Published at Common Dreams - September 18, 2020
Amidst the ever-present threat of collapse, we need to find new ways to exchange goods and services with each other when money is scarce or unreliable. Time banks, for example, allow people to trade using time instead of money. Here in Central Vermont, the Onion River Exchange has been operating for over ten years. Such time banks have been flourishing all over the world.
The practice of business barter is not new: the Wir banking system in Switzerland, for instance, has been running a commercial barter currency for almost ninety years. It is easy for two contractors to trade with each other, but if a contractor wants to trade with someone who supplies agricultural amendments, Wir can help facilitate the transaction.
During the pandemic, mutual aid networks have blossomed all over the world. People have been pooling resources, volunteering time, and helping their neighbors through the crisis. What if these networks could be the foundation for basic income and provisioning for people without a reliance on money? Digital currency platforms like those developed by the Mutual Aid Network could help us accomplish that.
Special-purpose currencies also have an essential role to play in this rethinking of money and exchange. One of the beauties of special-purpose currencies is that we can value things according to what our community thinks are important instead of what the financial markets prefer. The arts can be supported through an arts currency; ecological practices can be supported with currencies based on carbon reductions, damage remediation, water conservation, and waste cleanup. Having different kinds of money for different kinds of transactions makes a lot more sense on a finite planet than the one-size-fits-all system we have now. ...
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See the full presentation at Fuller Academy