Money as we know it is just one form of organizing exchange between people on a non-personal basis. It is also only one way to assess value of the goods/ services/ energy exchanged. There are many alternative currencies and other ideas on how to organize exchange and make it fair.
Our current money system is designed for a linear economy. For the Circular Economy we will need a currency (or various ones) that does not streamline our circular processes into financial efficiency and profit maximazation in the same way. So the question is: How can we do that?
What would such a ‘money’ look like? How is it organized and how is value allocated in an Open Source system? How can we issue and control this currency in an Open Source way? How can ‘money’ be circular and support a Circular Economy?
Related topics and projects:
Please add others you find…
The following is in no way complete, comprehensive or well phrased, it’s just a draft:
Forms of organizing exchange:
- social interaction networks (giving entitles the giver to be reciprocated, the reciever accrues social ‘debt’ that is monitored by the peer group, too much debt leading to no more receiving until the ‘debt’ is paid. This is the ‘primitive’ way of small communities of the pre-monetized era.)
- units of limited non-degrading ressources (e.g. land, precious metals, rare shells… This kind of money was used in ancient cultures, e.g. Roman coins)
- promises of future value (originally a paper that promised the giver that it can be exchanged for a specific amount of real goods/ rare ressources at a later point. This type of money was invented in the mercantile era. You’ll find such a promise printed on the English Pound. Many local currencies are also based on this principle with the main difference that they are not valid outside the local area.)
- debt (very simply put: debt money is created by giving loans to finance the production of goods that are then sold to repay the debt and in theory annull the money created. This is the kind of money we mostly use today, only the money can never be fully anulled as the debtor needs to also pay interest on the loan and thus remains in debt indefinitely.)
- time (units of human lifetime that are incorporated in each item/ service, e.g. one hour of hair-cutting in exchange for one hour of building a piece of furniture or watering the carrots. This is used in many barter circles. However the more fair you want to be, e.g. in representing the time invested in learning the skill you offer as well as the actual time spent on giving it, the more impossible it becomes to calculate the time value of a service)
Forms of assessing value (exchange rate between currency units and goods/ service/ energy units):
- ideal supply-demand negotiation (the ideal market model where suppliers and buyers negotiate the exchange rate freely based on full knowledge of the quality of the good/ service offered compared to other goods/ services on offer. However this ideal market does not exist in reality for lack of transparancy and/ or the time to be fully informed about all aspects in the negitation)
- capitalist supply-demand negotiation (the supplier sets a price according to his assessment of the amount the buyer will be willing to pay. The latter can be manipulated by making the good/ service more desirable through marketing. The actual costs of production and the quality of the good/ service are not directly related to the price, neither are the costs to the environment and society as a whole that the supplier managed to externalize)