- Web of Debt, Chapters 35 and 36
- 17 Caught Between a Dock and a Sweatshop
- Extra listening: Third Paradigm 43:
- Extra viewing: Democracy Now tribute to
- Extra reading: Thomas Greco’s site
Chapter 35: Stepping from Scarcity into Technicolor Abundance
- What is Frank Baum an example of? Was FDR right that fear was the only thing they had to fear in the Depression? Was Carnegie, in your opinion, a philanthropist who truly believed that everyone could become a millionaire if they thought their way into it?
- In the eighteenth century Benjamin Franklin said that the real shortage was in the means of exchange. Is that true in the US today? If M3 went from $14 trillion in 2007 to $40 trillion in 2010 (with the $26 trillion secretly issued by the Fed) how does it compare to the 41% rate of growth reported by reliable sources? What would it be by now? Compare this to an M3 of “only” $7 trillion when the WTC towers fell.
- The video from last class “Let Your Life Be a Friction…” warns about the violent repression that would answer a revolution, but says that it’s the only way. Ellen Brown says that the internet is the peaceful revolution changing the “principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people,” in John Adam’s words. What do you think? How important does this make internet privacy?
- Did Professor Auriti truly bring prosperity to Guardiagrele, Italy? What’s the fly in the magic ointment? If the government had issued the money, would that have solved the problem?
- What is NORFED? What happened to the Liberty Dollars? What did Ron Paul say about the “Free Competition in Currency Act?” What are some problems with precious metal coins? Does online E-gold solve this problem? Should we be giving all our money for tradable receipts that say we have gold in a London vault? Are these and the mining companies the ones we want to have prosper?
- How does the Grameen Bank work? Where does it get the money to loan? Is it a fractional reserve bank?
Chapter 36: The Community Currency Movement: Sidestepping the Debt Web with “Parallel” Currencies
- Is the ideal group for a monetary system the larger community called a nation? Is that as true when it’s 300 million people? How many countries do community currencies operate legally in? How many local exchange programs are there? If these currencies and exchanges are taxed the same as money, does it solve the problem?
- What did Argentina develop to deal with the IMF-imposed peso crisis? What did it become with how many members? What did their “debt-cancelling bonds” resemble? What was a flaw of the system? How could that be countered today?
- How many paper currencies exist in North America? Describe how the Ithaca HOUR works. What’s an advantage of Edgar Cahn’s Time Dollar? How did a Berkshire Farm Preserve Note work? Is there a drawback you can see to the “caring relationship tickets” that Bernard Lietaer writes about?
- Comment on the carbon credit model and how it differs from the corporate carbon credit. What is LETS? Are there drawbacks that you see to it?
- Benjamin Franklin said that credit turns prosperity tomorrow into ready money today. What’s the difference, then, between credit and debt? Instead of either could money be put into circulation as receipts? How could such a system be designed to support both community functions and decentralized distribution?
- Tom Greco outlines three ways to have credit (i.e. debt) money circulate without the danger of default. What are these? Critique each yourself. What are Ellen Brown’s critiques?
- Islamic law, like Judaism and Christianity, forbids usury. All three have found loopholes. Would it be better to put universal limits on usury and phase it out?
- Ellen Brown states that the national currency must be reformed because taxes, mortgages, telephone, energy, gasoline and anything else not made in the local economy must still be paid in it. Can the national currency be reformed? Could this problem be solved by relocalizing taxes, mortgages, telephone service, energy, fuel, and production?