Proposal for Local Currency

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FINAL VERSION

Currency (clockwise from top left) Time, Wellbeing, Knowledge and Creativity

The currency is composed of 4 themes. Each theme is identified by text, an icon and by a material - Time is greyboard, Wellbeing is felt, Knowledge is plywood, Creativity is fluorescent acrylic.

The currency has five key features:

1 - to act as a medium of exchange; to encourage and facilitate value transactions at the market through time and space
2 - to challenge the primacy of money/cash (as a 'universal solvent') in exchanging goods and services
3 - to encourage individuation or wholeness (i.e. valuing people/communities as hybrid composites)
4 - As a store of value
5 - As a beautiful aesthetic artifact (intrinsic value?)


At the start of the market the stallholders were given a float of either Wellbeing, Knowledge or Creativity with which to start transacting. On arrival the market goers were given a single unit of Time to allow them to start transacting.

Some simple engagement options were communicated, one for the Stallholders and one for the Market goers:

Prep for the Stallholders:

As part of the #TransActing experience we have produced a currency for you to trade (the currency has 4 themes: Time, Knowledge, Wellbeing and Creativity).

How this works:

You will be given some currency at the start of the day.

When people approach your stall, we ask that you engage them in a transaction by asking for some currency.

If they have some you can transact from your stall and exchange currencies.

If they don't you can decide on another exchange to complete the transaction (this is up to you to come to an agreement or bargain).

If they do not have anything to transact you can declare that they are in your Debt and still complete the transaction. (How they then decide to deal with this Debt is then up to them).

Of course none of this is compulsory, but we hope you can engage with the spirit of #TransActing.

Prep for the Market goers:

A the same time as they receive a Programme they are given 1 Time Currency

Instruct Market goers that:

“Stall holders may ask to transact with them in some form of exchange”.

“As we value your time here is some currency for you to transact in the Market”.

[Or words to that effect.]

SECOND ITERATION

laser-cut currency prototype

The currency is still in development although the features so far are:

The currency is composed of 4 themes. Each theme will be identified by a different material - wood, felt. card and......., and an icon.
The exact shape of the currency, the icons and materials are in the process of being developed.

The currency has five key features:

1 - to act as a medium of exchange; to encourage and facilitate value transactions at the market through time and space
2 - to challenge the primacy of money/cash (as a 'universal solvent') in exchanging goods and services
3 - to encourage individuation or wholeness (i.e. valuing people/communities as hybrid composites)
4 - As a store of value
5 - As a beautiful aesthetic artifact (intrinsic value?)

The themes are:

Icon Knowledge.png
Icon Time.png
Icon Wellbeing.png
Icon Creativity.png
Knowledge Time Wellbeing Creativity

Guidelines

The guidelines of currency #TransActing use are also in development………..Although, the principle guideline for is to encourage stallholders to accept two of the themes/values (bi-value/theme) rather than a single theme in their #transactions with the market participants, or the participants with the stall holders. Each would accept and provide a different combination of themes/values. e.g. I would envisage a therapist/healer would #TransAct Wellbeing and Time, Permaculture stall might #TransAct Knowledge and Wellbeing, MachinesRoom might #TransAct Creativity and Knowledge.

There are 6 possible combinations of bi-values: Currency Theme combinations

Participants would be encouraged to complete the set of bi-themes/values (We could also have a prize for the person/stall that has the most full sets of 4 values)

FIRST ITERATION

We have been looking into the idea of setting up a Local Currency (LC) for the Market of Values.

During the CP meeting 13/10/14 we thought it would be an interesting idea to have a LC which could be used to purchase goods and services whilst in the Market. A key decision to make is whether the LC becomes a fundamental part of the Market experience such that it is used in the majority of transactions or is just a side issue?

The idea was developed as a means of engaging Participants (Ps) with other aspects of the Market such as Auctions and Casino style activities whereby the Ps could increase or decrease their LC wealth. However in order to encourage Ps to engage with these activities there would need to be some level of desire or jeopardy in relation to what they could then purchase with the LC.

Here are my thoughts at the moment, it has started to develop into a form of social experiment or game. And as such we could then interview the Ps about their experiences as part of the documentation for the Market.


Scenario

P's enter the market and are given a set amount of LC.

They will be informed that they can exchange this for goods and services within the Market and can trade and engage in activities to add their 'purchasing power'.

Different services will have different values/prices and these may vary during the day(s). Some high value goods/services may be unattainable with the initial allocation of LC.

Participants will have the option to trade, speculate, gamble, join co-operatives and combine funds with associates to acquire the higher value goods/services (e.g. they could combine resources to send one person to a talk who then receives the information and records it to pass on free of charge to the associates or maybe sells it on).

Question: Will the talks etc. be of sufficient value to encourage these activities?


Additional: It might be interesting to put a twist on it with a number of additional scenarios:

1-Participants on entry to the Market will be randomly allocated a social status. This social status determines how much LC they start with. i.e. on entry to the market they are immediately confronted with a set of values according to accepted social norms which will continue to effect them during their participation in the Market.

1A - A Simplistic social class Upper, Middle, Working (Lower) or other socio-economic groupings.

Additionally when involved in working scenarios each class would receive a different variable rate for their work e.g. middle class work accrues more LC than Lower class work etc.

1B – A variation on the 1% and 99% split where every 10th person is allocated as a member of the 1% they would receive much higher amount of LC and also receive preferential and deferential treatment (i.e. could receive interest for their wealth without having to work).

1C - Another additional variable which could apply to all of above is to have a Celebrity class (these Ps could wear a medallion or other distinguishing accessory stating something like 'famous for being famous') and receive preferential and deferential treatment by the Market facilitators and Ps and be paid for turning up to events.

It may be possible for participants to move up or down the social-economic groups depending on how their purchasing power fluctuates.

2 – Because this is a Market of Values we could charge Ps VAT (with 1%ers and Celebrities paying no VAT).

3 - 1%ers could be issued with a 'Million Pound Note' The Million Pound Note 1954 comedy


Additional Another Idea for the design of the Currency and Game play:

The currency could have 2 aspects to it.

If it is feasible we could print on both sides or divide the currency into two parts.

A Light (colourful side ) and a Dark side.

Each would carry a different monetary value.

The Dark side would be printed in monochrome black and white representing a bleak simplistic, accountants view of life (knowing the cost of everything but the value of nothing) - people as rational actors, with characters such as Adam Smith, Hayek, Friedman etc. The monetary value would be very low representing a low wage market driven economy.

The Light side would be printed in colour representing a more optimistic view of what could be, with characters such as Keynes, Stiglitz and Piketty. Here the monetary value would be much higher representing a more equal society.


Mock ups/prototypes to illustrate the idea:

Market Currency Light & Dark jpeg.jpg
Piketty-Hayek jpeg.jpg


Adam Smith JM Keynes jpeg.jpg


Stalls in the Market would initially only accept the Dark side currency values. Later on during the day we could switch to accepting the Light side valuations. We could even get people to vote on it?


Other issues to consider Duration of the Market and Time - Because Ps can come and go into the market freely this is a key issue. How long will the average P attend for? Will they come and go? What is the enticement to remain and return? What about students with lectures and other activities to attend during the day etc.

For the LC to have any effect Ps will need time to trade/earn/speculate etc. Will Ps be sufficiently interested to engage in this way?

The longer the Market exists for the more likely Ps would have time to return.

And/or there could be a phased approach whereby the desirable activities (to be purchased with the LC) would occur later in the day allowing Ps to generate more of the LC.


Activities for adjusting 'purchasing power'

Work – By taking part in certain activities Ps could earn/accrue more LC.

What can we expect Ps to do, within the limitations of the Market, that are free and require only labour/time?


Some brainstormed thoughts:

Help set up stalls – help deconstruct and clear up

Listen to peoples problems (recordings of ) or pay to have someone listen to yours (recordings of )

Give reassurance – confidence – encouragement

Filling in questionnaires

Focus groups / interviews research type

Life model for drawing

Intellectual property– we will buy your ideas (if you have some thing you want to know / find out)

Information exchange

Drawings

Holding banners / sandwich boards

Making banners / posters / drawings etc.

Performance

Tea and sympathy

Celebrities' assistants

Scavenger Hunt type activities


Trade / Purchasing/ Speculation

Auction – Goods and services of perceived value to be auctioned

Gambling – Casino type activities, Roulette, Cards, or Betting shop

Debt/Loans – a LC bank could loan Ps LC


Design of the Currency

Denominations - Large denominations to give feeling of disconnect with reality.

Materials – Printed on paper or cloth?

Construction/Production – needs to be easy to produce but not easily replicated.

Quantities – need to determine how much - likely to need a lot!

The design could be a statement in itself e.g. artist Filip Markiewicz Created the Liliane Bettencourt bank note 'Banque de Tolerance' see top right Others such as from the V&A Disobedient Objects exhibition showing levels of inequality.

Figures on the notes could be Joseph Stiglitz, Thomas Piketty, John Maynard Keynes?

Or from the Dollar bill 'In God we trust' becomes 'In markets we trust' with figure of Adam Smith or Milton Friedman etc.


Other information about Local Currencies:

The Ecologist 10 Steps to creating your own local currency



Return to Market of Values

Example Currencies

laser-cut currency prototype

Liliane Bettencourt bank note Filip Markiewicz

Lillian Bettencourt Currecypng.png

1932 Austria the "Miracle of Wörgl" during the Great Depression

Worgl.png

V&A Disobedient Objects exhibition

V&A Disobedient Objects1.png
V&A Disobedient Objects 2.png

Transition Town movement local currencies

Bristol Pound

Bristol Pound.png

Lewes Pound

Lewes Pound 2.png