The future of money

Last week El Hombre and I attended one of the open events of London School of Economics, for old times’ sake.

The event took place within the frame of the Festival of Ideas and Actions: RESIST. It was hosted by the LES Sociology Department and it was covering the meaning and impact of RESISTANCE within the academic research, the arts, activism campaigns, politicians and society in general. It hosted events of all sorts (movies, discussions, debates, exhibitions, music…) and was free and open to all.

festival-of-ideas-and-actions

We chose the roundtable discussion titled THE FUTURE of MONEY conducted by Nigel Dood, Head of the LSE Sociology Department and with the participation of different guests actively engaged with the development of new forms of money.

future-of-money-roundtable

The first guest was Duncan McCann, researcher and member of the New Economics Foundation. He introduced us into an ecosystem of currencies, a world of multicurrencies, in fact, where we should find the balance between diversity and resilience. So, which ones will be accepted? Not all can stay. He also sees future in the development of apps to manage that multicurrency world. So, entrepreneur, what are you waiting for?

The second participant presented the movement Positive Money, a democratic view on currency. She also explained to us how money is actually created in the UK: 97% of the money is electronic, it doesn’t really exist, and only 3% is cash, coins and notes circulating. The banks create money by making loans as well as debt. That is crazy (my humble opinion). And this is how we went into a crisis in 2008, remember? The best crisis indicator is private debt, and it’s currently growing. So, be aware.

The movement Positive Money is in favour of nationalising money creation, make it by a public organism, not by private banks, so there is real control on the how much money is circulating and what for. Their campaign slogan says it all: Create money for people, not financial markets. You can sign the petition here. And this video gives you a better idea.

They are aiming to create an open source space for researchers and general public to participate and have their say in how to do work on their goals.

The next project that we got to know was the Brixton poundThis currency was created in 2009 and it is complementary, not replacing, to the pound sterling, for use by independent local shops and traders in the area of Brixton, in London. It’s a support for the community and maintains the diversity of the high street in Brixton. This video can give you a better idea.

The Spice time bank also started as a community project and it consists in a system that works on an hour-for-hour basis: for every hour you give to your community you earn one Time Credit.

You can give time in many ways, matching your skills and interests and then spend your Time Credits within the same community, local activities or a diverse range of partners across the UK.

It’s a great concept and message, where you are valued for your time, not for your skills. Here a brief explanation.

The last project presented was Economy of hours, a time bank for business. And this is how it works.

echo

Seems and ideal system for freelancers and start-ups. Get working with Echoes.

Overall, a very enlightening discussion. Although I was already familiar with the time bank concept, the other sessions definitely opened my eyes to the diversity of currencies and ultimately the future of money. So yes, they stuck to the point. 🙂

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