Saturday March 27, 2021, 11.00am-11:45am CET
Discussion with Valentin Seehausen, Julio Linares, Blanka Vay, moderated by Inte Gloerich.
On Day 2 MoneyLab #11 opened its virtual doors to discuss monetary experiments that can create an alternative financial system that support ourselves rather than the capital. Through lectures and workshops, artists, activists, researchers, and all kind of people explored and debated topics such as community currencies and basic income. Although these topics are becoming more popular due to emerging technologies and the current financial and environmental crisis, in reality, community currencies have been around for decades, as well as the debate about basic incomes.
Some initiatives are being implemented by governments, such as the case of the Citizen’s Basic Income and the Mumbuca social currency of Marica in Brazil. Others are fruits of the effort of international NGOs such as the GiveDirectly that runs an Unconditional Cash Transfer program in Kenya. And there are many bottom-up initiatives designed and organised by and for the local community popping up. The Social Coin Siegen and the Circles are examples that were presented in Money Lab that are already acquiring an interesting level of maturity.
Before we discuss how to start your own project, let us clarify that a basic income or community currency is not an end but a way to reduce inequalities, solve local problems, decentralise power, create relationships based on trust and build patterns of solidarity in our immediate surroundings.
After understanding this, keep in mind that these initiatives are not technology-dependent. Obviously, technology contributes, as it simplifies and increases the transparency of transactions. Still, as one of the participants recalled during the workshop, many community currencies started with a simple printing of papers that contained the signatures of community members.
The main important point to successfully start your community currency is to structure local connections formed by service providers, producers, farmers, workspaces and people in general. This network provides mutual benefits to its members, who support something broader than themselves, generating a sense of satisfaction and collective consciousness.
And how to start?
First, you need to engage people in the project and organise your local economy. Perhaps there is already a community hub in your area discussing the topic. If not, you will need to attract enthusiasts and start to build your community. You can make it through assemblies – self-administration structures formed by individuals that happens periodically.
Second, you don’t need to develop your currency from the 0. Several digital community currencies (listed below) already exist and are ready to be implemented in your community. Every technological solution has different characteristics and requirements. Therefore, you and your community, together, should choose one that suits your needs and values.
Lastly, you will probably need to raise funds for the project to cover expenses, especially human resources. After all, this is a kind of project that demands time and energy. Naturally, you can do all the work while having a side job, but we suggest you carry out crowdfunding or apply for funds as an option. And remember, as mentioned earlier, the community currency is a tool to achieve a particular goal (such as reducing inequality); therefore, it will be easier to get the funds if you frame your project in this way.
Freiburg Institute for Basic Income Studies (FRIBIS) group: https://www.fribis.uni-freiburg.de/en/project/ccubi-netfi_en/Technology / Community Currencies / Softwares