Currencies of transition. Transforming money to unleash sustainability.
© Chapter of « The Necessary Transition:the journeu towards the sustainable enterprise economy », Greenleaf Publishing
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The problems facing our communities, and civilisation as a whole, stem from the mechanisms by which money is created and allocated by the members of the most powerful cartel the world has ever known. Our current
monetary system is the main underlying cause for multiple crises with sovereign debt, environmental destruction, spiralling inequality and mass unemployment.
Unless we transform the way money is issued, rather than repackaging it after the fact, then we are not addressing the underlying problem. This insight is not widely understood by people working on social or environmental issues, even those who work on economic dimensions. As one of the authors of the original The Limits to Growth (Meadows et al. 1972) report, Dennis Meadows explains: ‘I did not think about the money system at all. I took it for granted as a neutral aspect of human society. . . . I now understand . . . that the prevailing financial system is incompatible with sustainability’ (in Lietaer et al. 2012a: 1). On average, modern humans are monetarily illiterate, not understanding the essence of money, how it is created
and how this influences their experience of life. This illiteracy restricts our ability to work towards transition. In this chapter, our aim is to help relevant professionals understand the monetary origins of our current malaise, the practical steps being taken by communities to manage their own economies and exchange systems, and to map out some emerging issues for research, practice and policy. In conclusion,
we explain how a focus on monetary systems can re-frame how we understand the sustainability challenge, away from being a matter of exhorting each-other to behave ‘better’ and/or impose more restrictions on our behaviours, towards a stepby- step liberation of communities’ innate ability to thrive in the ways that they