12 October 2008

Where from here?

Even though we are in the worst financial crisis in decades, it is still very seldom one comes across anyone who can actually see the big picture of what is going on, someone who dares looking at the long term and recognises the money system for what it is. Most people are oblivious to the mechanics of our financial system and its profound influence on human behaviour!

Here is one of the rare articles that clearly outlines the predicament we are in, and that also doesn't sink into doom and gloom, but actually points a way out! I've noticed that so far all solutions to the financial crisis that are being proposed aim to extend the life of the current system. All those solutions will ultimately fail, if we don't start looking outside the box.

The elephant in the middle of the room, that everyone keeps ignoring, is the mechanism of debt-based money with interest, that set in motion the need for an ever and exponentially growing economy. That means that ultimately all social, cultural, natural and any other capital will need to be converted into money, to feed the system. A good example is the creation of tradeable emission rights, where we even convert pollution into money and create yet another opportunity to make profit.

The system is is like an all-devouring monster on the loose. But the borrowing of new money to pay for old debts and interest cannot go on for ever. There are natural limits to growth on this planet. Sooner or later we have to face bankruptcy and collapse.

What are the solutions, what is the way out? The only solution that will ultimately work is to abolish the bank-run interest-incurring debt-money system. A partial solution could be to reform the money system and restore the ability of government to spend currency interest-free into circulation. But, looking at the wide spectrum of how trade and exchange can happen, it would probably be very wise to move away from a monocultural approach of "one currency rules the whole economy", to an approach of diversity, where a host of systems and currencies take care of balancing out all the giving and receiving that is constantly occurring.

The diversity of systems would include local currency systems as well as national and international systems running concurrently, alongside each other. Time banking and various forms of gift economies would offer even more freedom of choice for all participants in our society. This would provide for a smooth running of the economy, even if one particular system, as right now, is in deep crisis.

To restore the social and environmental damage that has been inflicted on the planet, many other accompanying improvements could be implemented, like taxing the 'bads' instead of the 'goods' (an ecological tax reform) and the restoration of the commons. There are probably quite a few other measures that need to be taken to restore balance in both the economy and in our relationship with the environment. In short: to create a balanced, sustainable and empowering economy - based on and respecting the living systems of our planet.