Thursday, November 29, 2018

Money is an agreement, within a community, to use something as a means of payment.

Today, money is an agreement, within a community, to use something as a means of payment.

Sadly, today's money is used mainly as a means of payment rather than a "medium of exchange" which is used in the past.

4 features of (normal) money today:

1) Money is geographically attached to a nation state.
2) Money is 'fiat' money -- created out of nothing.
3) Money is created by bank debt.
4) Bank debt against payment of interest.

1) (Normal) Money creates a bond between countries divided by an invisible line. This arrange has serious consequences for all participants and value and exchange can change drastically, affecting the lives of many people without their ability to do anything about it.

Political corruption, chronic shortages of food and medicine, closure of companies, unemployment, deterioration of productivity and high dependence on oil have also contributed to the worsening crisis. Currency devaluation makes everything not affordable my the locals and causing a hyper inflation. (Instability of national currencies)

2) Money is created out of nothing -- like magic. Central bank can create money when needed.

3) The dollar started out as a bank loan. When you buy a car and request for a loan, the bank will magically create a deposit in the seller's account and you have to reimburse the loan until it is destroyed.

Debt money derives its value from scarcity relative to its usefulness. The scarcity has to be artificially and systematically introduced and maintained. Central banks play a role in their currency intentionally scarce to maintain relative value and this system in a fiat currency system is not self regulating.

4) Interest is a recent phenomena and the effects (to service the loan) are pervasive and powerful.
a) Interest indirectly encourages systematic competition among the participants in the system.
b) Interest fuels the need for endless economic growth, even when living standards remain the same.
c) Interest concentrates wealth by taxing the majority in favor of the rich.

In the fourth industrial revolution, a bold change to what we know as money is needed, otherwise the concentration of wealth and income inequality would be exponentially worse. Coupled with a climate change, an aging population and uncontrolled population growth, it is true that while money has the potential for abundance, sustainability and peace of mind; it can also engender unending suffering and hardship.

-- Robin Low

Short term financial interests vs long term sustainability

Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.

Temperature is up.

The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.4 Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with the five warmest years on record taking place since 2010. Not only was 2016 the warmest year on record, but eight of the 12 months that make up the year — from January through September, with the exception of June — were the warmest on record for those respective months.

Ice sheets are shrinking.

The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased in mass. Data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show Greenland lost an average of 281 billion tons of ice per year between 1993 and 2016, while Antarctica lost about 119 billion tons during the same time period. The rate of Antarctica ice mass loss has tripled in the last decade.

Extreme events are getting more common.

The number of record high temperature events in the United States has been increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950. The U.S. has also witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events.


All said and done, many companies and governments are still carrying on business as normal. Forests are getting chopped down. Vegetation are removed for monoculture crops like Palm Oil, waste are getting vented into the atmosphere or dumped in rivers.

Many of these practices are going on because of short term profits.

Any company that does not need to spend more on disposal will do so, and in the US, the EPA is cutting down regulations to allow more short term profits for companies.

For the convenience of "users" single use plastics are still used and they end up burnt or in landfills. In Singapore, plastic straws, single use plastic bags are still common, and recycling is talked about and not really practiced properly.

Even in 2018, where solar and wind power is getting cheaper, banks are still funding the construction of coal powered plants.

Most people are concerned about convenience than the environment.

If businesses and governments don't act, and the majority of the people are unaware or apathetic to the environment, it is hard to advocate change when the conditions are stacked against you.

-- Robin Low

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Money and the fourth industrial revolution.

Money not only has the potential to contribute to global abundance, peace and sustainability if used wisely, but when restricted in its flow, it also has the ability to create unfathomable hardship and suffering.

Money is an important component of our lives. We spend a lot of time earning, saving and spending money. We allocate a lot of mental, physical and emotional energy around the topic of money, but how many of us really knows what is money and where it comes from? Income inequality is becoming a big problem and there are many other problems associated with the current financial system.

However, it is not just the lack of money that is preventing us from addressing current challenges. Rather, it is the limited functionality of our money and monetary system that is the major force behind our present disorders. Many current solutions reside within the architecture of our current monetary system and in out understanding of and agreements around, money.

A hundred years ago, the world was oblivious of pollution and over population. Nationalism, competition, colonization and endless growth is encouraged. These values start to shape the monetary and banking systems we have today.

In the coming of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we have a monetary system from another age which is starting to look inadequate to solve the challenges ahead. Many attempts at money reform have failed in the past, because they were trying to radically change the official money system in a time where the problems do not seem as obvious as today. But instead of replacing the money system completely, a complementary currency can operate in parallel. With the availability of information technologies, we have what is necessary to implement new money system that allows for money innovation.