Book of the Day: eGaia by Gary Alexander

eGaia by Gary AlexanderI was fortunate enough to meet Gary Alexander, a New Yorker living in East Anglia, UK, at the Open Everything meetup in Cloughjordan, Ireland in the autumn of last year (2014) and was party to the discussion of some of the ideas contained in this book, although with all that was going on we didn’t have too much time to get into them in any depth. However his book sounds very interesting; my mammoth reading list means I haven’t had time to read it yet but I present it as something which may be interesting to the P2P community.

A short summary by Keith Parkins of the basic economic structure proposed in the book:

“In eGaia, three interlocking economies described

– local co-operative
– regional
– global

Within the local economy, everything is on a sharing basis, no money, people are expected to keep in balance,and contribute their fair share. It goes one stage further than granting a Basic Income.

For what the local economy cannot supply, will source from either regional or global economy, for which a financial exchange takes place, using a digital currency, there being a regional and global currency.

If one of the businesses operating within the local economy requires money, it goes to the regional bank. Free money is created (ie interest free), when paid back, the money self-destroys. The economy is not built on drbt.

Additional accounts are kept of ecological footprint of every transaction.

Businesses innovate to offer a better service, not to gain a competitive advantage as not in competition, and will share their innovation.

All carried out by means of smart phone apps.”

There is an interesting interview with Gary here at medium.com on his background and how he came to write the book.

There is a review of the book here at the Open University website (the organisation for which Gary Alexander used to work).

Keith Parkins has commented that although the basic structure of his proposal, that of self-organising autonomous networks, seems solid, there are in his opinion some naive assumptions and misunderstanding of economics in the book. Probably the best thing to do is to read it yourself and form your own opinion as there seems to be enough good ideas in it to form the basis of discussion – you can obtain the book (buy printed copy or free ebook) from Gary Alexander’s ‘Earth Connected’ website here.

1 Comment Book of the Day: eGaia by Gary Alexander

  1. Gary Alexander

    Just a short addition here: eGaia looks at the prospects for a collaborative society, community-based and coordinated locally and globally. Is it possible? How might it work? The kinds of currencies are a very small part of that and will follow what suits each community. Far more important are the relationships and how they are maintained. So there is a lot of emphasis on social structures that allow coordination without top-down control and on handling conflicts constructively, for example. It pulls together ideas of best practice on sustainable living that enable all people to live in modest comfort with very small energy and resource use. It builds on lots of experience with Transtion, with local food and other community projects.

    There is also a short video, After the crash: From chasing money to choosing community, that gives an introduction to my take on our movement.

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