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Devoted to the liberation of money and credit, and the restoration of the commons
Updated: 1 hour 8 min ago

Greece workshop starts Friday

June 11, 2017 - 09:12

The start of our workshop, Monetary and Financial Innovation for the New Economy, is just a few days away but there is still space available and enough time to make travel arrangements. Here are some additional details about what you can expect from the experience.

The workshop leader will provide enough structure to focus attention and direct the inquiry but leave room for creativity, individual research, and the spontaneous emergence of innovative designs, plans, and implementation strategies. That structure will include:

  • The fundamental concepts upon which the exchange process and capital formation are based.
  • Critical examination of present and past alternatives.
  • The various aspects that must be addressed in design and deployment of exchange and finance innovations.

Everyone will play an active role in an intensive process of inquiry, discovery, sharing and collaboration aimed at:

  1. achieving a deeper understanding of the principles of currency, credit, finance, and the exchange process, and,
  2. developing action plans for the design and deployment of robust systems that can be widely proliferated and quickly scaled up to global dimensions.
  3. assembling a knowledge base that can provide guidance toward achieving more equitable and sustainable structures for value exchange and finance.

As the week progresses, teams may be formed to dig deeper into particular aspects of design and implementation and to develop action plans. Besides Exchange and Finance, the realms of our inquiry will include Change, Innovation, Processes, Systems, and Networks.

Depending on the needs and interests of the participants, the focus of our attention will be on definitions and principles related to some of the following topics:

  1. The essence and role of money
  2. Banking
  3. Reciprocal Exchange
  4. Liquidity
  5. Monetization
  6. Basis of issue, backing, and
  7. Credit
  8. Alternative currency models
  9. Credit clearing and “offset”
  10. Value measurement and units of account
  11. Saving and investment; value storage and capital formation
  12. Intermediation and disintermediation
  13. Usury and interest
  14. Demurrage
  15. Inflation, deflation, and currency debasement
  16. Depressions. The nature and causes of economic depressions.
  17. Exchange Networks
  18. Inter-trading across trade exchanges; Balance of payments/trade.
  19. Broader implications of innovative exchange mechanisms.
  20. Implementation and proliferation of innovative exchange mechanism.

And, there will be plenty of time to enjoy the beach and Greek village life.

Further details and booking are at http://www.kalikalos.com/community/x/exchange-finance-new-economy-thomas-greco/

If finances are a problem, application for discounts may be made by writing to Rachel Davson at rachaeldavson@gmail.com.

Looking forward to working with you,

Thomas


Categories: Blogs

What in the world is going on? — Part 2

June 7, 2017 - 10:00

Paul Craig Roberts has been inside and outside of the U.S. Government. He served under President Ronald Reagan and was a colleague of Zbigniew Brzezinski at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where Roberts occupied the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy. He has had a unique vantage point from which to observe over his long career the dynamics of power and global developments. His website is a treasure trove of commentary that provides clear insight into what in the world is going on.

His recent post, Washington’s Empire Is Not Unraveling,  argues that despite president Trump’s recent actions, the military-industrial-financial complex remains firmly in control and the agenda of “full spectrum dominance” is still on track.

He points out that, with the help of the mains stream media, “Americans and the world are blinded to the fact that there are power centers that constrain a president and are capable of substituting their agendas for the agendas on which the president campaigned.”  Read the full article here.

And for insights into how the global financial system is malfunctioning, in addition to David Stockman, whom I mentioned in Part 1, you also need to follow Chris Martenson via his website, Peak Prosperity. In this video, https://youtu.be/E1g57mjGcGc he talks about the massive inflation of money that has characterized recent actions by three major central banks, the Federal Reserve, the Bank of Japan, and the European Central Bank. All three have been furiously “printing money” which they use to buy securities, thus creating asset bubbles–not a good sign for long-term prospects.


Categories: Blogs

How to Bring Liquidity Into an Economy, Free of Interest, Inflation, and Boom and Bust Cycles

June 2, 2017 - 10:52

Abstract
Most economies suffer from a lack of liquidity, especially outside the large corporate and government sectors. This lack of means of payment (liquidity) is a fundamental cause of unemployment and failures of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs). It generally derives from flaws that are inherent in the centrally controlled systems of money and finance and the increasing indebtedness of both the private and public sectors. The surrender of monetary sovereignty by national governments to central banks, and to currency unions, such as the Euro, and their increasing indebtedness, as in  as in the case of Greece, have made it virtually impossible for their economies to thrive.

This article describes how domestic or community liquidity, i.e., means of payment, that enable the process of reciprocal exchange of value, can be created by various entities at various levels, from communities and business associations, to municipal governments and agencies, to national governments. The main obstacles to their implementation are not economic, but organizational and political, yet there is still considerable leeway within which the value of local production can be monetized in the form of circulating private currencies and trade credits created within associations of buyers and sellers. This article describes how that can be done.

Read the complete article here.

This subject will be the main focus of my upcoming workshop in Greece, 16-23 June. You still have time to register and space is still available.


Categories: Blogs

Escape from prison and oppression

May 18, 2017 - 11:07

In this video below, Professor Jem Bendell of Cumbria University (UK) interviews South African Tim Jenkin about his anti-apartheid work in the 1970s and his more recent alternative exchange activities. Jenkin briefly recounts how he assisted the African National Congress (ANC) in their struggle to end apartheid, work that resulted in his 1978 imprisonment and subsequent remarkable escape. The escape story is soon to be made into a major motion picture, “Escape From Pretoria,” that will star  Daniel Radcliffe in the role of Tim Jenkin. The film is scheduled to begin production on location in South Africa in early 2018, but you need not wait to get a detailed account of the escape, you can read Jenkin’s autobiography, Inside Out: Escape from Pretoria Central Prison, or view the existing documentary film, also titled, Escape from Pretoria.

Later in the interview, Jenkin describes his more recent efforts to demonstrate how people can make a similar escape from the bondage of political money and the global debt-money regime by means of a simple ledger system that records the value of what people give and receive from one another. His Community Exchange platform  currently hosts 921 local exchanges in 86 countries.


Categories: Blogs

What in the world is going on?

May 2, 2017 - 11:37

Here is a presentation titled, War and Peace in the Age of Trump, by former Congressman and Budget Director in the Reagan administration, David Stockman, in which he points out some “inconvenient facts” and explains “the warfare state” and the “false narratives” that it promotes to shape public opinion.

Among other things, Stockman point out that there is no existential threat to the United States that would justify the massive U.S. military-industrial-intelligence complex, the policy of regime change, and interventions in the Middle-east, Africa, and all around the world. Even the the recent acts of terrorism and the refugee crisis in Europe are blowback from the mayhem that the U.S. and NATO have been unleashing in those regions.

Edit: Paul Craig Roberts adds some further important details to the picture.


Categories: Blogs

2017 Spring Newsletter

April 4, 2017 - 12:17

In this edition

  • October 2016 Tour Report
  • 2017 June Workshop in Greece
  • Global monetary system is headed over the cliff—An Open letter to Jim Rickards
  • Solar Dollars
  • Geopolitics

__________________________________________
October 2016 Tour Report

During my October 2016 tour, I gave three presentations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and was a panelist at the Mitzas Festival in Sardinia, Italy. Two of the Malaysia presentations were at the International Forum on Inclusive Wealth, and the third was an extended presentation and discussion (on October 10) at the Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies titled, A World Without Money and Interest: A pathway toward social justice and economic equity. The latter can be seen in its entirety on YouTube at https://youtu.be/8BejigzDAVY. The audio only can be found here, and the slide show used in my talk can be viewed here.

__________________________________________
2017 June Workshop in Greece

It’s time to get on board for my 2017 summer workshop, Monetary and Financial Innovation for the New Economy. The workshop will run from 16 to 23 June, 2017 at the Alexandros campus of the Kalikalos Holistic Summer School on the beautiful Pelion peninsula in Greece. This is a chance to gain a deeper understanding of the principles of reciprocal exchange, basis of currency issuance and credit allocation, and to engage with like-minded peers to explore innovative designs and strategies for their implementation. All of this while enjoying gourmet quality vegetarian meals, fresh mountain air, and Aegean beaches at bargain prices.

I will again have the assistance of Matthew Slater, and there will be a guest appearance by Prof. Jem Bendell of Cumbria University (UK).

Space is limited so register now at http://www.kalikalos.com/community/x/exchange-finance-new-economy-thomas-greco/.

__________________________________________
Solar Dollars

 If you’ve so far missed hearing about it, you might want to have a look at my Solar Dollar white paper. It describes a way to create more liquidity in a local economy while at the same time providing incentives for a local utility company to generate and sell more energy from renewable sources. Solar Dollars are a win for the environment, a win for the utility company, and a win for the local economy. The implementation of a Solar Dollar currency will involve a partnership with an electric utility company somewhere and the support of local merchants, but by issuing Solar Dollars in the way that we prescribe, their value and general acceptability as a payment medium will be unquestioned. The full description can be found at https://beyondmoney.net/2016/08/26/solar-dollars-a-private-currency-with-multiple-benefits/.

One of my long-time colleagues in Germany was so impressed with the Solar Dollar proposal that he graciously took the trouble to translate the white paper into German. We’ve retitled the German version, Sonnen-taler (meaning “sun thaler,” the thaler being a silver coin that circulated in Europe for over 400 years and from which the word “dollar” is derived). That translated document, in Word format, can be found at http://beyondmoney.net/recent-articles/sonnen-taler/; the PDF version is at http://wp.me/a43RA-Kf.

___________________________________________________________
Global monetary system is headed over the cliff—An Open letter to Jim Rickards

Here is a letter I recently wrote to well-known author and investment advisor, Jim Rickards.

Hello Jim,

I’ve recently read your books, Currency Wars and The New Case for Gold. Your analysis of the global situation and financial instability are largely consistent with my own views, and your perspectives based on your high level contacts in government, banking and finance have been helpful.

I strongly agree with your conclusion that “the global monetary system is headed over the cliff” and that there seems to be, in “policy circles,” little cognizance of it or willingness to embrace solutions. Quite clearly, the control of money has enabled the centralization of power and concentration of wealth that is now reaching extreme proportions. That is why I have devoted most of my energies over the past 35 years to developing private, market-based, innovative systems for mediating reciprocal exchange and providing equitable and sustainable approaches to finance. I believe that reform of the global money system is not possible so we must create exchange mechanisms that do not involve banks nor require payment in dollars, euros, yen or any other political currency. There are established precedents that can be optimized and scaled up to eventually replace the present system that we agree is not sustainable.

In the face of imminent collapse of the global financial system it is not enough to try to preserve whatever wealth a few of us may already have, we must find ways to ameliorate the negative impacts of collapse and develop replacement systems before the crisis reaches the panic stage. The coming breakdown of global finance can also be the opportunity to install decentralized systems that are stable, sustainable, and work for the benefit of everyone. The most promising strategy in my opinion is to bring to market sound private and community currencies and to establish networks of direct credit-clearing circles that enable traders to create their own liquidity for themselves and their communities based on the real value of the goods and services they produce and sell.

Many such circles already exist in the form known as “Trade Exchanges” or “Barter Exchanges.” These enable businesses to trade with one another without using conventional money but instead by allocating sufficient credit to members within each circle to offset their purchases against their sales. So long as a business remains a member of the circle there is no need to settle their accounts provided that their balance remains within proper bounds and there is a reasonable flow through their accounts. One such trade exchange, The WIR Economic Circle Cooperative, founded in Switzerland in the midst of the Great Depression in 1934 as a self-help organization, has been operating successfully for more than 80 years (It is now called the WIR Bank and has added conventional banking services to its activities).

While your investment advice may be beneficial to the relative few who have a nest-egg to protect, survival in the face of chaotic breakdown of social, political, and financial structures (including markets), will require more comprehensive strategies based on cooperative, decentralized, peer-to-peer approaches to reciprocal exchange and finance. Are you willing to apply your significant abilities and resources to developing and implementing them? The very survival of civilization is at stake.

__________________________________________
Geopolitics

Snowden, the movie.

Snowden, the movie, is more than just another expose about government malfeasance. It is an alarm, sounding loud and clear that our government has gone far astray from its founding principles and Constitutional restraints. The story goes way beyond mass surveillance.

Read Brian Wright’s review here, watch Snowden’s 10 minute presentation at https://youtu.be/Fp1q2kv8zQw, then go see the movie, it’s entertaining as well as informative.

World War is Underway

Why is U.S. power being deployed to bring about regime change in so many countries, and to what end? Why is Russia being ring-fenced by the U.S. and NATO? Why is Putin being vilified in the media? Investigative journalist Robert Parry cuts through the propaganda machine to report significant unreported facts that reveal a much different picture. Do We Really Want Nuclear War with Russia? http://ccisf.org/really-want-nuclear-war-russia/

What’s at the root of the Syrian Crisis?

Leaked e-mails from the private US intelligence firm, Stratfor, revealed notes from a meeting with Pentagon officials which confirmed that as of 2011, US and UK special forces’ training of Syrian opposition forces was well underway. The goal then was to bring about the “collapse” of Assad’s regime “from within.” Read it here.

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

Having read his earlier work, I was eager to get my hands on John Perkins’ new version titled, The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. In this book, Perkins adds his voice to many others in demolishing the myth of the United States being the global champion promoting freedom and democracy throughout the world. Instead, he reports how the “Corporatocracy” has spread around the world using subtle methods of seduction and cooptation to persuade national leaders to lead their people into the debt trap from which they have no hope of escape; and when those methods fail to work, threats, intimidation, subversion and destabilization follow; and if those methods also fail, more overt military interventions are employed. Perkins recalls numerous well-know U.S.-led coups over the years, including the 1953 overthrow of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, in which the CIA has acknowledged its complicity; the 1954 overthrow of democratically elected President Jocobo Arbenz in Guatemala; the 1973 coup that deposed Chilean President Salvador Allende, as well as others. Reading this book will dispel any illusions you might still have about the purpose of more recent U. S. interventions in other sovereign countries. Besides providing a vast amount of information about the geo-political facts-of-life, Perkins’ story is deeply personal and as engaging as any well written spy novel.

______________________________________________________

Spring is the time when many forms of life emerge anew from their dormant state. The results of last November’s elections in the U.S. seem to have generated enough “heat” to stir Americans from their complacency about the state of our democracy. Let us hope that their actions will lead to better mutual understanding and cooperative actions that promote fundamental human values.

Thomas


Categories: Blogs

Recovery? What recovery?

March 20, 2017 - 12:59

Despite the happy talk coming out of Washington and New York about the supposed economic recovery, the present economic and political order remains on course toward self-destruction. I’ve said it over and over again that the fundamental flaw is the compound interest that is built into the global debt-money regime. The fact that virtually all money is created by banks that “lend” it into circulation at interest causes debts to grow faster and faster with the passage of time. A quick glance at the timeline for public and private debt makes this obvious.

Prof. Richard Wolff, in the video below, does not mention this debt-growth imperative, but he does a good job of explaining how the governments and the central banks managed to temporarily forestall total collapse following the 2008 financial crisis, and why their actions are failing to solve the basic problem of slack demand.

We need to look beyond economic ideologies to find ways of defusing the debt bomb which grows bigger and more deadly with every passing day. A shift toward innovative, interest-free, approaches to the exchange of value and the financing of enterprise development provides the most promising route toward a soft landing. See The End of Money and the Future of Civilization.


Categories: Blogs

Universal Basic Income, an idea whose time has come…again

March 1, 2017 - 10:35

In ancient Israel, Mosaic Law, in addition to the division of the land among the tribes and families, delineated several ingenious provisions to assure the welfare of all. Recognizing the tendency in organized societies for inequities to develop over time, it prescribed such measures as the sabbatical year, the jubilee year,  gleaning and the prohibition of usury. Some of these, in some form, were carried over into the Christian era, but over time mercantile and industrial demands overshadowed social concerns. The mid-twentieth century saw tremendous gains in productivity along with renewed demands by the laboring class and racial minorities for a more just distribution of the collective wealth, but over the past 35 years many of the social programs that were instituted by governments have been under systematic attack by powerful reactionary forces resulting in massive increases in the disparities of income and wealth. These disparities bring with them increased violence, crime, addiction, and deteriorating quality of life for all.

Now, with automation rapidly reducing the need for human labor, the separation of livelihood from jobs is becoming an obvious necessity.

Here below are two pertinent videos, and this article mentions a few places where basic income allowances are being tried.


Categories: Blogs

Kucinich: U.S. Intelligence community trying to undermine Trump, rekindle Cold War

February 23, 2017 - 10:41

In this Fox News interview, former Ohio Congressman and Presidential candidate, Dennis Kucinich, sounds the alarm that entrenched elements in the U.S. Intelligence community are working to undermine the Trump presidency and derail his attempts to normalize relations with Russia.

When you consider the economic and financial implications of peace, it makes complete sense that the military-industrial-banking complex would fight tooth and nail to stir up conflicts around the world, which is precisely what has been happening.

Whatever we might think of Trump as a man or as a President, the people must rally to support his efforts to cooperate with Russia in quelling the turmoil in Syria and the middle-east and move the world toward peace.


Categories: Blogs