930s. A properly issued local currency can help make a local economy, not only more sustainable, but more robust and prosperous, and enhance the quality of life for local community residents. It can do this by reducing the community’s dependence upon the centralized system of money creation and allocation and handouts from the federal government, and by using its own local production of goods and services as the basis for creating sound payment alternatives to fiat money.

Proper issuance requires a basic understanding of the essence of a currency and what is required to make it sound and acceptable as a payment medium. A sound local currency is a credit instrument that is spent into circulation by a trusted provider of goods and/or services that are in regular demand. The accepting party then has a claim against the goods and services of the issuer.  The issuer must be ready, willing, and able to redeem the currency, not in cash, but by accepting it back as payment for goods or services that they already have available, or soon will have available for sale.

Mobility is extremely important not only to the local economy by helping people get from their homes to the shops and their places of employment, but also to people’s physical and emotional health. Low income and disabled people are the most dependent upon public transit, so making transportation easy and inexpensive is especially important to them. On the other hand, providing those services constitutes a major expense and the question of how those expenses are to be covered remains a stumbling block.

It occurs to me that a community currency can play a role in providing universal basic mobility (UBM). The public transit agency qualifies as a trusted provider of transit services that it is ready, willing and able to provide at all times. That qualifies it to spend a currency (“Transit Tokens”) into circulation, using it to pay for goods and services that it needs for its operations, or even for services that benefit the entire community. Transit Tokens could be spent into circulation by the city government in return for work done voluntarily by citizens, work that is in the public interest, like graffiti abatement, trash pick-up, street beautification, aiding the homeless and disadvantaged, and many other things that contribute to our quality of life but for which funding is generally hard to find.

Why not keep transit fares at some modest level but accept payment not only in dollars but also in Transit Tokens? Those riders who are able to work can easily earn them and at the same time gain a sense of purpose and participation in the community. Others who are willing to volunteer  may not be able to donate dollars, but most are able to do some useful work to acquire Transit Tokens which they can then donate to homeless people or to nonprofit organizations that can then distribute them to others in need.

Further, if Transit Tokens are made generally transferable they can circulate amongst local merchants and throughout the local economy to provide an exchange medium that is supplemental to the supply of dollars, giving the community a source of homegrown liquidity that boosts the local economy and makes it more self-reliant. The issuance and circulation of Transit Tokens can be a good start toward reclaiming “people power” and rebuilding our local economies and a democratic society.

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A new paper on my Solar Dollar proposal has been published.

On July 12, 2021, I presented my Solar Dollar proposal as part of a two day virtual conference titled Pathways to Resilient Zero Carbon Cities, organized by Zero Carbon Lab, School of Creative Arts, University of Hertfordshire (UK). Following that presentation, I was invited to submit a paper describing my proposal for publication in an academic journal. That paper titled, Solar Dollars: A Complementary Currency that Incentivizes Renewable Energy, has now been published and can be read or downloaded at https://doi.org/10.3389/fbuil.2021.785145.

February 2022 Newsletter: The State of the Economy: What’s going on, what to expect, and how to prepare.

Photo by Daniel Sessler, unsplash

These are the topics covered in this newsletter edition:

  • The State of the Economy
  • What’s going on and how to prepare?
  • Social Collapse Best Practices
  • Prospects and Prescriptions from Ernst Wolff     
  • My Recent presentations and interview
  • The End of Money
  • Personal News

Rather than post the entire contents here, I’ve decided to simply provide the link to it on my MailChimp site:
http://mailchi.mp/acd12f7f51ba/the-state-of-the-economy-whats-going-on-what-to-expect-and-how-to-prepare   
If you want to be on my list to receive my occasional newsletters directly by email, you can subscribe there.

Comments are welcome and can be left here.

My latest interview on It’s Our Money with Ellen Brown

I was the featured guest on Ellen Brown’s podcast of December 30, 2021. I consider this to be one of my best interviews in which I covered a wide range of the most important questions related to rebuilding our system of money and finance. My interview is comprised of the first 38 minutes of the program.

This audio together with a transcript can also be found here.

Transcending the present political money system–the urgent need and the way to do it.

In case you missed my webinar and would like to see the presentation, here is the recording that was made. The first part is a specially prepared slide show presentation titled, A World Without Money, Interest, and Debt: A Pathway Toward Economic Equity, Social Justice, Freedom, and Peace. The webinar concludes with a short video titled, VITA: A worldwide web of exchange, Locally controlled but globally useful, in which I describe my vision of a new decentralized, peer-to-peer, system of exchange.
The question and answer portion is not include.

Updates:
A PDF file of the slide show plus some added pertinent slides can be viewed here.
I’ve recently added an edited recording of the discussion that followed my presentation. You can view it at Q&A Discussion.

Upcoming webinar: Transcending the present political money system–the urgent need and the way to do it.

Jefferson_EndOfDemocracy2
This Wednesday, Nov 24, 2021, I will be presenting one of the most important webinars I’ve ever done. It is being organized by Prof. Lubo Jankovic of the Centre for Future Societies Research at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK.

Here is the description and link.
Transcending the present political money system-the urgent need and the way to do it, by Thomas H. Greco, Jr.

Date and Time: Nov 24, 2021
at 4:00 PM London [11:00 AM New York, 09:00 AM Arizona, 08:00 AM Pacific time]
Join Zoom Meeting
https://herts-ac-uk.zoom.us/j/96844432493?pwd=VXZZN0dSblVxUDJMZXdlNU4zcDR2Zz09

Meeting ID: 968 4443 2493
Passcode: 099266

Abstract
This presentation describes the fundamental role of the global system of money, banking and finance in generating social injustice, economic inequity, environmental despoliation and violent conflict.  It outlines the collusive arrangement that exists between finance and politics that has created the global central banking regime to centralize power and concentrate wealth in ever fewer hands and explains how the creation of money by banks as interest-bearing debt causes a growth imperative that is destructive to the environment, democratic government, and the social fabric. But more importantly, it describes the positive developments that are emerging to create a new “butterfly economy” and a civilization in which everyone can live a dignified life.

Thomas H. Greco, Jr. is a preeminent scholar, author, educator, and community economist. He is widely regarded as a leading authority on moneyless exchange systems, community currencies, and financial innovation, and is a sought after speaker internationally. He has conducted workshops and lectured in 15 countries on five continents and has been an advisor to currency and reciprocal exchange projects around the world. He has authored numerous articles and books including, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization (https://beyondmoney.net/the-end-of-money-and-the-future-of-civilization/).

The Worldwide Walkout, Wednesday, November 3

Over the period from July to October 2020 I wrote and published three articles in my “Walking Away series. My aim was to show readers a more complete picture of our predicament, to present some largely overlooked facts, and to alert readers to the dangers of following the course that political leaders across the globe had set for us.  
 
In part one, as in my previous writings, I pointed out that we are presently confronted with a global multi-dimensional mega-crisis which global leaders propose to address with various techno-fixes that will do little to solve our problems but will further reduce individual freedom, free enterprise, and community control, and ratchet up the power and wealth of an elite “super class” that are determined to impose a “new world order” of mass surveillance, regimentation, and domination.
 
Now, more than a year later, it has become patently clear to anyone who cares to open their eyes that this is precisely where we are about to arrive. While we were assured that mask mandates were just a temporary precaution to slow the spread and “flatten the curve,” they have been continued by various governmental entities, medical facilities, and private businesses in many places including my home city and county where one must mask up to enter public buildings, even the public libraries. We were also assured that there was no need for vaccine mandates, and that medical passports would not be imposed, but now they are well on the way to becoming universal. If you think it will end with that, think again. Power and wealth have been so thoroughly concentrated in the hands of that “super class” who own and control the systems and institutions on which we all depend, that they are able to completely dominate the rest of us. Every new technology provides them with better tools to more effectively shape your perceptions, to monitor your every move; to control where you go, what you do, with whom you do it, and your access to everything you need. Everyone who is not a member of that relatively small class will be living in an open air prison.
 
Canada in the coming weeks is launching a standardized proof of vaccination credential for both domestic and international travel that will be required of everyone. Airline pilots in the US have been resisting similar moves by the US government and airline companies, but their attempts to block the mandates through the courts have so far been rebuffed.
 
Even more extreme demands are being made upon citizens in other places, like India. Just the first 5 minutes of this Jimmy Dore report is enough to show you the picture of what is being implemented there and is already programmed to be deployed worldwide. A social credit system similar to what has been operating for some time in China will be rolled out everywhere. As the old vaudevillians and early TV performers used to say, “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
 
Primary features of the New World Order are “transhumanism” and the “the Internet of Things” (IoT) in which everything is wirelessly connected to the internet, including machinery, robots, livestock, pets, household appliances, and YOU. But as Microsoft describes it, “The Internet of Things isn’t just about connected devices—it’s about the information those devices collect and the powerful, immediate insights that can be garnered from that information.”  From a purely physical/material perspective, there may be some advantages to that, but who will have access to all that information, and how will it be used? Can they be trusted to use it to our benefit? It’s obvious where this is heading: Today the medical passport, tomorrow the implanted chip that you will need to gain access to everything.  Like the cattle in this video, you will be “managed” by your masters. Are you willing to surrender your life to a centralized “Big Brother” authority? Where will you draw the line? Do you want to be a “thing” in this “brave new world?”
 
We humans are more than physical bodies; there is a spiritual dimension to our existence, a force that gives us life, consciousness, intellect, emotions, creativity, and free will. Another civilization is possible and it has been in the process of emerging for a very long time. It is a civilization that is being built upon better sentiments and values than fear, hatred, and limitless greed. It is a civilization in which the spiritual aspects of being are valued above the material.
 
The Worldwide Walkout
Now is the time to stand up and refuse to submit to the New World Order, the Great Reset, and the Brave New World that the oligarchs want to impose on us. Our rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association, freedom of movement, freedom of worship, freedom to refuse medical treatments, and all of the other hard won freedoms that have been the object of centuries of struggle are rapidly being stolen from us. We the people need to strongly express our refusal to submit. A Worldwide Walkout is happening this Wednesday, November 3.  In this one minute video, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is urging everyone to get out onto the streets on Wednesday to make our resistance visible. I am suggesting that we need to go even further. While our actions must remain non-violent, our massive demonstrations need to be accompanied by non-participation in the “system” that has become totally corrupted. Let’s make November 3 the day on which we begin to seriously withdraw from the old corrupt civilization by refusing, as much as we are able, to buy anything (and if you must buy something, pay for it using cash to preserve some shreds of financial privacy); let’s refuse to go to work except only for critical jobs (in health care and other front line occupations); let’s get creative and share other ideas for non-participation, and let’s make this a recurring event that builds with each iteration. 
 
Many workers, especially in the airline industry have been asserting their power by not showing up for work, resulting in thousands of flight cancellations and delays. On the heels of the massive disruptions to Southwest Airlines operations a few weekends ago during which thousands of flights were cancelled and many more delayed, similar disruptions have occurred to American Airlines just this past weekend. Most mainstream media blamed them on the weather but that is patently false. This local Dallas TV report at least was halfway honest in reporting: American Airlines Cancels 1000+ Flights Sunday Due to Weather, Staffing Shortages. Cancelled AA flights over the weekend reportedly numbered more than 2000 and the disruptions have continued into the workweek with an additional 400 flights cancelled as of early Monday morning. Staffing shortages in many other businesses and industries are further evidence that growing numbers of people are refusing to accept the increasingly onerous terms and conditions of employment and are just choosing to “walk away.”

We the people have the power. The system cannot stand without our consent and participation.  Submission is our downfall. We must rise up and take action, not only for ourselves but also for our fellows who remain blind to the corrupting forces that have them still in thrall, and especially for our posterity, the Earth and the entire web of life. We are not alone, more people are waking up, and with courage, faith and compassion we can overcome the forces of tyranny and avert our descent into the totalitarian nightmare.

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E. C. Riegel and Private Enterprise Money

Announcing,  The Monetary Wisdom of E. C. Riegel: An annotated précis of Private Enterprise Money, with commentary compiled by Thomas H. Greco, Jr.

I have long credited E. C. Riegel as the foremost authority in shaping my understanding of money and the process of reciprocal PEMexchange. His penetrating insights and proposals for a new independent system for the exchange of value have provided a solid foundation for my own work of developing improved exchange mechanisms that I consider to be crucial to the future of civilization.

Riegel’s book, Private Enterprise Money, published in 1944, is perhaps the most complete and concise statement of his insights and proposals. For that reason I have undertaken the task to extract what I consider to be Riegel’s most important insights, interpret for the contemporary reader the passages that seem difficult to understand, and articulate the few points on which I disagree with Riegel. With that said, I urge every serious student of money and exchange to read Riegel’s book, Private Enterprise Money, in its entirety, as well as Riegel’s other works which are available to be freely downloaded from my website, BeyondMoney.net.