Category Archives: Finance and Economics

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.

What’s coming and how to prepare?

SURVIVAL STRATEGIES FOR TROUBLED TIMES

By Thomas H. Greco. Jr.

For years I’ve been saying that we are being led, actually “driven,” toward a new global paradigm that is at once financial, economic, political and social, and I’ve been urging people to prepare for it. They naturally ask me what sorts of changes to expect and what they ought to do to be prepared. I first compiled a list of my ideas on that way back in the mid-1980s, a list that I’ve revised slightly from time to time and republished in various places. Since then the times have become increasingly “troubled” and I am convinced that the situation is quickly approaching a climax during which we-the-people who are not included in the super-class will be hard pressed to maintain any semblance of normality in our lives. We will be challenged as never before to adapt and to find ways to survive (and thrive) in the face of what I’ve been calling the global “mega-crisis” the dimensions of which include global warming, climate change, pandemics, terrorism, and financial and political malfeasance that are causing inflation, depressions, wars, loss of freedom, and that will ultimately enable the super class to engineer a “great reset” and usher in their New World Order.

Here is my latest revision of my Survival Strategies for Troubled Times.

General Strategies
Do what you can to enhance your own health, resiliency and independence, but don’t try to “go it alone;” our safety, survivability, quality of life, and happiness lie in our relationships and mutual interdependence. It pays to be kind, helpful, and cooperative with those around us and to work together to build a new human-centered convivial civilization.

HEALTH, SAFETY, AND SELF-RELIANCE
Learn healthy living and acquire a diversity of practical skills. Cultivate a low input lifestyle. Secure your own material needs as much as possible, and find a safe place to live.

COOPERATION AND MUTUAL SUPPORT
Build mutually supportive relationships. Nurture the development of networks and self-contained, cooperative communities.

DISENGAGE
Reduce your dependence upon conventional systems and structures, governments and institutions, especially those that are being used to drain away our wealth, like political fiat money. Get out of the debt trap and reduce your financial obligations, Shift yout financial resources from Wall Street investments to investments in Main Street. 

BE ALERT AND BE INVOLVED
Keep attuned to the changing global conditions of humanity and its habitats. Consult a variety of news sources, not just the ones whose views you typically agree with. Participate in local politics. Ask tough questions. Work with others to help solve local, regional, national, and global problems.

SPECIFIC POSSIBILITIES TO CONSIDER:

1. Food. Grow at least some of your own food, store staple food items, save seeds, plant perennial food plants, especially fruit and nut trees. Learn how to forage for wild foods – many “weeds” are edible. Support local (preferably organic) farmers.

Participate in “Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), also known as “subscription farming.” This is an arrangement in which a group of consumers contract to support an area farmer who in turn delivers their produce to the contracting group. The farmer is guaranteed a market and the consumers are guaranteed a supply of fresh wholesome food.

2. Collect valued items and useful commodities that are likely to retain their value and can be used as exchange media. Some favor gold and silver coins. In modest amounts, these may be useful in the event of hyper-inflation or collapse of the currency. I prefer to hold things that are more useful, like tools, equipment, materials, and books.

3. Get out of the large cities, if possible. Locate a country place that you can retreat to if and when it becomes necessary. Buy productive land that can support you and your family. Choose land that can provide food, clean water, and fuel. Ideally, locate near small towns where you have access to helpful neighbors and common facilities. If you lack the resources to buy land on your own, consider buying in partnership with others or organizing a Community Land Trust, a legal arrangement in which a trustee organization holds title to land while assuring secure tenure, but limits individual speculative gains.

4. Build community where you are. If you must live in a city, get to know your neighbors and organize neighborhood cooperatives and mutual-support structures. Large cities depend on a complex and well maintained infrastructure, and the importation of tremendous amounts of resources from distant places. In hard times these systems may fail, in whole or in part. Learn about critical systems like water, electricity, gas, sewage disposal, health care, and police protection. With your neighbors, plan back-up strategies and create back-up systems that will assure at least minimal life-support. Get involved in local politics and hold officials accountable.

5. Disengage financially. Begin to disengage from the conventional financial systems as much as possible. Don’t depend too much on banks or other fiduciaries, and avoid, as much as possible, the use of the conventional money system. If banks fail, you may lose your deposits, while finding that your debts remain. Convert most of your financial assets to real (tangible) assets while holding some in liquid form for payment of taxes, utilities, and other necessities that require monetary payment. Support the emerging decentralized economy that promotes humane values, equity, social justice, sustainability, and local self-determination. Help to organize and use properly issued community currencies and credit clearing exchange systems.

6. Become debt-free; kick the credit habit; pay as you go. Don’t get caught in the “usury trap.” Especially, avoid borrowing from predatory lenders and credit card companies. Do not borrow to buy consumer goods; purchase these only when you can pay for them in full. Get out of debt as quickly as you can and stay out of debt. If you must borrow, borrow from people, not banks. In a crunch, it’s better to have your debts in friendly hands, someone who won’t take advantage of your distress or press for foreclosure. If you have a home which is mortgaged or are making payments on a major durable item such as a car or truck, you might consider the following possible options:

a. Accelerate your repayment schedule by making extra principal payments out of current income.

b. Refinance using funds obtained from individuals-relatives, friends or associates to pay off the bank. You might obtain from them non-interest-bearing loans or, better yet, negotiate a contract that will allow for sharing of both the risks and benefits of ownership. You might give the new funds providers a part-ownership in the property. You, the user/occupant, would pay rent on a lease and they would receive a part of the rent in proportion to their investment. You would also buy back their investment over time.

c. In the case of a farm or multi-unit residential property, you might create a “community land trust” or LLC to hold title to the property which you would then lease back on a long term basis. Others would put up enough money to repay the bank mortgage in return for equity in the buildings or a lease hold on the land.

d. Another possibility is to sell the property and buy one you can afford to hold free-and-clear.

e. If you are in extreme debt, filing personal bankruptcy may be an option. Consult a financial advisor or lawyer for advice, which can often be obtained through non-profit organizations like councils on aging or legal aid.

7. Simplify your lifestyle and reduce your needs. Learn how to live better with less. Do it yourself, fix what you have, reuse, make-do, or do without. Share with others. Kick the shopping habit and emphasize non-material satisfactions and gifts.

8. Learn to share and cooperate. Secure your basic necessities like food and shelter by creating community and cooperative arrangements. Possibilities to consider are neighborhood associations, buying clubs, food cooperatives, shared or co-op housing, barter clubs, trade associations or mutual credit clearing exchanges.

9. Finally, engage with others to work out your own ways of securing access to the basic necessities–water, food, shelter, energy, clothing, tools and equipment, transportation, and health care, and through it all keep a positive, hopeful attitude, and make time to play, meditate, and pray.

Follow my websites: BeyondMoney.net and ReinventingMoney.com.
Read my article, Confronting the Power Elite.
Subscribe to my YouTube channel, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter.
Thomas H. Greco, Jr.

This article has also been published on Expert Click and Medium

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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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/).

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.  

Solar Dollars — a community currency based on real value

In August of 2016, I posted a white paper that described in some detail how a private or community currency ought to be issued on the basis of real value, which in this case is the electric energy from renewable sources that a utility company provides to its customers. My fundamental objectives in implementing such a program are:
(1) To incentivize a more rapid shift from fossil fuel energy sources to renewable sources,
(2) To help communities to become more resilient and self-determined, and
(3) To enable the decentralization of economic and political power.

The immediate benefits of this plan are:

  1. It provides the issuing company with an interest-free source of short-term credit,
  2. It provides the community with a sound and reliable supplemental means of payment that can:
    • Augment the supply of debased and often unavailable official money,
    • Circulate throughout the local community connecting the unused capacity of local businesses with the unmet needs of people in the community,
    • Remain within the local economy to encourage local spending and local economic development.

Once this basic concept of “monetizing” the value of real goods and services is understood, it can be applied to any goods or services that are in steady demand and are readily available for sale by a trusted issuer(s).

In July of 2021, I was invited to give a presentation on the Solar Dollar currency at a virtual conference that was sponsored by the Zero Carbon Lab at the University of Hertfordshire (UK). That presentation was recorded and can now be viewed on the Zero Carbon Lab website at http://zerocarbonlab.com/rzcc-2021/videos/ThomasGreco.html or here.

The white paper, Solar Dollars-a private currency with multiple benefits, is still available. You are welcome to quote it with proper attribution, or download and distribute it provided it remains unchanged.

Special Note:
This same basic currency model can be used not only to promote the shift to renewable energy but also to promote other desirable economic shifts. The fact is that the value of any product or service that is in everyday demand can be monetized in the form of a private currency. Providers of organically produced food, for example, could issue Organic Dollars or Bio Dollars by using them to pay their contractors, suppliers, and employees, in just the same way as we described for the issuance of Solar Dollars.

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One Man’s Journey to the Covid Jab

I know Daniel Pinchbeck, we’ve corresponded on and off for many years and in 2009 he interviewed me and recorded my views on the end of money and the future of civilization. Daniel is a brilliant thinker and prolific writer whose knowledge covers a broad scope, and he digs deep when researching topics of fundamental and universal concern. For those reasons, I tend to pay attention to what he says.

I was surprised by his latest newsletter, From Vacillation to Vaccination: Why, despite uncertainty, I got the Johnson shot. This essay is long and comprehensive in outlining the many diverse sources of information that Daniel has consulted in weighing the pros and cons of the various experimental Covid injections and his somewhat contorted process of reaching his decision. He raises all of the pertinent questions about the pandemic, its cause(s) and official reactions to it, the motivations of the various actors, and the eventual outcomes and long term consequences. He provides numerous links for any who wish to become more fully informed.

Reading through it from start to finish, it occurs to me that one’s decision to take the injection or not is less a matter of the “science,” and more a question of one’s particular values, attitudes and beliefs, which are, for better or for worse, heavily influenced by each person’s cultural conditioning and the information sources they are aware of and choose to follow. That is something I know from my own experience, having had my own mind-changing “wake up call” that pulled me out of the “matrix” more than 45 years ago. I wonder, am I on the right track now? Maybe; I try to keep tabs on my internal compass of conscience and compassion by daily meditation, and I remain open to hearing different points of view. I think my conclusions are correct, but I acknowledge that I may be wrong, and that is why I refrain from telling others what to do. I can share information that I think important, and may advise when asked, but I will never coerce anyone to take off their mask, nor will I do anything to prevent them from being injected if that is their choice. Uncertainty is a constant in life and everyone has a right to decide what the right choice is for them. It is my responsibility to take care of myself as best I can, based on what I know. It is your responsibility, likewise, to take care of yourself. I will never knowingly put others in jeopardy, but I cannot allow your fear or mine to damage my personal integrity.

Despite the many alarm bells about the various Covid injections that Daniel acknowledges and references in his essay, he went ahead and took one anyway. There are three things that appear to have ultimately tipped the balance for him.

First, I detect a sense of helplessness and resignation in his statement that, “Perhaps one reason I finally acquiesced, sadly enough, is my sense that we have gone too far down this road at this point to be able to pull the brakes.” Second is his need to be perceived as a responsible member of mainstream society, which he reveals in saying, “Even though the vaccines are leaky and imperfect and I don’t trust the entire apparatus that creates them, I also desired to participate in society and do my little part.” Third is his fear (of fear) regarding the possible impact of Covid on himself and others. He says, “I didn’t want to be afraid that my failure to get a vaccine would cause my mother, or other elderly people, to get sick, or that I would get a more severe case of the Delta variant in the next months — considering its hyper-infectiousness, nearly everyone is going to get it at some point.”

That final point indicates that he believes that asymptomatic people can spread the illness and that nearly everyone is going to get it anyway, So what that boils down to is a “cover my ass” move, as if to say: “I did what I was asked to do so when you catch the illness and die it will not be my fault.”

At the same time, Daniel tried to hedge his bets by seeking out the particular variety of injection that he thinks may be less dangerous because it is more conventional and not an mRNA like the others: “I find it a bit ironic that I finally got vaccinated just as we discover that the vaccines may be more dangerous and of much less value than was originally touted. In fact, one of my main reasons to avoid the shot was concern over ADE[i], particularly when it comes to the experimental mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. That is why I chose the less popular Johnson & Johnson one, which relies on more traditional mechanisms, even though I had to spend a day asking in pharmacies around Manhattan to find it.”

Many people, examining the same information as Daniel, have made different choices. One need not be totally against vaccinations to reject a specific injection or treatment. When it comes to bodily sovereignty, everyone’s personal choice needs to be respected. In the wake of the Nuremburg Nazi war crime trials, as well as some notorious medical experiments and studies that were conducted by American scientists,[ii] the principle of “informed consent[iii]” became established as the rule for any medical study or procedure. In considering the questions of personal choice, vaccine mandates and medical passports, the question before us is this: Shall we allow our present fear to drive us backward into that dark realm of inhumane coercion?

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[i] Antibody-dependent Enhancement is a phenomenon where the presence of antibodies makes a disease worse.

[ii] One example is the U.S.-sponsored experiment, conducted Guatemala from 1946 to 1948 in which “nearly 700 men and women—prisoners, soldiers, mental patients—were intentionally infected with syphilis (hundreds more people were exposed to other sexually transmitted diseases as part of the study) without their knowledge or consent.” https://www.history.com/news/the-infamous-40-year-tuskegee-study

[iii] “Informed consent is both an ethical and legal obligation of medical practitioners in the US and originates from the patient’s right to direct what happens to their body.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430827/