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Bernard Lietaer Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub
Medium 9781609942960

9 Strategies for NGOs

Bernard Lietaer Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Money does not have to be legal tender.
It can be what one might call “common tender,”
i.e. commonly accepted in payment of
debt without coercion through legal means.

RICHARD TIMBERLAKE, former Professor Emeritus of
Economics at the University of Georgia1

Within the space of less than 10 years, the small rural village of Blaengarw, South Wales, with high unemployment and a bleak future, totally transformed itself. David Pugh, a local TimeBanking manager who oversees the currency explains, “On the Welsh index of material deprivation, we were 128th on the scale of 1,800 communities with one being the worst in the country. We’ve now progressed to 735th in just a decade. So we’ve climbed more than 600 places. These statistics are based on such things as antisocial behavior, crime, and of course, unemployment—in fact, there is a whole array of indices. We’ve really come a very long way.”2

The residents of Blaengarw worked their way out of the all-too-common story of social blight and decay by making an assessment of their unused resources and their unmet needs and, in this case, linking these with a time-banking currency coordinated by a regional and local NGO.

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7 Strategies for Business and Entrepreneurs

Bernard Lietaer Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Our Age of Anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying
to do today’s jobs with yesterday’s tools.

MARSHALL MCLUHAN,
Canadian philosopher of
communication theory

In response to one U.S. governor’s braggadocio about massive job creation in his state during the nation’s continued employment slump, some wag responded, “Yes, I know all about his job creation; I’ve got three of those jobs.”

“There’s been great progress made since the end of World War II to create a broad base of high-paying jobs, although the bulk of those positions were in unionized manufacturing companies, nearly all of which have cut back, shut down or outsourced. High-wage jobs left urban manufacturing districts to be replaced by low-wage service jobs or occupational deserts.”1

If this prospect isn’t tough enough, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Ford writes about how automation eventually will eliminate most jobs.2 Jeremy Rifkin makes a similar case in his insightful book, The End of Work. MIT economist David Autor predicts that automation will eliminate middle-class jobs, and shows that the trend of demand for mainly high-and low-wage extremes will continue for the foreseeable future.

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13 Rethinking Money: From Scarcity to Sustainable Abundance

Bernard Lietaer Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The debate on the future of money is not
about inflation or deflation,
fixed or flexible exchange rates,
gold or paper standards,
but about the kind of society in which
money is to operate.1

GEORG SIMMEL, German philosopher and sociologist

Scarcity, particularly our warped view of monetary scarcity, which we inherited, can best be summed up in the following allegorical tale.

A fisherman encounters a philosopher and happily informs her about his discovery: that all life in the sea is at least two inches long. Furthermore, the fishmonger has repeatedly made several market tests that prove his position unequivocally. Consequently, nobody wants fish smaller than two inches because they have never seen one. The philosopher smiles kindly and advises him gently, “There is a simple explanation for your findings: Your net has a two-inch mesh. If you were to use a net with finer-gauged netting, or employ another method, you would find that the ocean is a lot richer than you think. In fact, it’s teeming with life. There are thousands of smaller species of fish in the sea, and oysters, clams, and snails that your nets will never catch. What’s more, your research is skewed, since anyone you’ve ever surveyed could only buy seafood that’s greater than two inches long, or wide, for that matter. Your fishing nets, dear man, predetermine your perception of reality.”2

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3 A Fate Worse Than Debt: Interest’s Hidden Consequences

Bernard Lietaer Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

It may sometimes be expedient for a man
to heat the stove with his furniture.
But he should not delude himself by
believing that he has discovered a
wonderful new method of heating his
premises.

LUDWIG VON MISES, Austrian economist

The small village was bustling with locals proudly displaying their wares, chickens, eggs, cheeses, and bread as they entered into the time-honored ritual of negotiations and trade for what they needed. At harvests, or whenever someone’s barn needed repair after a storm, the village-dwellers simply exercised another age-old tradition of helping one another, knowing that if they themselves had a problem one day, others would come to their aid in turn. No coins ever exchanged hands.

One market day, a stranger with shiny black shoes and an elegant white hat came by and observed with a knowing smile. When one farmer who wanted a big ham ran around to corral the six chickens needed in exchange, the stranger could not refrain from laughing. “Poor people,” he said, “so primitive.”

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