Re: [ox-en] There is no such thing like "peer money"
- From: "Michel Bauwens" <michelsub2004 gmail.com>
- Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2008 19:20:05 +0700
[Converted from multipart/alternative]
On Tue, Jul 1, 2008 at 1:47 PM, Franz Nahrada <f.nahrada reflex.at> wrote:
list-en oekonux.org (Michel) writes:
The specific capitalistic development of money revolves around the
emergence of debt (Geld als Zahlungsmittel). Money is spent and then it
becomes the centerpiece of a constraint to pay it back. Economic activity
is subdued to the absolute neccessity to re-create money. G-W-G
But that is very much related to interest isn't it. Negative interest
monies, by making it harder and expensive to hoard, can break that logic.
But the Means of Payment function effectively establishes the dominance of
money over the whole process.
I think the dissapearance of money is a gradual process that will start
with the third function.
Labour does not need
capital to associate.
But the Association of Labour, which is another term I want to give to
P2P, stays extremely sensitive and vulnerable to intervention of capital.
Its not simply depending on who is making the money.
Of course, but the 'who' is important as to what rules the money will be
'coded' with. Civil money will have different 'protocols' than private
Thats why the "profit center"
idea is the death of coherence within organisations.
But as the emergence of money, its demise will be a long and painful
We need to be able to offer something specific here, not just state that it
will be a long process, how do we actually transform the situation?
What I find immoral may not coincide with someone else, but the peer
production of terrorism is clearly incompatible with my survival.
it is incorrect to put money as totally alienated, and peer production as
purely unalienated, as there are many hybrid possibilities.
Good point. But is terrorism really peer production?
I'm making that point to avoid the binary distinctions made by Stefan, that
'money' is all wrong, and peer production is 'all good'
Of course, full peer production needs to be good for the parties, good for
the group, and good for society at large. But non-peer inspired groups may
use partial aspects of peer production in their own limited interest.
OK, here is the promised quotes on demurrage and monetary reform:
(if you ever have the chance, lietaer's newest book, of which I had the
chance to read the manuscript, has a fascinating chapter showing how the
first medieval renaissance was linked to such money, and broke down when it
"As a matter of fact, *there are money systems that encourage sharing not
competition, conservation not consumption, and community, not anonymity*.
Pilot versions of such systems have been around for at least a hundred years
now, but because they are inimical to the larger patterns of our culture,
they have been marginalized or even actively suppressed. Meanwhile, many
creative proposals for new modes of industry such as Paul Hawken's Ecology
of Commerce, and many green design technologies, are uneconomic under the
current money system. The alternative money systems I describe below will
naturally induce the economies described by visionaries such as Hawken, E.F.
Schumacher, Herman Daly, and others. They will also reverse the progressive
nationalization and globalization of every economic sector, revitalize
communities, and contribute to the elimination of the "externalities" that
put economic growth at odds with human happiness and planetary health. Given
the determining role of interest, the first alternative currency system to
consider is one that structurally eliminates it. As the history of the
Catholic Church demonstrates, laws and admonitions against interest are
ineffective if its structural necessity is still present in the nature of
the currency. A structural solution is needed, such as the stamp-scrip
system proposed by Silvio Gesell in The Natural Economic Order. *Also known
as demurrage, Gesell's "free-money" (as he called it) bears a form of
negative interest. Every week a stamp costing a tiny fraction (say 0.1%) of
the currency's denomination must be affixed to it, in effect a "user fee" or
a "maintenance cost"; another way to look at it is that the currency "goes
bad"--depreciates in value--as it ages.* If this sounds like a radical
proposal that could never happen, it may surprise you to learn that Gesell's
ideas were praised by no less an authority than John Maynard Keynes himself.
What's more, the system has actually been tried out and it worked!
Although demurrage was applied as long ago as Ancient Egypt in the form of a
storage cost for commodity-backed currency, the best-known example of
instituted in the town of Worgl, Austria, in 1932 by its beloved mayor
Uttenguggenberger. To remain valid, each piece of this locally-issued
currency required a monthly stamp costing 1% of its face value. Instead of
generating interest and growing, accumulation of wealth became a
burden--much like possessions are a burden to the nomadic hunter-gatherer.
People therefore spent their income quickly, generating intense economic
activity in the town. The unemployment rate plummeted even as the rest of
the country slipped into a deepening depression; public works were
completed, and prosperity continued until the Worgl currency was outlawed in
1933 at the behest of a threatened central bank.
Demurrage has a number of economic, social, and psychological effects that
are highly relevant to our discussion. *Conceptually, demurrage works by
freeing material goods, which are subject to natural cyclic processes of
renewal and decay, from their linkage with a money that only grows,
exponentially, over time*. As established in Chapter Four, this dynamic is
what is driving us toward ruin in the utter exhaustion of all social,
cultural, natural, and spiritual wealth. Demurrage currency merely subjects
money to the same laws as natural commodities, whose continuing value
*The two main planks of currency reform*, explained by Thelma Weeks:
URL = http://www.margritkennedy.de/english/articles/thelma.html
First of all the proposals address two main problems within today's monetary
1. The right that Central Banks have to issue money at will, almost without
restrictions and without any backing. This right, the uncovered loans and
the ensuing interest will have to go.
2. The new system will no longer be built on growth. Without the burden of
interest companies no longer need their customers to pay for their loan
repayments (an estimated 30% on every article being bought in Europe). This
will get rid of inflation and companies can concentrate on production that
meets a real need.
The new financial system incorporates the numerous complementary currencies
(approximately 5000 at the last count) to sustain the co-operative trade
system, alongside the present currencies for competitive global trade.
Complimentary currencies - currencies created and issued by co-operating
people, used for exchange within a defined context and interest free - are
to used wherever appropriate to stimulate local, regional and national
trade. They are seen as especially useful to achieve specific aims in
specific areas. A lot of these complimentary currencies already exist - e.g.
air miles, bonus points barter schemes, LETS, Time Dollars and the Japanese
National Health currency. It is further proposed that there is a demurrage
(opposite of interest) for currency which is not in circulation('savings
accounts') to encourage the use of currency as an active tool for trade and
exchange. Money should have the same function in the societal body as blood
has in the human body. When it gets stuck it causes problems. For that
reason the demurrage has historically proved its viability. The new system
will address many existing challenges in our society and have an immediate
effect on poverty, starvation and inequality. Not to mention the damage to
ecosystems. It will be part of the present emerging paradigm/consciousness
shift from fear and insecurity to confidence and trust of a large part of
humanity to implement these proposals. If everyone understands where the
present system doesn't work and why and more importantly what it obstructs
or undermines then we can all focus on the alternatives and the successful
experiments that are already taking place and build on them.
Contact: projekt oekonux.de