The key to a working concept is not to cling to established answers, but to justify all decisions in such an exact way that they can be challenged.
The MONEY 2.0 Source Questions are the very heart of MONEY 2.0 – anyone interested in alternative currencies, let alone running one, should read through them carefully. If shortcuts are avoided and logical conclusions aren’t overruled by arbitrary decisions, it becomes surprisingly obvious how little leeway there is for a full-blown money replacement that truly deserves the name.
All MONEY 2.0 Source Questions come with a list of possible answers. Each option is considered transparently, with the unfeasible ones grayed out. All selected answers include a detailed explanation that can be followed (and therefore challenged). The MONEY 2.0 concept is the result of this Q&A process. If you find any bugs, logical errors, or other design flaws, please submit your thoughts via the contact form.
In the present global financial system, all money is essentially issued by banks – it is created via loans, which are subject to a money utilization fee called “interest”. Through the effects of compound interest, the interest due in the overall system rises exponentially. To satisfy interest payments, all other system parameters – such as economic performance or resource consumption – need to grow to the same extent, which is, however, impossible in the long run. By design, the current financial system is therefore doomed to collapse.
On the way to collapse, the imperative of exponential growth inherent to our money system leads to the destruction of the human living environment. Furthermore, the exponentially growing interest payments result in an ever-increasing material redistribution, from those who create actual wealth by providing goods and services, to the providers of capital. This automatism not only violates fundamental human rights and democratic principles, but perverts real possibilities, personal values and life aims – thereby leading to severe consequences for both individuals and society as a whole.
QUESTION A: How can systematic redistribution and the imperative of exponential growth be eliminated?
OPTION 1: By completely abolishing the current money system
Most people today live in societies which are based on property. As is typical for these societies, the services and goods needed are obtained through trade. Likewise, specialization and division of labor, which are characteristic of modern societies, depend on the exchange of goods and services. Abolishing each and every medium of exchange without providing an alternative would therefore be difficult to achieve and also require a profound change in our social structures. Such a change, however, can hardly be decreed from above.
It is also rather unclear what such a transformed society should look like. The vision of a comprehensive gift economy, which is sometimes propagated as an alternative, seems hardly applicable to societies of today’s size and anonymity. Also, elements of gift economies are already a natural part of modern societies, which indicates that this mode of exchange isn’t necessarily antagonistic to money economies: The principles of a gift economy therefore don’t automatically eliminate the need for a medium of exchange.
OPTION 2: By implementing a complementary currency
If the goal is to solve fundamental problems which arise out of the current finance system, introducing mere parallel systems seems pointless, at least if this leads to a permanent coexistence with the system already in place. A permanent coexistence seems to be set in stone where a parallel system relies on the current system for vital functions, or depends on it in some other way in order to exist.
OPTION 3: By overcoming the current system through repair, further development or replacement
If one agrees that modern societies require a medium of exchange and acknowledges that this demand cannot be eliminated in the short term, the only constructive approach is to provide an improved medium of exchange which can be used instead of the current one, and which neither forces exponential growth, nor includes an inherent redistribution mechanism.
– To establish an independent money system that doesn’t require exponential growth and doesn’t automatically redistribute wealth from the providers of service to the lenders of capital.
QUESTION B: Who can implement an independent money system that doesn’t require systematic redistribution and exponential growth?
OPTION 1: A higher authority
The fact is that already the current financial system enjoys massive support from higher authorities: Even though banks are private institutions, the money they issue is established as the sole legal tender. Questionable bank practices have been legalized by the willing cooperation of legislators, and any attacks on the bank monopoly are consistently prosecuted within the framework of the current legal system. In the case of a crisis, on the other hand, the consequences for any mismanagement are settled by the government.
Certainly, those same authorities could also use their powers for an all-out repair of the system; that, however, would not only require their authority, but also the appropriate political will. Given that even the most recent “crises” have failed to bring about any noticeable change in the mindset of the relevant policymakers, it seems clear that we shouldn’t hold our breath – not, that is, if the imperative of exponential growth is regarded as an urgent problem that needs to be tackled anytime soon.
OPTION 2: The market participants
With no help from higher authorities and without the cooperation of those who control the current financial system, any hopes of repairing or further developing the existing structures are hardly realistic. Where outsiders have no access to the essential system parameters, however, the only remaining option is to completely replace the existing system with an alternative system.
To this end, market participants need to employ a bottom-up approach and establish a new system that works without special authorization. Something to bear in mind is that a system which isn’t dependent on the support by higher authorities must also be constructed in a way that it cannot be obstructed by them (or at least not as easily).
– To create an alternative money system that doesn’t require exponential growth, doesn’t automatically redistribute wealth from the providers of service to the lenders of capital, and doesn’t require a higher authority for implementation.
– To ensure that the alternative system is used instead of the current money system, therefore REPLACING it.
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