Ok, this is ill-conceived, not thought-through and premature. I don’t know what I’m talking about.
I saw these the other day:
A London Design firm (or person) Lisa Tse has taken to printing their own money – which, admittedly, they did back in January… and if their office is where I think it is, then you probably need to be able to print money to be there.
Still… it reminds me…
I come from a small town in New Zealand in the 1970s… there is a beach covered in sticks and bits of pummice, and the kids all ride their bikes to school and there’s nothing for teenagers to do except drive up and down the main street on Friday Night listening to ACDC.
Once a year, they (we) have a thing called “The Big Dig” where all the local businesses give prizes (a free haircut, 3 free lawn-mowings, some new wind-screen wipers) – these are all printed on bits of paper and buried in their hundreds, in film canisters out at the beach. Then on the given Saturday, everyone rushes out and digs up as many of them as they can. Not all of them get found, and sometimes you find ones that weren’t found from the year before. They still work.
This is localised currency… each business issues a little bit of its own currency – promissory notes every bit as real as the printed money that is conjured out of nothing by the central bank.
Obviously, a business can only issue so many of these IOUs. In the case of The Big Dig, they’re essentially swapped for advertising – and this (I suspect) is what Lisa Tse’s dollars are doing as well. There are in-built limitations on the accumulated value of these things… you can’t be an “Upper-Cut” billionaire, because not only can you never use a billion haircuts, Upper-Cut can’t possibly deliver that many.
There are limitations, and there’s possibly a limited shelf-life, and maybe this is a good thing. The world doesn’t need billionaires. Billionaires have not made the world a better place. Systems of money that are designed so that people who are already rich just get richer and richer (at other people’s expense) without actually doing anything… without creating any value – that is deeply problematic.
Maybe currency that is a function of the value in the system – rather than a function of how much can be borrowed (from the future) is a good thing.
Every time someone in my little town buys a house from someone else, hundreds of thousands of dollars is siphoned out in interest and insurance payments, and winds up going to some distant corporation (who probably bankrolls wars and environmental abuse).
This isn’t a minor parasitic drip-feed, this is parasitism through a pipe so thick… it’s specifically tuned to the utter limit that the market can bear. It’s maximised to be slightly shy of killing the host. This is what we live with, and we think it’s normal.
And it is normal, but it shouldn’t be. We need to route around the centralised money system.