Posted by: mariannedc | February 27, 2012

Money, Debt and the Gift Economy

Money, Debt and the Gift Economy

By Pamela Haines, Quaker social justice educator with a concern for economics and the environment

Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics, made a proposal in a recent interview that turns our traditional idea about the value of money on its head.  He proposes instituting demurrage or negative interest, where a person would have to pay to keep their money active.  “In this sense, money decays and it resists accumulation. You’d rather lend it out at zero interest than keep it and lose money. By having money, you won’t get richer, you’ll get poorer, so you have to give it away, buy useful things, invest in your community. The money is forced to circulate…

“This replicates gift dynamics by making accumulation a burden and therefore enabling gifts to flow more freely. I advocate also community currencies to shrink the realm of bank debt money… and timebanking—migrating things that shouldn’t be in the money system, back into the community gift economy. You wouldn’t be able to get richer by holding onto money. The only way you would be able to get rich is by creating things that people actually need and want and doing it well, so there is still room for entrepreneurism, although there will be less incentive to focus on money. The decay of money emulates nature; everything decays in nature.”

For the complete interview, go to:




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