Welcome to ReinventingMoney.com and the new world of exchange and finance.
The mission of this site is to demystify money and liberate the process of exchange by making available important documents and resources from the past and present which can contribute to the advancement of economic democracy, self-determination, and global harmony.
This is an archival site designed mainly for monetary researchers and historians. Please visit my active site BeyondMoney.net for more complete coverage of my work and developments of interest to practitioners and students.
For those of you who are visiting here for the first time, we hope you will take the time to dig deep into the site to discover the range of resources we’ve assembled for you. For those making return visits, I’m pleased that you have discovered at least some of the quality materials we have archived here and are inclined to come back.
I especially encourage visitors to this site to avail yourselves of the Case Studies and the Library files that contain many of the works from what John Zube describes as the “Swiss, German, Jewish school of monetary freedom.” This is a unique collection of works by important authors from the first half of the twentieth century that you won’t find elsewhere. Foremost amongst the Germans are Heinrich Rittershausen and Ulrich von Beckerath. Zube’s description is based on the fact that this particular school of monetary thought included also Edgard Milhaud, a Swiss, and Walter Zander and Walter Unger, as the two Jewish contributors to the Four Law Drafts. He notes that Unger was murdered by the Nazis, while Zander managed to escape to England. Had the Four Law Drafts been enacted in Germany during the 1930s, Hitler might never have come to power and World War II might never have happened.
Serious students of money, the exchange process, and currency alternatives should dig deeply into the free money movement of the 1930s and 1940s. A great deal of excellent scholarship by free money advocates was published in The Annals of Collective Economy, now called the Annals of Public and Cooperative Economics. Unfortunately, the realm of scholarly publication is another part of the commons that has been appropriated for private profit, and one must pay to access most of these materials.
The case studies provided on this site are of particular importance in light of the recent financial crises and resultant economic distress.
My latest book, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2009), has been widely acclaimed and is attracting a great deal of attention. It can be ordered from the Chelsea Green website or from Amazon.com, but it would be most helpful if you would order it from your local independent bookstore and encourage them to stock and display it. It would also help “the cause” if, after reading it, you would post a brief review at Amazon.com. I’ve posted a detailed Table of Contents and a number of reader comments on my blog, beyondmoney.net. That is where I’ve also been posting my most recent articles, interviews, and presentations, along with pertinent materials and links. Included are many of the presentations I’ve given over the past several years in China, Malaysia, India, New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and the United States. You can access them at this link, http://beyondmoney.net. That is a site that I recommend you follow.
My previous book, Money: Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender (Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2001), in addition to explaining the mysteries and realities of money, describes both historical and contemporary examples of private currencies and exchange systems and outlines some innovative designs that can empower communities and bolster local economies.
Thomas H. Greco, Jr. is a community and monetary economist, educator, writer, and consultant. He is a former tenured college teacher who has spent more than 30 years studying and writing about ways to achieve greater harmony, equity, and sustainability through business and economics. His special expertise in monetary and financial structures has led to innovative designs for private community currencies and payment systems. Learn more.
Background and Rationale
The intention of this project is to provide general access to the best ideas and sources of information about transcending the limitations and dysfunctions of conventional structures of money and banking. If you want to escape the “box” of conventional thinking and debate about how to address “the money problem”, ReinventingMoney.com is where you’ll find the materials and resources you need.
Here you will find works by the keenest minds from both the past and the present; descriptions of actual successful exchange alternatives; and strategic studies that deal with the opportunities and problems of their implementation. Learn more
Toward Economic Democracy
The fundamental approach of ReinventingMoney.com is based on private initiative, openness, and voluntary participation – the foundations for economic democracy. The material available on-site explains and supports free market, non-governmental, non-monopoly exchange options, in short, free money and free banking. It also provides numerous links to a variety of significant sources relating to the community currency and private exchange movement. Learn more.
Thomas! I read the five stages in your book – borrowed from a friend and realized that the work we have been doing with voluntary time currency (where you can “invest” the currency and get it back when you perform services) actually fits the bill for several of the stages. Do see my blog and the article on resilience.org
Congratulation Thomas for your new website location. It looks great.
Congratulations Thomas with your new website location. It looks great.
I like to offer my view on the Bitcoin issue. I agree it is not the solution we’re seeking, but why? Because Bitcoin has become a commodity in itself and most of the coins are still in the possession of those who created it. It is a pyramid, a ponzy scheme that confuses the issue more than it solves it.
The first thing we need to clarify is what we want the money medium for? What are the characteristics that would make money the ideal system of exchange.
Money has two functions:
1- As a medium of exchange of goods and services, and
2- To store value, especially in a way it is easily transportable and safe.
The first use works best when money itself is worthless and merely represents the value of the things it “measures”, just like a measuring tape has no value regarding it measuring a gold bar or a bar of soap. In both cases that measurement is objective and the tape’s value is irrelevant. Unfortunately the way money works today, including bitcoin and the cryptocurrencies, they have become commodities to “invest” on and therefore their own value is unstable and suffers the same fate as all things under the supply and demand syndrome. This how the famous Tulip mess happened.
This describes the best reasons to reject ALL currencies and instead embrace the Credit Exchange systems bypassing altogether the money conundrum. We end up in fact with a money-less system that can measure accurately what we actually need to measure, the real things we require to live, the goods and services that create the only real wealth.
However for the second use of money as storage of wealth, it gets more tricky to resolve. As we accumulate wealth when having a large surplus in our account with all other traders in the exchange because we have a product or service that is popular, and we can’t possibly spend all the income on our daily expenses, what can we do to take that accumulated “capital” in a portable form without turning the solution into another commodity that will again fall into the same speculative trap?
To resolve it I think this problem demands we re-think the whole current capitalist system and the application of capital property, and even the practicality of charging interest for it. The issues of entrepreneurship, the creation of jobs, the incentives to invent new technologies to enhance efficiency, the elimination of poverty and the setting up of an equal playing field to offer the maximum opportunities to the largest amount of people, are going to have to be addressed. It is clear the “money problem” will be resolved when things like the infinite legal possibility for an individual to accumulate wealth is addressed and contained.
The capitalist system is cannibalizing itself to the point it is no more. The “financialization” of capitalism with pseudo “profits” of more than 40% coming out of it, is proof of a virus that has taken over the “patient”, (the economy) and is self-destructing while it destroys the host it feeds from.
The question is how to resolve the second use of money without relying on gold and silver. Is there a use for cryptocurrencies after all? (albeit with a different design?)
Bitcoin’s flaws are many. An important problem ironically is one of its attributes. Its limited numbers. It is not flexible enough to expand and contract according to the needs of the economy. Another one is its structure allowing speculation by not forcing every coin to stay in motion once it has been created. As it is today coins can be mined but be kept out of circulation to create scarcity in order to push its price up ( I didn’t say “value” for a reason) As stated I think the proper value for the medium of exchange itself should be neutral, that means zero. From this perspective a properly designed cryptocurrency should merely represent the value of THINGS and services to be exchanged with it. By itself it should be worthless. How we design that?
After a lot of planning and deliberation the WorkTrader ‘Work Credit Bank’ site campaign is underway through http://www.pozible.com. I met you in Adelaide through an ERA gathering. Hope to have further discussion later….
Hi Thomas, thanks for all the great content and your work in alternative currencies and monetary systems. I believe the future of money lies in technology, where people can create their own currencies using social connections.
We recently launched igobono.com which is a mutual currency system where people can buy, sell and donate using a social currency instead of money.
The site gives people instant spending power which they can use to buy goods and services. They can earn more social currency as they advance levels though engagement and good deeds. We wanted to create a platform that helps people overcome some of the problems that the scarcity of money creates.
Technologies and social dynamics are important parts of the equation, but so are sound principles of exchange and reciprocity.
Remember, a currency is a credit instrument, an i.o.u., a promise by the issuer to deliver value to the holder of the currency at some future time by accepting it back as payment. Thus, a currency is created when a buyer (the issuer) offers it as payment for real value (goods and services) and a sellers accepts it. The currency is extinguished when the issuer accepts it back from another buyer in payment for real value. Thus the reciprocity circuit is completed.
The value of any currency is determined by the credibility of its promise and its ability to assure reciprocity in the exchange process. My decision whether to accept a particular currency rests upon the answers to these fundamental questions:
1. Who is the issuer?
2. How is it issued into circulation?
3. What is the basis (foundation) of issue?
4. In the case of a credit clearing association, how is the issuing power allocated among the members?
5. What is the amount of currency in circulation currently?
6. What are the terms of the (explicit or implied) contract offered by the issuer to the users of the currency, i.e.,
a. What does the issuer promise?
b. What is the form of redemption?
c. What are the limits, if any, on the amount that may be issued?
d. What is the duration of the contract? Is there an expiration date?
e. Are there any fees or conditions associated with redemption?
You say, “The site gives people instant spending power which they can use to buy goods and services.” I would caution you to be very careful about allocating the “spending power” (issuing the currency). Indiscriminate allocation of credit has been the bane of innumerable trade exchanges. Read my article about that at
And follow by active site,
Dr. Greco. Jr,
I’ve purchased one of your books “The End of Money and the Future of Civilization.” It’s a really great read and shows that I’m not the only one out there interested in alternative economies. I see the way the central bank behaves with almost omnipotent power irregardless of financial responsibilities we all usually try to maintain. Most people, in my opinion (like I did) don’t usually realize they make mistakes like overspending and owing debt trying to gain anything they want as quick as they can at the expense of resources, space, and other people on Earth until there’s nothing left.
Regarding your fundamental questions on your last blog, can I provide some answers to them with a concept I’ve worked on for a year so far replacing monetary value with a decimal-based value based on the world population, contributions by what every country produces best, and all economic growth going to every person worldwide to spend by their own personal budget?
Thanks for reading my book. Now I’d suggest you view some of my presentations linked at my site beyondmoney.net.
Regarding your concept for “replacing monetary value” I’d suggest you get yourself a free blog site on WordPress and post your ideas there.
If you have comments pertinent to my posts here or at beyondmoney.net you can provide your link there.
Dr. Greco. Jr,
Regarding my second blog, I would like to kindly and briefly try to offer suggestions to your fundamental questions for example, where you state (My decision whether to accept a particular currency rests upon the answers to these fundamental questions.)
We could translate the current monetary economy (or any other alternative economy) into the decimal-based economy by letting an alternative “bank” issue the decimals (based on the production from all of us in the world economy and the census of the world population) into a “debit card” by computer transaction to issue it into circulation. We could scan this (perhaps in a store, restaurant, or even to purchase housing) into a system which could be programmed within the boundaries of an voluntary community.
Even as we work, employers could scan this for their employees to further increase the decimal value of every individual who works in a given hour, day, week, month, and year (or decrease it if their work or the company’s work, for example, is not productive.) This would feed in for every individual to have opportunity to find the most comfortable standard of living (without the debt and inequality of the monetary economy) as possible.
We would make sure we keep our budgets within this standard of living.
This would be our best obligation to keep this economy as functional as we can to ever prevent debt or any redemption, whatsoever. We would (very rarely or maybe never at all) accumulate debt within this community as everyone would volunteer to have, maintain, and continue working to keep this standard of living better and even more better off in the future. If in any event, we start growing debt, we would agree to include this into the decimal-based economy (by a community meeting, for example) and try to pay it down as quickly (and easily) as possible before it becomes greater.
The amount of decimal value we would have compared to the monetary value in circulation (to the US dollar) by would be (as in my second blog) is 1.409 x 10 (to the negative power of 9) which is translatable to USD $10,100 est. (according to the CIA in 2013) and other estimates (on http://www.wikipedia.org, enter gross national product, per capita, nominal to find the gross national product of ‘world’ by IMF, World Bank, CIA, and UN). This would translate to a decimal value of 1.396 x 10 (to the negative power of 13) to be equivalent of one US dollar.
There would be no terms and the decimal value would never expire (as long as we don’t ever corrupt it and spend it in unwise ways.) This would be used as an alternative economy (among others which could exchange among it) to replace the monetary economy in a space reserved for a voluntary community to promise all whom are concerned a better standard of living, more hope to obtain their own field of interest by more “realistic” values and work and the chance to even pay off their own debt (if any) they may have made with monetary value without the “clutter” of others’ debt (some who refuse to admit they owe to pay) and the greatest value of the dollar going to the wealthiest individuals. This would come with no contract, fees, expiration, redemption, conditions, or any other signed legal deal (except voluntary commitment and trust of any individual interested.) To be honest, only the population census would be considered a “signed deal” to count ourselves as part of the community.
I sincerely hope I gave you the best suggestions possible to answer your questions, Dr. Greco, Jr. and whoever may be interested in them and caused no misunderstanding. I understand (from personal experience) I love the most input possible to have answers to my questions because, if we could apply them to the working of scientific fact, they could take hold and maybe even work successfully as science teaches us observation, experiment, and fact. I also love philosophy which teaches us questions are good to help us gain a better understanding of our own existence, reality, and its possibilities.
Dr. Greco. Jr,
Regarding my second blog on September 15, 2014 and third blog on October 2, 2014, I rechecked the calculations and realized 1.409 x 10 (to the power of negative nine) translates to the exact monetary value of USD $10,124.031 or rounded off to USD $10,124.03 based on dividing the world population of 7.095 billion people by 1.
The decimal value for USD $10,100 of the Gross World Product per capita is 1.407 x 10 (to the power of negative nine) if one rounds off 1.4066264 x 10 (to the power of negative nine). This is based on the world population of 7.095 billion people and total gross world product of USD $71.83 trillion (or 1 to have monetary to decimal value conversion) as of 2012 according to http://www.wikipedia.org (search ‘World Economy’).
I divided the monetary value USD $10,100 by USD $10,124.03 to come up with 0.9976264 and subtract it by 1 ending with the result of 0.0023736. I subtracted the difference (0.0023736) from the previous figure 1.409 x 10 (to the power of negative nine) to result in 1.407 x 10 (to the power of negative nine) for a rounded-off decimal value conversion to USD $10,100.
I apologize for this error. Good luck with your blogs and presentations on http://www.beyondmoney.net! I read some of them. They are very educational!
Dr. Greco. Jr,
I corrected one more error for the decimal value based on the decimal-based economy I blogged a few times in the past few months.
One US dollar (we are more familiar with) would be converted (or equivalent) to 1.393 x 10 (to the power of negative 13.) So, to translate this to any monetary currency, we would base it on each nation’s economical growth worldwide and their national currency and times it to this decimal to ensure equalization in a world economy (again, based on one US dollar, the world economy as a whole with each nation’s economic growth, and the world population.)
I’d figure I’d blog this to make sure the calculations (decimal value to the US dollar value) are as accurate as possible for a world economy (along with its diverse nations) to operate and function at their best with this concept for those who may be interested.
Do you know about the Venus Project? http://www.thevenusproject.com/
Dr. Greco. Jr,
I thought it would be in all best interest to briefly propose the following which would be as flexible and compatible as possible to any economy (monetary or other alternative ones) as long as they exist and can be understood by all of us in case we someday seek to unify our own concepts.
We can start by what the total gross world product is in the world economy as of 2012 (USD $71.83 trillion) by starting it with 1 (or 100 percent) in place of it to divide it by the number of people in the world population in 2012 (7.095 billion) to come up with the equation of 1.409 x 10 (with a nine to the negative power in scientific notation) to represent the gross world product per capita according to a 2012-2013 statistic for the gross national product nominally per capita by the CIA (www,wikipedia.org) of USD $10,100 est.
Afterwards, we can round the monetary figure down by 0.009901 to get USD $10,000 from USD $10,100 and compare it to 1.409 x 10 (followed by the scientific notation of nine to the negative power) to have 1.39505 x 10 (to the negative nine power) or round it up to 1.396 x 10 (to the same negative nine power) to convert this figure downward to represent the US dollar through a decimal of 1.396 x 10 (to the negative power of 13 in scientific notation.)
This could be compatible to any nation’s currency or any alternative currency or economy that is out there to exchange with as long as it is based on the world economy and there are nations (or communities) who have their own currencies and work at what they produce best that can contribute their part in it to promote the economic growth and trading (import and export) for themselves and all others.
I hope for all the best this benefits all of us in the long run. As we continue to grow in world population, pass boundaries never pass before, and run out of space and resources on Earth, we may find a unifying figure someday useful to promoting our own interests.
Hi Dr Greco- I read “The End of Money and the Future of Civilization” a couple of years ago, and it was very foundational for me in developing a large scale outlook on the meaning of money if you will. I also communicated with you briefly regarding the Living in the New Economy Conference last year, and some of the difficulties for those who were not able to attend the conference had in being involve in collaborating with whatever post conference process was generated
Let me preface my comments by saying that I do have a rather large project that i have been working on my own, though I nave sought cooperative collaboration all along,which is aimed at outlining information and resources on food and health and information which can be utilized through emerging new networking ideals to create so-called resilient communities. I am choosing not to go too far into that since it tends to come off sounding self serving and is a just plain difficult to explain given that I do not yet have completed website, book etc
So my question here is not necessarily profound, but you seem to be willing to answer questions here which I see as an amazing opportunity that is clearly being underutilized As I have moved into this realm of resilient communities, if you will, I find that movement is often associated with ideas like time banks and local currencies,It at this level where I have been more and more interested on how the classic conservative liberal divide manifests itself . Some of us here in Napa recently began a group which was supporting locally owned and small businesses, yet we were often called socialists. It was an odd moment for me intellectually since i had always imagined that socialism denoted a strong central state bureaucracy, but it did open my eyes to the idea that for some conservatives at least,,socialism is defined as anything that interferes with what they see as unmitigated market machinations
Now let me contrast that notion with the idea that many who speak the language of new currencies, I think I have Bernard Lietaer in mind, though there of course others, seem to have a rather obvious brand of libertartianism at their core. When I first discovered this, I thought I must be off course in who I was reading, But as time has gone by I have become a bit more hopeful that there may be a chance to break down some of ideological polarization with activism at the level of local economic and academic involvement. To me, and this may be way off or rather obvious I am not sure which, the problem seems to arise either when the wealth generated for open egalitarian economic systems, most likely the local level, allows certain individuals to gain a percentage of wealth where they can buy land, or buy individuals to work for them. Henry George clearly dealt with part of this in his ideas on economic rent, but those ideas seem to suggest the remedy is taxation as opposed to creating a market, or economic structure which does not create the problem of excess power in form land purchase which perpetuate disproportionate work to wealth ratios in the first place.I became either more curious or confused when I heard a recent program describing Bit Coin as a libertarian dream of million points of light, if you will, collaborating in an independent monetary system. The message this conveyed to me was one of a non hierarchical economic or monetary system based freely acting players. Very similar to me at least of the idea that small business, and in this instance it may in fact be necessary to call small business a single worker. Sorry if there is no clear question here, but any input would appreciated. I will just add that I believe my attitudes, or potential ideological breaking points in working with conservatives, or certain liberals at the local level, has moved towards conciliation and finding common ground as opposed to outing them or challenging them. This idea leads me to my next point
I am likely attending a conference up in Hopland in Northern California next weekend called ‘Building Resilient Communities Convergence’ which is sponsored by Transition US. I imagine you are familiar with the organization, and that permaculture, which I consider myself to be a practitioner of is a driving focus of the group and the event. To digress for a moment part of the idea of my website and strategies for a local food and health movement is to create some clear categories and then take time to illustrate how and where they connect with other issues. For example growing produce has a fairly clear delineation of core mechanisms, Further it might be suggested the entire loop of growing produce or food, being a food consumer, being a cook, and the science of health in particular regard to diet is, or can be seen as, a closed system of sorts. Climate change , environmental degradation, economic injustice, and more meta type analyses are of course vitally important in terms in how you see the big picture impact upon the questions this local food and health cycle. Nonetheless I am suggesting seeing the local food and health issues as a closed loop to a large degree may be helpful in lessening divisions between conservatives, who may disagree with questions regarding climate change, economic injustice and the like may, and may be be alienated from being involved in a local food and health movement which they would have otherwise been happy to be have been involved in So when I find myself trying integrate this idea and others with what is basically a group of strangers with an already established protocol on these issues I find it problematic to share these ideas. In other words a front and center part of their message is to cite climate change, economic injustice and other meta issues which may become immediately divisive for some percentage of people who might otherwise want to participate with local food movements. Yet if I am to make ideas clear this a rather fundamental point and likely to be divisive for them. I am certainly not suggesting that hey should cancel highlighting climate change and economic injustice, but instead to at least look at some strategies to enhance our ability to attract those who are ideologically alienated by these issues into a network which prioritizes local cooperation around food and health
for the record I in no way am expecting answers from you on what I see as immensely difficult questions Rather I just hope by putting it out their perhaps generates some discussion between us I guess that is it, Sorry it is long and thanks for your time
Matt, I think I know what you’re getting at.
When people are confronted with something new, they try to fit it into some category of their familiar framework. Further, their conditioning tends to make them suspicious so they will tend to place it in a category that has been loaded with negative connotations.
There’s no need to get into ideological debates. Simply point out what the problem or opportunity is, then present the ideas that lead to solution or improvement.
You seem like you have a lot of interest and enthusiasm on what you’re thinking about and working on!
I read your prior blog on this website and browsed through your Napa websites.
I sincerely agree with your ideas and I also agree with Dr. Greco Jr.
Most people in the “free enterprise” we’re in which actually is “free” for the wealthiest few feel it is still “working” because, they don’t have to listen or contribute to the idea of wealth redistribution or income equality.
I’ve argued about distributing wealth to a few people who are opposed to it and they seem like they will be “always” opposed to it because, they feel progressive taxation and socialized medicine belongs to every other country except America!
We can still improve our own model of healthcare and taxes with regular currency,yet, they (and the other ‘herds’) feel free enterprise should be “absolute.”
That is why I wrote my own blogs last year and read Dr. Greco Jr’s book and websites. I am trying to “completely” give up on standard currency and try an alternative economy.
Don’t give up on what you’re doing and always maintain hope. Good luck on what you’re doing!
Hi Stephan- i really appreciate the encouraging words. The road has been, and will continue to be, difficult. But once you go down it, at least for some of us, there is no turning back. Good luck on your journey as well
let me first express my admiration for your work. I red two of your books Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender and The End of Money and the Future of Civilization and they were an inspiration to me. That is why, I need to notify you about my finding which I hope will be excepted by yourself as it was meant – to improve the chances of credit clearing (mutual credit) as a solution to the local and global exchange. There is an inconsistency inherent in the credit clearing example presented here that may lead to a potential flaw in the implementation of mutual credit systems. I described this potential inconsistency and the fix for it in the IJCCR (International Journal Of Community Currency Research) here: https://ijccr.net/current-issue/
I would appreciate your comment.
Right here is the right webpage for everyone who would like to understand this topic.
You know so much its almost tough to argue with you (not
that I actually would want to…HaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a
topic which has been written about for years. Great
stuff, just great!
гидра – гидра, гидра
Danke für die Bereitstellung des Textes von Heinrich Rittershausen, »Das andere System«, der zu den wichtigsten des 20. Jahrhunderts gehören dürfte.