Category Archives: Challenging the Recession

Town Mayor takes his salary in Bristol Pounds: may they come as an app and may many mayors follow suit!

Salt Spring Dollars are a community currency i...

Salt Spring Dollars are a community currency issued by the Salt Spring Island Monetary Foundation. The currency is used by both tourists and local residents of Salt Spring Island. “Salt Spring Dollars”. Salt Spring Island Monetary Foundation . . Retrieved 2011-04-27 . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, this is the least expected and most promising news I had in my inbox today:

New Mayor Takes Entire Salary in Local Currency

I can’t even remember when it was that I started the first Local Exchange Trading System (LETS) in London, as the Green Money Network. It must have been in the 80s, when I had started Turning Points @ St. James’s which is still running as Alternatives. 80 members had signed up in no time, but they wouldn’t trade. So they needed meetings – which we made happen at the LSE – where people socialised and still wouldn’t trade.

It’s obviously a big difference whether my mum used her local currency in the former DDR in rural Brandenburg quite happily or whether Londoners should learn to change their ways of relating to each with their means of payment.

If only Bristol Pounds were available as an app and all town mayors were to follow Bristol sooner rather than later!

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Dutch Barter System Challenges Bankers

This article is about possibly the most effective regional currency put in circulation – juxtaposing it against the key thinkers and systems around: the right analysis, the right motivation and thus the right governance. May it succeed and serve as a model!

Challenging the Recession – after the event

Thanks to Brad Meyer from Collaboration, we can offer video recordings of the event before lunch here.

After lunch, a number of us met in Room 14 – the Gladstone Room – where the most extraordinary cross-connections became apparent: between law firms and banks, between victims an ‘co-victims’. The realisation that ‘victims’ are NOT alone and thus not on their own seems to have been very healing in itself.

We plan to follow on with more supportive MPs in June.

Thanks to CompleteMediaGroup, the event was bigger and better, since we had over 20 journalists attending.

CompleteMedia wanted to “create the debate” for their client Bartercard. Was that achieved? Only time will tell…

Meanwhile, Austin Mitchell’s Early Day Motion Enforcement of Bank of England Act 1694 is gathering signatures. Will you WriteToYourMP and ask him / her to sign?

The future of finance

JOINT PRESS RELEASE from CompleteMediaGroup and the Forum for Stable Currencies:

Sterling Cash burning into smoke

Sterling Cash burning into smoke

At 11am on Thursday 23rd April in the House of Commons Grand Committee Room, expert speakers will create the debate on financial reform at the Forum for Stable Currencies.

Expert speakers will be advocating economic democracy through freedom from National Debt. They will address the monetary problems connected with the banking crisis and global recession, discuss solutions to the problems and put together a framework for change. The speakers are leaders in the field and include Lord Sudeley, Austin Mitchell MP, Derek Wyatt MP, Michael Grimsdale ACIB (Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers), Abdallah Homouda, political scientist, respected journalist and TV commentator.

The event is sponsored by Bartercard, the world’s largest trade exchange. Bartercard enables account-holding businesses to exchange goods and services with each other, saving valuable cash, without having to engage in a direct swap. Bartercard has created a new form of stable currency; the trade pound, which offers one solution to the economic crisis because it allows businesses to trade and grow without the need for cash or credit from banks. This is increasingly important as private banks have replaced money with financial ‘products’ and ‘instruments’ as a medium of exchange; replacing prudence with profits by accumulating toxic assets, packaging unsustainable debts and selling them on to unsuspecting buyers. As a result the banks are suspicious and unwilling to lend or trade with each other.

Please email sabine@3d-metrics.com if you want to attend.

Notes to editor

Cash (notes and coins) and credit make up the money supply. After the Second World War, 53% of the UK money supply was in the form of credit (debt) issued by banks at interest. Now that figure stands at 97%. By making more and more money from credit (or debt) the financial economy is more and more disconnected from the real economy.

This is inherently unstable as the money necessary to pay for interest on credit is simply not there. That means virtually everybody is borrowing at interest to pay off interest as well as capital. The mathematics of compounding interest on interest results in a cycle of boom and bust. Because the money supply being is controlled by central banks, successive UK governments have tended to increase the ‘National Debt’ to fund growth or ‘fiscal stimulus’ packages, rather than make cut backs to repay the debt (unpopular with voters) or print money themselves. [See the Forum’s petition Stop the Cash Crumble to Equalize the Credit Crunch, asking the Treasury Select Committee to organize an inquiry into the money supply. More on http://tinyurl.com/666rwd]

Financial institutions are increasingly using legal enforcement to call in loans, cause bankruptcies, home repossessions, unnecessary litigation and even suicides. Through the national debt they also exploit and constrain the state’s budget, thus limiting political freedom.

The dubious benefits of unfettered market forces and a Western capitalist ideology have faced no serious opposition since Glasnost (openness) and Perestroika (restructuring) effectively brought an end to communism in the former Soviet Union. Even communist China has embraced capitalism; transforming its economy and becoming a global super-power in the process. It seems the world has made a collective decision to accept the inevitable economic losers as well as winners; deregulate and let the so-called free market work its magic… but now the market’s spell is well and truly broken together with the global economy.

At the recent G20 summit in London, the governments of the twenty most powerful nations on Earth decided to throw over $1 trillion at the ailing financial system. Along with previous commitments, this will take the total to over $5 trillion spent on propping up some of the biggest of those banks, institutions and financiers which have failed us so spectacularly.

Yet, instead of trying to paper over the deep cracks in the global financial system, we should aim to rebuild a more democratic and fairer global economy. Fresh thinking and a modern-day Glasnost (openness) and Perestroika (restructuring) are required for a capitalist world. Ushering in a second decade of meetings, the Forum for Stable Currencies will provide the platform for key decision makers to discuss the hows and whys of creating a better future.

Challenging the Recession: Programme

Challenging the Recession – Can we change the Economy? Yes, we can!

Thursday, April 23, 2009, 11am – House of Commons
Grand Committee Room

After 10 years of Forum meetings with topics ranging from what has been contributing to the CAUSES of monetary problems to the EFFECTS of these problems on financial levels in the regulatory environment, this one addresses current problems and suggested solutions, at whatever level of influence we may have. Our panel of speakers will be open for dialogue, so that constituents won’t feel isolated and powerless:

Lord Sudeley, co-founder of the Forum at the House of Lords in 1998: after his great-grandfather was made bankrupt by Lloyds Bank in 1893 and his grandmother’s will was executed to the detriment of the heirs, Lord Sudeley who will highlight how grouping complaints changed the law in the 15th century. His Wikipedia entry is on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merlin_Hanbury-Tracy,_7th_Baron_Sudeley

Austin Mitchell MP for Grimsby, Chairman of the Forum since 2005, received the Attwood Award in 2008 for his constant commitment to monetary reform during his time as MP, not Old Labour but positive geriatric, as he writes on his blog on http://www.austinmitchell.org.uk.

Derek Wyatt MP for Sittingbourne & Sheppey, was a Labour councillor for Archway in North London before being elected in 1997. In 2004, Derek was voted one of the top 100 internet visionaries, and his website http://derekwyatt.co.uk has won three international awards. He formed the All Party Internet Group in 1997, and merged three IT Groups into the All Party Communications Group.

Michael Grimsdale ACIB, Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, was in banking for 26 years with Lloyds and TSB, leaving as a manager in 1993. He now works freelance as a business advisor and consultant, visiting accountants, solicitors and banks on behalf of his clients. In this process, he has encountered so many wrong-doings that he wants to create the Foundation for Change to guarantee access to lawyers for people who are refused legal aid and have no funds left to fight their cases.

Abdallah Homouda is a political scientist who has been working in Britain and Egypt as a highly respected journalist and TV commentator. He has attended many Forum meetings and is particularly interested in attempts to introduce the merits of Islamic economics within the efforts to reform Western capitalism.

The meeting will be recorded on video, and participation will be on a first come, first serve basis. The meeting is sponsored by Bartercard and will be facilitated by the organiser Sabine K McNeill who was a software diagnostician at CERN where the web was born, before coming to London in 1981. As an experienced event organiser and passionate networker, she started the first LETS (Local Exchange Trading System) in London which taught her about the principles and governance of the issuing of currency. Since 1996 she developed innovative software methods and set up her company 3D Metrics.

Right after Budget Day, the audience will be composed from a number of contact lists, including the Singapore Business Group and the signatories of the Forum’s online petitions:

Stop the Cash Crumble to Equalize the Credit Crunch

and Financial Fairness for Voters and Taxpayers, please!

Please email if you want to attend.

With the Singapore Business Group

Last night I was given a great welcome at the meeting of the Singapore Business Group which was hosted by Stephenson Harwood, a law firm that has a number of offices in Asia.

While outlining the problems of the Global Financial Crisis, I presented Bartercard as the ‘private business solution’.

Here are the 13 slides.

One Italian business man who attended has already signed our online petition!

Challenging the Recession

Can we Change the Economy? Yes, we Can!

This is the title of the event that we’re preparing for end of April at the House of Commons.

In preparation, I gave a presentation for the Open Discussion Society at Birkbeck College and will soon talk about the same subject to the Singapore Business Club: Challenging the Recession

Conrad Taylor recorded both audio and video.