In The Ecology of Money, Richard Douthwaite argues that just as different insects and animals have different effects on human society and the natural world, money has different effects according to its origins and purposes. Was it created to make profits for a commercial bank, or issued by a government as a form of taxation? Or was it created by its users themselves purely to facilitate their trade? And was it made in the place where it is used, or did local people have to provide goods and services to outsiders to get enough of it to trade among themselves? The Briefing shows that it will be impossible to build a just and sustainable world, unless and until money creation is democratized. Richard says that it is potentially the most important thing he has written.
“At least four types of money are needed. One is an international currency, playing the role taken by gold before the collapse of the gold exchange standard. The second is a national or regional (sub-national) currency that would relate to the international currency in some way. Thirdly, we would need a plethora of currencies which, like LETS, the Wir and the commodity-based currencies, could be created at will by their users to mobilize resources left untapped by national or regional systems. Many of these user currencies would confine their activities to particular geographical areas, but some would link non-spatially-based communities of interest. And fourth, as our current money’s store of value function can so easily conflict with its use as a means of exchange, special currencies are needed for people wishing to see their savings hold their value while still keeping them in a fairly liquid form.”
This book was updated and expanded in 2006, and you can read the new edition online.
|Copies of The Ecology Of Money can be ordered online from Green Books, priced at £7 plus postage and packaging.|