Who stands to benefit from a cashless society? What are the risks of the ongoing merger of big finance and big tech? Is a cashless future inevitable? Finance Watch invites you to discuss the digitalisation of money with Brett Scott, author of the book Cloud-money: Cash, Cards, Crypto and the War for our Wallets.

Cloud-money takes a hard look at the digital transformation of our financial system, revealing the forces behind this transition and pushing readers to question their role in it. Kate Raworth, author of Doughnut Economics says, it’s “a brilliant, fascinating and utterly accessible book… If you want to understand what money is – and what it is in danger of becoming – start right here.”

This lunch hour event will feature a presentation of the book’s key messages and give attendees the opportunity to ask questions during the follow-up discussion.

About the author

Brett Scott is an author (The Heretic’s Guide to Global Finance: Hacking the Future of Money), campaigner, monetary anthropologist and former derivatives broker. He has written extensively about digital finance, financial reform, alternative currencies and blockchain technology for major global outlets and regularly appears on TV shows, radio broadcasts and documentaries. He publishes the Altered States of Monetary Consciousness newsletter.

Register now.

“Complementary Currency Systems Bridging Communities”

27-29 October 2022, Sofia, Bulgaria

Organised by

  1. University of National and Word Economy:
    • Institute of Economics and Politics (UNWE, Sofia, Bulgaria)
    • Monetary and Economic Research Center (UNWE, Sofia, Bulgaria)
  2. Research Association on Monetary Innovation and Community and Complementary Currency Systems (RAMICS)
  3. New Bulgarian University (NBU, Sofia, Bulgaria)
  4. VUZF’s Laboratory for Applied Scientific Research (VUZF, Sofia, Bulgaria)

in partnerschip with monneta.org

More information and practical links here.

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“Complementary Currency Systems Bridging Communities”

27-29 October 2022, Sofia, Bulgaria

Organised by

  • University of National and Word Economy:
    • Institute of Economics and Politics (UNWE, Sofia, Bulgaria)
    • Monetary and Economic Research Center (UNWE, Sofia, Bulgaria)
  • Research Association on Monetary Innovation and Community and Complementary Currency Systems (RAMICS)
  • New Bulgarian University (NBU, Sofia, Bulgaria)
  • VUZF’s Laboratory for Applied Scientific Research (VUZF, Sofia, Bulgaria)

More information and call for papers here.

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Alternative Economic and Monetary Systems is an interdisciplinary summer school focusing on alternatives to the economic status quo: International participants deal with limits of growth, as well as the instabilities of our financial system. They learn why a drastic system change is necessary to reach the target of stabilizing the world climate at 1.5°C – and most importantly: they are presented with an array of innovative approaches!

The AEMS is an academic summer school and held in English.
In 2022, it takes place for the 9th time from July 18th to August 5th.

Target group

The AEMS summer school is open to students and professionals from all fields who strive to create a more just and green future. Are you looking for a unique educational program with a holistic approach to the topic? Then look no further! Scholarships available.

-> Apply here!

This article was published on our German site in September 2020. Now, in January 2022, we mourn the passing of Edgar Cahn, father of timebanking across the US, distinguished professor of law in Washington D.C. and most-valued and tireless advocate for social justice globally. Since this article calls for the idea of timebanking in times of crisis, we republish it in English now, as a tribute to Edgar Cahn’s work. Find his latest publication with his own take on timebanking in times of pandemics here.

Since March 2020 we have just witnessed such an astounding turn of events. Suddenly, a virus made health seem more important than the economy (at least for a while), even at government levels. Suddenly many of us had plenty of time at our hand, but were alone in our four walls. For many the questions was: What do I want to do with my time? How would I prefer to spend it? If it weren’t for the economic uncertainty, there would be something liberating about it. I can make good use of my time. No more traveling to work in rush-hour traffic. No time pressure from the work-schedule. No conforming to workplace conventions. Instead, the circle of friends and the neighborhood become more important – albeit restricted by the new distancing rules. Who can cut my hair when the hairdresser is closed? Who will care for the sick at home when hospitals are overloaded and visits risky? Who will help the elderly with shopping?

The corona crisis has taught us how important care services are as a foundation of our society. In families, it is usually taken for granted and raising children and caring for each other is hardly considered work. Parents give their children a lot of time – without expecting anything in return. This can also be called the gift economy. In any case, it is a basis of our society that deserves recognition, because without this donated time, there would be no people to do economics. Instead, the parents who worked at home during the corona lock-down are among the most disadvantaged, because they were alone and naturally overburdened with childcare “on the side”. Their experience shows that “home office” and “home schooling” cannot happen at the same time. How lucky were those who could ask grandparents for help, who have a garden. The closure of children’s playgrounds exacerbated social inequality.

One of the reasons the corona crisis has hit us so hard is because health care services are priced so poorly. And because working conditions have deteriorated for decades under the dictate of “economic efficiency” through austerity measures. Care needs more appreciation and better conditions – for children, the elderly and the sick – in other words, for all of us.

A good way to improve social exchanges in cities, communities and neighborhoods is through so-called timebanking or time-exchange systems. In these systems, people exchange their time on the basis of volunteered hours. One hour from me equals one hour from you. Everyone can volunteer hours and we all need people to help us – not only when we are sick. In time-exchange systems, voluntary work such as helping with homework, caring for the sick and elderly, giving somebody a life, repair work, cooking and childcare can be made visible and rewarded – without deepening the reaches of the monetised economy. And an increase in time being exchanged this way can document how the community is growing along with the trust between its members. In the end, its about more conviviality for all participants.

Of course, I would have done those hundreds of volunteer hours at my children’s schools anyway. But the possibility of an extra recognition through time-credits on my time-exchange account would have been an added benefit if I could redeem them later, when I require help myself and my children have moved to another city. For example, when carrying the groceries home or getting to my doctor’s appointment. With a time-exchange system it would be easier to ask for help, because I have “earned” it.

Who would ever thinks the corona epidemic was the last crises? We are probably only at the beginning of a longer economic crisis that will bring us many more financial crashes. The current crisis should make us aware that it is not the Euro, gold and Bitcoins that are the real source of wealth, but friends, family and a strong personal network.

Time-exchanges are not about the economisation of voluntary work or about charging for our precious time. No, it is about better collaboration, personal relationships and taking better care of our fellow human beings – together. Because the wealth of time is about quality – not quantity and not financial growth. A win-win for all – without profits.

Now is the right time to start such exchange systems, to demand government programmes in their favor and the adequate levels of data protection. This would promote social cohesion and community building, which are particularly difficult to achieve in times of corona-induced impositions of social distancing and contact restrictions. Exchange systems can perpetuate our willingness to help each other and cooperate peer-to-peer, nurture its potential and expand it into the future. For humanity. Time’s worth more when it is shared. And time-sharing systems show us that time is ultimately much more important than money. So let’s use our time better together!

More information about time-exchange systems on our website:

  • In-depth article on timebanking (CCIA 2015), and one about similar systems as part of our online course.
  • Monneta expert Stephanie Rearick has developed an integrated time exchange system “Human Aid Networks“. New groups anywhere are welcome!
  • More links to timebanking experts in the UK, the US and elsewhere (amongst other examples of complementary currency and monetary reform) can be found on our website under Examples and Initiatives.

 

Special Issue “Monetary Plurality and Crisis” in the Journal of Risk and Financial Management (JRFM)

 

In addition to our commitment to the implementation of innovative currency ideas and the ongoing educational work on money and monetary reforms, it is above all the academic treatment of these two fields of activity that will ultimately pave the way for a new monetary and economic order in the long term. Especially in the young scientific field of complementary currencies research, the linking of practice and science was considered from the beginning. Thus, since the early 2000s, the international conferences on this topic have seen themselves as a forum for both activists and academic researchers. Under the auspices of leading universities in France (2011) and the Netherlands (2013) these conferences lead to the establishment of RAMICS, the “Research Association on Monetary Innovation and Community and Complementary Currency Systems”, founded in 2015 during the conference in Brazil. Since then, the specialist journal IJCCR, which has been published since 1997, has also been taken under the wings of this association.

However, it takes time for a new field of research to establish itself, both in the academic discourse and institutions, and in the awareness of academics and students. Publications in one’s own circles help, but full recognition in the discourse of the scientific establishment cannot be fully achieved this way. Therefore, it is a great achievement to place the rather unknown topic of monetary diversity in a conventional and broad-based business journal such as the Journal of Risk and Financial Management. The recently completed special issue on “Monetary Diversity and Crisis”, made this possible. This has not only motivated established scholars to consider new topics and share their thoughts on monetary theory and the practice of complementary currencies, but it has also given young authors the opportunity to publish the results of their work.

To ensure that these articles are not only accessible to a specialist audience with access to institutional libraries, it is of particular value that this journal operates according to the “open access” principle. This means that every article can be viewed in full by anyone at any time, and downloaded free of charge. Since such an approach eliminates the retrospective funding of publishers via subscriptions and “pay per view” fees, their editorial effort and costs of publication are commonly be paid in advance by the author or their institution. Unfortunately, for young and independent scientists this is often an insurmountable financial hurdle, even for many scientific institutions outside the industrialized nations. Therefore, it was a stroke of luck that for this special issue we were able not only to gather the interest of the journal, but to gain the financial support of the editorial team’s organisation. The funding of most of the publishing fees, for articles that passed the rigorous scientific review process, were financed in equal parts by Prof. Georgina Gomez’s research group at the University of Rotterdam and monneta.

Most of the articles now published deal with the economic benefits of monetary diversity. These are examined, on the one hand from a theoretical, macroeconomic perspective (see the articles by Simmons et al. and Kuypers et al.), and secondly on the basis of practical local examples – supported by data from established complementary currencies such as the REC in Barcelona (see Martín Belmonte et al.), the Sardex in Italy (see Fleischmann et al. and Simmons et al.), the Chiemgauer in southern Germany (Zeller) and Sarafu in Kenya (Ussher et al. and Zeller).

Historical examples with parallel currencies are also examined (see Kokabian and Sotiropoulou), as well as lesser-known monetary practices such as the obligation clearing in Slovenia (see Fleischmann et al.). And beyond the economic advantages of complementary forms of currency, some articles examine more fundamental issues, such as the legal definitions of “money” and “currency” as a basis for a sustainable and more equitable monetary order (see Bindewald), the effects of profit-oriented creation of currency on the stability of the financial system (see Kuypers et al.), and the influence of economic inequality on the diffusion of innovations and the importance of cash (see Srouji).

What all these authors seems to have in common is that their research questions are formulated with a concern for social justice and ecological sustainability. The monetary innovations here examined are not evaluated solely in terms of their micro- or market-economic efficiency but are seen in the light of their contribution to a sustainable world.

[The author of this article is also co-editor of the special issue described, and author of one of the articles published therein.]

 

From November 5-7, the American Monetary Institute (AMI) will host the 2021 International Monetary Conference, which will consist of a series of Zoom events.

Register here.

The speakers’ list includes Laurence Kotlikoff, Miguel Ordóñez, Katharina Serafimova, Ahamed Kameel, Ronnie Phillips, Joseph Huber, Lilian Held-Kwaham, Richard Robbins, Tim Di Muzio, Sergio Rossi, Virginia Hammonand many more luminaries. The participation fee is $35.

There will be threeZOOM sessions starting Friday at 4 pm (Central Time US) and Saturday and Sunday at 9am, with a meal break midway each day. Each day willend in the early evening. The conference will utilise ZOOM, and the sessions will berecorded.

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More about the author Brett Scott on his website: https://alteredstatesof.money/