How Our Monetary System Causes Financial Meltdowns and Reinforces Scarcity (2013)

Jun 18, 2022

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Bernard Lietaer (7 February 1942 – 4 February 2019) was a Belgian civil engineer, economist, author, and professor. He studied monetary systems and promoted the idea that communities can benefit from creating their own local or complementary currency, which circulate parallel with national currencies.

Bernard Lietaer was born on 7 February 1942 in Lauwe, Belgium. He attended College of St Paul, Godinne from 1955 to 1961. He studied engineering at the Catholic University of Leuven, in Belgium, where, later in life, he held an assistant professorship of international finance. During his engineering studies, he was a member of the debating union Olivaint Conference of Belgium. After obtaining his M.Sc. in 1967, he went on to continue his studies at the MIT until 1969.

Lietaer’s post-graduate thesis, published in 1971, included a description of “floating exchanges”.[4] The Nixon Shock of that same year eradicated the Bretton Woods system by decoupling the US dollar from the gold standard and inaugurated an era of “universal floating exchanges”. Prior to that time, the only “floating exchanges” involved some Latin American currencies. The techniques which he had developed for marginal, Latin American currencies were for a time the only systematic research that could be used to deal with the major currencies of the world. A US bank negotiated exclusive rights to his approach and Lietaer began another career.[5]In 1987, he co-founded a currency-management firm, called GaiaCorp, and managed the offshore currency fund “Gaia Hedge II”, which during the 1987-91 period was the world’s top performing managed currency fund.[6] His biography cites the Micropal survey of 1,800 off-shore funds.[6]In the preface to his book The Future of Money: Beyond Greed and Scarcity, Lietaer claimed: “We almost tripled the money in three years”.[7] Business Week named him “the world’s top currency trader” in 1992.[8]From 2003 to 2006, he was a visiting scholar at Naropa University, USA, where he created the university’s Marpa Center for Business and Economics.[6]While at the Central Bank in Belgium,[year needed] he implemented the convergence mechanism (ECU) to the single European-currency system. During that period, he also served as President of Belgium’s Electronic Payment System.In an 2007 interview, Lietaer claimed that diversified, internationally valid currencies can help “address specific needs and enable certain exchanges – whether to fight global warming, promote employment or facilitate education and health care.”[9]In 2012, he was co-author, along with Christian Arnsperger, Sally Goerner, and Stefan Brunnhuber, of Money & Sustainability: the missing link,[10] a publication of The Club of Rome, in which he predicted that “the period 2007-2020 [would be] one of financial turmoil and gradual monetary breakdown.”

Bibliography The Future of Money (London: Random House, 2001) New Money for a New World (Qiterra Press 2011) (with Stephen Belgin) Hallsmith, Gwendolyn; Lietaer, Bernard (28 May 2011). Creating Wealth: Growing Local Economies with Local Currencies. New Society Publishers. ISBN 978-0-86571-667-4. People Money: The Promise of Regional Currencies (with Margrit Kennedy and John Rogers) (Triarchy Press 2012) Money and Sustainability: The Missing Link / A report from the Club of Rome (with Christian Arnsperger, Sally Goerner and Stefan Brunnhuber), Triarchy Press Ltd, 30. May 2012, ISBN 978-1908009777 Rethinking Money: How New Currencies Turn Scarcity into Prosperity (with Jacqui Dunne) (Berrett-Koehler Publishers 2013), ISBN 978-1609942960 With Helga Preuss, Marek Hudon, Kristof de Spiegeleer, Dieter Legat & Cary Sherburne: Towards a sustainable world. Delta Institute – Dieter Legat E.U. 2019, ISBN 978-3-2000-6527-7…

In economics, a time-based currency is an alternative currency or exchange system where the unit of account is the person-hour or some other time unit. Some time-based currencies value everyone’s contributions equally: one hour equals one service credit. In these systems, one person volunteers to work for an hour for another person; thus, they are credited with one hour, which they can redeem for an hour of service from another volunteer. Others use time units that might be fractions of an hour (e.g. minutes, ten minutes – 6 units/hour, or 15 minutes – 4 units/hour). While most time-based exchange systems are service exchanges in that most exchange involves the provision of services that can be measured in a time unit, it is also possible to exchange goods by ‘pricing’ them in terms of the average national hourly wage rate (e.g. if the average hourly rate is $20/hour, then a commodity valued at $20 in the national currency would be equivalent to 1 hour).…

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