This post is my TEDxFargo Talk proposal. If you like this idea of creating a local monetary system to build a healthy sustainable community based on love, please vote for my talk and share this with your family, friends, and social network.
1. Money is a belief
2. Our monetary system is the circulatory system of society, just like the circulatory system in our bodies
3. Our monetary system has many fatal circulatory diseases and dysfunctions
4. Solution: FM Pint, A healthy, alternative, local monetary system based on compassionate love and powered by solar energy
Author’s note: Last month I wrote about why I want to give up money. I don’t want to literally give up money, just money as we know it and my day-to-day dependence on it. I will propose one way how to do so by the following solution.
1. Money Is a Belief
One question: What is the biggest religion in the world?
Is it Islam? Hinduism? Christianity?
If you ask me, you can add up all those religions and you still don’t come close to the number one religion in the world.
Have you guessed it yet?
The number one religion in the world is the religion of Money.
Consider this hypothetical. Imagine meeting an indigenous person in the Amazon, and you see he has an axe. You want the axe. So you make an offer. One $100 bill.
Another indigenous person from his tribe walks up and sees the axe and wants it as well. He makes him different offer. If he gives him the axe, he will use it to build him a set of oars for a canoe.
Which do you think he will choose?
He will choose the second offer.
What can he do with a $100 bill? He doesn’t believe in it and neither does anyone around him. And it has no utility, except to maybe start a fire, or to wipe his butt. It can’t clothe him, it can’t feed him, it can’t give him shelter.
In the second offer, the trade isn’t just a swap of an axe and a set of oars. It involves an axe and a promise of a set of oars in the future. One trades his axe and the other trades his word.
The indigenous people believed in each other’s word, not in the green piece of paper.
2. Our monetary system is just like the circulatory system in our bodies
The invention of the monetary system was actually a brilliant step in the evolution of society. It allowed society to grow and progress.
It is our current monetary system today that has gone bad.
Do you know how money is created? Do you know how the monetary system works?
I will explain it in the most simplified terms as I understand it. I’m an American citizen so I will our monetary system as the example.
The Federal Reserve, or the Fed, prints a $1 bill out of thin air (backed by gold until 1971). It was given legal authority by the US Government in 1913. The US Government buys that $1 bill plus interest and gives the Fed a US Bond worth $1. The Fed then loans that same $1 to a bank with interest. The bank then loans to you, me, businesses that $1 with more interest. You take that $1 bill and spend it, sending it out into the economy where it is circulated.
How do you pay back your loan of $1 plus interest? You get a job. You work at this job and you work enough to pay back the original $1, plus interest, plus taxes to the US Government. The US Government then uses those taxes to buy back the US bond worth $1 plus the interest accrued.
That is one complete cycle. Of course it’s more complicated than that but that is the basics. The US Government gets its bond back, the Fed gets its $1 plus interest. And now money is sent out into the economy to facilitate the transaction of goods or services for money.
Do you know with what this system is synonymous? The human circulatory system. The blood running through your body right now is just like the flow of money.
Your circulatory system is like the monetary system and your body is like Earth. You only have one body and we only have one Earth.
Instead of getting blood out of thin air, you eat food, and your bone marrow creates blood. The bone marrow is the Fed of our bodies. The blood circulates and does the essential work of a healthy living body by moving things through the body: oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients, waste products. This movement is the economy in our bodies. Finally, the heart is the pump that does the work of circulating blood and moving nutrients, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and waste products. You are the heart of the economy. You are the pump. You go to your work, you do your job, you earn your money and pay your taxes and you send money out on its way to circulate into the economy.
3. Our monetary system has many fatal circulatory diseases and dysfunctions
The rich and powerful banks and corporations have hijacked the US monetary system, the US Dollar, the lifeblood of our circulatory system. With their power, influence, and money they buy all three branches of the US Government. The rich get richer with their rigged tax system, purchased congressional bills, Supreme Court decisions in favor of private corporations over public interest that threaten our democracy, and corporate bailouts with taxpayer money. And the poor get poorer with so many unjust institutional practices, like excessive municipal fines. There’s even an argument that incredibly rising cost of a college education is a form of keeping the US populace in perpetual debt for most of our adult lives. The average American citizen is stuck with the bill and the effects of economic fallout.
Do you know what we call tax loopholes in the human body? Embolism, edemas, and blood clots. These can be fatal.
Do you know what we call off-shore tax havens in the human body? Parasites that sucks the blood out of the host. The rich and powerful banks, corporations, businesses and the wealthy pay their lawyers to navigate the convoluted legal system and to create their off-shore tax havens.
The US tax system is so convoluted, it can be torturous to the average American citizen to file come tax season. Why can’t we be like Estonia where it takes on average 5 minutes to file one’s taxes? If you have money though, then you can pay the right tax professionals who know how to game the system.
What, you’re poor? You poor soul, I’m sorry but there’s blood for you. No one to blame but yourself. So why don’t get back to pumping that heart, because the blood will eventually get back to you. Wink and nudge. And if you’re lucky you will pump your way up to the elite class of blood clots and parasites!
Remember all that interest generated in the explanation of our current monetary system? What could be the problem with that?
The more money you have, the more money you earn from interest. Interest changes the function of money from a means to an ends. In the case of a circulatory system, money as an ends is a bad idea. This incentivizes hoarding, not circulating. Would you rather have the blood in your body pooling or circulating?
Pooling, hoarding, attachment. These all defy the Law of Nature. The Law of Nature is change. The Law of Nature is impermanence. The Law of Nature is anicca.
When you defy the Law of Nature, you will suffer.
In order to pay for all that interest added on top of that first $1 that was created, and interest that accumulates each time it changes hands, well that just means more money has to be created to pay it back. So more money is created. But then even more interest added on top of that new money. The more money created, the more interest it creates as well. It’s a never-ending spiral.
Pump faster! Pump harder! Faster! Harder! Faster! Harder! Grow the economy! Grow the economy! Grow the economy! Keep chasing that tail! No time to stop and think, or we’ll never catch the tail!
It’s it any wonder why the USA is one of the UNHAPPIEST countries in the world?
IT’S TIME TO STOP AND THINK!
What are we doing when we’re increasingly pumping faster and harder? We are growing the economy. We are creating new jobs. We are building new products or new services.
These are all good things, right? MORE is good, right?
What is a new product? It is something that was once a natural resource. Something that used to be a part of nature. Our forests, rivers, lakes, mountains. Our Earth. We are consuming the Earth, our one and only home.
What is a new service? It is an action of a relationship that used to be free, but now costs money. And relationships are threads of the social fabric of a community, of society. The stronger the threads, the stronger the social fabric.
For example, raising our children is now considered a service called daycare. This used to be done by our mothers, by our neighbors, for free. But we keep growing the economy and our mothers leave their homes and drop the kids off to spend their most important, formative years of their lives in daycare.
We are playing a large-scale game of musical chairs, and the chairs are being pulled out from under us by the rich and powerful corporations, banks, and the wealthiest people in the world. And when the music stops, it isn’t going to be pretty. Is it any wonder the US Government is giving surplus military war gear to local American police forces?
We obscuring the line between soldier and police officer, and standing armies on our streets are a threat to American liberties. Just ask a founding father of America, James Madison.
They may be expecting war, but we are stronger than that.
We can answer with peace and love.
4. A solution is the FM Pint: A healthy, alternative, local monetary system based on compassionate love and powered by solar energy
Here is a solution that will create a strong social fabric, give community members meaning and purpose, transition the community to sustainable, renewable energy.
We can focus on changing the goal of this game we call life from MORE to BETTER.
We build a local, healthy, alternative monetary system based on 1 human hour of service, aka blood, sweat, and tears, and powered by sun.
The Fargo Community Reserve (the local Fed) gives approved non-profit charities the right to print FM Pints. They are the bone marrow of the community.
Community members give one hour of service, and receive one pint. They are the heart of the community.
Community members go to a locally owned business who has agreed to accept FM Pints and spend that pint. The locally owned businesses are the heart of the community as well.
The Fargo Community Reserve builds, installs, and services solar panels on the business1. The pints are paid to the Fargo Community Reserve for the savings in electricity. Once the solar panel system is paid for, the business keeps them and continues to enjoy free renewable solar power.
As for the FM Pint itself, the blood of the community, well it will follow the Law of Nature. It will have a negative interest, decreasing in value over time. This will solve the problem of blood, or life, of the community accumulating in anyone’s hands. Pints will circulate for a vibrant, healthy community!
We all know how hard it is to let go of a fundamental belief, our fundamental religion. We also know how hard it is to change beliefs the older we get. We also know the future and life force of our community lies in our youth and the wisdom and knowledge lies in our elders. Let’s bring them together by introducing the FM Pint to our youth in our schools where they will learn to grow into a life of service to their community and be rightly rewarded for it. (Tip of the hat to my friend Jaime Delzer for this idea.)
The service given by community members will create strong relationships and strengthen that social fabric. We can provide social services to our most prized and cherished citizens — senior citizens. We can provide social services to most valued community members — men and women in uniform and all civil servants. We can be in service to our most valuable asset, our future — our children. We can live in service to our community and our community will in turn be in service to us.
This is a model which can then spread to other communities, strengthening them.
Let’s turn the blood, sweat, tears and love we have for our community and for ourselves into something we can take to the bank. Let’s build our future on a foundation of love.
Thank you for visiting. Your attention is a gift to me. My writing is a gift to you. I invite you to share this gift with others if you so choose.
This was written in Jamestown, ND, USA on Wednesday, March 25, 2015.