2013 – Goodbye

margrit+declanWe say goodbye to 2013 with a sad heart for the loss of Margrit Kennedy, who passed away on December 28.

Margrit was a great inspiration to me. In 2004, right after I had my brain blown by Bernard Lietaer’s The Future of Money, I attended the conference “Local Currencies in the 21st Century” and had my brain blown even more by my favorite speaker of the conference, Margrit Kennedy. I bought her book and gave my email address to her publisher to get notice whenever there was an English translation of the new book she had coming out with Bernard Lietaer.

Her influence in my life continued in a fortuitous way a few years later (2008). I was working the counter at my coffeehouse, Mother Fool’s, when a regular customer whom I’d never really talked with, Preston Austin, came up to the counter and said something to the effect of: “Banks shouldn’t be allowed to give mortgages.” and I said something like “No, the problem is interest. Let me go get you a book.” And I happened to have Margrit Kennedy’s Interest and Inflation-Free Money in the back office, and I loaned it to Preston. We then started a long and involved dialogue about complementary currencies that turned into our project Time For the World, which continues to unfold.

I got the chance to spent time with Margrit in February 2011 when I went to Europe for the International Conference on Community and Complementary Currencies in Lyon. I wrote to ask if she’d be willing to meet with me and she invited me to come to her ecovillage in Germany. She put me up in a lovely little guest apartment. I helped her make dinner (delicious, with a lot of food from the greenhouse surrounding their living space) and ate with her and her wonderful husband Declan. We met in her office and talked about the possibility of hosting a series of conferences in different parts of the world. We talked about all the synchronicity we’d each experienced and how we both felt that was a really good sign. She showed me around the permaculture garden they were creating there, and we shopped for food in the little ecovillage store where the cooperative economy happens the old fashioned way, with numbers in pencil in a ledger book. I did get the chance to let her know how her book had brought Preston and me together and how that had led to our Time For the World project, and the work that had brought me to Europe. A bit of synchronicity to enjoy.

The next bit of synchronicity that felt very lovely to me was when I got a call from John Rogers, while I was in New Orleans on my tour in 2011 – my first sharing economy + music tour after first having the notion during my New Orleans tour stop in 2009 on my way to speak at Economics of Peace. John was asking me if he could interview me for the new edition/English translation of Margrit Kennedy and Bernard Lietaer’s book, People Money, originally written in 2004. What an honor! And cool how things had looped around that way.

It’s hard to give words to how important Margrit Kennedy’s life and work were. She was a huge inspiration to many. She wrote really important analyses of money well before many others caught on, giving great clarity to the problems and, even better, the solutions – which she then helped pioneer.

I hope and trust that the legion of people inspired by Margrit Kennedy will do everything possible to bring her beautiful vision of the world to fruition. May she shine on in 2014 and beyond.

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