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5th International Degrowth Conference and Money

Hope to see you at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest 30 August–3 September where I will join with Francois Schneider and others for a Special Session on Housing and Degrowth, with a proposal for us to edit a book on the topic. I went to the degrowth conference in Montreal in 2012 and it was great so I am really looking forward to this one. More particularly for this blog, I will present a paper on the case for a non-monetary future. I've posted the accepted abstract below.

Non-Monetary Degrowth is Strategically Significant
(Conference theme: The un-common sense)

Even for many radical adherents of degrowth, money is a common-sense — not simply capitalist — tool, so alternative currencies and banks abound. This paper argues against this common-sense logic, as follows. The most direct and efficient form of degrowth requires as-local-as-is-feasible production focusing on people’s basic needs, implying that future distribution is decided simultaneously with collectively agreeing on productive goals and ways of achieving them. Say, each person contributes a number of hours to collective production as a community obligation and, in return, has their basic needs met. Decision-making focuses on bio-physical, environmental and social measures and values; complex bio-physical and social efficiency is paramount in limiting throughput in production and associated exchanges. As a result, money has no place in degrowth, where grassroots political decision-making replaces production for trade and market exchanges. Similarly, so-called ‘alternative’ currencies that serve functions of legal tender or the ‘universal equivalent’ on which capitalism depends, are redundant. In non-monetary degrowth, reward for work is the security of having life-long basic needs met with continuous input in making decisions on both local production and the terms of exchange (compacts) with as-local-as-feasible neighbour-producers. There is personal, but no private, property: the entire Earth is commons with clear, efficient and universal principles and terms for commoning. Such a vision suggests that advancing specifically non-monetary degrowth — consciously breaking with monetary production and exchange — is of crucial strategic significance.

Money versus basic needs for people and planet

It only takes two minutes to watch this ripper of an animated story on 'sustainable development' — a euphemism for capitalism as we know it. It shows a world without money is preferable to one where people's minds and behaviour have been — as if by religious forces — monetised  —

Radical analyst Max Haiven

The first post for 2016, which has started in a work hole that I have only just crawled out of — still two books now in the production stage for publication mid-2016 and late 2016 so not in vain.

Anyway, the reason for this post is to report a meeting with radical analyst Max Haiven, who writes on art and money and financialisation, and has been in my work town of Melbourne — read more here:

And, specifically:

Nilmini and Steve

Nilmini and Steve have been looking — and working — at creating alternatives that address our massive environmental and social challenges. I met them in October at a NSW Greens conference where I was talking on a Future Economy panel about a non-monetary future. They have just posted a summary of a discussion we had when they visited the town I live in, Castlemaine (Central Victoria, Australia) — known for its artistic and sustainability achievements. Change ... come she will.

The river to freedom

The Amazonian Kichwa people have rowed down the Seine to publicise the plight of their rain forests exploited by oil miners and logging companies. Watch this wonderful video on their lives and arguments which summarise the threats of capitalism to all peoples on Earth at present.

In this video at the Guardian newspaper site, an Elder says:
Money is not life for us. Life for us is what we have here. We have to keep passing on the knowledge we have learned here about the earth, from nature. Only in that way can we defend this place.

Experimentation in Greece

The experimentation in Greece for years now, especially since 2011, offers lessons for non-montary and non-market futures. An article in the Guardian earlier this year suggested that exchanges cutting out the middle merchants between producers and consumers — much like farmers' markets but centrally controlled — has been most successful:
Thousands of Greeks are benefiting from perhaps the simplest of the “solidarity economy” projects nationwide, a movement that links buyers directly to the people who produce their food, detergent and other essentials, undercutting supermarkets.
Most take orders before a monthly meeting when cash and goods are handed over. In a country with a notorious parallel market, even the government wins, because all transactions are recorded, said 38-year-old teacher Dimitris Tsilogiannis.
“We have had a great response from the public, all we do is totally legal and most importantly all sellers give receipts,” he said during an evening spent manning phones to answer queries and help buyers unable to use the internet. In the office with him were a soldier, an unemployed friend and an office worker, all of them volunteers.
Their local group has coordinated the sale of 1,500 tonnes of potatoes, olive oil, rice, flour, fruits, honey, cheese, pulses and other products at prices around a third to half of supermarket levels.

Local Lives Global Matters

Raphael Souchier — on French and North American grassroots initiatives — in conversation with Anitra Nelson on community-based governance instead of money as the ruling principle of production and exchange, and George Ryan, lawyer, small farmer and LETS advocate — 11.15 am to 12.45 pm on Friday 16 October 2015 Local Lives Global Matters Conference, Castlemaine (Victoria, Australia)

Sharing money

It's only a step towards a world without money and the organisers aren't really anti-monetary but the Free Money Day is a way to raise consciousness about the roles of money in our society. It's coming up very soon, 15 September 2015 at a place near you or you can contribute. For more see:

A word of caution, read our post for 1 September and link to view the video of the hilarious consequences of some of these kinds of actions.

On ecovillages, sustainability and money

Here's a quick read on ecovillages, part of a debate in The Conversation about their role in a more sustainable world — with a sting in the tail via a no money line: 'In defence of ecovillages: The Communities that can Teach the World to live Sustainably'   You might get a kick out of reading the comments too.

What money means

Take a look at this great little video experiment, which shows what money means to many people in capitalism: 'You've got to earn your way up, man!'