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Jan
26

Countering the political right in the USA and Europe

Post By gaia1 in European Union

Cas Mudde, an associate professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia and a co-author of “Populism: A Very Short Introduction” wrote an  excellent opinion piece in the New York Times of January 26, 2017 about “the-radical-rights-united-front?” The article also made  referrence to a NY Times’ summary of the eight major political right parties in Europe, several of whom  have high hopes in their countries’ elections buoyed political rightist in the USA. The Western world is in throes of major confusion in these liminal times where old verities and institutions are fundamentally questioned and new ones have not yet emerged. The following proposal with some small modifications is boldly presented as a possible 21st century approach in the comment section of the Mudde Op-Ed piece.

 

These populist, anti-emigrant and nationalistic parties which also include the Trump party have to be shown up for their extreme and dangerous biases and, especially, be countered by a progressive vision of an equitable global governance system.

I propose that progressives in  the USA, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa push for greater monetary unification  besides the existing monetary unions such as the U.S. dollar, euro and other regional monetary unions in direct opposition to the right’s direction for national currencies and removing those regional unions. Thus, according the Alternative Party of Germany, the EU becomes “the subsidiary Europe of the free home countries.”

 

This proposed monetary unification can be conceived to take place when a monetary standard—not the gold standard—can be developed for the 21st century. Verhagen 2012 "The Tierra Solution: Resolving the climate crisis through monetary transformation" proposes the vision of an international monetary union by basing the present unjust, unsustainable and, therefore, unstable international monetary system on a carbon-reduction or decarbonization standard of a specific tonnage of CO2e per person. The conceptual, institutional, ethical and strategic dimensions of such carbon-based international monetary system are updated at www.timun.net. Climate expert Bill McKibben wrote about this proposal: “The further into the global warming area we go, the more physics and politics narrows our possible paths of action. Here’s a very cogent and well-argued account of one of the remaining possibilities.”  

 

Jan
24

Trump and trade

Post By gaia1 in American Monetary Matters

 The Trump Administration, for whatever clear and dark reasons, wants to shake things up including scrapping the PTT which took place on January 23 as fulfilling one of his ill-founded promises. This would isolate the USA and pursue an America First strategy which in this globalizing world will not work. The Jared Bernstein’s New York Times article  at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/24/opinion/ditching-tpp-wont-solve-the-trade-deficit.html and its comments shows where the present thinking is on trade, currency and export facilitation. I wrote the following comment on the article:

 If Mr. Trump really wants to be a transformative president who would take of Americans and other people he could at least pursue two interrelated policies. Replace the WTO with the UN Conference on Trade and Development and pursue an enlightened international monetary policy.

That monetary policy would consist of two radical steps: move the U.S. dollar as international transaction currency towards an enhanced SDRs which, through challenging international negotiations, can be replaced by becoming part of a carbon-based international monetary system with its monetary standard of a specific tonnage of CO2e per person. The conceptual, institutional, ethical and strategic dimensions of such carbon-based international monetary system are presented in Verhagen 2012 "The Tierra Solution: Resolving the climate crisis through monetary transformation" and updated at www.timun.net. Climate specialist Bill McKibben who will not be Trump’s best friend said about this system: The further into the global warming area we go, the more physics and politics narrows our possible paths of action. Here’s a very cogent and well-argued account of one of the remaining possibilities.” End of my NY Times comment

The Trump Administration with its many white billionaires are the least like persons to engage in such transformative thinking, let alone policy action. However, resistance is building fast and wide and the women’s marches in the USA and globally amounting to about 2 millions marchers is one evidence. Given the unrealistic economic and trade policies of the US, Americans and a great part of the world community will reap the sad fruits by another recession in the next couple of years. It is also possible that he and several of cabinet members may leave the scene before the end of his first term.

 

Nov
22

After Brexit and Trump

Post By gaia1 in TFD system

William S. Cohen, a former Republican senator and secretary of defense and Gary Hart, a former Democratic senator and presently chairman of the International Security Advisory Board, which advises the State Department, advise Mr. Trump not to go nationalistic and remind him of the important work done after WW II. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/22/opinion/dont-retreat-into-fortress-america.html. They conclude: “Wise leaders such as Truman, Eisenhower, Marshall and Acheson constructed a temple in which freedom could thrive and economies could prosper. The interior of the temple may be in need of renovation, but Mr. Trump should not pull apart its central pillars and bring it crashing down.”

We are going through a liminal period where old verities and institutions are basically questioned and new ones have not yet emerged. The neo-liberal order of the Bretton Woods system is under attack and rightly so because of its production of a global disorder of inequality that to a great extent is caused by the unjust, unsustainable and, therefore, unstable international monetary system.

A new world order is to emerge based upon an integrated sense of social and ecological justice, similar to the integrated values of the Earth charter. Using this vision, leaders in government and civil society can start discussing and developing a new international financial and monetary system that would work in this climate-constrained century.

The financial systems of the world’s nations are to be liberated from privately owned banking systems and be mostly based upon a money creation system that is not debt-based. The trillions needed for climate and development are to be publicly created and managed. The global monetary system can be based upon a monetary standard of a specific tonnage of CO2e per person. The conceptual, institutional, ethical and strategic dimensions of such carbon-based international monetary system are presented in Verhagen 2012 "The Tierra Solution: Resolving the climate crisis through monetary transformation" and updated at www.timun.net. Bill McKibben said of this proposed global system: The further into the global warming area we go, the more physics and politics narrows our possible paths of action. Here’s a very cogent and well-argued account of one of the remaining possibilities.”  

 

Nov
11

Resistance and boldness after the Trump election

Post By gaia1 in American Monetary Matters

 Resistance and boldness are needed in these climate-constrained and liminal times where the Trump Administration has almost unlimited power to take the wrong direction, not only in respect to the looming climate catastrophe but also in respect to world governance where winning is to be superseded by cooperative relationship. Wherever possible, resistance to the wrong direction by various  levels of government and private, for profit and non-profit, is paramount during these next four years and this resistance has to start now, particularly in respect to the appointments to transition team.

At the same time boldness is needed to develop a vision that can work after four disastrous Trump years. Such vision could include a radical transformation of both the global financial and monetary systems. The world has to be weaned from the privately owned banking systems, going beyond Dodd/Frank in the direction of public banking where banks with 100% reserves would become utilities, thus  unable to create money.

The world could also start discussing basing the unjust, unsustainable and, therefore, unstable international monetary system on a carbon standard such as a specific tonnage of CO2e per person. The conceptual, institutional, ethical and strategic dimensions of these two radical transformations are presented in Verhagen 2012 "The Tierra Solution: Resolving the climate crisis through monetary transformation" and updated at www.timun.net. Bill McKibben stated the following about this carbon-based international monetary system on May 17, 2011: The further into the global warming area we go, the more physics and politics narrows our possible paths of action. Here’s a very cogent and well-argued account of one of the remaining possibilities.”  

 

Sep
15

The 9/11 memorial and a monetary path forward

Post By gaia1 in TFD history

 THE 9/11 MEMORIAL AND A FUTURE TO BELIEVE IN.

Within a half hour on September 11, 2009 four planes, two 767s and two 757s, took off from Boston, Washington D.C. and Newark with 19 highjackers and 232 passengers and 32 crew members on board. Within 2.5 hours of horror the world changed, particularly also due to response by the Bush Administration and the US Congress. We are remembering today the passengers, the crew members and the thousands of deaths, particularly around the twin trade towers in Manhattan, particularly in this 15th year of remembrance when the social, political and ecological impacts have become so much clearer. Denis Kucinich’s political reflections (http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/39105-focus-911-the-monstrous-lie-the-path-forward) are part of such clarification and path to a believable future.

For me who watched the rising smoke of the towers from my breakfast table in my top level cooperative apartment in Rego Park, Queens, and who as an environmental internationalist was engaged in various educational and political (Green Party) activities at the time, the memorial made me think of the financial near-collapse in the fall of 2008 several hundred yards from ground zero and its social, political and ecological impacts. As a matter of fact this near financial collapse set me on a journey as a sustainability sociologist to find out the causes of this disaster and ways to proceed for both the USA and the world as a whole, taking into account the context of an ongoing looming climate catastrophe . From my privileged position of 24 years of formal education in divinity, international affairs and development sociology and with my  experience in three continents I felt obligated in the biblical sense of “Much is required to whom much is given. Luke 12: 48” to  seriously recognize the event, analyze its reasons, theorize about solutions and mobilize for solutions that could contribute to a long-term vision for a believable future.

Basic to my search for answers was the context of basing this intellectual journey on a justice framework that would integrate its social and ecological dimensions as reflected in the Earth charter and further refined in my concept of contextual sustainability which was and is the guiding principle of a small, but important educational organization, called Earth and  Peace Education International (www.globalepe.org).

After four years of study, particularly of the basic elements of the unjust, unsustainable and, therefore, unstable international monetary system, and of discussions with some UN officials and members of several  NGO committees around the UN Headquarters that took place within the context of preparing for the Rio Earth +20 Summit, I came up with a proposal that would use a transformed international monetary system as a means to deal with the looming climate catastrophe. The conceptual, institutional, ethical and strategic dimensions of this carbon-based international monetary system are presented in Verhagen 2012 "The Tierra Solution: Resolving the climate crisis through monetary transformation" and updated at www.timun.net. Because of its transformational character the Tierra system with its Fee and Dividend carbon-reduction methodology system I had difficulty finding an outstanding environmentalist to write the foreword to the book. However, Bill McKibben who was too busy to write the foreword, responded in May 2011 and stated:  The further into the global warming area we go, the more physics and politics narrows our possible paths of action. Here’s a very cogent and well-argued account of one of the remaining possibilities.”  

 

Aug
31

The Tierra approach to the looming climate catastrophe

Post By gaia1 in TFD system

 THE TIERRA APPROACH TO THE LOOMING CLIMATE CATASTROPHE

Much of the causation of the looming climate catastrophe is due the workings of the unjust, unsustainable and, therefore, unstable international monetary system. It is this money system that as glue binds together the financial, economic and commercial systems. Thus, transforming, not only reforming, the global monetary system would lead to the transformation of those other global systems and a transformed global governance system.

Since 2008 I have proposed that we approach the resolution of two of our major international problems by, following Einstein’s advice, bringing both on a higher level of solution. Thus, it is proposed that the climate crisis can be resolved by basing the unjust and unsustainable and, therefore, unstable   international monetary system on the carbon standard of a specific tonnage of CO2e per person. In adopting such carbon standard the global monetary architecture becomes very different from the present one where we only have a fund, i.e. the IMF and where exchange rates often strongly fluctuate and are subject to speculation and manipulation and where international business transactions are mostly transacted using a national currency such as the U.S. dollar which is making a most important global system dependent on one nation’s domestic financial and monetary policies. In the proposed Tierra carbon-based international monetary system exchange rates would only vary within a small band as they are based on a monetary standard determined by the level of decarbonization of a country’s economy, i.e. its approximation to the above mentioned carbon standard. (If nations go for the single currency of the Tierra no historical currencies are needed. Cf. The Tierra currency: what, why and how at http://timun.net/blog/post.php?i=210). It is administered by a democratically governed global central bank and an innovative dual balance of payments system that accounts for both financial and ecological (climate) debts and credits.

One of the main obstacles to the emergence of the Tierra monetary approach to reducing climate degradation and advancing low-carbon, climate-resilient development is the still predominant neoliberal paradigm. Neoliberalism refers to a set of policies that the IMF, the G7 and, to a lesser extent, the G20 have been promoting all over the world for decades. These include tighter fiscal and monetary policies (sometimes even when the economy is weak or in recession); an indiscriminate opening up of countries to international trade and capital flows that direction of which are determined by large, powerful and substantially unaccountable international corporations; the abandonment of state-led industrial and development policies; privatization of public enterprises; and various forms of deregulation, including financial that would open up weak national economies to those large expatriate corporations. However, according to Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C., the influence of the IMF is waning in developing countries while middle-income countries have also become apprehensive of its neoliberal policies. (Cf.  http://org.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=9p0Oxe598bulVdK%2FzNHAUedops%2BpJOBj )

One of the ways to foster the emergence of the Tierra Fee and Dividend System—its official name based upon the carbon-reduction methodology of Fee and Dividend rather than carbon trade or a carbon tax methods—is the growing interest in the way money is created and in the use of public banks as opposed to the money creation function of privately owned banking systems. Cf. www.timun.net ; www.positivemoney.org; www.publicbankinginstitute.org; www.onsgeld.org . Very encouraging in this area of the international debate on money creation was the striking and promising event on August 3, when 35 leading, mostly British, economists agreed upon changing the direction of the traditional monetary policy in the face of economic malaise. Leaving the track of QE or helicopter money through the financial system they chose the new track of having QE flow directly into the economy without the intermediary of privately owned banking systems. This momentous change has been presented in an open letter to the British Chancellor of the Exchequer which was organized by the British civil society organization, called Positive Money. Cf. http://positivemoney.org/lettertochancellor.

Another way to foster the Tierra approach to transformational monetary change would be the promotion of issuing an expanded Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) facility as a precursor of a single currency such as the proposed Tierra currency. This type of SDR was strongly advocated by the 2009 UN Stiglitz Conference which dealt with the UN response to the 2008 financial debacle in terms of the interests of developing nations.

We live in a transitional period when traditional values and institutions are unraveling and new ones have not yet fully emerged. In such times and in the face of a global looming catastrophes such as the global climate degradation fundamental change might happen faster than normally expected, particularly when large numbers of national populations such as the 14 million Sanders voters in the USA are not only frustrated with the status quo, but demand “a future that you can believe in”.

The Tierra monetary approach to the looming climate catastrophe may be far out for most readers. However, Bill McKibben, author and team leader of 350.org, responded to my invitation to write the foreword to the 2012 Tierra Solution book by stating the following: “The further into the global warming area we go, the more physics and politics narrows our possible paths of action. Here’s a very cogent and well-argued account of one of the remaining possibilities.”  

 

**************************

 

Frans C. Verhagen, M.Div., M.I.A., Ph.D., is a sustainability sociologist who after working in Ghana in the sixties studied international affairs and the sociology of international development in the seventies at Columbia University. For some thirty years he worked in New York City in environmental education and activism, including producing a monthly TV show on Queens Public TV for 12 years. After four years of research about the causes of the financial catastrophe of fall 2008 he published in 2012 "The Tierra Solution: Resolving the climate crisis through monetary transformation", the conceptual, institutional, ethical and strategic dimensions of which are updated at  www.timun.net.

 

Jun
27

Brexit, the way forward

Post By gaia1 in TFD system

 

 

Brexit is a turning point on a global level in the same way that the fall 2008 financial crisis was. Central Banks and their private club of the Bank of International Settlements which would be the first institutions that would find a way out seem to be at a loss for reasons well indicated in http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/27/business/dealbook/central-banks-worry-about-engaging-world-markets-after-brexit.html Much reflection by them and others has been spent on Brexit’s consequences in Britain, the EU and globally and far less on vision and strategy.

Whatever vision individuals or institutions may have on believable futures, one important element of any strategy for transformational change has to include that the present neoliberal, Western nations’ political center is to be replaced by a globalization process that is not dominated by corporate elites in business and government as is presently the case with WTO, NAFTA and TPP. It is the neoliberal disorder that his to be redesigned, and not by the present designers who are its major beneficiaries. A cogent argument for this approach is made,  among others, by TFF Director Prof. Jan Oberg  TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment and be found at Go thttps://www.transcend.org/tms/2016/06/the-brexit-shock-now-all-is-up-in-the-air/o Original – transnational.org and by Noam Chomsky

Part of the new design is to tackle money creation by privately owned banking systems and its affiliates in most central banks and in the Bank of International Settlements (BIS). Money creation which is the sole right and obligation of the public sector has to be reclaimed from the banks  which then would become utilities. It is this issue of money creation or public financing that should be on the BIS’s agenda pushed by citizens organizations such as www.publicbankinginstitute.org  in the US, by www.positivemoney.org in the UK, www.onsgeld.org in the Netherlands and others.

In this redesign phase I personally would like to go far beyond the money creation issue which would be a firs important step in global governance redesign. I would like tosee that the unjust, unsustainable and, therefore, unstable international monetary system be transformed by basing it on the carbon standard of specific tonnage of CO2e per person, leading to the emergence of a global central bank and a balance of payments system that counts for both financial and ecological (climate) credits and debts. The conceptual, institutional, ethical and strategic dimensions of such carbon-based international monetary system are presented in Verhagen 2012 "The Tierra Solution: Resolving the climate crisis through monetary transformation" and updated at www.timun.net

 

Jun
03

The US Tierra Progressive Party

Post By gaia1 in American Monetary Matters

Updated Bull Moose platform for a US 2020 Tierra Progressive Party and Progressive Party Movement
 
In the June 20-27 Issue of the Nation magazine its Editor-at-Large raised the question “What’s Next for Bernie Sanders’s Grassroots Army?”and he observed that “The campaign may be coming to an end, but its activists plan to keep the revolution alive.”  Using wide-ranging interviews he came up with four organizational forms or approaches to his question. They are: 1. The Occupy Democrats, who see the Democratic Party as ripe for a takeover;  2.  Brand New Congress, an effort launched last month to elect a Congress in 2018 that will “enact Bernie’s program” regardless of who’s in the White House and would use a highly internet-based approach that was used by Lenchner who with his “People for Bernie has had 2.5 billion interactions—shares, posts, comments, Facebook likes; 3. The Working Families Party, which in many states provided the ground troops for the Sanders campaign and is now benefiting from—and struggling to digest—a huge influx of new recruits; 4. The People’s Summit, an alliance of National Nurses United and People for Bernie—the latter a coalition of activists and online groups like Vets for Bernie and Jews for Bernie—that has called a “gathering of the tribes” in Chicago on June 17–19 and represents more of the “movement” elements of the Sanders campaign. The Nation’s at large editor D.D. Guttenplan concludes that “None of these people want Sanders to drop out before the convention or to run with one hand tied behind his back. But the groups do differ—on strategy, tactics, and most of all on their degree of distance from the Democratic Party. Like many divisions on the left, you can also read that as a contest between pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will.” http://www.thenation.com/article/whats-next-for-bernie-sanderss-grassroots-army)
 
On June 2 I proposed a fifth approach which I submitted as follows: “Bernie Sanders’s campaign for social and political transformation which foremost was an idea and vision campaign has attracted millions of people who have put their money where their mouth is. The Nation’s editor at large rendered a service by categorizing the future of the Sanders philosophy into four approaches based upon his wide-ranging interviews.
 
I would suggest a fifth approach: the establishment by 2020 of a third party to be called the US Progressive Party with a platform that updates Theodore Roosevelt’s 1912 platform http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/primary-resources/tr-progressive. His emphasis on economic concentration and other Sanders’s emphases can be updated in this age of globalization. TR’s views on currency or in today’s parlance of money creation are more radical than Sanders’s unclear breaking up banks and should become an integral part of such updated platform.”
 
It was the 1912 Bull Moose platform stated on Currency that I quoted in another comment in the same Nation I issue when they were discussing Sanders’s banking views. The platform states under "Currency: 
We believe there exists imperative need for prompt legislation for the improvement of our National currency system. We believe the present method of issuing notes through private agencies is harmful and unscientific.
The issue of currency is fundamentally government function and the system should have as basic principles soundness and elasticity. The control should be lodged with the Government and should be protected from domination manipulation by Wall Street or any special interests.
We are opposed to the so-called Aldrich currency bill, because its provisions would place our currency and credit system in private hands, not subject to effective public control."
 
Personally, I would go a step beyond public banking and would include in the 2020 platform of the US Progressive Party the need for monetary transformation  in which a just, sustainable and, therefore, stable international monetary system would be proposed in this climate-constrained world disorder.  Most of the conceptual, institutional, ethical and strategic dimensions of such carbon-based international monetary system with its monetary standard of a specific tonnage of CO2e per person are presented in Verhagen 2012 "The Tierra Solution: Resolving the climate crisis through monetary transformation" and updated at www.timun.net.”
 
This proposal for the US Tierra Progressive Party and a global Progressive movement informed by the values of the Earth charter and the philosophy of Thomas Berry was submitted to Thomas Palley, AFL-CIO Senior Economic Policy Advisor, for their conference entitled Monetary Policy, Globalization and Security. As background information I added the monetary document on global governance that Stakeholder submitted to the 2012 Earth Summit and the financial PowerPoint presentation to the NGO Committee on Financing for Development at the UN Headquarters. It was pointed out that these documents could also be part of the background  materials for bringing about a global central bank the strategy for which could apply the Hamiltonian principles of repayment, discrimination and assumption.
 

 

Apr
01

Disintegrating Antarctica and carbon-based international monetary system

Post By gaia1 in Climate crisis

 During the last couple of weeks new research by two American ice sheet specialists has shown that the IPCC projection of the disintegration of the Antarctic ice sheet was heavily underestimated. The editorial of the New York Times of April 1  lists the many other contributing  reasons for a warming planet.

The faster than projected disintegration of Antarctica and the ongoing melting of Greenland ice sheet and glaciers worldwide makes projected rises in sea level double within the next hundred years. The consequences of this grim reality and looming catastrophe are well-known. What we need to deal with this enormous threat is a comprehensive conceptual, institutional, ethical and strategic approach, demanding an extraordinary level of international cooperation for this extraordinary looming calamity.

One such approach is presented in Verhagen 2012 "The Tierra Solution: Resolving the climate crisis through monetary transformation" where the unjust, unsustainable and, therefore, unstable international monetary system is to be transformed by basing it on a carbon monetary standard of a specific tonnage of CO2e per person. Updates of this carbon-based international monetary system can be found at www.timun.net.

Except for some, mostly Republican opposition and negligence the USA is taking some leadership in climate cooperation. The US could also taking leadership in transforming the unjust, unsustainable and, therefore, unstable international monetary system by moving away from the US dollar as international transaction currency to an expanded SDR facility and finally to a single currency as part of a monetary architecture that is based upon a carbon monetary standard of a specific tonnage of CO2e per person. Tackling the international monetary system in this way could be a next phase in the political revolution of Senator Sanders.

 

Jan
08

The Tierra Currency: What, why and how

Post By gaia1 in Tierra Currency

 THE TIERRA CURRENCY: what, why and how.

The Tierra currency would be the single currency that nations and their peoples would be using for their financial interactions. It would not be a reserve currency such as the U.S. dollar or British pound because the strength of a nation’s currency is determined by its deficit or surplus position of Tierras. Moreover, historical currencies would not exist to be held by other nations. A global currency such as the Tierra is part of an international monetary system the architecture of which is based upon the monetary standard of specific tonnage of CO2e per person. The monetary architecture also include a global central bank and a balance of payments system that keeps track of both financial and ecological (climate) credits and debts.  

Reasons for pursuing the study and introduction of the Tierra currency are many. It would reduce the heavy fluctuations in currencies; it would eliminate currency manipulation and speculation; it would remove the currency of one nation and its fluctuations as a de facto global currency; it would contribute to humanity’s efforts in avoiding a looming climate catastrophe; it would transform the financial, economic and commercial systems given that the international monetary system acts like glue in binding those systems together; it would transform the unjust, unsustainable and, therefore, unstable international monetary system to one that is more just, sustainable and, therefore more stable.

The world’s unstable currency situation is well described in an article that was prompted by China’s inability to deal effectively with its transitioning economy and its fluctuating Yuan currency (thttp://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/09/business/dealbook/asia-china-renminbi-currency-devaluation.html). These currencies fluctuations—either through the invisible hand of export markets and/or poor domestic planning—are a demonstration of how our global monetary, financial, economic and commercial systems are not working, a major reason of which is they continue to enrich the few, impoverish the many and imperil people, species and planet.

One intermediate way of introducing the Tierra global currency and dealing with this unjust inequality in global systems is to replace the U.S. dollar by an expanded use of SDRs, already suggested by the Stiglitz 2009 UN conference and the Brueghel think tank. Verhagen 2012 "The Tierra Solution: Resolving the climate crisis through monetary transformation" has proposed a top-down (UN) and a bottom-up (grassroots) approach to pursue the Tierra carbon-based international monetary system with the Tierra global currency as one option and national currencies pegged to the carbon standard as another option. Its conceptual, institutional, ethical and strategic dimensions are updated at www.timun.net.

 

Dec
02

A transformational path beyond Paris 2015

Post By gaia1 in Climate crisis

 A TRANSFORMATIONAL PATH BEYOND PARIS 2015: a realistic carbon budget and fair carbon pricing in a transformed world.

Op-Ed article submitted to the New York Times

December 2, 2015

The real question during and especially after Paris 2015 is the provocative question raised by Justin Gillis in his December 1 article: What would a truly ambitious plan to tackle climate change look like?  Gillis states a little bit later that “few people have spent much time studying potential steps to “deep decarbonization” — certainly not at the level of detail needed for a concrete plan.”Gillis seems to put much faith in the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project which, indeed, has technically or energetically speaking much going for it. However, the project has a focus on individual countries without an explicit whole worldview or long-term vision. Its 16 research teams could add to their study of energy pathways the Tierra Fee and Dividend social pathway proposed here.

The social and inclusive climate pathway that I developed as a Dutch-born international sustainability sociologist with training and experience in divinity and international affairs consists of an integrated vision of a transformed world that does not enrich the few, impoverish the many and imperil people, species and planet. This vision of a transformed world where the challenge of the looming climate change catastrophe is the point of departure or its organizing principle consists of eight integrated components

First, transformational system change has to adopt a long timeframe, of at least 25 years or probably more appropriately of a 50 year span that would also include the value of intergenerational justice. Gillis in explaining the “most compelling finding of the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project” argues “governments could easily flub the energy transition by failing to plan far enough ahead” in their 10- and 15-year targets that can be met with incremental changes. They should at least figure out where they want to be in 2050 and then “work backward to plot the necessary technological path, while remaining open to new inventions”. The transformed world  that is envisioned in the transformational socio-technico path of the Tierra Fee and Dividend system has at least a time frame of 50-75 years because the present monetary, financial, economic and commercial systems took centuries to develop and transforming them in a couple of decades is well-nigh impossible. Of course, if major climate catastrophes become dominant in those decades transformational system change can be shorter. Such catastrophes like global wars are major system changers in all their dimensions.

Second, the proposed transformation through the Tierra Fee and Dividend system is predicated on the transition away from the present neo-liberal (dis)order to a global governance system that does not enrich the few, impoverish the many and imperil people, species and planet. Such transformed international system with its appropriate global governance system is somewhat like the political revolution that Bernie Sanders is presently proposing in the USA and that has found acceptance particularly among the generation of US millennials.

Third, the Tierra Fee and Dividend system is based upon an accurate and particularly a fair global carbon budget. There is not to be a hanky-panky with negative emissions through biomass and carbon capture and storage as lucidly described by Geden in his December 1 Op-Ed piece. Negative emissions are the flip side of emissions. The idea is to develop technology that would remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere. This would allow for significantly higher fossil fuel emissions over the next few decades which seems to be a dangerous thing to do. Notwithstanding the good will and optimism during these first few days of the UNFCCC conference it is not to be forgotten that the governments have pointedly declined to take up a recommendation from scientists of an equitable carbon budget which was well presented by Martin Kohr of the SouthCenter during the Cancun 2010 conference. It is also not to be forgotten that the voluntary pledges of countries are in most cases made as compromises between “the desire to be ambitious and the perceived cost and political difficulty of emissions cutbacks.”

Fourth, fairness in carbon pricing is crucial and as such cap-and-trade systems are generally not fair. They are also not fast and are not formidable given that they only deal with CO2 or rather than CO2e. Like in other areas of social, economic and ecological activities it is most important that policies are based on a set of integrated values as proposed in the Earth charter and further elaborated in the contextual sustainability framework of Earth and Peace Education International.

Fifth, the transformation of international monetary system and by implication of the Tierra Fee and Dividend system is based upon the transformation of the global banking and financial systems together with their economic and commercial systems. The transformation of the banking system can start with the pursuit 100% reserve banking and the expansion of public banking while the transformation in the present debt-based financial systems can evolve in a credit-based financial systems where governments are in charge  of the spending into circulation of trillions of dollars or Tierras that are needed by nations and the UN for climate adaptation and modification.

Sixth, the transformation of the unjust, unsustainable and, therefore, unstable international monetary system into just, sustainable and, therefore, stable international monetary system is the main component of the Tierra Fee and Dividend system which is the heart of the Tierra Solution.  It consists of the monetary standard of specific tonnage of CO2e per person which leads to relatively fixed exchange rates and historical currencies pegged to the carbon standard or the new global currency of the Tierra. Main institutions that are needed are a world central bank and a modified balance of payments system that accounts for both financial and ecological (climate) credit and debts. Maurice Strong of Earth Summit fame considered in May 2010 basing the international monetary system on carbon “innovative” and Bill McKibben’s of 350.org fame wrote in May 2011: “The further into the global warming area we go, the more physics and politics narrows our possible paths of action. Here’s a very cogent and well-argued account of one of the remaining possibilities.”

Seventh, rather than focusing on the ambiguous term of sustainable development (SD) the international development community is to focus on sustainable communities development(SCD) where the real changes have to take place, including the introduction of supplemental local monetary systems. It is significant that political leaders on the sub-national level such as governors and mayors are pushing for more aggressive cuts than national leaders at COP 21. They feel that their leaders are not moving fast enough and they have to do more.

Eight, the direction to be taking now is the direction set out by the principles of the Earth charter the initiative for which was taking by Dutch prime minister Ruud Lubbers, Maurice Strong, Mikhail Gorbachov after the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. Our way forward to the transformed world of carbon-based international monetary system its Tierra Fee and Dividend system is to remind ourselves of the “The Way Forward of the earlier quoted Earth Charter which states: “As never before in history, common destiny beckons us to seek a new beginning. Such renewal is the promise of the Earth Charter principles. To fulfill this promise, we must commit ourselves to adopt and promote the values and objectives the Charter………. “Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life.”

In conclusion, what is needed of all of us is boldness in reconceptualizing the monetary, financial, economic and commercial systems and in giving the Tierra Fee and Dividend system due consideration and study as one of the very few integrated conceptualizations of a just, sustainable and stable world with its appropriate global governance system.

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

Johann Goethe.

____________________

Frans C. Verhagen, M.Div., M.I.A., Ph.D. is a Dutch-born international sustainability sociologist  who founded the International Institute of Monetary Transformation in 2009 and is the author of “The Tierra Solution: Resolving climate change through monetary transformation” Cosimo 2012. He co-founded Earth and Peace Education International in the early 1990s which developed a framework that integrated social and ecological peace. In 1980 after completing his international affairs and sociology studies at Columbia University Dr. Verhagen founded Sociological Energy Services International, a consulting service for North American states and African countries.

 

Mar
06

Crisis Depending On Inadequate Supply

Post By timun in American Monetary Matters

As we all know monetary system of US and other nations are based on debt which means a unit has to owe to own an amount of money. And of course this systems have a lot of disadvantages like insufficient supply of natural sources to people. In order to maintain a balance of consuming we need to get informed about shopping items. Which are really needed in your house and which products you need to consume to sustain your life at maximum saving. But this saving doesn't mean you will get hungry after a while. For example visit one of those weekly ads to see important deals of that week at Kroger, Ralphs or any kind of store you like. These will help you to get informed about important deals for organic food or something like that. With this way customers only purchase what they need for their food need.

Working hours in USA also effects the supply. Some of the stores working 24/7 may be not helpful for people. Considering their human power consuming long hours and their supply to consumers we can find a lot of disadvantages of this 24/7 system. Customers can find hours of stores of Costco on various websites.
To keep economy of small businesses we also need to keep saving of customers healthy. Coupons of Hobby Lobby may be an important point to hit at this time. Because of small things we loose a lot of money unnecessarily. However, coupon is a good discovery to shop for lower prices. And it allows you to buy only what you need.
With weekly ads of Kroger and similar sort of supermarkets you can find fresh meat, organic food and especially these would be good priced products. Since the prices are fair the quality meets with the true value and over consuming is not possible with this system. This unneeded shopping can be also seen on pharmacy products. Products of CVS pharmacy is a good example for it. A lot of pills that are causing health disorders can be retailed at these stores but people love to use them just for a temporary relaxation. Advertisements can cause consuming more without thinking with these stores. Of course one of the most popular store is Walmart and its ads are very popular. Similarly Walmart retails its products. Walmart ad is published every month which is one of the elementary part of the daily consuming. They supply everything and one day these supplying may find a finish.

 

Mar
03

Bitcoin and future of local and global monetary arrangements

Post By gaia1 in Tierra Currency

This post compares Bitcoin and other local and global monetary arrangements with the Tierra system. We will see whether the NY Times isgoing to publish it. In any event, it will be used as a circular at the Nexus conference in Chapel Hill, both for a post session and also for my workshop on the TFD on Friday March 7. Details are listed at the events page.

BITCOIN AND FUTURE MONETARY ARRANGEMENTS

Op-Ed piece submitted to the NY Times  on 3/2/14

Bitcoin, Bitcoin variations, complimentary or local currencies, electronic information based currencies,  public state banks and other alternative payment and investment systems on the local and global level are evidence of the fact that the present privately owned banking systems and its associated international monetary system is not working effectively for many classes of people and institutions. This is a matter of great social, economic and environmental concern because the international monetary system, binding together as glue the monetary, financial, economic and commercial systems, can be considered to be foundation of a world order that enriches the few, impoverishes the many and imperils people, species and planet.

One of the beneficial effects of the emergence of Bitcoin and its recent major setback with the bankruptcy of Mt. Gox,  its major exchange, is the discussion of what money is, how it is created and controlled and, in the opinion of Robert Shiller of Yale University in his Times article of March 1,  how money should be measured as a unit of account. Such discussion can only lead to national and international monetary arrangements that will be more just, sustainable, and, therefore, more stable than the present ones.

As the inventor of the Tierra carbon-based international monetary system, a bold effort to show a pathway to resolving the looming climate catastrophe through monetary transformation, I have compared Bitcoin and similar virtual currencies in terms of their social, economic and ecological terms with other emerging monetary arrangements, be they virtual or not.

I consider the Bitcoin phenomenon to be at the bottom rung of new money arrangements, most of which are local or national efforts because the international monetary system with all its neo-classical shortcomings is still solidly entrenched. As recently argued by columnist Nocera, Bitcoin is basically a commodity rather than a currency in its meaning as a means of exchange or store of value. Because its supporters and investors want to escape financial institutions that are (slightly) regulated, Bitcoin has no regulatory structure to protect its investors. Thus, as a store of value, Bitcoin is on shaky grounds which is evidenced in the strong fluctuations on its exchanges. In terms of its economic and ecological impacts, Bitcoin is a lightweight currency. Being more of commodity rather than a currency it is a platform for speculation or, worse, as a conduit of drugs and other non-legal uses. Its economic and ecological benefit will be very little because of its miniscule investments in business operating on a triple bottom line.

On the other hand, local or complimentary currencies of which there are hundreds now since Robert Owen started the first one at the end of the 19th century contribute to the triple bottom line approach of local businesses. They make the provisioning of more goods and services possible, particularly in times of recessions. This is well described in the 2011 publication Creating Wealth, Growing Local Economies with Local Currencies written by sustainable communities planner Hallsmith and a well-known monetary system specialist Lietaer.

One step up from local currencies is the reemergence of state public banks where local governments place their tax receipts and other revenues in a state-owned bank. These banks are able to direct their investments to social, economic and environmental needs of the community without the need to borrow from the privately owned banking systems. The Bank of North Dakota has been successfully been investing since the 1930s, often working with the local privately owned banks. Presently, over a dozen legislatures in the USA are considering starting such state banks. Vermonters for a New Economy are in the forefront of this effort and obviously they are faced  with strong opposition of big banks, using heavy lobbying and spreading misinformation. Similar confrontations will become normal in other states in this transitional period to green economic and monetary systems.

On top of this pyramid of new monetary arrangements is located the global Tierra monetary system which would constitute an international monetary union. It is either floating exchange rates or monetary unification that Barry Eichengreen’s 1994 book proposes as possible future monetary arrangements. The Tierra monetary union (TIMU) as indicated on its website www.timun.net  is based on its carbon standard of CO2e per person. This monetary standard is not to be confused with the loyalty local carbon currency. The former is the standard on which national currencies or the new  single global currency of the Tierra are pegged, while the latter, together with other environmentally-based local currencies, is not a standard but a loyalty program where customers can pay 10-20% of their bills with these carbon currency units (CCU). The Tierra is also not to be confused with a voluntary carbon standard, which individuals or businesses use as part of their pursuit to living lightly on the planet. The Tierra monetary standard leads to fixed exchange rates that fluctuate within a small band. It also leads to balance of payments system that keeps track not only of financial but also ecological (climate) debts and credits. The Standard also leads to the need for a global central bank, which would be governed by the representatives of the regional monetary unions such as exist in Europe, USA, West and East Africa, Asia. My 2012 book The Tierra Solution: Resolving the climate crisis through monetary transformation presents in detail the conceptual, institutional, ethical and strategic dimensions of this bold monetary plan for the future.

Future monetary arrangements on the local, state, regional and global levels will be very much determined by an informed and politically savvy citizenry. They will ask the hard questions about progress, wealth, money and demand an explicit normative framework of principles that would guide the search for answers. The development of principles is particularly important in 2014 when humanity is preparing for the post-2015 development agenda in which principles, unfortunately, do not yet precede methods or, in UN parlance, GTIs(Goals, Targets, Indicators).

“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps  principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th century American philosopher.

_____________________________

Frans C Verhagen, M.Div., M.I.A., Ph.D. is a sustainability sociologist with training and experience in divinity and international affairs, particularly green monetary economics. He founded the International Institute for Monetary Transformation in 2009 which is engaged in research, education and advocacy in alternative global monetary systems.

 

 

Dec
23

Krugman's Bits and Barbarism and my comment

Post By gaia1 in Exchange rates

  

December 22, 2013

Bits and Barbarism

By PAUL KRUGMAN

This is a tale of three money pits. It’s also a tale of monetary regress — of the strange determination of many people to turn the clock back on centuries of progress.

 

The first money pit is an actual pit — the Porgera open-pit gold mine in Papua New Guinea, one of the world’s top producers. The mine has a terrible reputation for both human rights abuses (rapes, beatings and killings by security personnel) and environmental damage (vast quantities of potentially toxic tailings dumped into a nearby river). But gold prices, while down from their recent peak, are still three times what they were a decade ago, so dig they must.

 

The second money pit is a lot stranger: the Bitcoin mine in Reykjanesbaer, Iceland. Bitcoin is a digital currency that has value because ... well, it’s hard to say exactly why, but for the time being at least people are willing to buy it because they believe other people will be willing to buy it. It is, by design, a kind of virtual gold. And like gold, it can be mined: you can create new bitcoins, but only by solving very complex mathematical problems that require both a lot of computing power and a lot of electricity to run the computers.

 

Hence the location in Iceland, which has cheap electricity from hydropower and an abundance of cold air to cool those furiously churning machines. Even so, a lot of real resources are being used to create virtual objects with no clear use.

 

The third money pit is hypothetical. Back in 1936 the economist John Maynard Keynes argued that increased government spending was needed to restore full employment. But then, as now, there was strong political resistance to any such proposal. So Keynes whimsically suggested an alternative: have the government bury bottles full of cash in disused coal mines, and let the private sector spend its own money to dig the cash back up. It would be better, he agreed, to have the government build roads, ports and other useful things — but even perfectly useless spending would give the economy a much-needed boost.

 

Clever stuff — but Keynes wasn’t finished. He went on to point out that the real-life activity of gold mining was a lot like his thought experiment. Gold miners were, after all, going to great lengths to dig cash out of the ground, even though unlimited amounts of cash could be created at essentially no cost with the printing press. And no sooner was gold dug up than much of it was buried again, in places like the gold vault of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where hundreds of thousands of gold bars sit, doing nothing in particular.

 

Keynes would, I think, have been sardonically amused to learn how little has changed in the past three generations. Public spending to fight unemployment is still anathema; miners are still spoiling the landscape to add to idle hoards of gold. (Keynes dubbed the gold standard a “barbarous relic.”) Bitcoin just adds to the joke. Gold, after all, has at least some real uses, e.g., to fill cavities; but now we’re burning up resources to create “virtual gold” that consists of nothing but strings of digits.

 

I suspect, however, that Adam Smith would have been dismayed.

 

Smith is often treated as a conservative patron saint, and he did indeed make the original case for free markets. It’s less often mentioned, however, that he also argued strongly for bank regulation — and that he offered a classic paean to the virtues of paper currency. Money, he understood, was a way to facilitate commerce, not a source of national prosperity — and paper money, he argued, allowed commerce to proceed without tying up much of a nation’s wealth in a “dead stock” of silver and gold.

 

So why are we tearing up the highlands of Papua New Guinea to add to our dead stock of gold and, even more bizarrely, running powerful computers 24/7 to add to a dead stock of digits?

 

Talk to gold bugs and they’ll tell you that paper money comes from governments, which can’t be trusted not to debase their currencies. The odd thing, however, is that for all the talk of currency debasement, such debasement is getting very hard to find. It’s not just that after years of dire warnings about runaway inflation, inflation in advanced countries is clearly too low, not too high. Even if you take a global perspective, episodes of really high inflation have become rare. Still, hyperinflation hype springs eternal.

 

Bitcoin seems to derive its appeal from more or less the same sources, plus the added sense that it’s high-tech and algorithmic, so it must be the wave of the future.

 

But don’t let the fancy trappings fool you: What’s really happening is a determined march to the days when money meant stuff you could jingle in your purse. In tropics and tundra alike, we are for some reason digging our way back to the 17th century.

COMMENT

I agree that gold and bitcoin are out and that paper money is in. Inflation may be low, but currency swings are not. Why not develop a monetary standard that would keep those swings in check? Why not base that standard upon a very specific tonnage of CO2 per person so that societies not only keep their currencies in check but also contribute to the global commonweal by avoiding a looming climate catastrophe? The institutional, strategic and other dimensions of this proposal are presented in the Tierra Solution.

 

Nov
19

Bitcoin and the Tierra system

Post By gaia1 in American Monetary Matters

Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs held a hearing on the potential risks, threats and promises of virtual currencies. Later today, a Senate Banking Committee will hold a similar hearing. The focus is on Bitcoin, a virtual currency that operates completely outside of U.S. financial regulations and protections. Critics argue the current lack of oversight offers anonymity to those hoping to skirt U.S. laws, but others say it’s a frontier in electronic commerce with important consumer benefits. Diane and her guests talk about Bitcoin and the future of virtual currencies.

 Guests

Jennifer Shasky Calvery director, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, U.S. Treasury Department

James Freis attorney, Cleary, Gottleib, Steen and Hamilton specializing in financial regulatory and enforcement issues.

Jamila Trindle senior reporter, Foreign Policy Magazine

Jon Matonis executive director, Bitcoin Foundation

Francois Velde senior economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

MY COMMENT:

This was a most interesting show exploring a new “currency”. Any critical exploration for alternatives to our present international monetary system is to be applauded.

However, any currency is to be situated in an infrastructure that is to be part of our globalizing world. May be such infrastructure emerging for the bitcoin, which I doubt.

I developed the conceptual, ethical, institutional and strategic dimensions of a new international monetary system that is based not on a gold, but carbon standard of a specific tonnage of CO2e per person. This Tierra standard makes the value of currencies—either the national or regional ones—or of a global currency fixed within a small band. Those interested in exploring this currency proposal with its global institutions of a global central bank, a balance of payments of both financial and ecological debts and credits can google monetary transformation or read The TIerra Solution: Resolving the climate crisis through monetary transformation, published in 2012 by Cosimo Books.

http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2013-11-19/lawmakers-and-regulators-take-closer-look-bitcoin#disqus_thread is the website where also a half dozen videos on bitcoin are listed. The show’s home page started with the picture below.

 

This April 3, 2013 photo shows bitcoin tokens at 35-year-old software engineer Mike Caldwell's shop in Sandy, Utah. Caldwell mints physical versions of bitcoins, cranking out homemade tokens with codes protected by tamper-proof holographic seals, a retro-futuristic kind of prepaid cash. With up to 70,000 transactions each day over the past month, bitcoins have been propelled from the world of Internet oddities to the cusp of mainstream use, a remarkable breakthrough for a currency which made its online debut only four years ago.

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

 

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