Interesting discussion on community currancy being 'value based' rather than 'scarcity' based!
Anyone interested can also network with folks on the Fourth Corner Exchange group at:
Ron, You are right. Thought you might be interested in a book I wrote and and i do. Bill Crumley
I have a new website you may be interested in. www.workforpeace.info
The website tells of a book I wrote "WHY WE ARE ALWAYS BROKE: things we need to know about the economy"
The book traces the ongoing economic impact of wars and examines the international banking institutions set up after World War 1 and World War 2. The website asks Are we completely at the mercy of these gigantic banks or do we have alternatives?
In addition to suggesting local alternatives the website looks at a few of the local solutions which have not only worked well for local communities but have had impacts on a broader scale. This includes the work done by the people in the Hiroshima Peace Institute, the work of a small school in southeastern Tennessee, and work done by a school in Los Angeles California. The website allows you to connect to these sites. It also gives 2 extended accounts of the book.
The book can be ordered through Amazon or directly from the author. To contact Amazon www.amazon.com when the site comes up hit "books" and type in Why We Are Always Broke
To contact the author:
P. O. Box 278 Charenton, La. 70523-0278
I hope you find the website worthwhile bill crumley
Hi Ron -
I was trying to figure out this paragraph: "Because the 'need' element is assessed as essential, this is assigned the highest level of value. Because the take-up will be 100% of the community, this is also afforded the highest level of value. Each of the resources is also linked to a fixed value rated as essential. This calculates as a given figure. Every individual employed in the provision of these essential services will have a base value linked to their identity according to the level of skill required to perform their roles. This Base Value figure is then used to calculate the value of one hour of working in the provision of the service. Each hour worked earns a given number of Redeemable Value Points (RVPs) established by the base value of the individual.:
The 100% figure vexed me a bit - are you saying that 100% of a persons "output" or resources generated by him/her goes to essentials? In that case, there is no extra output that a person could expend for art, music, recreation, pleasure, etc., right?
And doesn't this system you've proposed take for granted that the natural resources provided by the earth are automatically the available to all citizens in this system equally? So there is no "my land" or "my timber" or "my water?" What portion of the earth is allocated to other species needs? Do they figure into your value system? In what way?
Oh - also - not everyone can physically make a contribution to society, and certainly not everyone's contribution could be considered equal - a physicians contribution (imho) would be superior to a drug-addicted, do-nothing, high school drop out's contribution (by this I mean someone who is a drain on resources rather than a giver of resources). [[Please, don't anyone take offense to these two characterizations - we all know that they exist in our society, so let's not pretend they don't. There are some people who are just destructive - to themselves and to society.]]
These are just some questions that popped into my head. I'm not challenging you or your idea, just curious.
The 100% figure relates to the level of take-up in the community of an essential service or commodity. By default, we can assume that vital services will be used by everyone so the value to the community is assessed on that. The ideal society provides the basic essentials for every member of the community whether they fulfill a role or not... but only the basics are a right. The rest has to be earned. The value of a person's contribution to society is assessed either on the necessity of the service or the percentage of the population served. Not everyone will need life saving treatment but those who do must have it. So, although the take-up may only be about 10%, the value is based on the necessity. An entertainment facility that is enjoyed by everyone will be based on the 90-100% take-up although it is not a necessity.
These figures are arbitrary just to give an idea of how the economy can be based on values rather than revenue.
"And doesn't this system you've proposed take for granted that the natural resources provided by the earth are automatically the available to all citizens in this system equally? So there is no "my land" or "my timber" or "my water?" What portion of the earth is allocated to other species needs? Do they figure into your value system? In what way?"
Natural resources also have a value. I don't think they should be "owned" but our exploitation of them has to be responsibly managed. That management has a value.
Yes a physician's contribution is of a higher value than a drug-addicted drop out and' consequently, a physician would have access to more non-essential goods and services. Many drug-addicted drop-outs are a result of poverty, poor education and poor upbringing (by parents who were the result of poverty, poor education and poor upbringing etc.) I know this is a generalisation but let's not pretend that these factors don't exist either. By adressing poverty and education for all, many of these root causes will eventually cease to be an issue.
We will always have problems with those who kick against society and I am not proposing a solution to everything... then again, money does not provide a solution to everything either. Law and order is another issue.
The essence that I am proposing here is that, if the benefits of society are distributed according to value to society, it would be considerably more stable. There are wealthy people who contribute nothing to society. I am not saying this is true of all wealthy people but those who make money by dealing in money and speculating are not actually making anything. They are simply manipulating a fiction. We're advised (quite wisely) against building on foundations of sand... yet sand is real. Our whole society is based on a foundation of a fluctuating illusion. A dollar doesn't really mean anything. Its value is assigned as a token. In short, we are pretending that a dollar is equal in value to whatever costs a dollar. Its intrinsic value is equal only to that of a rectangle of paper.
I am not pretending this is a thoroughly thought-out "solution". I haven't proposed any solutions. Only ideas to ponder and enlarge upon. What we do know is that a financial economy does not work. More people may share that view with the current financial crisis but, in truth, it never has worked. Only 25% of the earth's population experience having at least a little money to spend on non-essential items. 75% scratch a living or die. Most crime is for money, corruption is for money, exploitation is for money and yet, in real terms, the stuff doesn't even exist. There has to be an alternative.
You say you're not challenging my idea. Why not? It's full of holes! It needs to be challenged. But not in defense of the old system. It needs to be challenged in pursuit of something better than we have.
I have proposed a bean-based currency, on truthout. The number of vegans is increasing so much.
I also contemplated a currency based on small solar-cells, since energy and communication are pretty important to humans. It was said that in the rough times in Kenya, phone cards were valuable.
The movie Forks Over Knives was going to have a brief premier in Portland and move on, but it was so popular it has been held over and has generated well-attended potlucks for discussion.
I don't object to a market basket of goods, but valuing necessities would seem better to me, and if the government is going to decree statistics, they should at least have the decency to add the cost of maintaining them into the figures: taxes, government-enforced monopoly utility rates, etc.
Good stuff, Ron.
I just want to point out that in a few sentences you mentioned two ways forward, both of which properly involve the imagination of a condition not present. The first: reverse-engineering. The second: figuring out how en route.
The imagined condition must be dynamic, not static, so I prefer and advocate the second way forward. It offers each living person a role: answering what do I want for other beings one step at a time. The other way does not and cannot provide the necessary variety of roles; not we but a privileged new organization for the purpose put men on the moon.
I invite you to join this group, where such ideas are at home.
What we have now is private ownership of money. The owner of the money can charge interest to anyone borrowing it. If money was owned by the Government (read public) it would be loaned out from a central bank interest free and most of the problems that we have now would be eliminated. Just for fun I started the North America Party and have a site onlinenap.ning.com where I have posted a few blogs, one of which is a primer, and reasons, for a better banking system.
Now that the US has lost its Reserve Currency status we just may be able to introduce a world dollar owned by everyone and therefore interest free. It would make it possible for debtor countries to get out of debt. The banks would be set up differently.
Could you compare and contrast the concept in this idea of a value-based economy vs resource-based economy as described by the Zeitgeist Movement? They have obvious similarities but I am trying to wrap my head around the two concepts side-by-side. It seems to me that they are takes on the same basic idea but maybe I'm missing the nail head all together.
"The basic pursuit of The Movement is to begin a transition into a new, sustainable social design called a “Resource-Based Economy”."
The entire world is trapped in the current banking system so nothing will change until The banking system destroys itself. This will happen because of interest which is a positive feedback loop. This makes the whole thing unstable and creates the cycles in which some people can legally steal from the losers. The people who benefit from it don't want a change and the ones on the bottom can't change it, but eventually we have too many people who have become psuedo bankers and there aren't enough people at the bottom to support the pyramid. We will have to create some new kind of entertainment.
Resource based is really just a different way of controlling the use of resources. In the US nothing happens unless some rich person with the control of money can do something that will make him richer. In China (call it whatever you want) the people in power can invest the resources of the country in projects that benefit a larger segment of their population. They are currently building great big well designed cities. These are large construction sites without inhabitants. Imagine what it would be like to live in a well designed city with fruit trees in your back yard, where you can walk to work or shopping, where buildings take advantage of solar heat and you didn't need a car because of excellent, designed from the ground up, public transport . Can't see that happening in the US. and the only real difference is who controls the money.
What an interesting thread! Thanks for starting it, Ron.
I'm a big fan of the idea that the economy must be redesigned to support our visions of a sustainable, fulfilling and just earth community. I'm reading through http://www.neweconomyworkinggroup.org, which I find excellent. Perhaps some of us will find inspiration there as well.
I like the idea of ranking needs essential to health and continuance, both human and non-human, as most valuable and "luxury" items as less valuable. I'm a little squishy on how people are "valued". Any sort of top down determination seems ominous to me.
One idea I like is expressed in time money (http://www.transaction.net/money/timedollars/, http://hourmoney.org) -- the idea that all humans have equal value, regardless of what they do... What they do is less important than that they do it. I see flexibility in the idea too; a street-sweeper and a doctor may agree to a non-1:1 exchange rate if they wish, at the time of the exchange. Free and egalitarian; democratic if you prefer.
I agree that imagining the result we want first, in as much detail as we can manage, and then backcasting to where we are now, is the best way to create it. (First thought, then word, then deed.)
Is that what we'd like to do here?