Thursday, May 16, 2013

A call for private currency

Modern governments are gung ho to privatize just about everything they can lay their hands on these days.  In the '80s, the Thatcher government was busy selling the utilities.  Her successor sold the railways. Here in Canada we've begun to open up the phone services to competition and have sold the national airline.  And in the states there are experiments to privatize the prisons, the police force and much of the military.

One thing that has remained stubbornly in the public domain is the currency. And by this, I don't mean the creation of money, which now too, is largely in the private sector.  I mean the currency itself.  If we are not happy with our dollar and what it buys and its value (which, after all, is nothing--it's just a piece of paper, or in these times a blip in some computer data bank somewhere), why shouldn't we exchange it for another one, or for that matter for a Canadian Franc, or Dragma or Schekel or Pound or Ob or Guinea or whatever it is that the backer decides to call it?

Lets face it, competition for the bank conglomerates is sorely needed.  These days, because of fees, abysimally low interest rates and other factors, if your net worth isn't close to a cool million, you're better off keeping your money in your shoe.  And as the WikiLeaks debacle proves (in addition to the fact that freedom of the press is a convenient myth) the banks now wield an excessive amount of power.

What we need is a new standard of value.  If the "Occupy" Movement is really serious about achieving its goals, two things need to be done.

The first thing that we need to do is organize a general strike.  Nobody does any work, and by work I mean any revenue-generating activity. I'm not saying we need to go hungry.  You can do anything you want to, as long as it doesn't involve cash.  So for instance, you can bring your neighbours food or fix their cars for them and so on.

It is now well understood how fiat currency created primarily through debt helps concentrate wealth in the hands of the few--primarily those who already have control over a considerable amount of wealth.  The more the wealth is concentrated, the more control the global elite ultimately possess.  This paper shows just how concentrated that power has now become. So the second thing the Occupy Movement needs--and this compliments the first--is a new standard of value. Not necessarily currency since any new currency will be in immanent danger of being usurped for the purposes of control by an elite few just like what has happened to the existing currency.

My own vision for a better society and a better system of distribution ("market") is simple. We just need a clearing-house or bulletin board for work that needs to be done and goods that need to be distributed, whether for ourselves or for our neighbours. Sort of like Craigslist except everything in the want-ads is free. If I am free and I possess the skills, then I can do one of the tasks. Likewise, if my neighbour is free, he can come do one of the tasks I've posted on the board.  If I have some spare bread that I need to get rid of, I just post it on the board.

Here is a book that discusses strategies for alternative currency.  I think it is one of the most important books written in recent times.

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