From the Publisher
ARGENTINA DEFAULTS; ISSUES NEW CURRENCY!
NYC FACES SEVERE ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF TERRORIST ATTACKS!
What's in the news today has everything to do with MONEY, from issuance of new currencies, to threats of deflation and spiraling unemployment, to measures for insuring a community's economic security. Tom Greco's new book MONEY: Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender covers all this and more.
Think of it as a trade: an exchange in idea currency much like you trade money for food and other life essentials. Because once you've read MONEY, you'll never think the same about what money is, what money does, how it is created, whom it benefits, and how the creation of parallel currencies outside of money as legal tender has the potential to transform community economic life. In effect you'll have traded ignorance for knowledge, an exchange I think you'll agree, is highly in your favor.
Vicki Robin, co-author of the best-selling YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE and writer of the book's Foreword, gives us the metaphor we need: Dorothy's little dog Toto pulling back the curtain to reveal the "wizard" for what he really is, a fraud and a deception. So it is with money. We are dazzled by the glittering Oz of money, banking, and finance, thinking it magical and beyond our comprehension. But wait a minute, like the little man at the controls trying desperately to pull the curtain closed, the financial cognoscenti are happy to keep us uninformed. Money is actually nothing more than a human idea, an agreement about how goods and services are exchanged.
And, guess what? The rules of the money game are made to favor particular groups. They're set and controlled by the banks, (not the government, not the people) where 95% of all money is created as interest-bearing debt. This inherently unstable system (the money supply is always lagging behind the growing amount of debt) creates and fuels the cancerous growth that now threatens to overwhelm the life support systems of the planet. Imagine playing a game of Monopoly in which all money must be borrowed at interest from the bank - who do you think would win?
But, there's hope. "The forgotten history of money is about how people can create their own." Greco shows us how the creation of parallel currency and credit systems can work to sustain and protect communities and their local economies, reinforcing the values of social justice, self-reliance, economic equity, and personal freedom. These alternative money systems have a long history, from depression-era scrip, to the Swiss WIR business group trading system (17% of Swiss businesses and 2.5 billion Swiss Franks in annual trading), to the newer LETS (local employment and trading) systems, Toronto Dollars, YES (youth employment scrip), e-currency models, and more. The growth of alternative currency systems world-wide has been astonishing, from less than 100 in 1990 to over 2000 today.
And in Argentina, currently perched on a mountain of debt and already in default, the RGT (Global Trading Network) is a social money movement that sustains a half a million families and offers insulation and protection from the adverse effects of economic globalization. Perhaps New York City should look to this model as it struggles to counter the severe economic effects of the Trade Center attacks.
Need more reasons to read MONEY? Just keep reading the headline news.
From the Author
Money, to most people is a mystery. This is not surprising given the shallowness with which the subject is treated by the mass media, and the seemingly intentional mystification of the subject by bankers, economists, and politicians. Even within academia there is an amazing degree of confusion of concepts and misunderstanding of terms, and little attention to critical analysis.
The rise of the community currency movement in recent years has provided opportunity to address these issues, providing experiential as well as conceptual learning for a great many people. But there still remains a massive job of education to be done if the subjects of money, banking, and finance are to be generally understood and people are to have the tools they need to bring about their own economic liberation. The intention of my work is to reduce these topics to their simple essence and make them accessible to all.
My purpose in writing this book is threefold:
First, to begin to demystify the subjects of money, banking, and finance so that the ordinary person can understand their workings and the profound effects they have on his or her everyday life and well-being;
Second, to strengthen the on-going monetary reform movement by sharing what I have learned over more than two decades about monetary theory and history;
Third, to inform and help guide the contemporary wave of development of community currencies and private exchange systems.