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‘People Money’

Have you already read it in our news section: the Spanish edition of People Money - The promise of regional currencies written by Margrit Kennedy, Bernard Lietaer and John Rogers was recently published. The Summer Foundation made the translation of this edition possible.


It was almost two years ago, shortly after the publication of the English edition, that we came upon this book and met one of its authors, John Rogers. That was during the international conference on community currencies in the summer of 2012 in The Hague; a conference organized by Leander Bindewald and others. Amidst the now considerable amount of literature on complementary currencies, this book drew our attention because of its legibility and thoroughness. Thanks to its distinct discussion of the topic it emphasizes the importance of complementary currencies while it also describes the experiences of dozens of different monetary systems all over the world.


Out of this book we selected four completely different complementary currency systems that we visited later in 2012 to study the different ways such systems can be set up.


What is money and how does it work, what money systems are possible and achievable? Boring questions? Not at all! The search for answers to these questions takes you into a fascinating world.


During our wanderings ‘through the world of money', we also came upon people who were looking for a way to build a society without money. And who doesn’t, on some days, sympathize with the idea of a ‘world without money’, especially when we see what power is connected with money and how it can work in practice.


But it is also true to realize that we cannot do without money. Not because owning or spending money should be a goal in itself, but because receiving and spending money fulfills needs and opens up possibilities. ‘Needs’, by which I mean the fact that every man needs a basic human existence - we should make money work in the way that everyone can meet those needs. And with ‘possibilities’ I mean working with human capabilities, talents and skills - we should make money work in the way that it unlocks that potential as fully as possible!


We need money. If it did not exist we should have to invent it immediately.

Invent money? How?

For those who are looking for answers to these questions, People Money is an instructive book. In fact, it is an instructive guide for setting up new money systems. It gives plausible reasons for this (for example, the flaws inherent in the 'normal' money system), ideas and educational experiences of others.


Because the ‘normal’ money system can be compared with a runaway horse that has escaped our leadership, it is to be welcomed that many people gain experience with different complementary currencies. These experiences will contribute to the awareness that a money system is something that people create themselves. Money does what people want it to do. It has the power or the opportunities that we connect with it.


Once enough people are aware of this, we will build a ‘normal’ money system wherein money will help in fulfilling needs and unlocking human possibilities and talents.


The ideal monetary system isn’t described in People Money. To give money its true functions, it is necessary to change things that lie outside of the money system itself: land, capital and means of production should never be sold, should have to be made “unsellable”, so no money can be spent on those things. This way the economy can focus on its real tasks: to provide for the material needs of man and to create the conditions under which people will be able to develop the full potential of their opportunities, skills and talents.


John Hogervorst

March 2015

John  |  2015 03 19  |  Permalink  |  Share


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