” just as standards of weights and measures are determined independently of those that use them as a common good.”

An interesting argument by Shann Turnbull:

(via email)

“I cannot see how money can become democratic unless its value is determined independently of the financial system just as standards of weights and measures are determined independently of those that use them as a common good.

A local standard of value established in each bio-region would allow anyone in that region to enter intro contract to exchange goods and services with reference to the accepted standard. There would be no need for either a centralised or distributed ledger even if one was kept.

Establishing the standard of value on a democratic basis becomes a governance problem not a financial one. Millions of producer and/or suppliers of benign renewable energy being shared through a cooperative creates a democratic governance arrangement that unlike LIBOR or foreign exchanges could have its value cross checked by millions of its stake holding suppliers/consumers.

I would caution the call of requiring money to be created without debt unless you also specify “Bank” debt. If we are going to use money as a medium of exchange it will be creating private peer to peer debt!

If you want democratic money then we cannot have money that creates money by earning interest. The ability of money to earn interest also misallocated resources to creating money rather than investing in real things that can increase prosperity on a sustainable basis without growth and even with de-growth.”

2 Comments Money as a Commons requires a Local Standard of Value

  1. Arthur Doohan

    Fixed “standards” of value or exchange NEVER work because both the underlying economies and peoples valuation of them change steadily/constantly.

    Money is not and never can be democratic, it is entirely personal and private. Intruding onto this property moves from wishful socialism ( not a bad thing ) to totalitarianism.

    Despite all the propaganda, no one has been shown to have suffered any losses from “rate rigging”, let alone that there has been significant effective “rate rigging” and using this nonsense to urge reforms of unrelated technologies is merely posturing. Further, the value of money is checked everyday by every transaction whether in collapsing Japan or exploding Zimbabwe.

    Interest rates reflect the underlying rate of change in the economy, whether via calamitous finite resource exploitation or evolution of technological efficiency. Money, whose various forms map the throughput of the economy, is thus intrinsically related to the change therein. Thus, money without interest is a contradiction in terms and will never be held or used. This is not to say that interest at either ZIRP or usurious levels is not a fraud upon the people by the “authorities”.

    Further, banks are banks by sole virtue of the right to use the word “bank” in their legal title. They have no greater powers than any person. Each of us may take a property charge and can pay or claim interest from another. Credit creation is not the preserve of banks, it is just that we have allowed them to become over mighty.

    Equating money with credit is entirely fanciful and reforming money will not end interest rates not change the fairness or efficiency of credit allocation

  2. Shann Turnbull

    I agree with the statement by Arthur Doohan that ‘Fixed “standards” of value or exchange NEVER work because both the underlying economies and peoples valuation of them change steadily/constantly.’

    However, I was not proposing a form of money convertible into a commodity. Instead I was proposing an index, tether or peg that would be independent of the level of production or consumption or the underlying economy. Please refer to my P2P wiki at: https://wiki.p2pfoundation.net/Shann_Turnbull_on_Establishing_Sustainable_Units_of_Value

    A more details analysis is provided in my article: ‘Terminating currency options for distressed economies’, Athens Journal of Social Science, vol. 3, issue 3, July 2016, pp. 195—214, available from: .

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