Socially Responsible Business Archive


The Emergence of Self-Organizing Systems of Exchange

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

Joseph Jaworski is the author of Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership. In a message today from the publisher announcing the second edition of the book, I noted the reference to Jaworski’s “Four Principles to Access the Source of Innovation.” Although I’ve not yet read the book, I did take a look at the blog entry that describes the principles.

This is an excerpt of what it says:

At the heart of what Joseph Jaworski discovered during this fifteen-year journey as a way to understand and access the Source of wisdom and creativity – the place from which profound innovation flows – are these four principles:

1. There is an open and emergent quality to the universe; a group of simple components can suddenly re-emerge at a higher level of self-organization as a new entity with new properties.

2. The universe is a domain of undivided wholeness; both the material world and consciousness are parts of the same undivided whole.

3. There is a creative Source of infinite potential enfolded in the manifest universe; connection to this Source leads to the emergence of new realities.

4. Humans can learn to draw from the infinite potential of the Source by choosing to follow a disciplined path toward self-realization and love, the most powerful energy in the universe. The words of philosopher Pierre Telihard de Chardin speak well to this principle. “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides, and gravity, we shall harness the energies of love and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”

Perhaps you own experience, like mine, will attest to the truth inherent in those principles.

I was particularly struck by the first principle and the statement that, a group of simple components can suddenly re-emerge at a higher level of self-organization as a new entity with new properties. This is highly relevant to the transition process that is currently underway in the world, especially the reinvention of money. In Chapter 17 of my book, The End of Money.., I describe the four basic elements required for A Complete Web-Based Trading Platform. These elements are:

1. A marketplace

2. A social network

3. A means of payment

4. A measure of value or pricing unit

These components are indeed “re-emerging” (based on our changing collective consciousness) “at a higher level of self-organization.” We are seeing more widespread recognition that:

  • money is nothing but a systems of accounting for credits and debits,
  • that it is the people’s collective credit that supports every national currency and payment medium,
  • that the creation of money based on interest-bearing debt requires continual expansion of debt, which drives economic growth that has become dysfunctional and destructive,
  • that we no longer need to depend upon banking wizardry to provide the monetary and financial means for exchanging goods and services and actualizing our productive capacity.

We now have many web-based marketplaces and social networks, numerous private currencies and payment systems that use direct credit clearing, and increasing recognition that there is an urgent need for a measure of value that is independent of any fiat currency or central bank.

As I pointed out in my chapter, there are a number of “disruptive technologies” that are emerging to completely change the nature of money and banking. These are:

  • Direct credit-clearing among buyers and sellers
  • The use of the Internet to create Web-based marketplaces
  • Transparency in Web-based accounting, information, and exchange systems
  • Strong identity verification
  • Secure encryption of information over the Internet
  • Social networking
  • Reputation ratings of vendors and buyers that are continually updated and available on-demand
  • The reemergence of mutual companies, co-responsibility, and localized Web-based markets

“It is not any of these individually but all of them in combination that will, I believe, result in structures that will provide superior performance in mediating the exchange process. Worsening economic and financial conditions, such as those experienced in 2007 and 2008, will create enhanced market opportunities for this sort of nonpolitical trading platform, and will assure their eventual implementation and wide acceptance.”

Read the original post on Beyond Money.

endofmoney Thomas Greco is the author of The End of Money and the Future of Civilization.

Coping, Caring, and Building Community

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

As the financial and economic ground continues to shift beneath our feet, it becomes ever more imperative that we reduce our dependence upon the institutions and structures that we have come to depend upon and take for granted. The financial tsunami of 2008 and the continuing aftershocks should be a wakeup call. The sock markets may be up (for now), but that should not be taken as comforting evidence that everything is “getting back to normal.” As billionaire financier George Soros said in his recent book, “This crisis …has brought the entire [financial] system to the brink of a breakdown, and it is being contained only with the greatest difficulty. This will have far reaching consequences. It is not business as usual but the end of an era.” (The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Crash of 2008 and What it Means. p. 81).

The total outstanding credit for ll sectors in the U.S. economy was 160% GDP in 1929, 260% in 1932. By comparison, we entered the 2008 crash at 365%, and Soros believes this will rise to about 500% of GDP within the next few years.

What seems to be in prospects for the foreseeable future for the vast majority of people in the developed world, especially the United States, is diminished purchasing power. This the result of simultaneous trends of underemployment or unemployment, rising prices of basic necessities due to currency debasement (inflation), and systematic attacks on the middle-class by the political establishment.

How do we cope with all of that? It is, of course, as the proverb says, both a challenge and an opportunity. I have suggested before that society is on the verge of metamorphic change that offers the promise of a more peaceful and harmonious world in which basic needs are met and everyone has the opportunity to realize their fullest potential. But it will take the right kind of action to make that vision a reality. It will require that we take sharing and cooperation to new levels, and that we create new structures that can serve the common good. An essential part of that is building community.

On that score, I take inspiration from Richard Flyer and the Conscious Community Network. Richard recently posted a list of 37 ways to build community. No Act is Too Small! You can click on that link to learn more, but I have extracted the 37 ways here for your convenience. I’m sure Richard won’t mind.—t.h.g.

1. A smile and a wave will go a long way.

2. Each morning, ask where you can make a difference.

3. Find the good in others instead of their faults – start in your home and on your street.

4. Become aware of hidden needs on your street – isolated seniors;

youth needing mentors, single parents; etc.

5. Start a community garden.

6. Practice forgiveness.

7. Surprise a new neighbor by making a favorite dinner – and include the recipe.

8. Slow down and enjoy the present moment.

9. Don’t gossip.

10. Start a monthly tea group.

11. Play cards with friends and neighbors.

11. Start a babysitting cooperative.

12. Form a group of neighbors to walk their dogs together.

13. Seek to understand.

14. Start a carpool.

15. Have family dinners and read to your children.

16. If you grow tomatoes, plant extra for a lonely elder who lives nearby – better yet, ask him/her to teach you and others to can the extras.

17. Turn off the TV, Play Station, PSP, and talk with family, friends, and neighbors.

18. Bless your food with gratitude.

19. Know that love is not a feeling but a courageous choice.

20. Ask neighbors for help and reciprocate.

21. Talk to your children or parents about how their day went.

22. Say hello to strangers.

23. Create a neighborhood newsletter.

24. Organize a neighborhood clean-up.

25. Be a model and demonstrate the virtues you want to see in the world.

26. Be a peacemaker.

27. Talk to the mail carrier.

28. Shoot some ‘hoops with neighbor children.

29. Support local merchants.

30. Speak kindly and listen carefully

31. Hire young people for odd jobs.

32. Form a tool cooperative with neighbors and share ladders, rakes, snow blowers, etc.

33. Grow your own food.

34. Be real. Be humble. Be respectful.

35. Offer to watch your neighbor’s home or apartment while they are away

36. Be of service to all.

37. Go to http://www.consciouscommunity-reno.org/ to share your stories.

Adapted from http://bettertogether.org.

Read the original post at Beyond Money.

endofmoney Thomas Greco is the author of The End of Money and the Future of Civilization.

The Great Unraveling—Entering Stage Two

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

There has been very little recognition of the Debt/Growth Imperative that is built into our global system of money, banking, and finance. As I have been preaching for many years, the creation of money as interest-bearing debt requires that indebtedness, in either the private sector or the public sector, must be continually increased at an accelerating rate in order for the system to continue to function. When the private sector is fully “loaned up,” government must step in as “the borrower of last resort.” That was clearly manifested in the latest bubble-bust cycle with the massive bank bailouts and the assumption by governments of enormous amounts of their “toxic debt.”

The aggregate debt burden is destined to ultimately become unbearable, and no amount of government or central bank intervention can save this flawed system (such is the nature of exponential growth). The fiscal crisis that is now confronting national governments around the world signals the imminent collapse. How that will play out is difficult to assess, but it behoove us to use our available resources to enhance the resilience of our communities and build new systems that can be relied on to provide the things we need in order to thrive and build a world that works for all.

One prominent commentator who “gets it” is Chris Martenson. His recent observations (below) are worth considering.—t.h.g.

The Breakdown Draws Near

Tuesday, April 19, 2011, 12:22 pm, by Chris Martenson

Things are certainly speeding up, and it is my conclusion that we are not more than a year away from the next major financial and economic disruption.

Alas, predictions are tricky, especially about the future (credit: Yogi Berra), but here’s why I am convinced that the next big break is drawing near.

In order for the financial system to operate, it needs continual debt expansion and servicing. Both are important. If either is missing, then catastrophe can strike at any time. And by ‘catastrophe’ I mean big institutions and countries transiting from a state of insolvency into outright bankruptcy. [emphasis added]

In a recent article, I noted that the IMF had added up the financing needs of the advanced economies and come to the startling conclusion that the combination of maturing and new debt issuances came to more than a quarter of their combined economies over the next year. A quarter!

I also noted that this was just the sovereign debt, and that state, personal, and corporate debt were additive to the overall amount of financing needed this next year. Adding another dab of color to the picture, the IMF has now added bank refinancing to the tableau, and it’s an unhealthy shade of red: Banks face $3.6 trillion “wall” of maturing debt: IMF

Read the rest of Martenson’s post here.

Read the original post on Beyond Money.

endofmoney Thomas Greco is the author of The End of Money and the Future of Civilization.

Money and Oil: The agenda in Libya becomes more evident

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

I hadn’t noticed it before, but on March 22, Bloomberg reported that, Libyan Rebel Council Forms Oil Company to Replace Qaddafi’s.

Well, we’ve grown to expect things like that. The more interesting development reported in the article was this:

The Council also said it “designated the Central Bank of Benghazi as a monetary authority competent in monetary policies in Libya and the appointment of a governor to the Central Bank of Libya, with a temporary headquarters in Benghazi.”

Amazing! Grab the oil and grab control of the money machine.

For some interesting commentary on these developments read this article: America’s true reason for attacking Libya becomes clear with new central bank, , and this article: Wow That Was Fast! Libyan Rebels Have Already Established A New Central Bank Of Libya.

Read the original article on Beyond Money.

endofmoney Thomas Greco is the author of The End of Money and the Future of Civilization.

Stop Chasing the Buck and Change Your Luck

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Cashless trading based on credit clearing is moving into its next stage of development, the optimization and scale-up stage.

Established groups and associations are beginning to recognize the importance and urgency of disengaging from conventional structures of money and banking, reclaiming “the credit commons,” and reorganizing the exchange of value under local community control. One such association is Green America, formerly known as Coop America, which has recently established  The Green America Exchange  as a way of offering cashless trading opportunities to members of their Green Business Network.

GAEx uses the GETS trading platform which has been developed by Richard Logie, a long-time commercial trade exchange operator and leader in the industry. While the GETS software is proprietary, it seems to have the functionality needed for cashless trading within the exchange. According to Logie, the platform also has the capability needed for networking similar exchanges together into a larger more widespread trading community.

In response to a request from the Green America administration I’ve written the following article for posting (in four parts) on the Green America Exchange blog. For your convenience, I’ve also posted it below.–t.h.g.

Stop Chasing the Buck and Change Your Luck

Thomas H. Greco, Jr.

Most small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) these days are having a hard time financially–sales are down, costs are up, and bank credit is unavailable, all of which is symptomatic of the stagflation that besets the American economy.

Our present predicament is no accident of nature, nor is it a temporary condition; it is the expected result of a flawed system of money, banking and finance. We have allowed the banks to control our credit and charge us interest for the “privilege” of accessing some of it as bank “loans.” The fact is that the dollar regime, like every other political currency, collectivizes credit. It is the people’s collective credit that supports each national currency, but the allocation of that credit is determined by forces beyond popular control, and an inordinate proportion of it is used to fund the war machine and to enrich corporate fat cats, all to the detriment of peace, equity, and the common good.

But we need not be victims of a system that is so obviously failing us. We can learn to play a different game. It is possible to organize an entirely new structure of money, banking, and finance, one that is interest-free, decentralized, and controlled, not by banks or central governments, but by businesses and individuals that associate and organize themselves into cashless trading networks. This is a way to reclaim “the credit commons” from monopoly control and create healthy community economies that can enhance the quality of life for all.

In brief, any group of traders can organize to allocate their own collective credit amongst themselves, interest-free. This is merely an extension of the common business practice of selling on open account—“I’ll ship you the goods now and you can pay me later,” except it is organized, not on a bilateral basis, but within a community of many buyers and sellers. Done on a large enough scale that includes a sufficiently broad range of goods and services, such systems can avoid the dysfunctions inherent in conventional money and banking and open the way to more harmonious and mutually beneficial trading relationships that enable the emergence of sustainable economies and promote the common good—a true economic democracy.

This approach is no pie-in-the-sky pipedream, it is proven and well established. Known as mutual credit clearing, it is a process that is used by scores of commercial “barter” companies around the world to provide cashless trading for their business members. In this process, the things you sell pay for the things you buy without using money as an intermediate exchange medium. Instead of chasing dollars, you use what you have to pay for what you need. It’s as simple as that. Unlike traditional barter, which depends upon a coincidence of wants and needs between two traders who each have something the other wants, mutual credit clearing provides an accounting for trade credits, a sort of internal currency, that allows traders to sell to some members and buy from others. According to the International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA), a major trade association for the industry, “IRTA Member companies using the ‘Modern Trade and Barter’ process, made it possible for over 400,000 companies World Wide to utilize their excess business capacities and underperforming assets, to earn an estimated $12 billion dollars in previously lost and wasted revenues.”

Perhaps the best example of a credit clearing exchange that has been successful over a long period of time is the WIR Economic Circle Cooperative. Founded in Switzerland as a self-help organization in the midst of the Great Depression (1934), WIR provided a means for its members to continue to buy and sell to one another despite a shortage of Swiss francs in circulation. Over the past three quarters of a century, in good times and bad, WIR (now known as the WIR Bank) has continued to thrive. Its more than 60,000 members throughout Switzerland trade about $2 billion worth of goods and services annually.

Now the Green Business Network of Green America, is offering that kind of opportunity to its membership through Green America Exchange, GAEx. While still in the formative stages, Green America Exchange has the potential to become, not merely a lifeboat for SMEs in difficult times, but a model for a new paradigm in business.

The challenge for any network, of course, is to achieve sufficient scale to make it useful. The bigger the network, the more opportunities it provides for cashless trades to be made. In the early stages, it may require some help to find those opportunities, but as the members discover each other and become aware of what each has to offer, the value proposition becomes ever more evident and more businesses are attracted to it. Like Facebook, Twitter, My Space and other networks that are purely social, cashless trading networks will eventually grow exponentially –and that will mark a revolutionary shift in political as well as economic empowerment. It will be a quiet and peaceful revolution brought on, not by street demonstrations or by petitioning politicians who serve different masters, but by working together to use the power that is already ours—to apply the resources we have to support each other’s productivity and to give credit where credit is due.

Through participation in an exchange network that is open, transparent and democratic members enjoy the benefits of:

  • A reliable and friendly source of credit that is interest-free and community controlled.
  • Less need for scarce dollars.
  • Increased sales.
  • A loyal customer base.
  • Reliable suppliers.

What will it take to make mutual credit clearing networks go viral the way social networks have? That is the key question, the answer to which has heretofore remained elusive. While the WIR has been an obvious success, it seems to have been intentionally constrained and prevented from spreading beyond Swiss borders, and while commercial “barter” has been significant and growing steadily, it is still tiny in relation to the totality of economic activity.

As they are operated today, commercial trade exchanges are self-limiting and typically impose significant burdens upon their members. These include onerous fees for participation, exclusive memberships, limited scale and range of available goods and services within each exchange, the use of proprietary software, and insufficient standardization of operations which limits the ability of members of one trade exchange to trade with members of other exchanges.

Virtually all commercial trade exchanges are small, local, and operated as for-profit businesses. Small scale, local control, and independent enterprise are all desirable characteristics, but when it comes to exchanging valuable goods and services, something more is needed. What the world needs now is a means of payment that is locally controlled but globally useful.

Here are the things that I think are needed for cashless trading based on mutual credit clearing to go viral:

  1. Members need to offer to the network, not only their slow moving merchandise and luxury services, but their full range of goods and services at their usual prices. This will assure the value of the internal trade credits and make them truly useful.
  2. Like any “common carrier,” trade exchanges should make membership open to all with little qualification.
  3. Lines of credit (the overdraft privilege) must be determined according to each member’s ability and willingness to reciprocate, measured for example, by her record of sales into the network.
  4. Trade exchanges must be operated for and by the members in a way that is transparent and responsive.
  5. Members must exercise their duties to provide proper oversight and supervision of those assigned to manage the exchange.

As soon as there is a model exchange that has mastered these dimensions of design and operation, its success will inspire others to follow suit and the rapid growth phase will begin, leading eventually to an internet-like global trading network that will make money obsolete. Perhaps Green America Exchange will become that model.

Read the original post on Beyond Money.

endofmoney Thomas Greco is the author of The End of Money and the Future of Civilization.

The Banker’s Con Job, MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan Gets It, Sort Of.

Monday, April 4th, 2011

With the thievery becoming so blatant, even the mainstream media can no longer ignore it. Some reporters are actually beginning to understand how the con job works. In this video Ratigan takes a shot at explaining it.

Yes, bankers run the government, yes, the Federal Reserve is a private company operated by and for the banking establishment, yes, they are robbing us blind by means of their control of the money creation process.

The thing that almost no one understands yet is the fundamental flaw in the system, which is the creation of money on the basis of interest-bearing debt loaned to individuals, businesses, and governments.   The interest burden creates the necessity of ever-expanding debt so that the money supply does not collapse, hence, the dot-com bubble, the real estate bubble, and every other financial bubble throughout our history. That debt imperative gives rise to a growth imperative, which drives artificial growth of the economy, resource consumption, and virtually everything else, for that matter.

Don’t believe it? Well, just look at the empirical evidence. The phenomenon I describe is clearly seen in the worldwide debt statistics of the past several decades. We’ve reached the point of no return.–t.h.g.

Read the original post on Beyond Money.

endofmoney Thomas Greco is the author of The End of Money and the Future of Civilization.

What Happened to Class War in America?

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Back in December of last year, I posted an item titled, Class war in America: Senator Bernie Sanders tells it as it is, which included an embedded YouTube video of his speech. For some reason, that video has been removed; I can only speculate about the reason. Nevertheless, it still resides somewhere in cyberspace. Here’s a site to try:

http://dailyhurricane.com/2010/12/senator-sanders-on-the-class-war.html

If it disappears from that site, please let me know and search for it elsewhere. This speech is so important that I’m urging everyone to watch it, download it, and spread it around.

Try downloading it here: Sanders on class war

Hard as it is to face, class war is the reality in America today. Far from the American traditions of freedom, fairness, and opportunity for all, we must come to grips with the fact of this decades-long attack on the middle class.

We have the power to succeed in realizing the American dream by taking responsibility, by asserting our inalienable rights, by learning to share, cooperate, and organize on behalf of the common good. –t.h.g.

Read the original post on Beyond Money.

endofmoney Thomas Greco is the author of The End of Money and the Future of Civilization.

Monetary Reformer Convicted in Liberty Dollar Case

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

According to an FBI press release dated March 18, 2011, Bernard von NotHaus, 67, founder of NORFED and creator of the Liberty Dollar silver coin, has been convicted by a federal jury of “making, possessing, and selling his own coins.” The conviction of von Nothaus demonstrates just how far through the looking glass we have gone. According to the US government, anyone who advocates monetary reform (or any sort of government reform) may be a “terrorist.”

Here is a chilling quote from the FBI press release:

“Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism,” U.S. Attorney Tompkins said in announcing the verdict. “While these forms of anti-government activities do not involve violence, they are every bit as insidious and represent a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country,” she added. “We are determined to meet these threats through infiltration, disruption, and dismantling of organizations which seek to challenge the legitimacy of our democratic form of government.”

It is evident that Ms. Tompkins has no idea what “legitimate currency” is, or that what she purports to be protecting is anything but “our democratic form of government.” The actual situation is well stated by J. Neil Schulman in his recent post at Rational Review:

“If there is such a thing as economic terrorism, it has been conducted without punishment by the financial elites who own and operate the Federal Reserve Bank. For the Department of Justice of the United States to overlook this mega-crime and prosecute a man whose goal was to enforce the law as written in the Constitution they have taken an oath to obey is an obscene reversal of fact and language. If there is such a thing as economic terrorism, the Federal Reserve is the economic equivalent of al-Qaeda, and its ravaging of the economy is the 9/11 of U.S. economic history.” (03/22/11)

This case is far from settled, and will hopefully serve to revive the political debate about money and finance, and ultimately advance the cause of free money and free banking.

By the way, Glenn beck will plug G. Edward Griffin’s book, The Creature from Jekyll Island, on Friday 2011 March 25. The entire Glenn Beck show that day will be devoted to an exposé of the Federal Reserve. The Glen Beck program is aired weekdays on Fox News at 5 PM Eastern time. –t.h.g.

Read the original post on Beyond Money.

endofmoney Thomas Greco is the author of The End of Money and the Future of Civilization.

Currency Speculation and Arbitrage

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

For anyone who is confused about foreign exchange rates and speculation (which I think includes almost everyone), here is a clear explanation provided by Prof. Dr. Ahamed Kameel Mydin Meera of the International Islamic University of Malaysia. He explains it in relation to the 1997 East Asian Crisis that was brought on by speculative attacks (manipulation) on several Asian currencies.–t.h.g.

Read the original post on Beyond Money.

endofmoney Thomas Greco is the author of The End of Money and the Future of Civilization.

A serious message from the bees?

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Bees do a lot more than provide us with a sweet treat. Most of our food supply depends on bees for pollination, yet we are inadvertently killing them. Colony collapse has become a major threat to our food supply. Monoculture and widespread use of pesticides are probably not sustainable. Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us?,  is a new award-winning film that tells this important story.

Watch the trailer.

Read the original post on Tom's News and Views.

endofmoney Thomas Greco is the author of The End of Money and the Future of Civilization.