AlternativeCurrency

People agree to trade, and some trade using an abstract symbol, “money.” The symbol has a reliable counterweight, by public trust, in goods or services. We agree on the fact that the symbol is worthless - a sheet of paper, a decimal comma in a row of numbers somewhere in a book or in a computer’s memory. It’s value is nothing but an agreement.

We can see the global monetary system as a program. What would you do with it? If you were disadvantages by it, you’d completely drop it and reprogram the whole thing. Some of us intend to be a part of doing exactly that. Change the agreements, “open source the system.” Why? The sum of valid money in the world is unknown. Is this an operating system?

Proposed Map for the Page

Existing Currency Projects


For an interesting experiment see http://ripple.sourceforge.net/

Hey, that Ripple thing is pretty interesting! A network of IOUs … we should definitely keep an eye on that one. Rather then being about AlternativeCurrencies per se, it’s about everyone issuing his own currency of IOUs. Or it’s a WebOfTrust. It certainly looks like a good component to use in building our Brave New World - if not Ripple itself, something similar.

And I can definitely see how Ripple-like stuff would benefit to those who are “outside the system”.

I pointed Steve Carson, one of the developers, to our page here and he wrote back:
Ripple is now live and in beta. You can use it at http://www.ripplepay.com. We are confident that nobody will lose any information and that the site can be used to transfer IOUs. Any feedback would be gladly appreciated.

seems, there is a lack of community . but money without a community ..? (see beneath) . nevertheless, its an interesting example of money made in a computer .

Things are too hectic just now for me to have finnished looking at all of this, but the basic idea is certainly sound. After all, its really not that different than what happens with Currencies right now. For example, Canada has six “Big Banks”, which collectively ‘clear’ an amount roughly equaly to the countries entire GDP each and every day. (This “guesstimate” probably needs to be updated.) What this means is that …

  • Throughout the day, people write checks and use their debit and credit cards to access the funds in their bank accounts, agreeing to transfer them to someone else in exchange for Goods or Services.
  • The Banks ‘accumulate’ all of these transactions and engage in a NET settlement process, generally in a set of procedures called “End Of Day” processing.
  • Effectively, the “NET” settlement, boils down to exactly the same process that Ripple is creating, with the one difference that Ripple is using an abstraction called an IOU, as opposed to the modern (since the US stopped using a Gold Standard) abstraction called Currency (of the Realm).
    • The reason I add the (of the Realm) is that Currency valuations are affected by Sovereign policies such as Taxation, Borrowing (both Domestic & Foriegn), Tarrifs, etc.
      • One very intersting way of modeling the resulting complexities is the “Big Mac” index. This index compares the cost of a standard ‘big mac’ hamburger, expressed in the hours that a local resident has to work in order earn enough money to pay for one.

All of this eventually may boil down to the issues of Trust (aka Confidence) “by whom” (which is an aspect of interaction of the respective Groups or Communities) and the related Reward Risk ratios that are a subjective reflection of how likely the Currency is to maintain its Value (both absolute and relative) over time.

There is a big difference: with usual money only a bank can give credit thus “create money”. With ripple anybody can.


I would like to work on whatever experiment is trying to be born here.

let’s make a thought experiment .
hans wrote: “after all, it (ripple) is really not that different than what happens with currencies right now.”
imagine, ripple produces in the realm of the canadian dollar as much money as there are canadian dollars . then, in the long run, a big mac costs double the sum (if you can sell a big mac by iou) as without ripple . so, yes, we can have to our own half of world wide money, if we create a new world currency . if!!! there is a first step in coforum, as i mentioned beneath . perhaps we can make an explanation in english .

I have a ripple account now. What do I do with it?

After probing the depths of the internet, I’ve just recently gained a basic understanding of how the money system works and I am quite astonished it is still in existence today. My goal is to understand it deeply enough to build a rich simulation of the system we have in place. So this is what I’ve come to understand - our money is ultimately a debt note with the debt never being repayable by definition. Ripple being IOU based is essentially debt based too, only instead of one privately held central bank everyone can participate in interest reaping shenanegans of the central bankers and suck up the money supply. Thus the system is essentially the same as the one in place (as stated above). It would be interesting to see if the money game truly becomes zero-sum. I would image that this system too would be susceptable to monopolistic control since the users with the deepest pockets could potentially offer interest rates so low that other people would not be able to compete given the risk profile of the users. So in a system where everyone uses everyone else the utimate evolution of the game would be the central bank model.

Hi johnnyfix. I think you are basicaly right, there’d be just as well the danger of monpolistic control. But unlike in the existing monetary system there’d be the possiblity that a resonsable “mass” would get together and commonly control and stabilize the system - much like as a tiny little sprout it happens on this page already. We got together without any force of any kind, completely voluntary. Everybody can always leave. But surprisingly everybody sticks to it, wondering, “hm, it came out of nothing and there’s money now one could use. Strange. No dealing, cheating, ripping each other off like it usualy is, no contracts that bind you half of your lifetime, nothing of all that and nevertheless there’s money one could use and work with.
I have blue eyes. “Blauäugig” - blue-eyed - in German it is used as an expression for someone naive and overcredulous (same in English, just checked). I’m fed up with pessimism, simply. Humans are bad, the nasty animal soul rules us from the dephts of our medulla oblongata, bläh, heard it million times before. I mean, honestly, at least since our species put its footprint on the moon everybody half-way intelligent - estimating at least half of human population to be - is silently deeply ashamed about the fact that we can’t organize our little planet. They shoot these guys up to the moon and they walk around on the surface of it while we watch it in TV down on planet earth where wars continue to rage. Are we stupid?

I don’t think so. We just communicate ineffectively. But this is improving and already has radical effects as we see in the Linux OS and wikipedia. These are human creations we don’t have to be ashamed of. They came out of nothing, no force, voluntarily, just like our little bank here did short ago. And they obviously are only a beginning. It might take a certain blue-eyedness to come up with the idea of a global currency that has a know and stable total in the beginning of the 21. century, I agree, but anyhow: The current monetary system is hampering human development, it must and can be anylysed, understood, improved and hacked.
It takes all eye-colors to do that. Welcome.
You first need a home-page here. Then follow how to insert your foto here?

Hey Mattis, Yea I need to hook up a home page on this site but anyhow I’ve been pondering the idea of wealth. I figured before one can understand money one must understand wealth - right? So I came across an alternative money system which is being used in the City of my Alma Mater, Ithaca, NY called “Ithaca Hours”. You can read about it in chapter three of the online book, Short Circuit, written by Richard Douthwaite: http://www.feasta.org/documents/shortcircuit/index.html?sc3/IthacaHours.html. It gave be some insight in coming up with a simple model of wealth, populations, and debt.

This isn’t too far fetched. There are many people using credit cards with substantial revolving interest. The single largest financial endevour in one’s lifetime, a home, sucks up more wealth from a person than the value of the house itself. The currency we use is essentially a debt note. Our taxes aren’t completely recycled into our collective community and a portion of this goes to pay debt. The list goes on and on.

So in this model the wealth created is proportional to the population. I guess you can think of this as labor wealth. But I dont like to use the word labor because it reminds me of the current exploitive system too much. So for now I prefer to call it nothing. In this model I also include stored wealth, the accumulation of all of our previous efforts. Since Ithaca is using hours as money, well I decided to see what affects debt has on our individual wealth and collective wealth.

I plan on posting the results with some graphs. You can consider this the prelude to more extensive study, but the results of the simple model are astoundingly rich. I will summarize here and add charts later as I develop the blog.

http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e272/johnnyfix/wealth/weath-debt-02-pop-01114-y1000.png

A) If debt is in execess of wealth creation, cummulative wealth for the population as a whole asymptotically approaches a fixed amount and our individual wealth declines year-to-year eventually falling off inversly to the population growth. This should scare even the most devout capitalist because this says total wealth is fixed - which is in line with a zero sum theory of money - if money is our measuring stick for wealth.


http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e272/johnnyfix/wealth/weath-debt-01-pop-01114-y1000.png

B) If debt is present but not in execess of the wealth created, cummulative wealth for the population as a whole increases year-to-year asymptotically approaching an exponential rate, but this rate is not rapid enough to keep up with the population growth. So individual wealth continues to decline. This may be akin to the situation in Japan where the interest rates are virtually zero but individual wealth is on the decline as a whole. Though this does not include “labor debt” and taxes which may not be be exactly reinvested into the population.


http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e272/johnnyfix/wealth/weath-debt-00-pop-01114-y1000.png

C) If debt is not present at all, cummulative wealth grows, individual wealth will asymptotically approach some fixed value. With a population growth rate of 1.1134% and no debt we can enjoy the riches of our ancestors at roughly 100 times the “population year”. Further note that if the population growth is less we become wealthier on average: http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e272/johnnyfix/wealth/weath-debt-0-pop-002-y1000.png

This would be a very ideal situtation for all including the most devote capitalist since the individual wealth meter stick is really just an average so with wealth distribution dynamics included they will ultimately become richer, though it doesn’t have to be exploitive. Of course there are natural means of wealth destruction which isn’t necessarily debt such as natural disasters, erosion, changes in climate, ware-and-tare, etc. And of the man-made flavor: war and non-zero sum markets (more on that later which is a topic all unto itself).


http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e272/johnnyfix/wealth/weath-debt-00-pop-n01-y1000.png

D) If the population growth rate is negative and no debt, collective wealth becomes fixed and individual wealth increases at some rate inversely to the population decline. But this doesn’t take into account efficiency and technology which would increase individual output per unit population. So accumulated wealth may not be fixed even though the population is declining, though it serves as an interesting result. Perhaps Putin shouldn’t be so worried about his country’s declining population, though that all depends on who Putin is representing.


I believe the situation which best reflects our current situation is A). Wealth is extracted from the earth, sun, and people - of which only a fraction goes back into our immediate community - the premise of the model. This wealth hoarding by the elite manifests itself in the form of assets. Some of these assests do not posses any intrinsic value other than what the market will currently bear provided limited alternatives exist evidence of this is platinum palladium substituion going on in poorer areas of China. With viable alternatives and the hoarded asset downturns, our confiscated wealth is destroyed. If the value of the asset goes up we bear the cost of inflated value and we still lose unless we are able to achieve greater output per unit of the commodity or asset. Thus wealth is destroyed either way - up or down… very weird.

-johnnyfix

Workspace

Mattis, I agree with you that money is just a symbol and that without a community that agrees on its value and provides it with trust, money is without value.

I disagree that changing the coordinates of the money system would change anything of importance. In theory the available ammount of money is known, by adding all the money that has been printed or brought into electronic circulation by all national banks. But this doesn’t take into account that money can be lost, burned, whatever.

The idea of money=1 is just an idealization, a fiction of controllability and justice. But money=1 is not practical. It makes money production unavailable for the founder. It makes creation of physical money very hard.

Anyway, anyone can create money. You and sigi can. Just do it! In fact a lot of people or regions do this, some with great success. imho the big advantage of such regional money systems is that they produce a local money resource and by-pass taxation. At the OpenLeader network there is an active workgroup that supports various initiatives and does active research and development.

zu “physical money that can be printed, lost, burned, whatever” : das soll durch das computer-geld ja gerade wegfallen . regionales geld wird in gemeinschafts-konten als unterkonten des globalen geldes geführt . ich verstehe deine argumentation nicht! erst sagst du, geld ist eine gemeinschaftssache und dann kann jeder sein eigenes geld erfinden?

der rest ist aus zweiter und dritter hand, also nicht sehr fundiert .

sigi opposed with two questions and a statement:

Q1: “lost, burned” would be avoided by our computer-money concept.

A1: Ok, but removing paper money and coins from the current money system would also solve this problem, but not the social problems that you see in the current money system. So this is not an essential aspect.

Q2: I don’t understand your arguments about “money being a community creation” and “you can create your own money”?

A2: Yes, you (1) can create your own money, but you (2) must create a community and build trust to make the money work. AFAIK you want (1) without (2), and that won’t work.

S: The rest is second hand and not profound.

A: Profound is: money and economy are community phenomena, connected to social responsibility. A global economy must be connected to a global community and a global social system (probably by a global tax system for global players) otherwise it is instable - that’s what we observe.

I would add: I don’t think Helmut is being facetious when he says “Anyway, anyone can create money. You and sigi can. Just do it!” I think he really means: “If you want to do this, then do it.” I don’t know about where you live, but where I live, there’s a group called “Time bucks” (I think) that is establishing a local Seattle region alternative currency.

Mattis, you’re right on the money when you say that money is nothing but agreements. And Helmut is right on the money when he says, “yes, and thus you need community.” To support those agreements.

So, it would seem that what follows is making community.

Which… …we’re the Community Wiki, so it works out quite nicely. :)

Helmut: In the US, just so you know: If you make your own money system up, you have to pay taxes on it. It’s illegal (to my non-lawyerly understanding,) to make a currency that is not pegged against the dollar. At least, that’s what I’ve understood so far. (Some quote about: “You can trade in pine cones for all we care; just as long as you pay your taxes on it in US dollars.” Yes, that suggests that in-game virtual currencies are something of a problem, since they’re minting money, trading on it, and not reporting it as taxable income. I personally suspect that the IRS and whoever are going: “hmm, we probably can’t stop this sort of thing, but we don’t know how to deal with it right now, so no point in making any sudden movements.” This said: This is purely my own personal collection from what I’ve seen, and I have no idea really. It’s something I’d like some clarity on, though.

I imagine we’re going to be awash in currencies. In some respects, we already are. Wherever people trade favors and have reputations; The currency is the nonmanifest tally they keep in their heads; the ledger is your reputation.

This isn’t to say computers aren’t important: The ability to maintain ledgers in a cryptographically secure way adds new interesting possibilities. (Provided you trust the infrastructure, provided you have some way of trusting the infrastructure.) Bruce Sterling wrote a neat article in Forbes that should inspire imagination. It inspired my imagination, at least..!

Money is called debt, but that has a negative ring. Money eases trade, so encourages specialization.

Money is also a community credit system and store of wealth.

I’m working on (still just the design) of an BoardGame? or Adventure/MOO/MMORPG which describes the economic framework of an isolated community, island or planet.

This makes me think money:

Credit (debt) helps new workers aquire, use and maintain the MeansOfProduction?.
Trading skill increases complexity, technology.
OTHER IDEAS…

sigi:
@ lion: yes, our money needs a community and our community needs a money . not only community wiki . our country is wikilandia, world wide wiki . the hivemind is to come to a consense . that’s the purpose of each communication . our wiki tree is a good beginning . it gathers all persons, which are willing to come to a consense .
@ helmut: ich glaube nicht, dass du an einem computer-geld überhaupt interesse hast . oder täusche ich mich da? wenn ja, wie müsste das denn konkret nach deiner vorstellung aussehen?
@ patrick: wikilandia (world wide wiki) is a new planet . therefore your economic framework could be good for us . can you play it with different parameters? perhaps with a sort of super gold (the quantity of money is always constant)?

Q: sigi: Helmut, I do not believe that you are interested in a computer-money - or should I be wrong? How should s computer-money look according to your view?

A: I’m interested in many things, but computer-money is not an active project of mine. The main reason is that I think that the key point is the community. A better (socially responsible) community/society could work without problems with the current money. A new money system needs a new community, so you primarily have to answer the question “where can I buy what goods”, typically this is easy with the inns of a touristic region. But maybe this could also be possible in a larger town by establishing “alternative money” for “alternative (healthy) food” stores and inns, “alternative medicine and goods” (like solar energy system and things like that) and as “social money” maybe given to a certain extent away to the poor. It would be less a computer-money (although maybe computer-managed) than a real physical money (maybe like the perls of Club Mediterrané) and so something outside of taxation systems. Just brainstorming. You were always so busy promoting the Terra and money=1 that you never were interested in what I thought about it … so I never had a reason to think about this seriously.

Originally it has been like that. States kept shiny, non-corrosive, rare and heavy metals, in other words gold in well guarded places. Gold is what precious coins were made of. Now, for not having to carry around 15 kg of gold if it concerened a little more money (and such increasingly happened) bills were issued. On the bills it said: The carrier of this bill will get the amount of gold this bill stands for at he central bank in return for this bill. It was still like that at least on the old Western German Deutschmark bills and I guess it originally was like that all over the world. In 1975 the USA cut out the counterweight of gold in Fort Knox for the existing dollar bills. Eversince money is in free flight. No, it doesn’t say anything about a counterweight in gold on the Euro bills anymore.

On any Euro you might have in your pocket (about the price of a nice, delicious icecream cone) there are 17 Euros that only exist somewhere on some bank-account as decimal commas within rows of numbers being pushed around by speculants, money-sharks, stock-market dealers, drug dealers, weapon dealers, dictators and other people often, but not always of dubious trustworthyness (the counterweight of this amount in nice delicous icecream is pretty likely to make you vomit).

Two years ago there was a yacht here in Venice, Italy for some days. It lay on the Riva Sciavoni, the shore of the St. Marks bay which is right in front of the St.Marks square. This is where often during summertime representative ships of rich and super-rich people arrive. I later heard it belongs to one of the Microsoft-bosses, dunno which one. It was about seventy to ninety meter long and it had two helicopters on board, one in the front and one in the rear.

“A better (socially responsible) community/society could work without problems with the current money.” - I strongly doubt about that.

“where can I buy what goods” - when R. Stallman made up the free software foundation in the 80ies there was nothing. Now the major part of us runs and uses and communicates via a reliable OS called GNU/Linux. I admit that it takes a little phantasy. But it’s imaginable.

Mattis, basically I agree with you, but: we are talking here about money or alternative money and not “no money”. May I remind you, that sigi and you promoted the Terra a alternative money, again not as “no money”?

With respect to community/society: I doubt that any new money system in itself can change the way our society behaves towards those that are poor or underdeveloped.

Is it possible to structure a meaningful experiment or prototype of an alternative to money? After all, the point has been made repeatedly that there is nothing stopping a community from doing so (other than the very real issues related to Trust). In effect … Could we at least define a meaningful experiment that would produce Objective results?

Hans: This is not actually an alternative to money; Instead, an alternative money: Ithaca Hours. I wouldn’t be surprised if you already know about it. But it is an objective thing, and it’s worked well for the residents of Ithaca. I’ve read that people have paid their rent and groceries in it.

Helmut: I do think making alternative money systems provides some relief. There are a lot of people who are willing to trade, but do not want to trade in US dollars because they don’t have many. By making an alternative currency, that they mint and distribute through various means, they give people more money to trade with, that does not hinder them in their usual debits/credits by the dollar system.

But- you’re right to target the social relations: The hardest part of establishing an alternative currency is getting people to feel comfortable trading with one another, and maintaining registries.

The registries are something where computers actually help a lot. Ithaca, NY had to print registries, and distribute them. Now it should be much easier, because a lot of people have reliable computers and network connections in their homes.

Another reason to be interested in computers is the InternetBonding and SocialNetwork transpareny: This will likely also promote trust between people, and work to establish trade. Very few people are Internet bonded, though, at this point, and social networking software is very primitive.

Many many people have time. Many people have willingness to trade. What they do not have is dollars to (A) get into registries, (B) to spend. And they do not have (C) histories, to establish trust.

We should probably separate this out into another page: AlternativeCurrency, or something. (If we don’t already have such a page.)

WhatIsMoney” is an interesting thing in it’s own right. Hans & I might want to separate our conversation into: “EconomicSituation?.”

(yes?)

Perhaps DangerousEconomicSituation?(s) since it is more descriptive of your original question?

With respect to community/society: I doubt that any new money system in itself can change the way our society behaves towards those that are poor or underdeveloped.

My understanding is that a lot of the excitement about alternative currencies, is that it may help the poor or underdeveloped to help themselves. (Less dependent on the current dominant currency.)

…Is it possible to structure a meaningful experiment or prototype of an alternative to money?…

Yes, of course. Probably it depends on what you want to achieve. What is meaningful? C. K. Ogden wrote an interesting book classic “The Meaning of Meaning”.

Why don’t you suggest an experiment, so we can discuss the experimental setting and the expected results?

sigi:
@ helmut: wenn das brain storming sein soll, wie du es ja oben suggerierst, dann hast du alle sünden begangen, die man beim brainstorming überhaupt begehen kann (angefangen mit der herabsetzung anderer ideen, gefolgt von billigen ratschlägen bis hin zur beanspruchung der deutungs-hoheit) . wenn aber nicht, dann hast du nur sand (statt perlen) in die diskussion gestreut . ich finde das wenig hilfreich .
@ lion: “could we at least define a meaningful experiment that would produce objective results?” . yes, we can . http://coforum.de/index.php4?4747 (5 co-coins for an english explanation)
“we should probably separate this out into another page: AlternativeCurrency”. (done)

babelfish.altavista.com translation:

[en]If brain storming is to be, as you suggest it above, then you committed all sins, which one can commit with the brainstorming at all (beginning with the reduction of other ideas, followed by cheap pieces of advice up to the demand of the interpretation sovereignty). if however not, then you have only strewn sand into the discussion (instead of beads). I find that little helpful .
“if however not, then you have only strewn sand into the discussion (instead of beads)” – I thought Helmut’s comments, at least the ones which I see here, were insightful. If it’s not brainstorming time, then I think skepticism is an essential part of a productive discussion. – BayleShanks
then, what at all, is “physical money”? (particularly with reference to wikiland (but look, i promised mattis not to discuss that further)) – sigi

Just a few things. Anyone that can, try to see this documentary about money. http://www.themoneymasters.com/

Also Silvio Gesell (a german economist has great papers/books about money), check it on: http://www.systemfehler.de/en/index.htm

The essay "re: online shopping" by Joey Hess has an interesting suggestion:

“… our model of payment is all wrong. … A merchant expects to get money … That money really comes from the credit card company, based on a customer’s promise that they will pay back that credit. The customer indicates this promise in the most stupid way possible: By entering a sequence of numbers that only they are supposed to know, but that is not unique to that purchase. … it should be technically possible to kick out the credit card middlemen, and make payment much simpler and secure by changing the buyer’s promise of payment into a legally binding, unique, cryptographically signed message that’s sent directly to the merchant. But for this to happen, we’d have to … we’d have to somehow interest companies in supporting that. Since companies almost always prefer making money by promoting centralised systems, I don’t have much hope of this happening anytime soon.”

It’s a lot of labor, I think, to make sure that payments come in, and so on, and maintaining contracts and agreements and so on.

I believe that’s the labor that the credit card is doing.

I suspect we eventually will move to something like you’re describing, and that it will be the credit card companies moving it forward. The way credit laws work in the US, (to my understand,) everything works in the favor of the user of the credit card. 1 So, since the credit card companies eat the loss when something bad happens.

I’ve seen a few inventions already that the c-card companies are using; One, which I heard an advertisement for in California, is a special wireless watch that you wear. Whenever the credit card company notices a purchace, they buzz your watch with a notice, “You just bought X for $Y.” If you didn’t buy it, there’s some way of notifying them, “Hey! That’s a fraud! I didn’t do it!”

This isn’t exactly what you’re talking about, but it does show that at least some credit card companies are looking at methods of securing payment. The nice thing about this approach, is that it doesn’t require any payment infrastructure changes; Only the credit card companies and credit card users need to change their behaviors.

Links

discussion

What is this “Prosper” thing? The article seems to imply that somehow individuals who use Prosper are organized into various groups. Would it make any sense to set up a CommunityWiki group there, and let the Prosper people deal with the pesky details of a CommunityWikiBank?

Opinion: CommunityWikiBank is way better than prosper, which has really gone downhill since it’s inception. See what I wrote http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/the-prosper-lender-rebellion-and-the-us-creditborrowing-black-hole/2007/08/16

They used to require that you join a group, and when they stopped this, a lot of lenders left (because they weren’t getting their loans payed back). So, interest rates within prosper have gone way up. lending rates way down, overall sucks. They should have kept the group requirement if you ask me, it was a great idea.

See also http://future.iftf.org/2007/08/finance-prosper.html

It’s really quite nice to see a bit of activity appear here, once again! It encourages me to post a recent “thought” that I think may intertwine the issues of AlternativeCurrencies and Privacy.

I’ve been expounding quite a bit (elsewhere) that there is a deep societal acceptance that…

  • ID(entity) = Name + (Residental) Address

… This is why (North American) news reports usually state that…

  • “John Doe, of 123 Any Stree” has been found guilty of… (or, conversely)
  • “John Doe, of No Fixed address”…
It also forms a bit of the rationale for the (totally ineffective) .us “Immigration” & “Homeland Security” question I am now asked whenever I cross the border that requires me to state the Address I will be staying at on the first night of my trip (something I generally don’t know since I’m in the habit of renting a car and driving down the road until I get tired, when I start looking for a motel).

But, I always carry my cell phone now, which has a chip that can be used to triangulate my position to within a few meters and which also contains a “certificate” that uniquely identifies the phone and the fact that it is still in my custody via as associated password. In spite of the threat of “privacy intrusions”, I “Never leave home without it” (my cell phone, that is … Sorry about that American Express)

Meanwhile, there are several countries in which I can now activate many types of vending machines by simply using my cell phone to “pay” for whatever they contain that I might want. This is now common enough that if I had to choose to carry my wallet full of Cards (Credit=4, Debit=0) OR my cell phone, I would most certainly choose the phone.

Looking forward a bit, and considering the rate of miniaturization that is more than evident in my phone, and the inconvenience of having to carry it around in a pocket and the risk of losing it, etc…

It is obviously only a (very short) matter of time until my preferred choice of AlternativeCurrency is likely to take to form of either a “lozenge” or “suppository” version of the inevitable “electronic wallet”.

Contemplating this scenario a bit, quickly makes me want to call a few of my friends that are active Privacy advocates!


AlternateCurrency?.


CategoryEconomics?

back to WhatIsMoney

Discussion 2011

As I’ve worked on new society efforts, I’ve been learning about a lot of things. Two of the key elements are personal relationships and economic realities. Both of these need to be really solid, for things to work.

If I were to work on an alternative currency effort today, I would try the following things:

  • really solidifying the personal relationships
    • working with people one at a time, rather than in bulk, at first
    • connecting the services offered with people’s heart-felt dreams – both the provider of the service and the user of the service
    • developing an understanding of why this is important; making the story about people and dreams, rather than about efficiency
    • introducing people to one another
    • encouraging people to receive; focusing much more on receiving services from others, as if they were gifts from others, rather than focusing on giving
      • I observe that it’s far easier for people to offer than to get – but you can’t have one without the other, so you want to focus on the part that is weak
  • carefully assembling the entrepreneurial framework
    • Here, I would look at the lessons of the Ithaca Hours system birthing process
      • Had there been no Farmer's Market here, with lively vendors who saw HOURS as yet another way to barter, HOURS would have had a small **food base**.” (emphasis mine)
        • Notice the importance of personal relationships here: “Catherine Martinez took the first **leap of faith** there, becoming the first person to accept an HOUR, for her samosa.” (emphasis mine)
      • Had the owners of two popular local movie theaters (Rich Szany & Lynn Cohen) not started taking HOURS from the beginning, at full price, then there's have been no **dramatic retail use** of HOURS. Had Greg Spence Wolf not stepped in to earn HOURS cleaning these theaters, then maybe the theaters would have stopped accepting HOURS.” (emphasis mine)
    • You want to carefully create and look for trade patterns that can sustain, that can renew, that can carry a load.

So if I were working on this again, I would focus on hearts and economics.

My theory is that: The actual artifacts of trade (ledger, dollars, catalog) are necessary, but pretty insignificant, compared to how the relationships are formed and the economy strategically developed.

Footnotes:

1. Debit cards, I understand, work exactly opposite – the user of the card has to prove everything. This is a relic of how credit cards evolved, vs. debit cards. Always use a credit card in USA online purchaces. I learned this at the Saturday House.

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