Complementary Currencies Prevent Artist Starvation

Watch this important video from the 2009 TEDx Berlin conference by Bernard Lietaer, author of “The Future of Money”, a book I commend to you highly.  Bernard was involved in the design of the hard ECU in the European Union and knows a thing or two about large scale monetary systems.

The video suggests that in any eco-system, be it a monetary (trading) system, an electrical circuit or biomass in a rainforest, system stability requires that there is more resilience than efficiency.  Both resilience and efficiency are dependent on diversity and interconnectivity.  You need a lot of non-uniformity in the system and lots of ways to reach it.

What the video suggests is that complementary currencies (points systems, time dollars, other media of exchange) create monetary diversity, which makes the entire economy resilient.  It also implies that the desire for one world currency, one type of economy and regimented, identical, interchangeable workers conforming to the norm is a huge mistake that will lead to constant instability.  We need people with all kinds of talents, making a wide range of work products, working in all sorts of ways, organised in a variety of organisations (collectives, unions, freelancer networks, not just corporations) collaborating to ensure high interconnectivity, being paid with currency that isn’t the national (or global) money.

In other words, the means to prevent artists from starving is available to us, if only we grasp it.  The software to organise such a currency is available as open source and you can start these currencies for trading on any scale.

What is crucial is that you make the government accept payment for taxation in these currencies.  Your government, not the governments that act like mere debt collectors for bond holders, like we currently have (slashing public expenditure to reduce the deficit).

Here is the snag.  Those that seek to maintain a monoculture of single global currency (which for international trade, is the US Dollar and one of the reasons why the Euro is under such sustained, vicious attack) and single markets will oppose the acceptance of complementary currencies as legal tender, believing that it will undermine their power and prestige.  In fact, complementary currencies would ENHANCE THE STABILITY OF THEIR OWN MONETARY SYSTEM, preserving their power and prestige within that system.  But it may not be as big a pie.  Some of the activity, value and wealth would be held within the complementary currency systems that run parallel to theirs.  However, opposing complementary currencies is truly the act of a blind man.

Here is the means to break the grip of the international bankers.  Here is the means to defeat unemployment.  At last, there is an understanding of how to make the monetary system stable, so that we avoid crises, crashes and grinding unemployment-induced recessions and poverty.  At last, a recognition that the power of a currency resides in the people that produce using that currency and that producing in an alternative currency is just as viable as in the national currency.

In fact, the prevention of production and of great ideas becoming manifest, due to imbalances in the distribution of the national currency is an utter absurdity that we have ignorantly complied with for centuries.  We didn’t have to.  There didn’t have to be a Great Depression and it didn’t need to lead to World War and the atomic bomb.  We could have chosen another route, which is now spelled out clearly for us, available and requires only that we adopt it.

Will we take it?

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About tropicaltheartist

You can find out more about me here: There aren’t many people that exist in that conjunction of art, design, science and engineering, but this is where I live. I am an artist, a musician, a designer, a creator, a scientist, a technologist, an innovator and an engineer and I have a genuine, deep passion for each field. Most importantly, I am able to see the connections and similarities between each field of intellectual endeavour and apply the lessons I learn in one discipline to my other disciplines. To me, they are all part of the same continuum of creativity. I write about what I know, through my blogs, in the hope that something I write will resonate with a reader and help them enjoy their own creative life more fully. I am, in summary, a highly creative individual, but with the ability to get things done efficiently. Not all of these skills are valued by the world at large, but I am who I am and this is me. The opinions stated here are my own and not necessarily the opinion or position of my employer.
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3 Responses to Complementary Currencies Prevent Artist Starvation

  1. Jct: Not just artists will be saved by interest-free community currency. Think about what an interest-free credit card to buy food, clothing, shelter, medicine, education, would do for a starving Somali or Sudanese child until he came online to pay it back.

  2. Pingback: 2010 in Review | Creative Ideas for Starving Artists

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