Tuesday, 13 January 2009

How to resolve the Credit Crisis

Web of Debt: Ellen Brown writes "The credit crunch could be avoided by “going local” not just in the United States but around the world. Countries that have been seduced or coerced into funneling their productive assets into serving foreign markets and foreign investors could become self-sustaining, using their own credit and their own resources to feed and serve their own people."
Interesting idea: a parallel banking system based on community commons -- South Bruce Peninsula puts up 8% of some arbitrary figure, and then loans it out (at fair rates) as community scrip for local infrastructure, homeowners and improvements, community development projects, and voila! jobs galore, eco-economically self-contained! Of course, it gets better (more practical for everyday use) if it is Provincial or even, dare I say, a National scrip -- hmmm ... isn't that where the Bank of Canada came from?

The idea occurred to me that this notion of local community level scrip is not even completely alien or unimaginably unworkable because we are already half-way there.  Every charitable organization, and every active group within every level of gorvernment is already in the habit of handing out tax receipts, paper statements of work done in exchange for some value that will be paid to the bearer on inclusion in their annual tax return.

Community Scrip is a tax receipt

The value of a community scrip only redeemable for government services (ie refundable from taxes) is indistinguishable from a tax receipt -- this is the 'limit case', the special situation where the currency is only accepted by one vendor, your goverment.

But ... what if tax receipts were formalized into denominations, into fives, tens, fifties, hundreds and so forth, and then made transferable, used as local currency, the cost to the government is microscopically increased (printing cost of a hard-to-counterfeit receipt, at least as hard to copy as existing charity tax receipts, which is to say not really very hard to copy at all) and yet the community benefit to accrue from a shift to transferable scrip is astronomical.

There is, so far as I can see, no reason not to permit transferable tax receipts as scrip, and a major plus is that those who can't really use the tax receipts, low income earners for example, now have impetus to do the 'charitable' involvement to get some.