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« The Science of Systems 11 | Main | Humanity's Impending Impasse? »

October 30, 2009


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I'm genuinely surprised in Georges various articles on money,energy and value in failing to find any reference to something which can recouple these things together; This is a form of negative interest called demurrage. Periodically, a stamp costing a tiny fraction of the currency's denomination must be affixed to it, in effect a 'user fee' Unlike every currency in the world demmurrage currency depreciates in value as it ages.demurrage works by freeing material goods, which are subject to natural cyclic processes of renewal and decay, from their linkage with a money that only grows, linearly over time.
Proposed by Silvio Gesell here is a illuminating quote:
"Only money that goes out of date like a newspaper, rots like potatoes, rusts like iron, evaporates like ether, is capable of standing the test as an instrument for the exchange of potatoes, newspapers, iron and ether. For such money is not preferred to goods either by the purchaser or the seller. We then part with our goods for money only because we need the money as a means of exchange, not because we expect an advantage from possession of the money".

Whereas interest tends to concentrate wealth, demurrage promotes its distribution it encourages reciprocation, sharing, and the rapid circulation of wealth...also in a demurrage-based money system it is sharing and not personal accumulation that forms the basis of security.It encourages long-term thinking rather than cashing in ecological resources for short term interest.
In case any readers think this is an utopian fantasy, it has been tried and worked so well in Worgl, Austria 1932 it was banned by the Austrian government at the behest of thretened central bankers!

No Corporation does business to contribute to the community, only to extract wealth from the community to be sent, eventually, to far-away headquarters or shareholders....LETS (local exchange trading system)and demurrage forces then to act locally.

Finally another quote;
Prosperity is relating, not acquiring.
-- Tom Brown, Jr.
I think those are magnificent words....!

George Mobus

Gee GaryA, can't you cut me some slack??? I'm still a student of how the world works (or could work). So this demmurrage thing hasn't surfaced in my view until now. Thanks for alerting me (us). I will definitely check it out.

H.T. Odum's view of money was a bit different. It didn't wear out, but cycled, acting like a pump cylinder, but to 'grease' the flow of energy. I don't recall how he thought about what happens when money, flowing in the opposite direction of emergy, reached its final end point, the extractors.

Good points all. I'll get back to you when I think I understand it. Meanwhile thanks again.


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