Geoff Chesshire on regenerosity’s win-win accounting

A side effect of our recent conversations on Open Money with Michael Linton and Ernie Yacub (now available through blogtalkradio), we got some details on the Regenerosity project by Geoff Chesshire.

The quote at the end is from Keith Hart’s latest Memory Bank essay.

Geoff explains the motivation behind his project:

I have been working for several years now to build a ‘regenerosity’ software that goes beyond the usual zero-sum accounting of money, and can account additionally for win-win interactions and for side-effects on others. I feel this is essential, because the requirement always to use zero-sum accounting has consistently led us to externalize our impacts upon anything that is not or cannot be owned, bought and sold. Because of this, we are exploiting people, communities, and the gifts of nature to the point of systemic collapse on all scales.

Whenever we see that our impacts have been too severe, we limit our options to one possible response: enclose, monetize, sell off, and exploit more efficiently. My proposal is that we extend the notion of credit to consider the good that we do in the world, rather than basing it entirely upon our capacity for efficient exploitation. In order to measure this good, our contribution to the common-wealth of communities on all scales, we need to permit win-win reputational accounting.

This kind of accounting allows us to bring economy into line with ecology, to see how well we are contributing within all of nature’s communities and not only within markets of competitive exchange. I am sure nature does not use zero-sum accounting, but instead provides all as gift. Imagine the debt we would be suffering under, if we had to pay back the sun for all the heat and light we have received; it’s absurd. Our zero-sum accounting systems require that such gifts be assigned zero value, just in order to balance the books. In the same way, we assign zero value to all of the resources and lives that we exploit to exhaustion. By allowing win-win accounting, we can remember to receive, give forward, and give thanks; and we can observe that this is not the same process as taking and (sometimes) giving back. We can place gift economy and exchange economy on a level playing-field. Just as you said,

“the realization of new human possibilities for association depend on recognizing the plurality of economic options that already exist in our societies.”

We can and must do even more: we can explore possibilities for right relation and right livelihood within all of nature, not only within human society.”

1 Comment Geoff Chesshire on regenerosity’s win-win accounting

  1. AvatarMatthew Slater

    Regenerosity is approaching the extreme in a range of community accounting mechanisms. This is the gift economy. Most systems favour trade mechanisms because trade is much easier for most people to grasp, and these systems will only take off, when most people grasp them.
    Even this is perhaps optimistic as few people understand the money they already trade with.
    Anyway, I’d like to plug my own complementary currency online trading software.

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