Responding to concerns about negative interest rate money (aka ‘speed money’ or ‘demurrage’)

Shann Turnbull responds to the concerns of Ellen Brown on negative interest money (i.e. Demurrage-based):

“The evidence of history is inconsistent with your concern that people would not use depreciating speed money. It was called speed money because according to Professor Fisher (1933: 14) it circulated four times faster than US dollars in normal times and twelve times faster during the Great Depression The efficiency of money is measured by the speed of its circulation.

The acceptance of speed money in competition with the monopoly fiat legal tender funny money adopted by governments very much depends on such factors as the economic conditions and the nature and architecture of speed money. Gesell suggested a stamp (negative interest) of 0.1% per week or 5.2% p.a. Keynes (1936: Chapter 23 part V1) thought this was a bit high. However, initial issues of speed money in Germany in the 1920’s was at the rate of 1% per month or 12% p.a. Later rates of 2% a week or 104% p.a.were used in the US and adopted by the Bankhead-Pettengill Bill of 1933. The US money would become self-liquidating in a year creating a 4% profit for the issuer. 5% negative interest rate would take 20 years to be self-liquidating.

It was because Gesell (1919: Chapter 11) shared your concern of “Products are sitting on the shelves and workers are idle” that he was motivated to create money that did not compete with products that sit on shelves though its ability to earn interest. Depreciating money made people more interested in investing in real things (like products on shelves) that employed people to make them than investing in fiat funny money not definable by any one or more real things.

Not withstanding your concern about folk being “paranoid” about using speed money it began re-circulating during the last decade in Germany – not in a condition of a depression or hyper inflation – but when Germany has been the strongest economy in the Euro Zone. The adoption of the Chiemgauer Regiomoney (Gelleri 200) with an negative rate of 2 % a quarter or 8% p.a. has been impressive. It is tethered and convertible to the Euro. It illustrates speed money by circulating 2.5 times faster than Euros that may earn interest.

The propensity for speed money to compete and replace official fiat funny money could be improved by the way it is created, controlled and/or designed to be better fit for purpose. There are many design options for Terminating, Tagged and/or Tethered (3T) money. We have accounting standards but no standard unit of value that can be defined in terms of anything real!

Money that provided a creditable stable sustainable measure of value would seem to possess compelling prospects for becoming highly competitive and adopted.”

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.