Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne: public talk and workshop on Rethinking Money

We are pleased to announce that on Friday, March 29th at 7pm Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne will be in town to give a free, public talk as part of the tour for their new book, Rethinking Money. The talk, sponsored by the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, the Dane County TimeBank, and Time For the World, will take place at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at 7pm.

Rethinking Money points out that there is a way, in fact a thousand ways, to stop our current juggernaut towards global self-destruction. There is a system of solutions already in place in localities throughout the world where terrible problems have existed.  The changes came about, not through the redistribution of wealth, increased conventional taxation, bond measures or enlightened self-interest from corporate entities, but rather, by people simply rethinking the concept of money.  With that restructuring, everything changed.

Leitaer and Dunn offer remedies for Government, Business and Entrepreneurship, NGOs and the Civil Society, and the private citizen. The book also presents clear validation, speaking plainly and directly to general interest readers. This work promises to strike a deep chord with audiences eager to find meaningful, thought-provoking answers.

The following day, Lietaer and Dunn will lead an in-depth workshop on how we can achieve local resilience by developing and expanding on current efforts. The workshop will be held in the US Bank Conference Room at 1 South Pinckney Street, from 10am to 4pm. To register for the workshop, please visit Registration is free and optional, but it will help us plan appropriately.

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Bernard Lietaer is an international expert in the design and implementation of currency systems. He co-designed and implemented the convergence mechanism to the single European currency system (the Euro) and served as president of the Electronic Payment System at the National Bank of Belgium (the Belgian Central Bank). He co-founded and managed GaiaCorp, a top performing currency fund whose profits funded investments in environmental projects. A former professor of International Finance at the University of Louvain, he is currently a Research Fellow at the Center for Sustainable Resources of the University of California at Berkeley.

Jacqui Dunne is an award-winning journalist from Ireland, founder and CEO of Danu Resource, and an emerging leader in helping entrepreneurs develop technologies and initiatives that restore the earth’s equilibrium globally. The company serves as a fiscal agent for funding, and works as the interface between the donors and the projects. Danu’s unique value is its ability to work from a future reference point that draws out the greatness, and builds upon the strengths, of both the donor and the recipient, thus creating a flourishing paradigm shift for a quadruple bottom-line –people, planet, profits and power within.

Our abstract for the Hague

As Steph announced below, our abstract was accepted at the 2nd International Conference on Complementary Currency Systems in the Hague in June. For anyone interested, here’s the abstract we submitted. It builds upon the paper we presented in Lyon back in 2011 while laying out our basis for the community experiments we’re preparing to instigate:

Previously we offered a trophic model for thinking about the relationship between different types of currencies and exchange mechanisms and how currencies assist and hinder the recognition of value and wealth. In our model, different currencies express unique perspectives on that which is valuable to an entity, such as how the rabbit values the carbohydrates found in the grass while the wolf values the proteins found in the rabbit. The protein may be more energetically powerful and rare than the carbohydrate, but the former cannot exist without the latter. In its turn, the carbohydrate cannot exist without the abundance of sunlight which the plant uses in their production. The scarce is the outcome of the abundant and cannot exist without it. Wealth, then, is that which is collected and aggregated on the basis of individual identification of what is valuable. Value itself transcends any individual definition and exists as an imminent potential. Through our model we assert that an economic system may be understood and empowered by recognizing that currencies like the dollar, apex species in our model, occur on the basis of a vibrant ecology of different forms of exchange and relation. Community development should be focused on the expression of potential rather than the measurement of dollars. We have since developed our model further, in part to address concerns of how to put our ideas into practice. Thus, we offer a variant which operates outside of spatial definitions of currency — local, national, supranational — to instead consider intermediary objects that we think of as currency: time, grain, gold, and so forth. We suggest in part that our common error to think of gold or other scarce commodities as symbolic of money itself, rather than as a type within an ecology, leads us to create alternatives set up to fail. By modeling community currencies off national currencies we are effectively putting a wolf on a leash and expecting it to compete with those running wild. Instead, we suggest that community currencies need to embody a different set of properties such as are expressed through grain, time, gift, and the commons — currencies which decay and replenish, not those which persist and require us to decay in their stead. More, we need to recognize the fundamental differences between these money objects and how they represent, and fail to represent, knowledge that we have of each other and our communities. The jaundiced money and debt of empire, predicated on distrust, has little place in our communities and homes. In addition, as we seek to address questions of community renewal, we need to recognize that our immediate answers are not of economics but of the types of societies in which we desire to live. The economic question follows from the social question. Through the Time For the World project, we are currently developing a distributed experiment in community production to test and investigate these ideas. Our paper will document outcomes and launch our model for large-scale dissemination and replication.

Now we just need to write it!

Time For the World proposal version 2

Our most recent funding proposal offers the current best expression of our direction and goals for the Time For the World project. We want to share it with you to let you know what all we’re up to and for help and outreach as we seek out the resources that can help us complete it. Please take a look,  tell us what you think, and pass it around. We can’t do this without you.


Deploying Time Banking for Human-Scaled Economic Development: Video

In February we gave a presentation at the International Conference on Community and Complementary Currencies in Lyon, France. Here is video and our slideshow from that presentation. Let us know what you think! We continue to build on and advance on this work as part of the project.

It is best viewed full screen.

Presentation from the International Conference on Community and Complementary Currencies

We are currently in Lyon for the International Conference on Community and Complementary Currencies. Here is our presentation. Let us know what you think. Please note, this is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Thank you.

Deploying_Time_Banking in pdf

Deploying_Time_Banking in ppt

A question of ‘development’

We are currently working on a paper for the International Conference on Community and Complementary Currencies in Lyon. We’ve titled the paper “Deploying Timebanking for Human-scaled Economic Development.” A copy of our accepted abstract can be found here. We are collecting data on time bank organizing as part of this paper through an online form that can be found here.

One reader expressed concern about our decision to use the term ‘development’ in the title. In particular, they are worried that time banking risks becoming linked with the colonialist, neoliberal enterprise of developmental economics. This is no small matter, as ideas of modernization, progressivism (in the sense of transition from ‘primitive’ to ‘advanced’ states or pseudo evolutionary perspectives which assume ideal end points, not in the sense of political reform movements), and development have been consistently linked to the disempowerment of those on the fringes of society while enriching those in the center. Indeed, the idea of dependency theory emerged to draw attention to and address these effects of standard economic thinking.

The commentator states that time banking is “something that is fundamentally shifting the purpose and ethos of economics. For me, time-banking refers more to a restoration of communities, relationships, worker dignity, and environmental sanity, by slowing down, valuing our time, and building our economic system from healthy roots.” We completely agree with this. For us, time banking is particularly significant because it draws direct attention to those left behind by contemporary economic practice and offers a way to address the marginalizing and alienating effects of economics in our communities. It is a technology that has the potential to rebalance the relationship between edge and center through direct empowerment.

However, we are not yet prepared to jettison the term ‘development’ and abandon it to standard economic thinking. We could be wrong about this and we would like to hear people’s input, but we would like to lay out some of our reasons for keeping the term.

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