Category Archives: Finance and Economics

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/

How to Fix Money, Banking, and the Economy, and Usher in a New Convivial Civilization

The jungle reclaims its own

It is clear that governments and banking corporations have long colluded in creating the present system of money, banking and finance that dominates economies around the world, and that they have no interest in making the kinds of changes that would reduce their power or share the wealth more fairly. As I have described it before, the banking cartel has been given the privilege of creating money out of thin air as debt and charging interest for its use, while the central governments get to spend as much as they want for whatever they want without regard to their limited tax revenues or the popular will.

In a recent interview, Prof. Richard Werner confirmed that fact and also explained that banks have been buying the wrong kinds of assets with the money they create, and that is why programs of “quantitative easing” (QE) have failed to achieve the outcomes he intended when he proposed them.

He argues, as I have, that we need more small banks that direct their money creation power toward small enterprises that will use the funds for productive purposes and strengthen their local economies. But the long term trend has been in the opposite direction, toward fewer and bigger banks that direct funds toward big corporations and capital funds that use the money for asset purchases, and toward central governments that use the money to acquire massive amounts of weaponry and conduct military adventures and destructive wars around the world.

But our most pressing need is to eliminate the growth imperative that arises from banks creating and lending money at compound interest. Since interest on money created as debt accrues with the passage of time and causes the debt to grow, the money supply is never sufficient for all loans to be repaid, so additional loans must be made in order to keep the money supply from shrinking and causing recessions or depressions. Since the money supply always lags behind the total amount owed, the economy is stimulated toward artificial and wasteful expansion of economic output. Not all increases in GDP are beneficial, and some are downright destructive. The production and use of weapons of war, for example, add to GDP but provide nothing to satisfy basic human needs or desires, and actually result in the destruction of existing infrastructure and death and misery for the people who happen to be on the receiving end.

If the necessary changes cannot be expected to come from the top of the economic and political pyramid, then they must emerge from the grassroots. Achievement of a steady state, equitable, peaceful and environmentally friendly economy requires deep restructuring of our systems of exchange and finance, and a shift away from debt finance and the increasing size and power of corporations and national governments.

As I’ve argued before in my articles and books, banks are supposed to perform two essential functions, the exchange function and the finance function. In the exchange function they should provide flexible short-term interest-free lines of credit to active buyers and sellers that are ready, willing, and able to provide goods and services to the market immediately or in the near term. This, in effect, monetizes the value of each business’s goods inventories or their capacity to provide valued services in the short run. As an adjunct to providing them with short-term exchange credit, banks should also provide them with credit clearing services in which their purchases are offset by their sales. This is precisely the sort of service that has been provided since 1934 by the Swiss WIR Bank (founded originally as the WIR Economic Circle Cooperative), and by the scores of commercial trade (or “barter”) exchanges that have been operating around the world.

In contrast to the exchange function, the finance function requires long-term credit instead of short-term credit. In performing the finance function banks should not create new money but should reallocate the temporary surplus funds of savers to entrepreneurs who will use it for productive purposes like capital improvements that increase their capacity to produce and distribute needed goods and services, and not for speculative and non-productive asset purchases. Further, they should provide these funds, not as interest-bearing loans, but as temporary equity that, unlike debt, causes the providers of funds to share both the risks as well as the rewards of business enterprise, and does not cause the growth imperative. If the equity stake of the bank is temporary instead of permanent, that will prevent the endless accumulation of vast pools of capital and will make capital a servant to productive enterprise rather than its master. Such equity shares that banks would administer on behalf of their depositors (savers) should expire after the original funds have been repaid to the savers along with a reasonable share of the profits that have been earned during the period of the agreement.  

By making these simple changes in the kinds of banks we have, and way money and banks work, we can eliminate the endless expansion of debt, the inequitable distribution of power and wealth, the erosion of democratic government and the despoliation of the environment, and usher in a new more peaceful civilization.

If existing banks are unwilling to make these changes, or if existing banking regulations do not permit them, they can be implemented by other organizations that are entirely outside the banking system. The commercial trade exchanges mentioned earlier have, for more than 40 years, been facilitating the exchange function by providing credit clearing services to small and medium sized businesses, and are classified by the US government as “third party record keepers” that are not subject to banking regulations. By making some minor improvements in their operations and by networking them together, trade exchanges can evolve the exchange function in ways that can provide a worldwide web of exchange in which interest-free credit is locally controlled but globally useful.

Likewise, the finance function can be, and is, increasingly provided by small investors directly to entrepreneurs without involving banks by using innovative mechanisms like crowdfunding, community investment funds, and direct public offerings. By providing investment funds to SMEs and cooperatives in the form of equity shares, interest-free loans, or revenue shares, they can help rebuild local economies in ways that make communities more resilient and self-reliant, and most of this can be achieved by private enterprise without the need to enact any new laws or regulations.

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The Great Asset Grab

One does not need to scratch very deep beneath the surface to see what is actually going on in the world or why it is being done. Look around, which companies have been thriving through the “pandemic,” which business have been shut down or forced into bankruptcy, who is buying up residential real estate in every city, who is the biggest owner of farmland in the United States?

In a recent interview with Greg Hunter, my friend and long time correspondent Catherine Austin Fitts clearly and concisely explains what I’m calling The Great Asset Grab  This brief excerpt sums it up.

Investment advisor and former Assistant Secretary of Housing Catherine Austin Fitts contends CV19 and vaccines to cure it are all part of the “Going Direct Reset.”  Fitts explains, “This is so simple at the root.  The central bankers are using the government to shut down the main street economy, and then they are going direct and injecting money into the private equity firms and Wall Street who are running around the country buying things.  Think of this as a leverage buyout of the world.  We are being purchased with our own money.  Also, we are liable.  If you look at all the debt the government is issuing, our assets are liable for that debt.  This is a continuation and consolidation of the financial coup that we have been taking about.”

It is all part of the Great Reset that World Economic Forum founder and its mainstay, Klaus Schwab has been promoting, and gives real credibility to his contention that, in the New World Order, “you will own nothing…,” adding, “and you will be happy.” Well, I will not be happy living as a powerless farm animal or house pet. Will you?

Fitts and her team have also provided some forms to help you resist demands that violate your rights. Visit Solari.com and/or click the links below.  

Employer & School Disclosure Forms for Covid-19 Injections

Form for Employees Whose Employers Are Requiring Covid-19 Injections

Form for Students Attending Colleges or Universities Requiring Covid-19 Injections

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Webinar Series: Our Money System – What’s Wrong with it and How to Fix it

I recently conducted a series of three webinars for the Henry George School of Social Science. All three sessions were recorded and can be viewed at the links provided below.

Our Money System – What’s Wrong with it and How to Fix it
A webinar series that takes a critical look at money & credit, their political and economic implications, and innovations that are making conventional money obsolete.

Here is a brief description of each session as it developed and a list of References and Resources recommended for further study.
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Webinar #1 https://beyondmoney.files.wordpress.com/2021/06/our-money-system-session-1.mp4

Webinar #1 begins by laying out the “big picture,” the multi-dimensional mega-crisis that is challenging us make major changes in our various systems and meta-structures. It suggests that civilization is going through a metamorphic change that can lead us into a new “convivial” society, but that requires moving away from the old “caterpillar economics” of perpetual growth driven by our dysfunctional interest-based debt-money system, and towards a new sustainable and more equitable “butterfly economics.” It describes in detail how the present global system of money and banking is dysfunctional and destructive, how it has concentrated wealth in few hands, centralized political power, corrupted governments and given rise to a domineering “super class.” It describes how money is created based on lending at compound interest and how that causes an economic growth imperative. It shows the enormous explosion of debt that has been accelerating over time and cries out for a new more stable and equitable system of money and exchange. 

References and Resources

View videos:

Read:

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Webinar #2 https://beyondmoney.files.wordpress.com/2021/06/our-money-system-session-2-1.mp4

Webinar #2 covered money mysteries, myths, and misconceptions relating to the essence and functions of money, the way it has evolved over time, and what gives it value. It described the inflationary bias of political money which causes it to continually lose purchasing power, which stimulated a discussion about how to measure value and how to define an objective unit of account that can be applied to determine the value of any credit instrument, including political currencies. The second part of the webinar was about how we can re-empower our communities by taking control of our credit, shifting our purchasing, saving and investment decisions toward the local economy, and becoming more enterprising and less dependent upon employment in huge corporate businesses.

References and Resources

View video:

Read:

Explore: https://beyondmoney.net/

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Webinar #3 https://beyondmoney.files.wordpress.com/2021/06/our-money-system-session-3-1.mp4

Webinar 3 was the capstone of the series. It focused entirely on solutions to the problems that were discussed in the previous sessions. It described the shortcomings of the current alternative exchange prototypes, enumerated the essential principles that need to be observed in order to make exchange alternatives more scalable, and suggested the types of organizational structures and protocols that are needed to create an effective and secure network of exchange that will be locally controlled but globally useful. It also contained a short video presentation that describes Mr. Greco’s vision of a global system of exchanges that apply mutual credit clearing in which “credit is locally controlled but globally useful.” This session also included a brief summary of his thoughts about the nature of and potential applications of digital currencies, cryptocurrencies, blockchain ledgers and smart contracts in building a new credit based system of exchange. 

References and Resources

Explore: https://beyondmoney.net/

Read:

View video:

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The Relentless Rise of Corporate Power

big-umbrella

Did you know that after winning independence from the British Empire “…our country’s founders retained a healthy fear of corporate power and wisely limited corporations exclusively to a business role. Corporations were forbidden from attempting to influence elections, public policy, and other realms of civic society. 

Initially, the privilege of incorporation was granted selectively to enable activities that benefited the public, such as construction of roads or canals. Enabling shareholders to profit was seen as a means to that end. The states also imposed conditions (some of which remain on the books, though unused)…

  • Corporate charters (licenses to exist) were granted for a limited time and could be revoked promptly for violating laws.
  • Corporations could engage only in activities necessary to fulfill their chartered purpose.
  • Corporations could not own stock in other corporations nor own any property that was not essential to fulfilling their chartered purpose.
  • Corporations were often terminated if they exceeded their authority or caused public harm.
  • Owners and managers were responsible for criminal acts committed on the job.
  • Corporations could not make any political or charitable contributions nor spend money to influence law-making.

Read the whole story, Our Hidden History of Corporations in the U.S.

You might also wish to consult David Korten’s excellent book, When Corporations Rule the World, and Thom Hartmann’s Unequal Protection: The rise of corporate dominance and theft of human rights.

To be entertained while being informed and inspired watch the movie, They Live.
TheyLive1
Obey, Consume, Stay asleep, Watch TV, Submit, Conform

There is a movement to amend the U.S. Constitution to put an end to corporate personhood and re-impose reasonable limits on corporate powers.
On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions.”    — Move to Amend

I consider huge transnational corporations to be the malevolent aliens among us. The small elite class of humans who control them are using these corporations to shape a global neo-feudal dystopia in which they will be absolute masters over the rest of humanity, the Earth, and all of its resources. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people remain complacent and blind to this reality, but it cannot exist without our complicity. You don’t need special glasses to see the truth, just open your eyes, don’t be afraid to inquire, trust your own senses, and think for yourself. The way toward a better future for ourselves, our children, and our posterity lies in reducing our dependence upon all of the social, economic, political and subsidiary systems and structures that have been utterly corrupted, and working together to empower ourselves and our communities to be more self-reliant and masters of our own destiny.

It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll; I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
            — William Ernest Henley.

The 2021 Webinar series has begun

TitleSlideThe first webinar in my three part series for The Henry George School of Social Science was held on May 21. In case you missed it the session was recorded and you can watch it HERE.

Here are some recommended resources that reinforce the material that was presented in the May 21 webinar.

The Money Masters CD1
https://youtu.be/UW2mVTlm7vw
Money as Debt
https://youtu.be/4AC6RSau7r8
The Money Fix-A Documentary for Monetary Reform
https://youtu.be/TwmM5Nb6hiE
The Essence of Money
https://youtu.be/_dwL9lqVBxY

The End of Money and the Future of Civilization
https://beyondmoney.net/the-end-of-money-and-the-future-of-civilization/
MONEY FACTS-169 Questions and Answers on Money
http://www.usa-the-republic.com/banks/Money_Facts_(Q_&_A).html
Private Enterprise Money by E. C. Riegel
https://beyondmoney.files.wordpress.com/2020/01/private-enterprise-money.pdf
Money: Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender
https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/1890132373/ref=tmm_pap_collectible_olp_0?ie=UTF8&condition=collectible&qid=1544385594&sr=1-1-fkmr0

You can still register for the remaining segments which will be conducted on June 4 and June 18. Each webinar will start at 6 PM Eastern Time (3 PM Pacific and Arizona time), and end at 7:30 PM (4:30 PM).
Register Now!

There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch: Principles of Credit, Exchange, and Finance

“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” That’s a well-known adage that goes back a long time, but it was popularized by famed economist Milton Friedman and expressed in his 1975 book titled, There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch.

But the abuses of political money by national governments, central banks and the banking establishment and the consequent separation between the financial economy and the real economy have made it appear that there may be a free lunch after all. But we must not allow ourselves to be misled. It may not be immediately apparent but there is always a price to be paid when fundamental principles of reciprocal exchange are violated.

There have been many in the alternative currency and exchange movement who seem to think that this principle does not apply to their proposed schemes and the landscape is strewn with the wreckage of their folly, but the lessons from that experience are yet to be learned. Political currencies have the power of governments and huge financial institutions behind them and are able, through legal tender laws and taxation, to compel the circulation of their currencies and hide the ill effects of their malfeasance. Private and community currencies however must stand on their own merits without the crutch of legal compulsion and must therefore demonstrated their superiority in enabling the reciprocal exchange of goods and services in the marketplace.

Any would-be innovators in this realm must therefore understand the fundamental principles of currency, credit, investment, saving, and the exchange of value. That is a rather vast territory that I have been writing and lecturing about for a very long time. In this post I wish only to state explicitly the fundamental principles that must underlie the design and implementation of any private, community or complementary currency.

Principle #1, the essence of a currency: A currency is a short-term credit instrument of the issuer.
Currency is created when a provider of real value accepts it in payment from issuer, and it is redeemed and destroyed when the issuer accepts it back in payment for the goods or services that they provide. It may change hands many times between issuance and redemption.  

Principle #2, Currency circulation: The circulation of a currency is driven by the issuer’s obligation to accept it back.

Corollary #1.a.: To be sound, credible and effective, a currency must be spent into circulation by one or more trusted issuers who are ready, willing and able to deliver valued goods or services that are in regular demand, and to accept the currency back as payment.

Corollary #1.b.: A currency that is issued in such a way monetizes the value that is inherent in the goods and services that the issuer is ready, willing and able to sell immediately or in the very near future. In other words, it takes the value that is inherent in those real goods and services and converts it into a form (currency) that can be used to make payments.

Definition: Liquidity is the ability to pay, i.e., to meet immediate and short-term obligations.

It has long been recognized that the issuance of private, non-governmental currencies is not only possible and desirable, but also necessary if true freedom and government “by the people and for the people” is to be achieved. It is entirely feasible that any community can create its own liquidity (means of payment) by monetizing (in the form of its own currency) the value inherent in the goods and services produced within that community.

This is not a new idea. Arthur Kitson made the same point 125 years ago:

To the average man, a currency that has not the authority or stamp of government is inconceivable; and yet there is no good reason why communities should not create and control their own currency without the aid or intervention of governments, just as they incur debts or liabilities without such aid or intervention. —Arthur Kitson, A Scientific Solution of the Money Question (1895), p. 279.

Addendum 1: This may help to further clarify the matter:

Credit is given and received in each transaction as follows: a seller gives credit to a buyer when he delivers real value in exchange for the buyer’s promise (his/her currency or i.o.u.) to reciprocate at some time later. The buyer reciprocates when he/she later becomes a seller and accepts his/her previously issued currency as payment.
ReciprocityCircuit

Addendum 2: One of my correspondents on LinkedIn replied to my post saying this:

During high interest phases, credit clearing so clearly offers many benefits. In the current low or no interest phase these seem to be less obvious. Unless the community currency can avoid inflation maybe? But in a way inflation helps productive businesses to repay their debt. So where do you see the biggest benefit now?

That comment highlights some common misconceptions which I answer as follows:

Interest savings are a minor benefit of direct credit clearing. The BIG benefit is that it makes buyers and sellers independent of money and banks. This is especially important when money is made scarce, as it usually is for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) who are often not able to get credit from banks, and when they do it is on onerous terms: high rates of interest, burdensome repayment schedules, pledge of collateral, and the inclination of banks to foreclose and force liquidation of assets rather than help a business through a difficult period. Credit clearing provides a friendly independent source of liquidity that is limited only by the value produced by businesses that are part of the credit clearing circle.

Regarding inflation, it is never a good thing for SMEs or for most consumers. Inflation “helps productive businesses to repay their debt” only if the business has sufficient market power to raise prices of the things it sells and/or to keep the cost of inputs like labor and materials low. That may be true of big corporations that dominate those markets, but not for SMEs who get caught in the squeeze and are unable to raise their prices enough to keep up with inflation or to prevent their costs from rising.

The corporatocracy would like us to believe that the effects of inflation are the same for everyone but they are not.

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My latest interview with Greg Magarshak

This discussion between Thomas H. Greco, Jr. and Intercoin founder Greg Magarshak covers a wide range of topics including the principles of sound currency issuance; mutual credit clearing; proper allocation of credit; the problems of centralized power, depression, and inflation; empowerment of small businesses and local communities; crypto-currencies; universal basic income (UBI), and more.  

Moneyless Exchange in One Easy Lesson

When the division of labor has been once thoroughly established, it is but a very small part of a man’s wants which the produce of his own labor can supply.  – Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations.

We have become so accustomed to using money to get the things we want and need that most people find it nearly impossible to conceive of any other possible way. Whenever I tell people that my work is about exchanging goods and services without using money they invariably ask, “Oh, you mean barter?” Then I go on to explain that barter requires a coincidence of wants between two people — I must have something you want, and you must have something I want. No, we must think beyond barter.

Through intensive study of monetary history and exchange principles extending over a long period of time I’ve come to a deeper understanding of the exchange process and the possibilities for advancing beyond our present dysfunctional and destructive monetary system.

“Mutual credit clearing” is a process that enables producers to trade goods and services directly among themselves without the need to use money. The credit clearing process is not a new invention; banks have been using it for a long time to settle accounts among themselves. But businesses can also use it to trade with one another and settle accounts among themselves, and they have been doing so for the past several decades. There are now scores of commercial “trade exchanges” operating around the world to provide credit clearing services for their tens of thousands of member businesses. While these exchanges are often referred to as “barter exchanges,” they do not do barter in the conventional meaning of the word. Rather, they utilize the collective credit of the members themselves as the internal payment medium. Members earn “trade credit” when they sell goods or services to another member, and they spend trade credit when they buy goods or services from another member. It is a simple process of accounting for value given and value received. When a member sells something their account is credited (increased) and when the buy something their account is debited (decreased). 

What enables the system to work is the fact that some trusted members who offer for sale goods and services that are in high demand are allowed to spend trade credits before they earn them. In other words, these trusted members are given a line of credit against their future sales; their account balances are allowed to be negative, up to some predetermined limit that is based mainly on the amount of value they are ready willing and able to sell to the other members.

Here, in a minute and a half, one of the major trade exchange operators explains the processes in its utter simplicity:

Note, this is not meant to be an endorsement of Bartercard or any other company. I refer to this video only as a good description of how credit clearing works to enable producers to trade among themselves without needing to make payment with conventional money, nor the need to borrow from banks.

And in this video a member of another trade exchange describes how credit clearing works for his business:

Properly organized and managed mutual credit clearing exchanges provide an effective, stable, and sustainable means of creating interest-free local liquidity and enabling companies and individuals to enhance their opportunities for success despite the adverse policies of banks and governments.

A more complete description of the credit clearing process can be found in my book, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization, particularly Chapter 12, Credit Clearing, the UnMoney.

Addendum: This subject is further explicated in my recent conversation with Greg Magarshak, founder of Intercoin, in which we discuss the essence of money, reciprocal exchange, credit allocation and whether or not cryptocurrencies and/or blockchain have a role to play in the reciprocal exchange process. A particularly pertinent clip is here. The entire two hour conversation can be seen at https://community.intercoin.org/t/interview-with-thomas-h-greco-community-currency-economist/1341.