" />
Building a world of
resilient communities.

MAIN LIST

 

Obols or No Balls

While policy-makers struggle to increase the flow of money in stagnant national economies they fail to see that it is not the quantity of the money that is the problem but its quality. The imperialist currencies of dollar and euro were designed to serve the interests of elites, so we should not be surprised that they do nothing to support the livelihoods of citizens of countries the world over. In The Ecology of Money, Richard Douthwaite suggested a sophisticated multi-layered currency world, where different types of money played different roles. Although ignored at the time, this may be just the sort of proposal we need now to resolve the crisis in the global economy, and particularly the crisis in the Eurozone.

The structural flaw with the Euro was always clear to economists: a single currency means a single interest rate, a single price for money across a number of diverse econonomies. The overheating, subsequent bust and unpayable debts in Greeece, Spain and Ireland were bound to result from such a system from the start. For this reason the UK Greens campaigned hard against the Euro proposal as soon as its design and inevitable consequences became clear. Our policy was to support the Euro as a common currency rather than a single currency, and a shift to such a policy remains a viable option for the Eurocrats now, enabling them to save face by claiming that the Euro can survive with its membership intact, while allowing the countries of the periphery to escape ongoing suffocation.

So Greeks would still be able to spend Euros, and the tourism industry, for example, might continue to accept them. But the Greek government would initiate a new currency for the purposes of running its national economy (I would suggest that they not call it the Drachma). Governments need a currency in which they accept taxes, and they need to have control over this currency, Greece could issue Obols to pay the salaries of public-sector workers, and accept the same for payment of taxes. This would immediately liberate the country from the death spiral it is currently enduring. Traders would prefer to have Euros, but a currency which you can use to pay your taxes always has an intrinsic value and would be accepted faute de mieux.

Meanwhile Greek citizens are already finding creative solutions to the desperate shortage of currency: they are creating their own.  The best known example is the TEM (an acronym from the initials of the Greek phrase 'local alternative unit') which circulates widely in the Greek town of Volos.  The currency is a typical example of a community or complementary currency, circulating within a defined local economy. This system, like many LETS schemes in the UK today is run entirely electronically. It has provided a lifeline to many Greeks for whom the Euro is now unattainable. Its success provides evidence of the need to end the national and now international monopoloy over money and shift to a pragmatic policy of creating a number of moneys appropriate to the role that money should play in the economy: facilitation rather than strangulation.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Sign up for regular Resilience bulletins direct to your email.

Take action!  

Find out more about Community Resilience. See our COMMUNITIES page
Start your own projects. See our RESOURCES page.
Help build resilience. DONATE NOW.

 

This is a community site and the discussion is moderated. The rules in brief: no personal abuse and no climate denial. Complete Guidelines.

Tags:  

Meet the Guy Corralling Billionaires to Fight Inequality

In 1986, at the age of 26, Chuck Collins, the great-grandson of meatpacking …

When Memes Fail Us

Yes, there has been a major electoral upheaval, and it seems there are many …

Cooperative and Common Ownership

What changes to the cooperative form would permit a better construction of …

The Great Deceleration

The 'Great Acceleration' of economic activity in the past 60 years has led …

New Zine Highlights the Solidarity Economy in St. Louis

It's hard to convey what the sharing movement is about without describing …

The Climate Crisis and Economic Policy Choices

A major issue in climate economics is whether it is possible to halt the …

Patterns of Commoning: Can Commoners Become Self-Aware of Their Collective Potential?

As the idea of patterns of commoning suggests, commons are not objects, but …