Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The Next Step for Digital Currencies

 
photo of Charles Eisenstein
Charles Eisenstein
10th September 2014

Blogger Ref http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Transfinancial_Economics


Cryptocurrencies

“With these learnings from the Bitcoin experiment, I would like to propose a new model for digital currency. The question is how make the issuance of and access to money egalitarian on the one hand, yet also regulate the money supply in an organic, decentralized way.”

Today’s national and supranational currencies have become a blight on this planet. Created through interest-bearing debt, controlled by financial elites, tracked by the surveillance state, and necessitating endless growth, money as we know it is a primary agent of inequality, injustice, and ecocide.
What to do? One response is to attempt to transform the money system; another is to create alternatives that may supplant it when, as is inevitable, the present system stops working.
The most famous of these alternatives is the digital currency Bitcoin. It was designed to mimic gold in both its sourcing and its anonymity. To “mine” the bitcoins, one must solve computationally demanding numerical problems. This makes bitcoins hard to get, just like gold; total supply is limited as well. Also like gold, bitcoin transactions are designed to be anonymous: one can verify the authenticity of a bitcoin, but cannot trace its transaction history to an identifiable person.
The modeling of Bitcoin on gold was done for at least three reasons:
1. To separate money creation and the regulation of the money supply from politics. In theory, no interested party can manipulate the creation of currency for its own political or financial benefit.
2. To ensure it is non-inflationary. A limited number of bitcoins can be mined, limiting the money supply and making long-term inflation impossible. The hope was that the value of bitcoins would be stable.
3. To allow users to be independent of government control in their economic lives. The creators hoped that “no government will be able to control Bitcoin.” Collection of taxes and the tracking of citizens’ purchases and income would be impossible – a blow to the surveillance state. Furthermore, as with gold coins in the basement, there is no way short of stealing passwords for a third party (such as a government) to know how much bitcoin wealth someone possesses.
The results have been mixed. First let us congratulate Bitcoin on its success. Out of the hundreds of new currency models that have been proposed, Bitcoin is among the few actually in wide use. Some of this success might be attributable to its novelty and to its ideological associations with libertarianism, which encourage people to use it as a statement of political and personal identity. Nonetheless, one can make relatively bug-free, secure transactions with it, totally independent of any national currency. That is quite an accomplishment. If nothing else, Bitcoin has expanded our vision of what is possible. I hope you share my gratitude for these brave and visionary inventors.
Bitcoin has also experienced its share of difficulties, some of which are well-known. For one thing, it is not as immune to government interference as its designers had hoped. Even if it would be hard to enforce tax laws on bitcoin transactions, it isn’t always impossible either when physical or virtual goods are delivered, and in any event, any doubts about its legality drive away many potential users and consign Bitcoin to a marginal status. Indeed, when governments began issuing rulings against Bitcoin, its market value plummeted.
That leads to a second difficulty. Bitcoin’s value has been anything but stable: it has in fact exhibited dramatic fluctuations and commodity bubble behavior. This makes it a questionable as a currency. The fluctuations are mostly due to speculation, which is quite natural when supply is fixed and demand is upredictable. A related and more serious long-term problem is deflation and hoarding. When the supply of money is fixed, it is unable to respond to the economy’s demand for money. If demand for money increases, so does the value of the currency. Goods become cheaper and cheaper. You might think that is a good thing, but the problem is that money becomes correspondingly harder to obtain. People with money hoard it, expecting its value to rise. The result is a slowdown in economic activity and the concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands. In a system with a central bank like the Fed, the monetary authorities can respond by adding money to the economy. Alternatively, the government can redistribute wealth away from those who are hoarding it and to those who need it through taxation and stimulus spending. Neither of these options is available to Bitcoin. The system is designed to make that impossible.
One of the alternatives to Bitcoin, Freicoin, has an anti-hoarding mechanism built into it. In the Freicoin system, money is subject to a negative interest or “demurrage” charge, so that the nominal value of currency decreases by 5% a year. For example, if you have 100 freicoins in your virtual wallet, in a year’s time you will have only 95. This creates an incentive to spend them rather than hoard them.
This feature makes Freicoin quite different from gold, which unlike nearly any other metal or commodity does not decay with time. Indeed, gold-based currencies suffer many of the same problems that Bitcoin does, including hoarding, deflation, and concentration of wealth. Perhaps Bitcoin is too much like gold. One unintentional parallel is that Bitcoin (and Freicoin) is generated with great computational effort at a high cost to the environment, just as gold mining requires huge mechanical effort and is perhaps the most destructive form of mining on the planet. We don’t really need that gold: some two-thirds of all gold every produced is sitting in vaults. Another huge amount sits in jewelry boxes, worn on rare occasions or not at all. Yes, gold is useful for non-corroding electronics and other things, but at present only about 10% of gold production goes toward industrial uses. With great effort and pollution, we dig gold out of holes in the ground and bury it in other holes in the ground called vaults. Why would we want to model a currency on gold? In an age of climate change crisis, isn’t there a better use of electricity, computer power, and smart hackers than the computation of useless procedures, all to create digital currency that could be created much more easily by some other process?
The reasoning behind the computation-intensive “proof-of-work” process for creating Bitcoin, Freicoin, and others is that it keeps the currency scarce. The thinking goes, there must be some limit on the amount of money created or it inflates and ultimately becomes worthless. Because it is hard to create, the supply of money has a natural limit that politics cannot alter. Or can it? After all, a community of human beings decided on the generating process and upper limit on the number of bitcoins, and that community could also change its mind.
In gold mining, those who, through whatever accident of history or fate, control the gold mines have inordinate wealth and power, power that far exceeds their contribution to society. The same is true of the computational mining of digital currencies. While in theory anyone can do it, in practice it is only people with considerable technical know-how and the means to acquire computing power. Now, I admit that if anyone is to have disproportionate wealth and power, I’d rather have it go to computer hackers than to land barons and mining companies, but I ask, “Why should the money creation process have, at its very outset, disparity of access to wealth built into it?”
With these learnings from the Bitcoin experiment, I would like to propose a new model for digital currency. The question is how make the issuance of and access to money egalitarian on the one hand, yet also regulate the money supply in an organic, decentralized way.
First let us consider the issuance of money. The simplest way to make money creation egalitarian is to issue it in equal amounts to each citizen. To draw on the analogy of gold mining, that would be like sharing the total output of the mines equally among all citizens. There is indeed a strong argument to be made that Earth’s mineral wealth, its forests, oceans, and biosphere should be a commons, and that wealth distributed as a social dividend or universal basic income. By the same token, no privileged minority, whether of bankers or of computer specialists, should be able to enjoy exceptional benefits from their ability to create money: that function should be, perhaps, the “financial commons.”
A digital currency could simply be issued in equal quantity to each user. The technical difficulty is to ensure that each person can register only once – some kind of unique identifier is necessary. This is feasible for a government, more difficult for a private or peer-to-peer organization, especially when dealing with multinational users (U.S. users have unique social security numbers).
Alternatively or in addition, selected organizations could become “backers” of the currency by pledging to sell a certain quantity of goods or services for the currency at a certain price. In return, the issuer would create that quantity of money as a zero-interest loan to the backer. These loans would be a way to finance the development of deserving enterprises; perhaps they might be chosen via a democratic process among the user base. When the loans are repaid, that money disappears; what influences the total money supply is the ongoing level of new lending.
Finally, money could also be created by gift. Digital coins could be issued to volunteers, charities, open source software firms, ecological and social justice organizations, and other people and organizations deserving support. So much important, socially necessary work goes unrewarded today. Issuing an alternative currency via such groups could remove some of their financial hardship once the currency becomes well-established. The recipients of newly issued money could be crowd-selected by the existing user base or some other voting system.
Whether issued to all users or to selected people and organizations, once issued the digital money works just like Bitcoin or Freicoin. Anyone who has set up a digital wallet can use it. The next question is how to regulate the money supply over time.
Ideally, a money system should allow the supply of money to organically grow or shrink in relationship to the economy’s need for money. In our current system (in theory), central banks do this by buying or selling debt instruments, mostly government bonds, on the market, thereby creating or destroying base money. How do they decide how much to create or destroy? They (again, in theory) monitor economic activity, lending conditions, inflation, and so forth to determine whether tighter or easier access to money will serve society. The central bank is supposed to be first and foremost a listening organ that responds to a collective need for greater or lesser flow. As I argue in Sacred Economics, this function is similar to that of a heart.
In practice, of course, this principle is fraught with abuses, but the beauty of the principle suggests that a next-generation digital currency should have a more flexible, organic way of regulating money supply than the simple formulas used by existing digital currencies, which lay out in advance how much money will be created in a given time period. (Most set an absolute limit as well; in the case of Bitcoin, a decreasing amount will be mined every four years until a final limit is reached in 2040.)
How can we design a digital currency to be more like a self-regulating, homeostatic living organism? One way would be to use a more sophisticated kind of formula, one that contains among its parameters feedback from transaction metrics. For example, more new money could be issued as its value relative to goods and services rises, and less could be issued (or some removed) in the opposite, inflationary case. Or perhaps an even better parameter would be the velocity of money. If the number of transactions per “coin” per month falls, indicating deflation, more money could be created. If economic activity starts overheating, money could be removed.
I think, however, that any formula will bump up against real-world exigencies that will create a need to make exceptions and adjustments. This necessarily involves some kind of political process, which is exactly what the designers of Bitcoin hoped to avoid. They wanted money free of political interference, even of their own political interference. This freedom from politics is always an illusion, because money is ultimately an agreement among human beings. Even gold-money exists, in large part, by sociopolitical fiat: societies can shut down gold mines, confiscate gold, or declare something else legal tender. Similarly, Bitcoin could change its rules, increase its money supply, change the process by which new coins are created, and so on. Even the choice to change nothing is a political choice within the Bitcoin community. Politics is inescapable, and we pretend otherwise to our peril.
Granted, the necessary sociopolitical process of money creation and regulation need not be hierarchical or centralized. The dominant money system is, and at the top of the hierarchy are the established elites, themselves beholden to an increasingly desolate ideology of endless economic growth and to the relentless dynamics of debt-based capitalism that enforce it. New digital currencies offer an opportunity to explore new modes of organizational and political decision-making.
To sum up, a next-generation digital currency should have the following features:
It should be issued in an egalitarian way that doesn’t give undue advantage to any elite, whether political, technological, or financial.
It should of course be simple to use and secure. Anonymity is probably also necessary in the present milieu of an undemocratic surveillance state. In a more beautiful world, I think all wealth and transactions, especially those of government (whatever that looks like), should be completely transparent.
It should, like Freicoin, bear a demurrage charge to discourage hoarding and counteract the tendency toward concentration of wealth.
– The addition or removal of money from the system should respond to its need for money, through some kind of homeostatic negative-feedback formula or process based perhaps on price fluctuations or the velocity of money.
The whole thing should be embedded in a democratic, peer-to-peer political process by which the rules can be changed.
Such a system need not be created from scratch. One of the existing systems, perhaps Freicoin or even Bitcoin, might evolve in this direction. After all, Bitcoin describes itself as an experimental currency. The purpose of experimenting is to learn. The next step is to integrate that learning into a new and bolder experiment.

Notes on the nature of the revolution in the p2p/commons epoch

 
photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
20th July 2015
 
 



This is the draft version of the article submitted to the special issue of Spanda Journal on Systemic Change, which was edited by Helene Finidori and contains many excellent essays.
Michel Bauwens:
At the P2P Foundation, we don’t use the moniker ‘revolution’ with much frequency, preferring the concept of phase transition.
In this article, we would like to elucidate the relation between the two concepts.
In my experience, revolution is used in two quite different senses; in a generic sense, it just means a ‘big change’, like for example when we speak about the Industrial Revolution, this was a long and drawn out process, with many aspects and it would be really difficult to identify with one particular event. Yet at the same time, there is clearly a time when indutrial changes emerged in a mostly agrarian context, and a time when it is the industrial processes and forms of organisation which are dominant, and the agrarian aspects subsumed under that domination. Clearly, between these two moments, a ‘phase transition’ has occurred.
Revolution is also used in a much more narrow fashion, which usually refers to a momentous series of concrete events, in which the very organisation of power in society changed fundamentally, leading to a wholesale replacement of human personnel, a new different balance of power between social classes, and the like. Paradigmatic examples would be the French and Russian revolutions.
Both types of revolutions occur throughout history, but for many people, at least for those that live more comfortably, the second notion is less attractive. Indeed, it is most often associated with violence, often directed against the very ‘leaders’ of the first phases of such revolutions, and to boot, usually leads to counter-revolutions. The achievements of such revolutions, their victories, are often also very problematic. Who can unproblematically affirm that the Napoleonic and Soviet regimes for example, were necessarily ‘better’ than what they replaced; or, that these radical social and political events produces better outcomes than the slower processes which led to similar phase transitions ? An additional issue for the ‘narrower’ meaning of revolution is that for many people, even for those who dislike the presently dominating regime of their time, is that it is not very clear most of the time, what form the new post-revolutionary regime should take, especially if the negative aspects of other attempts are quite clear.
For this and other reasons, we prefer to talk at the P2P Foundation, about phase transition, stressing the process of change from one system to another, without necessarily being able to predict how exactly these changes will occur, especially on the political and social level. But let’s be clear, from the historical record, it is pretty clear that such fundamental changes are usually associated with rather deep social convulsions. For example, if we take the deep shift from the Roman system to the feudal system, it was characterised by military invasions from foreign tribes, which substantially changed the political leadership in post-Roman regimes. For centuries, Europe was unstable. If we take the changes associated with the Reformation for example, we see similar convulsions and religious civil wars; the change from the Ancien Regime to capitalism was similarly fraught with deep political and social crises. So there is no doubt that a similarly deep transition will be associated with social convulsions, wars, and yes, political and social revolutions. The question is, what kind of forms these will take, and not that we can guarantee a cozy transition.
However, just as the revolutions of feudalism differed fundamentally from the revolutions that created capitalist societies, so the transition to a commons society will take different forms.
In what follows, I explain my view of what those differences could be.
First, what do we mean more precisely, when we talk about a transition towards a post-capitalist, p2p-driven, commons-oriented society ?
Here are a few pointers.
In the present dominant form of society and economics, nature is considered to be an infinite resource and the market ‘externalises’ environmental concerns. It is based on ‘pseudo-abundance’. At the same time, the present system attempts to systematically render ‘artificially scarce’, what is naturally abundant, such as say agricultural processes, but more specifically, knowledge production. In p2p/commons processes, the natural abundance of the immaterial commons such as knowledge, software and design, and technical and scientific knowledge, is recognized and shared and made available to all humanity; and it is associated with changes in the mode of production, that insure that production regenerates resources, maintaining ecological and resource stability for coming generations and for the natural world and its beings, of which we are an integral part.
In the present form, corporate entities compete against each other, but within these entities, collaboration, though mostly hierarchically driven, occurs: cooperation is subsumed under competition; in the new form, ethical entrepreneurial coalitions co-create commons with contributory productive communities; and are interlinked around these commons through social charters and open licenses; though they may compete within that sphere of collaboration. In other words, competition is subsumed under collaboration. The value is created and deposited through commons, and the economy creates livelihoods around these commons and their contributory communities, and the market creates ‘added value’ services and products around these commons.
So what we see here in the nature of these changes are a series of qualitative reversals in terms of the operating logic of the system.
These phase transitions are inextricably linked to changes in the nature of economic, social and political power. How should we see that relationship ?
The process of past phase transitions has been the following:
1) the existing dominant system increasingly creates systemic crises that it no longer is able to solve
2) both managerial (ruling), and productive classes (the dominated producers of value for the managerial classes) , look for solutions; they do this in varied, fragmented, and pragmatic ways, under the dominance of the older structure; forming ‘patterns of response’ , or solutions. Gradually, these patterns find themselves, and though they are used by the dominant system, they also represent an alternative logic that is slowly building up and asserting itself. Within the old paradigm a new prefigurative paradigm emerges, which is subsumed under the old logic at first but gradually gains strength.
3) these changes in the modalities of production and value creation and diffusion also create new social structures; an ‘exodus’ occurs from the old system towards the new system; Roman slaveholders become feudal lords become merchants and industrial capitalists; slaves become serfs become labor. When the tensions between the new and the old are no longer absorbed by the old system, social and political convulsions occur, eventually leading to ‘revolutions’ in the organization of society
Today, we see this process clearly at work.
The systemic crisis of global neoliberal capitalism is leading to 3 types of patterned responses:
1) sustainable production which takes into account ecological limits
2) solidarity economy and cooperative forms of organisation which stress the need for social justice in terms of value distribution
3) commons oriented peer production and other forms of sharing and openness which operative against the enclosures, artificial scarcities and privatisation of common knowledge.
These patterns are still fragmented, only exceptionally ‘eco-systemic’ in their concrete practice, though these alternative eco-systems are definitely emerging and strengthening. What is specifically emerging is a new proto-mode of production in which contributory communities create common knowledge , in which enterpreneurial coalitions create added value on top of the commons in the still capitalist marketplace, and in which for-benefit associations create and maintain common infrastructures of cooperation and production.
What needs to happen, and is starting to happen is that these productive communities, rather than be subject to the logic of extractive value captation by ‘netarchical capitalists’ (those in the old system which are investing in the new systems for their own benefit); create their own ethical economic vehicles, which allow them to create livelihoods around their commons-creating activities. This represents the necessary convergence, through open cooperativism, of economic forms which respect social justice (the solidarity economy and other forms), with peer production; and on the other hand the equally necessary convergence with sustainability, through for example the ‘open source circular economy’.
A important issue today is the relation between the ‘prefigurative’ forms, i.e. individuals and communities finding alternative systems of value creation that respond and solve the present systemic crisis, with political and social change. The crisis today expresses itself because the traditional emancipatory forces of the industrial society (left parties, unions and the like), are still oriented towards the old paradigm of capital and labor; while the many productive communities have a strong distrust of these older political forms, and new forms are still weak and emergent.
Nevertheless, we see this necessary convergence is also already happening:
1) new political forms are emerging from the new digitally networked production practices, such as the Pirate Parties and others
2) huge social mobilisations have taken place, using the models of peer production in their creation of politics, which has substantially influenced the new political movements that have also grown from this, like Syriza in Greece, and Podemos in Spain. Emblematic may be the city coalition in Barcelona, En Comu, which won the elections, and which is the first political coalition to specifically refer to the common in its new political ideology. Other perhaps even more radical forms are the civic coalitions that have emerged in France, (Saillant), and the UK (Frome), in which allied civic groups directly replace the existing ‘political machines’.
These more political movements have emerged from what were originally anti-political mobilisations but have learned through experience that prefigurative actions and protests cannot produce substantial victories in the context of a hostile state; and that therefore, the state itself has to be tackled and transformed. What is most likely in this evolution is the transformation of the electoral democracies, in which elections have now themselves become enclosures of political power of the people by a professional political class that is operating in a market state form that is dominated by private financial interests that have made real and gradual change impossible. New hybrid forms will combine elections, with associated forms of deliberative and participative democracy, but the political initiative more directly in the hands of the citizenry, and use the ‘partner state’ model, in which a transformed state will create the necessary civic and technical infrastructures to ‘enable and empower individual and collective autonomy'; on the political agenda is the development of public-commons partnerships and the communification of public services, such as for example the example of the Bologna Regulation for the Care of the Urban Commons.
My personal belief is that given the exodus from labor forms of work to those of networked and commons-creating peer producers of the new precarious working class, that a reconstruction of social and political institutions is necessary, based no longer of the declining form of the salariat (which is itself a legal form of subordination), but on the ‘commons’. I have elsewhere proposed to create at the local level, Assemblies of the Commons for civic actors and Chambers of the Commons for the new economic actors, to reconstitute institutions of ‘commonfare’ that can recreate a powerful social force that will in turn reconfigure politics to create powerful ‘coalitions for the common(s)’, such as En Comu in Barcelona. The Barcelona victory was indeed preceded by precisely such a civic reconstruction by the post-15M activists, which created new participatory forms in the social movements and commons-creating productive communities.
Another important issue to be resolved in this specific phase transition is the relation between the local and the global. The big wave of relocalisation taking place today, through for example the groups reconfiguring the provision of food and energy, is paradoxically itself facilitated by the globally networked technology that is the internet. But most of the time, these local communities using global technology to strengthen local activity, and not necessarily to project global power.
Today we have global formal civic associations, and through p2p, global open design communities, what is missing is global ethical entepreneurial forms that can operate on a global scale and can form a counterpower to private and extractive multinational corporations. The immediate limitations imposed on the Greek Syriza party also shows the very strong limitations for local and national politics in terms of structural change. Local and national movements are necessary, but not sufficient, and a orientation towards the global commons, through physical global institutions, will be vital, as is their political expression. Lasindias.net has proposed, and we support this vision, the creation of ‘phyles’, global business eco-systems that sustain the commons and their communities, and the FairCoop project is a first attempt at developing this.
Revolutions in the narrow sense, are organic and often destructive events, not in the control of any particular social force, we can notice the tinder, but we can’t know which spark will alight it. It would be unwise to rejoice especially if the alternative social forces and productive systems are still emerging.
Big waves of social revolution has been unsuccessful, like for example the wave of 1848 in Europe, or the wave of 1968; and as for the successes, “be careful what you wish for”.
Therefore today, what matters is the reconstruction of prefigurative value-creating production systems first, to make peer production a autonomous and full mode of production which can sustain itself and its contributors; and the reconstruction of social and political power which is associated and informed by this new social configuration. The organic events will unfold with or without these forces, ready or not, but if we’re not ready, the human cost might be very steep.
Therefore the motto should be: contribute to the phase transition first; and be ready for the coming sparks and organic events that will require the mobilization of all.

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Toward Regenerative Society: Plan for Rapid Transition

 

Blogger Ref http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Transfinancial_Economics
 
Toward Regenerative Society: Plan for Rapid Transition
The Commons Transition/P2P Foundation team was pleasantly surprised while reading the Center for Planetary Culture‘s Plan for Rapid Transition, authored by Daniel Pinchbeck. It is a thorough and inspiring overview for transitioning to a more sensible cognitive framework that holds many similarities to our own Commons Transition Plan, including its focus on an integrative global phase transition. To achieve a truly inclusive transition, it’s essential to offer an ecology of proposals utilizing different metaphors and appealing to different cultures. We want to celebrate this diversity within affinity by including the Plan for Rapid Transition as part of our in-depth Special Reports series. Furthermore, after consulting with the CPC, we’ve decided to add the Center for Planetary Culture as a Commons Transition Partner Project in the near future, and to work together to explore and communicate these ideas and experiences worldwide.
For easy reference, we’ve indexed the report by section. You can read it sequentially or jump to the any of the sections below.
Alternatively, you may download the report in PDF here.


Introduction

Today, humanity faces our greatest challenge, and our most precious opportunity.  Our activity as a species has put the Earth in jeopardy. We can directly observe that our use of resources must change.  We are threatening the ability of the biosphere to support our continuity, and the future of all complex forms of life.
We appear to have reached one of those rare, extraordinary junctures in human history when a thorough transformation of society, culture, and consciousness is necessary. Climate change is the most urgent of many impending threats. As individuals, we must understand and accept the critical nature of our time. For the sake of future generations, we can become part of a wave of awakening and of action, that grows exponentially.
Under this extreme time pressure, there is great potential to quickly develop and distribute a new social model based on an ethos of global citizenship and planetary stewardship.
For this to happen, humanity must act upon our unique capacities for self-awareness and foresight. We have an opportunity to fully activate the prefrontal cortex – the brain structure that makes us uniquely human, which developed in the last forty thousand years. We must collectively work to envision a new model for planetary civilization, then design and manifest it.
This position paper outlines elements of a regenerative culture, and a path to attaining it. It is based on ongoing research compiled by Center for Planetary Culture. Over the next months, we expect to make further iterations of it, based on your comments. We will also commission other papers in specific areas of research, such as water management, collaborative decision-making, traditional religious structures as vehicles for social transformation, and cooperative economic models. If you would like to get involved in our efforts, please contact us and collaborate to our work.
Figure 1 – Towards a Regenerative Society
Figure 1 – Towards a Regenerative Society

REGENERATIVE SOCIETY

To build a regenerative society based on resilience and plenitude, we require a strategic and tactical plan of action to transform our social system and culture. We can facilitate this shift in values by generating new, inspiring narratives that foster the necessary paradigmatic shift. Any plan for a rapid transition to a regenerative society must address the following three key areas: technical infrastructure, social structure, and cultural superstructure.
Figure 2 – Key areas of a Regenerative Society
Figure 2 – Key areas of a Regenerative Society

CURRENT STATUS

FactboxThe ecological crisis is not just a symptom or a byproduct of industrial society. It reflects a deep predicament – a crisis of civilization. Due to the rapid evolution of modern culture, we have found ourselves unable to make basic changes in our daily lives and habits that are necessary to bring human activity into alignment with the Earth’s support systems. Our current state requires a global people’s movement comprising self-educated, passionate citizens working together to reinvent our society, on all levels.
We currently possess all the necessary technological solutions and sources of renewable energy to power an ecologically and socially just society. Yet the world’s governments and business sector have shown they are unable to address our planetary emergency.  The intrinsic logic of our political-economic system requires constant growth and over-consumption.
According to estimates, energy corporations spend $900 million a year on think tanks to influence public policy. Billions more are spent on lobbying and advertising. This expenditure supports our continued dependence on fossil fuels, and the belief that we lack a viable alternative.
Accelerated climate change, species extinction, and ocean acidification endanger our collective future. While everyone on Earth will be impacted eventually, poor people in the Global South suffer first from the effects of environmental degradation. Around the world, indigenous people have been the first line of defense against the extractive industries, which threaten traditional ways of life.
The modern financial system continues to concentrate wealth in fewer and fewer hands. In our world today, two billion people earn under two dollars per day, while less than 1% of the population control more than 50% of global wealth. 85 individuals possess more wealth than half the human population – 3.5 billion people. This vast inequality of wealth contributes directly to social injustice and ecological decimation. For humanity to survive and prosper, we must distribute resources, knowledge, and technical solutions far more equitably. This requires a fundamental change in socio-economic paradigm – and a new worldview.
Main_Drivers

1. DE-FRAGGING THE TECHNICAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Our industrial system was built to support “conspicuous consumption” and “planned obsolescence”. It is accompanied by a debt-based economic system that requires constant growth to maintain itself. Publicly-traded corporations must maximize profit to satisfy shareholder value. This is their prime directive. To obey the logic of the stock market, they must generate waste and externalize environmental costs.
Today, many corporations advocate sustainability and corporate responsibility. They promote new initiatives to recycle and conserve resources, among other environmental practices. Unfortunately, the logic of the current economic system forces them to prioritize profit-making. Therefore, corporate initiatives toward sustainability fall woefully short of creating long-term resilience. We require a fundamental redesign of our economic system to value ecological practices and strengthen the commons.
The changes that need to be made to our technical infrastructure, on a global scale, are clear. We need to unite the world’s population behind a project for rapid transition to regenerative practices. In this paper, we will explore how to apply this logic in three areas: energy, agriculture, and urban design. Within a few decades, planetary civilization could run on 100% clean energy, grow food through organic or ecological agriculture that restores carbon to the soil, and transition to eco-city design principles, enhancing local resilience, ethical values, and decentralized power.
Some general action items would include:
• Implement distributed models for agricultural, industrial, and energy production based on resilience;
• Derive power from renewable energy sources;
• Remove subsidies and factor in externalities, such as CO2 pollution;
• Make consumer products that are durable, with replaceable components;
• Transition to “cradle-to-cradle” manufacturing, powered by renewables, where all byproducts of manufacturing feed productively into the ecosystem.

Figure 4 – Cradle to Cradle Manufacturing
Figure 4 – Cradle to Cradle Manufacturing


Figure 5 – Changes in our Technical Infrastructure
Figure 5 – Changes in our Technical Infrastructure
The following three sections outline a strategic approach to change in the technical infrastructure.

TRANSFORMING OUR ENERGY SYSTEM

A number of recent studies on renewable energy help to define and clarify the path to a global transition.
Stanford engineering professor Mark Jacobson proposed that worldwide energy production could become almost entirely renewable by 2030. According to Jacobson and his coauthors in 2009, “The obstacles are primarily political, not technical.” Jacobson has launched The Solutions Project, with a plan for every state in the United States to completely transition to renewable energy within a few decades.
Figure 6 – Study by the Stanford University
Figure 6 – Study by the Stanford University
Source: Stanford University, Energy Policy, 2013.
Developed under the leadership of Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs, Pathways to Deep Decarbonization offers the outline for a worldwide plan to shift to renewable energy. The plan has three basic aspects: Increasing energy efficiency and conservation, rapidly developing low-carbon sources of electricity, and fuel switching: “Switching end-use energy supplies from highly carbon-intensive fossil fuels in transportation, buildings, and industry to lower carbon fuels including low-carbon electricity, other low-carbon energy carriers synthesized from electricity generation of sustainable biomass, or lower-carbon fossil fuels.”
In The Third Industrial Revolution, economic and social theorist Jeremy Rifkin promotes an optimistic alternative. The revolution is based on: (1) shifting to renewable energy; (2) transforming the building stock of every continent into green micro–power plants to collect renewable energies on-site; (3) deploying hydrogen and other storage technologies in every building and throughout the infrastructure to store intermittent energies; (4) using Internet technology to transform the power grid of every continent into an energy internet that acts just like the Internet (when millions of buildings are generating a small amount of renewable energy locally, on-site, they can sell surplus green electricity back to the grid and share it with their continental neighbours); and (5) transitioning the transport fleet to electric plug-in and fuel cell vehicles that can buy and sell green electricity on a smart, continental, interactive power grid.
thumbProxy
Figure 7 – Internet of Energy
Source: BDI Initiative, Internet of Energy, 2010.
Action Items:
Energy_Action_Items

TRANSFORMING OUR AGRICULTURAL SYSTEM

Relocalized organic agriculture is, in itself, a powerful adaptation strategy for climate change. A large scale transition to ecological and organic agriculture would sequester carbon already present in the atmosphere, and reduce future CO2 emissions substantially. A significant reduction of meat consumption, globally, is necessary to reduce CO2 pollution. Global training in organic agriculture and permaculture techniques, mass volunteer initiatives to create urban gardens and local farms, and promotion of vegetarian diets could help accelerate the transition to a resilient and regenerative food system.
The organic techniques that allow for the sequestration of carbon include integrated pest management using non-synthetics, crop rotation, cover crops, and increased soil microbial activity that allows agricultural fields to become carbon “sinks”. Biochar, a charcoal soil additive produced by burning biomass in an oxygen weak environment, can be infused into soil to sequester additional carbon. According to journalist Mark Herstgaard, “If biochar were added to 10 percent of global cropland… it would store 20 billion tons of CO2 equivalent—roughly equal to humanity’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.”
Permaculture and agroforestry farming practices offer the most integrated, resilient, functional, and spiritually rewarding forms of agriculture. Permaculture, a term coined by Bill Mollison and David Holgren in the late 70s, stands for “permanent agriculture.” Its success lies in proper design and integration with the landscape, from landforms to water sources. Permaculture’s “ratio of output to input is about 5 times as good as that achieved by the benchmark US farm.”
Figure 8 – Soil Carbon versus Biochar Source: Biochar International, Climate Change and Carbon Sequestration, 2014.
Figure 8 – Soil Carbon versus BiocharSource: Biochar International, Climate Change and Carbon Sequestration, 2014.
Today, agricultural produce often travels thousands of miles to market. While local food movements have been burgeoning, community and urban gardens can be established everywhere. Vacant lots, suitable rooftops, parks, and greenways can be transformed into community gardens, food forests, and medicinal plant habitats. It has been estimated that 80% of the food needed by New York City could be grown on urban rooftops, using aquaponics. Vertical farms in urban areas could also provide low-carbon solutions.
Designing agricultural systems that are decentralized and specialized will help maintain ecological and genetic diversity. Smaller plots can be structured into larger farming co-operatives, where social support, hardware, and labor can be shared and supplemented across farms where necessary.
Figure 9 – Urban Farms  Source: GE Reports, Lettuce See the Future, 2014.
Figure 9 – Urban FarmsSource: GE Reports, Lettuce See the Future, 2014.
Action Items:
Agricultural_Action_Items

TRANSFORMING OUR URBAN DESIGN

Reinventing cities for a post-growth world could lead to tremendous savings on greenhouse gas emissions, while radically improving the average quality of life. The most sensible model combines the concept of “eco-city design” with the model of “shareable cities,” where communities make collective use of tools and resources.
Inevitably, we must make a transition from a social paradigm based on incessant growth and increasing the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), to one based on qualitative aspects of being and experiencing, prioritizing community values and cultural expression. New and redesigned urban centers will no longer maximize opportunities for businesses and corporations, but facilitate the highest quality of life for all residents. Cities will become what Richard Register calls “scaffoldings for living systems,” as well as “learning machines,” designed to support residents in attaining knowledge and expertise in all fields of human endeavor.
Figure 10 – Eco-city
Figure 10 – Eco-city
Source: Eco-City Builders, Progress at Tianjin Eco-city and Promise at Nanjing, 2012.
As sea levels rise over the next decades, many urban areas will need to be redesigned and relocated. New city centers will be built inland, at higher elevations. In theory, these new constructions could be builtentirely on ecological principles, with food, renewable energy, and manufacturing all accomplished on site. As part of this change, we could see a managed transition from privatized to cooperative ownership of businesses and residences, as well as participatory management based on the model of Porto Alegre in Brazil.
Action Items:
Urban_Design_Action_Items

2.SOCIETY, POLITICS AND ECONOMY: THE TOOLS OF CHANGE

Rapid transition to a regenerative society requires a reboot of our political and economic system to support ecological restoration and the health of the collective. We can think of this process similar to the design and installation of a new operating system for human society. Technically, we have the ability to experiment, iterate, and reinvent our political and economic system. Currently, the inertia of our present social, political, and financial order blocks our ability to envision and enact this metamorphosis.
History reveals the evolution of media and the development of political-economic systems to be a single, unified process. Empires like Rome were only conceivable once a written code of laws could be disseminated. The modern printing press enabled mass democratic societies, as the populace needed to be able to follow current events. The nation-state government – republics based on representation – developed in the late 18th Century, when horse-and-buggies and schooner ships were the cutting-edge technologies of communication.
The problem is that today’s systems of governance are no longer well-suited to the speed and complexity of our highly interdependent world. They are highly inefficient, opaque, and secretive by design; subject to the undue influence of wealthy individuals, corporate lobbies, and special interest groups. We confront the rapid development of new technologies that have the potential to impact all life on Earth – such as synthetic biology or artificial intelligence – which fall outside of the capacity of governments to regulate. We find ourselves fighting archaic conflicts when all of our efforts must be focused on restoring the ecological support systems that allow life to continue.
thumbProxy (3)Politics and economics are ultimately inseparable. Today’s governments, financial elites, military, and corporate interests are melded together in what some commentators call the military-industrial complex. The most powerful players in the private sector are the oil and gas companies. In 2012, Exxon Mobil reported nearly $45 billion in profits, the largest annual amount for any company in history.
Today’s information technologies could facilitate a rapid evolution of society, enhancing collective intelligence. A liberation of the knowledge commons could accelerate progress in many areas of inquiry, leading to a second renaissance. A global citizen’s movement of nonviolence and pacification, following the satyagraha principles defined by Gandhi, could lead to a rapid transition to a peaceful world.
The recent evolution of a fully interactive communications media that spans the world instantly should lead, we believe, to a transformation in our global political-economic system. New social tools can facilitate the rise of direct, participatory democracy on a global scale, with the people able to continuously educate themselves, debate, and decide.
We believe the global community needs a new social contract. Recent efforts to draft such a contract include the Earth Charter, “a declaration of fundamental ethical principles for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society in the 21st century. It seeks to inspire in all people a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the well-being of the whole human family, the greater community of life, and future generations.”
Figure 11 – Elements of a Post Growth System
Similarly, in 2011, Occupy Wall Street declared “principles of solidarity,” “points of unity,” that include:
  • Engaging in direct and transparent participatory democracy;
  • Exercising personal and collective responsibility;
  • Recognizing individuals’ inherent privilege and the influence it has on all interactions;
  • Empowering one another against all forms of oppression;
  • Redefining how labor is valued;
  • The sanctity of individual privacy;
  • The belief that education is a human right; and
  • Making technologies, knowledge, and culture open to all to freely access, create, modify, and distribute.
We propose that every human being on Earth should be guaranteed a basic subsidy – secure access to food, shelter, education, and health services. Access to knowledge – humanity’s intellectual and creative commons – must be liberated, as a human right. This requires a change of economic and political paradigm, as well as an equitable distribution of resources.
We must make a rapid shift from a debt-based financial system that forces constant growth to a regenerative economy, based on cooperation, sharing of resources, peer-to-peer production, where value is linked to the health of communities and the restoration of ecosystems. In the immediate future, citizens must pressure governments to institute a carbon tax and other economic policies that penalize corporations for emissions. The current student movement to get universities to disinvest from fossil fuel companies should grow rapidly, and become a universal initiative.

An alternative economic system could be an ecosystem of tools for particular purposes, rather than a monoculture where value is controlled by a single monopoly or cartel. It would include a number of instruments for exchanging value that support different behavior patterns and beliefs. Our current economic system, based on debt, restricts experimentation and innovation and leads to concentration of wealth. The money supply is controlled by Central Banks, forcing artificial scarcity and competition.
New currencies – ranging from local to global instruments – could support equitable development and cooperative social models, as part of a regenerative social design.
Today’s financial system is overtly dysfunctional, lavishly rewarding the few at the expense of the many. The Federal Reserve creates billions of dollars each month to buy mortgage-backed securities and US Treasury bonds, rather than supporting the poor. Soon, we may reach a tipping point where innovations in currency go mainstream. The realization that money is actually a design problem could have far-reaching implications for human civilization.
For the first time, with the Internet, humanity possesses a globally interactive medium for enhancing knowledge, for building consensus, for creating new forms of value exchange, for supporting collective action on every scale. Theoretically, new social technologies could augment or supersede the current political economic system in a short period of time. Such a transition may happen rapidly and peacefully.
Existing Currency Proposals:
Figure 12 – Existing Currency Proposals
Figure 12 – Existing Currency Proposals


Figure 13 – Changes in our Political-Economic System
Figure 13 – Changes in our Political-Economic System

3.CONSCIOUSNESS, CULTURE AND MEDIA: WHY CHANGE IS INEVITABLE

“The only thing that one really knows about human nature is that it changes,” Oscar Wilde wrote. “Change is the one quality we can predicate of it. The systems that fail are those that rely on the permanency of human nature, and not on its growth and development.”
To bring about the necessary advances in technical infrastructure and political-economic system, humanity must make a great leap. According to scientific projections, if we continue our current level of CO2 emissions for the next fifteen years, we will have locked in a 2 degrees Celsius temperature rise. This would be catastrophic, perhaps irreparable.
We have only a brief window of opportunity to make a global transition to renewable energy while undertaking large-scale initiatives to reduce CO2, by planting new forests and urban gardens, and so on. We must undertake this transition at a time when natural resources are increasingly scarce, and economic inequality has reached new levels. Humanity has never been in this situation before, and we must admit that nobody has a solution for how change of the necessary speed and magnitude can, in reality, take place.
Rather than passive consumers governed by distant authorities, our critical situation on the Earth now requires highly motivated, inspired, self-directed agents willing to take action for the good of the collective. Communities must organize themselves to conserve energy and build new infrastructure, while stopping the eco-cidal practices of corporations, particularly the extractive industries.
To bring about these fundamental changes in our worldview, technical infrastructure, and political-economic structure, we require:
1. Community organizing / direct action
A global citizen’s movement must interrupt “business as usual.” We must spread awareness of the need for immediate change, along with the tools to manifest it. As individuals, we can choose to take part in local organizing, in acts of creative resistance and in efforts to build a new political infrastructure for our shared human future.
Models like Transition Town, Occupy, 350.org, theRules.org, the Evolver Network, and MoveOn provide templates for activism and community organization. A global network of local communities and nonprofit organizations can work together to demand policy changes and directly implement alternatives – such as local currencies, urban gardening, the shift to renewable energy sources supported by micro-grids, and the transition to electric vehicles. A mass citizen’s movement must arise to pressure corporations and compel governments to change direction.
2. New media / social technologies
We need to develop a virtual infrastructure that supports the paradigm shift. This would include:
•  Alternative media
Media shapes public opinion, collective awareness, and social practices. If we are going to meet today’s challenges, we need media that provides accurate, well-prioritized information. A conscious, solution-based media could support a rapid change of paradigm, providing tools for participatory democracy and mass volunteerism. On a global level, we need to educate and train people in the skills needed to build a regenerative society. These skills range from permaculture to consensus decision-making, from energy conservation to solar installation, from meditation to ecosystems management.
The movement must make strategic use of all forms of media to impact public awareness, proposing alternatives that people can apply in their own lives. Public artists  have a great opportunity to participate in this transition. Those with cultural influence can use social media to reach their audience directly. By using models and techniques such as Spiral Dynamics, Neuro-linguistic Programming, and social psychology, we can devise strategic campaigns to awaken and inspire the multitude. We must convey a coherent understanding of our current situation, so people can take meaningful action, collectively.
The website Great Transition Stories proposes: “It is vital that the human community come together and consciously co-create visions and stories of a sustainable and thriving relationship with the Earth and one another.” Artists and media makers have a responsibility to construct those new narratives and myths that support humanity in making this giant step forward.
• Alternative networks for collaboration and cooperation
Companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter have built networks that reach a large segment of the global audience. We have reached the age of the billion-person platform. A next generation of social networks could protect user privacy while providing tools for collaborative social action and consensus-building. These networks should be built on open-source, peer-to-peer principles. It is also conceivable that companies like Facebook and Google could provide social infrastructure for rapid transition.
•  New instruments for exchanging value / alternative economic models
The global banking system is a kind of social network, overseeing virtual data-streams. A kind of planetary nervous system that supports the exchange and amassing of value, the current economic infrastructure, unfortunately, is working against the immediate needs of our planetary community. The business-as-usual, growth-at-all-cost paradigm can no longer be maintained. As it centralizes wealth and privatizes the commons, the financial system threatens our collective future. Potentially, alternative networks for exchanging value could drive different forms of behavior and social ideals.
• Platforms for collective decision-making that support decentralized, distributed democracy
Many theorists believe we need to transition from political systems of control based on hierarchy – top-down authority structures, found in the military and corporations – to “heterarchy,” or “responsible autonomy,” where all stakeholders are involved in decision-making processes. While these truly democratic systems must evolve in living practice, through local gatherings and council meetings, they can also be modeled and supported by web-based technologies. Distributed decision-making platforms could, eventually, allow for worldwide councils where information and ideas are freely shared, with the best solution arrived at via consensus-based processes. Initial efforts toward constructing such systems include Loomio and DemocracyOS.
Requisites_Regenerative_Society
Figure 14 – Requisites of a Regenerative Society


Figure 15 – Changes in our Consciousness and Culture
Figure 15 – Changes in our Consciousness and Culture

SUMMARY

We have only a short period of time available to bring about an epochal shift of human consciousness and civilization. If we continue business as usual, we will doom our children to a desperate world that may soon be uninhabitable. In the short term, as glaciers melt and sea levels rise, we will consign hundreds of millions, if not billions, of people in the Global South to miserable fates.
Beyond that, as Thom Hartmann writes, we have discovered that accelerated global warming is a “formula for extinction.” In past extinction events, “Something happens to increase global temperatures five to six degrees, which triggers a melting of the frozen carbon and methane oceanic reserves that then leads to further global warming devastating life on Earth.”
If we care about the future of human existence, as well as the continuity of life on Earth, we have a moral obligation – individually and collectively – to transform our culture rapidly, and institute a regenerative society.
Along with our ability to confront climate change and other aspects of the ecological crisis, we possess the technical capacities to liberate humanity, in the future, from unnecessary drudgery and brute labor. As we reckon with the ecological crisis we have unleashed, we will construct a post-work civilization, based on self-cultivation and collective responsibility, that is greater than anything we have known before.
While it threatens us, the ecological mega-crisis also provides a unique opportunity to bring about the evolution of global civilization. If we utilize the power of social innovation and apply our technical abilities for collective benefit, we can establish a truly free society, based on justice and righteousness, sharing and cooperation, direct democracy and world peace – a world where all take care of all.

    

 


- See more at: http://commonstransition.org/toward-regenerative-society-plan-for-rapid-transition#sthash.d0IUPc76.dpuf

Transfinancial Economics, 2015

Project by Robert Searle




Transfinancial Economics (TFE) is an evolving project nearing basic completion. It should be said that there has been a degree of interest in it from a number of people with economic backgrounds such as Warren Mosler, Andy Dennis, Stephen Monrad, David Axelrod, Trond Andresen (cybernetics expert), Prem Sikka, and the noted autodidact, and futurist Hazel Henderson. In April 2010, TFE was also a subject discussed at a major scientific conference (the ICEME, or International Conference of Engineering, and Meta-Engineering, Florida, USA).
It is important to add that TFE regards the financial system as a huge global IT system, and recognizes the reality that virtually all money exists as electronic,or digital data transmitted from one bank account to another. This means that the free flow of capital can be tracked, and controlled if necessary.
Essentially, TFE can be regarded as a form of Cybernetic Economics. Its scope, and scale is colossal....colossal enough to help deal with a whole range of multidimensional problems facing humanity, be it social, economic, or political.
It should be said too that TFE is ofcourse not a science in the strict sense of the word. Yet,it has aspects which may appear "scientific". Naturally enough, it also takes into account uncertainty in the economy, and indeed, the irrationality of the money markets. It has special super-flexible electronic controls that could help deal with serious economic problems.
It must be said that the serious, and full development of TFE will require the help of "open minded" experts notably in the fields of Economics, Computer Science, and Law.


Please note that the following has been going through a whole series of continuous drafts, and where, and when necessary may be subject to changes, additions, and possible corrections. It is still a "work in progress" project. Also, the Kheper version of TFE which appears at times on search engines is out-of-date, and is not as authorative as the presentation here.
It should be clearly stressed here that TFE fully recognizes the vital importance of good efficient planning by businesses, governments, and NGOs in connection with many commercial, and "charitable" projects. Without that, money can be so easily wasted. Hence, excellent planning is of equal importance to excellent funding. One cannot have one without the other. Thus, the two factors of good planning, and good funding are critical for success. The former can be seen as the "Brains" of a project, and the latter as the great Enabler.
It is also recognized in the planning process that the correct, and efficient use of limited natural resources is of vital importance on a finite planet.

IMPORTANT. It should be said too that references are made to supercomputers to possibly monitor, and control the economy within a capitalist system. However, quantum computers could do an infinitely better job than supercomputers if they are properly developed.








Towards Super Economics


An Introduction to a Major Global Paradigm




The following may be helpful for new readers.


Essentially, TFE claims that new largely monitored non-repayable debt-free money, or Facilitation Finance could be created electronically by special transparent, and credible funding mechanisms, or Facilitation Banks (and/or by governments to some extent) This could notably fund in full, or in part environmental, and socio-economic projects of high ethical value. This would help to speed things up unlike repayable loans....though possibly interest free ones could also be created electronically when necessary. Ofcourse, such funding could be used to deal with projects that have little, or indeed, no commercial viability...and yet, more importantly, they may have great social, and environmental value.
The aim of all this is also to give powerful financial incentives to businesses. They could profit with genuine projects, and more importantly help save the planet, and its people notably in connection with climate change, and "irreversible" global warming.
Extra finance would not lead to serious inflation, or indeed, hyperinflation (eg. Zimbabwe) as the phasing in of newly created unearned money would be a gradual process, and the checks, and "controls" would be most effective in monitoring, and controlling inflation. This point is most notably true of Advanced Stage TFE explained a little later. Thus, there is no mad flooding of the real economy which ofcourse is absurd in extremis.

Strictly speaking, there are two forms of TFE, one of which has just been mentioned above. Firstly, Primary Stage TFE which is when the amount of new money created is very limited. It uses conventional Economic Indicators (eg.Consumer Price Index)to help decide how much could be created, and used directly into the real economy. Also, the conventional method of raising taxation, and interest rates could be utilized to help decrease the money supply, and hence, reduce any inflationary pressures.
Also, it is important to note that Primary Stage TFE could be skipped altogether in favour of Advanced Stage TFE. This could be regarded as genuine Transfinancial Economics as the latter would involve highly credible programming using relevant algorithms, and supercomputers, and their ilke.

In contrast to Primary Stage TFE, Advanced Stage TFE itself can create far greater amounts of new financial capital for projects mentioned in the first paragraph of this section. This should become clear shortly.
Among other things, Advanced Stage TFE can gain a "near perfect" knowledge of the entire economy of the country. Such Big Data as it is called would come about via full Electronic Transaction Monitoring(or ETM)and could be collected 24/7 in Real-Time. This is done via the ID codes, and barcodes of most products, and services at the electronic point of sale (EPOS), or later transactions with banks.

Due to comprehensive algorithmic programming, the Free Market Price comparisons are made in Real-Time, and inflationary pressures can be detected (ie. data mining). This transaction data could be vital to bring about wholesale sea change towards an environmentally more comprehensive sustainable, and socially ethical economy, as more, and more new electronically monitored non-repayable money could be created with real confidence, and without any serious inflation in Advanced Stage TFE.
As we would have a highly accurate understanding of the real economy inflation risks could possibly be more accurately assessed continually via continuous computer simulations of the economy itself. This is revolutionary when fully understood. However, it is worth repeating here that TFE would have to take into account uncertainty, and indeed, the irrationality of the money markets.

Another aspect of Advanced Stage TFE, and full ETM is taxation(and interest) itself could possibly be phased out. Moreover, fuller funding of many charitable NGOs would also become possible, and fundraising for them could ultimately be phased out altogether.

In Advanced Stage TFE there would be super-flexible direct electronic controls (similiar to "price controls" but far more advanced)to ensure inflation, and currency devaluation can never get out of hand. This would involve an instantaneous intervention with little, or no time-lag.This is explained in more detail later on.

However, as far as the collection of income tax is concerned it would be allowed to continue for the time being via conventional means. It would not be undertaken by some form of "instant" electronic deduction(s)even though this is perfectly possible. Civil, and criminal fines (a kind of tax if such it could be called) would still exist ofcourse.


It is also important to point out that we are not discussing a full Soviet style top down command/control economy. The reason why is that the Free Market Price is largely determined by private businesses, and capitalism in an increasingly more ethical form (due to increasing powerful financial incentives notably created by non-repayable money, plus repayable money as loans if necessary)would still continue until there is "full" automation when money, and wage slavery would no longer exist, and hence, become unnecessary. This could with the right education lead to the "natural" phasing out of the financial elites, and lead to a more advanced non-hierarchical society based on cooperation rather than competition.

During the above process, pressure groups, or NGOs would become increasingly more influential as they would gain greater, and greater access to mainly newly created funds from independent grant making bodies, and possible other sources. Thus, the process of socio-economic, and political reform should grow apace as never before.
Hopefully, a more advanced technological, and more moral human civilization will largely emerge based on improved Democracy, Universal Human Rights, and greater fairness. In other words, Global Justice.As can be seen TFE is concerned essentially with a systems change to achieve these lofty goals.






Present Day Economics




Mainstream Neo-Classical Economics has developed a somewhat appalling reputation as the dismal "science". Most of its work appears to be largely theoretical, and based on highly questionable statistics, and mathematical modelling. Its economic forecasts often, or not turn out to be wrong. Moreover, there is still an obsession with the need for more, and more unsustainable growth even though the planet has finite resources. More startling though, is that there is little, or no real understanding of the importance of how money is created, and what it fully means in society, and the world.
Unfortunately, Neo-Classical Economics still has great influence over the economics profession. Essentially, it believes in the Free Market in which little, or virtually no regulation is needed. Thus, capitalism then appears to do well by being largely unimpeded by red tape. Yet, such ideology received a battering with the Great Financial Crisis, or GFC (2007-2008, and the following Global Recession) in which the entire world banking system practically collapsed, and was saved by massive bailouts. Many commentators claimed that this was in the main due to "too much" self-regulation given to banks. Hence, they could do "what they liked"......
Transfinancial Economics, or TFE itself is a form of Heterodox Economics which deals with mainly non-mainstream economic thinking.


The Creation Of Money




In TFE ofcourse, money is recognized as being largely digital, or electronic data which can be transmitted from one bank account to another at the touch of a button. Governments create it as paper cash, and coins. This makes up a near non-existent portion of the entire money supply itself, and is spent into the economy as something non-repayable.
However, the rest of the money is created electronically out of thin air by mainly private banks via Credit Creation as repayable loans with interest charged on them. In other words, unlike what many people may think, they do not actually lend out existing money from their deposits. The amounts they can issue are supposed to be limited by a fraction of existing money held. Certain banking reformers believe that banks should not be allowed to create more money than they actually have.... But it is hard to see how this can ever be a reality in the foreseeable future. NGOs such as Positive Money, and the American Monetary Institute are concerned with such issues.

As can be seen the actual mechanics of money creation are subject to some controversy. But what does appear to be clear as day is the seeming fact that private banks can create money ex nihilo which gives them great power. But this money is something which is repayable(ie. a loan) as opposed to being non-repayable.
Anyhow, some radical monetary reformers believe (like the Muslims) that loans should be free of interest, and of "excessive" interest, or usury. Others though claim that interest should still exist, and could go to the government. A number of reformers like the idea of banks possibly being nationalized.
It is also claimed that new non-repayable debt free money could be created by governments, and this could help reduce taxation.As reasoning, and evidence seems to indicate if enough of it is produced it would not lead to serious inflation (ie Primary Stage TFE).

Certain radical monetary reformers believe in the development, and the usuage of free local currencies which strictly speaking are meant to be tax free, and interest free. These have obvious limitations, but they are easily set up, and are workable. However, new virtual crypto-currencies, notably Bitcoin have a far more global reach.
Another important initiative is the emergence of P2P lending companies that avoid mainstream banks. Zopa is one such example in which lenders, and borrowers are brought together. Crowdfunding is another, in which the internet notably is used to raise money directly from the people themselves for some business proposal, or charity.
Anyway, to return to TFE. It can be regarded by many as being very similiar to Social Credit(Socred) started by C.H.Douglas, and to a lesser extent Modern Monetary Theory, or MMT (formerly known as Chartalism). Both notably believe in the responsible creation of new non-repayable debt-free money.
Policy makers, and technocrats in Advanced Stage TFE are given full confidence that newly created money could be "safely" created.Instead of conventional "controls" of raising taxation, and interest rates to try, and control inflation the TFE ones would be electronic, and instantaneous. As a result, taxation, and interest rates could possibly be phased out altogether.
Some people would say that the notion of creating new non-repayable money is funny money. But as we have seen here in connection with banks they themselves create it ex nihilo as something repayable (ie as loans).
Moreover, in TFE itself we are not discussing easy money because controls on its electronic issuance would be legally credible, and transparent.
For some, the notion that new money could be created at the push of a button is socially unacceptable. Yet, social, economic, and political injustice is also unacceptable especially if there is a lack of conventional earned funding available to back up NGOs, (green) businesses, and governments to deal with it.This gives newly created money a new higher value, and ethical dimension as never before.



The Problem with Redistribution



There is probably more than enough money to change the world. The problem is gaining legal access to it especially where there is a genuine social, economic, or environmental issue at stake. Apparently, most of the money of the world exists in financial trading, or "betting casinos" dealing with derivatives (eg. currency speculation). Indeed, the sum total of the capital involved may even be several times greater than the entire Gross Domestic Product(GDP)of the planet.
Some activist groups have suggested the implementation of the Financial Transaction Tax (FFT), or Robin Hood Tax to raise funds in the real productive economy. In TFE such an approach at "redistribution" in this context is ultimately seen as unnecessary, and frankly absurd when sufficient sums could be created at the press of a button. Incidently, it is interesting to point out that the Transaction Tax appears to be an instant electronic deduction in Real-Time.

However, redistribution of financial wealth using taxation is fine, and ethical as far as it goes. It is highly unlikely though that such capital will "ever" be fairly redistributed due to the present Capitalist System, and the Free Market Economy. Moreover, the problems facing humanity such as food security, climate change/global warming, population growth, and the like are colossal. To try, and solve this via earned money alone through taxation, and business investment will probably become increasingly difficult. Hence, the need for TFE to speed up, and facilitate change notably using in full, or in part newly created non-repayable money, or indeed, repayable finance as an add on where necessary to earned capital. In other words, direct financial easing by special Facilitation Banks, and/or by governments if absolutely necessary.




The Emergence Of Facilitation Banks




Before proceeding further, it could be said that Primary Stage TFE may be largely avoided in part, or altogether in favour of Advanced Stage TFE. The reason for this is because of possible fears of inflationary risk even though a limited amount of new non-repayable money could be created directly into the economy. This though ofcourse could be carefully monitored by conventional Economic Indicators, and inflation could be dealt with by conventional "controls" of interest rates, and taxation rises to help reduce money in circulation. Ofcourse, new repayable money could also be created as well.
If Primary Stage TFE is undertaken the introduction of ethical Smart Banks, or rather Facilitation Banks, or FBs is a crucial start.They can be seen as "superbanks". They could become a part of the mainstream banking system but they would have a far tighter regulatory framework. Ofcourse, there are a few so-called "ethical" banks already such as Charity Bank,Tridos, and UK's so-called Green Investment Bank(GIB)concerned with environmental commercial projects as opposed to high ethical/social issues.
Anyhow, FBs would have powers to electronically create closely monitored new non-repayable debt-free money (ie. Facilitation Finance) as well as repayable interest free loans if necessary. The interest on loans does not have to come from the customer necessarily but could instead be electronically created by the Central Bank, or by some other independent authority. Something similiar could happen with the new non-repayable capital. In other words, an operating cost ideally, or more controversially, Grant Interest which could increase depending on the amount of new money created.
The basic aim, and purpose of such FBs is to create funds for projects which would be difficult if not "impossible" to finance by conventional means as indicated earlier on. Their remit though is largely targetted at investing in full, or in part in large, or small human-scale concerns to do with renewable energy alternatives, enviromental projects as well as social/ethical "entrepreneurial" businesses, or indeed, non-profit "enterprises".
The decision making process on all this must be largely, if not wholly be free from any undue influence from governments, and corporations.It must notably be transparent, holistic and "objective" as possible with all options for consideration for some specific project, or projects that could be vital for the social, and environmental "health" of the planet. In the main this would require bona fide experts in their respective fields. It could involve partnerships with governments, NGOs, and existing green businesses as well as Open Source interactions with the public.
Ofcourse, when ready, investors using their own earned money could put it in some commercial project in order to gain a return. Indeed, their assets could be financially protected by the FB should the economy of any country face any serious problems, and hence, could avoid capital flight where possible.
A interesting feature of FBs is that in theory at least, it could electronically create infinite sums of capital. As indicated earlier, mainstream banks are similiar in this respect except that they cannot legally create new money as something non-repayable.
However, quite unlike existing mainstream commercial banks, the financial dealings of FBs are continually, and fully tracked electronically to prevent fraud with specific algorithms for the job. Such a process could again be undertaken by a Central Bank, or by some other credible body which could also impose instant fines, and/or indeed, an instant freeze on targeted accounts as part of a legally binding contract.Also, during tough business negotiations with companies, and notably Corporations the FB would have access to an "infinite" sums of money to ensure the very best lawyers are always employed to ensure that contracts are genuinely enforeceable.

Anyway, the amount of funding which FBs can create is dependent on the cost of relevant resources, or products from suppliers. Essentially, it means that the amount of goods needed to be manufactured for some project would need to be planned well in advance. Ideally, if possible at all, checks on the relevant suppliers in the supply chain as to whether they have sufficient capacity to produce such resources could be undertaken ideally. Capacity though could be increased if necessary by the FB. Ofcourse, it would be possible to have the relevant products (and services) on order to be electronically monitored whenever money is transmitted. In effect, we could have to some extent a "protected" economy existing within the present Free Market system.
With the aid of experts it is hoped that Facilitation Banks, and indeed, Facilitation Finance in the context of TFE will become a serious proposition. This innovative financial model would certainly be more advanced than anything created by such controversial global institutions as the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.
Indeed, FBs would not lead to"competition" with "normal" mainstream banks as the latter could possibly have equal shares in the FBs, or some other legal arrangement(s). Understandably, some NGOs may regard them with suspicion but hopefully this will be dispelled if everything goes to plan "successfully".
Critics will probably point out that elected governments alone should have the power via an independent body to have Facilitation Finance created rather than mainly by companies such as the FBs (possibly existing mainly as private companies, or as indicated here be owned by the state in full, or in part). The reason for emphasis on the latter approach is that it is hard to see that a country notably like the US would frown on the idea of greater government interventionism in the so-called Free Market Economy...
Thus, something like FBs could be more acceptable, and their influence towards more environmentally, and ethically centred businesses would be more agreeable. Arguably, more regulations could do this to some extent, and this would be a more ethical approach rather than greater financial incentives (eg The European Union regulation for design of Energy Related Products Directive 2009/125/EC).
However, many companies including a number of Corporations are taking the initiative as they realize for example that recycling, and reusing resources in the Free Market makes good business sense as the planet has finite resources. A good example, of this is the so-called Circular Economy.
One more example of the Free Market at work is ethical investment. People can decide for themselves in which shares, or securities they could invest in. Such investments should ideally go into companies with a good environmental/socially ethical track record.
All this, is all very well, and good, but sufficient amounts of new non-repayable money (plus loans interest free ideally)could also be created to speed things up in a Free Market Economy. Ofcourse, to a very limited extent, a number of governments have been doing just that, but ofcourse using earned money from green taxes. A huge amount needs to be done though. Hence, TFE which may one day receive serious attention, and recognition which it dearly deserves.





Democratic Governments, and Taxation




In TFE, taxation could be phased out overtime possibly. In other words, earned money from the people would be gradually reduced in terms of tax liability as new non-repayable money is slowly phased in. In other words, Facilitation Finance by democratic governments.
At the present time, democratic governments could arguably create money electronically directly. This could come about with the relevant legal changes as indicated earlier. However, an independent public body could also be ideally created to ensure that such funding was spent properly.
At present though, if there are shortfalls in tax revenues, governments can issue bonds. These are IOUs mainly sold to the rich, and super rich companies, and corporations in which money is lent to governments. When paid back the bonds also carry interest which act as profit for lenders in the private sector. In other words, a good example of our present debt-based economics.
In Quantitative Easing, or QE governments again create bonds, and these though are bought up by the Central Bank electronically creating new unearned money. But it may seem a little absurd for legal reasons that publicly elected governments cannot directly create sufficient amounts of new debt-free money into the real economy..via an independent public authority(ie direct QE). Instead though new money has notably been created for banks (ie indirect QE) to back up their reserves (during the Great Financial Crisis, and beyond)so that they have a new, and broader "basis" on which to create new repayable money for businesses.
Another area of finance is bond trading which is a huge global market. With TFE it could continue if necessary, or be gradually phased out (if desired). If the latter happened, investors could receive compensation, or alternatively other kinds of financial instruments, or investments could be found. These could be far more lucrative. In other words, vested interests would not find TFE a threat, thus making global change quicker, and easier to achieve. This seems to be the most sensible, and practical way forward. Trying to do otherwise would probably be too slow, and "virtually impossible" to do.




The Electronic Profile of the Economy, and Big Data in Real-Time/Advanced Stage TFE



Most products, and services in the business world have codes for ease of accounting. Small shops, and supermarkets often, or not have barcodes which are used at checkouts to electronically account for sales transactions of customers. This is known as the Electronic Point of Sales, or EPOS. This notably gives retailers an accurate understanding of the demand of barcoded products along with their identifications, or IDs.
Such a method known as Electronic Transaction Monitoring, or ETM could also be used to create an electronic profile of the entire economy in Real-Time. What we are also ofcourse talking about here is Big Data,and instant Data Mining. Morever, even so-called Deep Learning, and Artificial Intelligence could also possibly play a part.
Anyway, under new regulations, retailers would not only account for their sales, but would also at the same time transmit their information to a public, or semi-public, or private inflation authority (which could be a part of the banking system, or independent of it). With modifications in barcodes,such transaction data (largely identified but not always..plus some legalized commercial confidentiality which could still have where necessary a high degree of commercial confidentiality, or possibly exempted altogether from ETM) would be able to build up a highly accurate electronic Global Domestic Product, or GDP of the entire economy on a daily basis (ie.24/7). Ofcourse, as indicated earlier most products, and services should be identified. However, where this is not so they could still be subject to "blanket" inflation checks but the origins of such transactions could be anonymous, and if necessary be untraceable in certain circumstances.
The question now is this. Why is it vital to know the Economy as far as possible in Real-Time? The answer is basically three-fold.

i) To electronically monitor, and track, and compare price changes of specific groupings of most products, and services to check inflation.
If serious rises in prices occur they could be targetted by direct electronic controls rather than always using indirect controls of taxation, and interest on loans which could be phased out over time. This process would involve advanced, and highly credible algorithmic programming, and the possible use of supercomputers of the inflation authority. A more "decentralized" version of this could also exist.

ii) To create a highly accurate electronic "inventory" of resources used to make up products, or goods.
This will become increasingly vital as scarcity increases. Such data would be good for democratic government planners, and more importantly for private business planners who have a profit motive as their incentive. In other words, improved traceability.

iii) To bring about a greater understanding of the dynamics of the economy itself.
This may be very useful for future economists. With computer simulations, and projections garnered directly in Real-Time from ETM of the real economy itself it may be possible to "accurately" forecast the inflation risks involved in the creation of new unearned money for certain vital projects. It could also ultimately give us direct data of the capacity of various "small" companies, and corporations.
Indeed, the origins of potential business cycles of boom, and bust could be tracked, and resolved. This is a very important point. In other words, recessions, and depressions could become things of the past.
Unfortunately, IT Megaprojects such as the above often, or not fail. But there is no reason in the world why they cannot be achieved with total persistence in the future with greater, and greater insight garnered from the analysis of past experience. Thus, ETM on a national scale represents a real technical challenge, but it is one well worth undertaking as the social, economic, environmental, and political implications of it would be colossal.
Incidently, cash transactions, or something similiar could still exist, and be adapted to Advanced TFE in some manner, or other.
It should be added too that such an "electronic economy" would be "fully" protected against cyber attacks. Indeed, there would always be the funds to ensure that security is continually reviewed to the highest possible standards imaginable.



Super Flexible Instantaneous Electronic Controls




It must be made very clear that direct electronic controls, or specific interventions in the economy are used only if necessary. With the continous electronic monitoring of the Free Market Prices of the transaction of most goods, and services the data which results is transmitted to the inflation authority where supercomputers are programmed to check any inflationary problems, and related matters.
However, economists would recognize the direct electronic controls mentioned above as being like "price controls," but a far more advanced version of them. The key feature of them is that in Advanced TFE they are super-flexible, and instantaneous. They are also notably super-sensitive to the changes in Real-Time to inflationary pressures in ways unimaginable to the old clumsy, and "rigid" price controls of the past.

Ofcourse, their correct programming using algorithms is absolutely vital, and this could be based with likely modifications on existing formulas, and equations known in Econometrics. Naturally, such an arrangement could take into account many factors in Free Marketing Pricing such as the value added to a product, or service. It should also be said that a producer of goods, or services would have to register online by law to ensure that their offerings can be correctly identified at the point of transactions by special barcodes, or like means.
Such electronic, or digital transactions would occur in the main with special smartphones, or indeed, by debit, or credit cards, or something similiar. These can transmit, and receive money electronically. To a limited extent, this already happens.

Anyhow, there are a number of things which the electronic controls (open to further modification, and development) could do, and they would naturally enough require specific algorithms to be programmed carefully, and properly :-


i) Above Inflation Adjustment

A Free Market price of a product being bought at a checkout is found to be above the inflation rate. An example, should make it clear as to what happens. Lets say that the price of product X is instantly checked by the inflation authority using supercomputers at the point of sale. It is found that X is 2p about inflation. As a result, the 2p is instantly added to the customer's bank account electronically. However, the retailer still retains the 2p on product X. The extra 2p for the customer is an adjustment, or instant subsidy created electronically with new money.
Ofcourse, an instant electronic inflation tax could be created to deduct money in real terms. This though is avoided unless it is absolutely necessary. TFE aims to be as business friendly as possible.

ii) Below Inflation Adjustment

This is when a price of a product may be below the inflation rate, and an instant subsidy, or adjustment is created electronically. Again, to take a simple example. A customer wishes to buy product Z at the point of sale. The price is checked instantly by the inflation authority. It is found that Product Z is being sold below inflation by 2p. As such, the retailer, and not ofcourse, the customer gets 2p straight into their account.
What is described above is deliberately "simplistic" as there may well be many aspects to all this that are beyond the scope of our presentation.


iii) Instant Price Drop Subsidy

This may be necessary if the Free Market Price is rising too quickly. If so, a price drop may be undertaken instantaneously. At the same time, a subsidy, or adjustment is created with new money which creates a "progressive" profit to a certain level for the retailer instead of a profit "loss". In effect, it creates an incentive to drop prices if, and when necessary.


iv) Electronic Price Capping.

Here, a maximun price may be set by a government, or by an FB in certain circumstances. If the price of production starts to exceed the maximun price, the producers would recieve instant financial help, or compensation where necessary as long they stick to the temporary "controlled" price. Ofcourse, electronic price capping should be avoided at all cost as it could in certain instances lead to serious shortages, and price distortions.The aim in TFE is to allow as far as possible for the laws of supply, and demand to be maintained naturally.
It should be added here that similar methods to the above could be used to help control "bubbles" in the economy (eg."runaway" rising prices in the housing market being the classic example).'



The Question of Economic Growth



As many realize the planet has finite resources. Thus, continous exponential growth cannot go on indefinitely. In Advanced Stage TFE there is a long temporary period of rapid economic growth but it is heavily influenced notably by the power of FBs, and Facilitation Financing making the present capitalist system far more environmentally sustainable, more ethical, and energy efficient as never before in human history.
Yet, how finite is our planet really? This is arguably at present an "impossible" question to fully, or accurately answer. But, it has also been pointed out that most of the resources of our planet lie under the sea. To actually "mine them"(with robots) is prohibitively expensive but there appear to be small initial attempts to do so. With Facilitation Finance this process could be speeded up, but it must be undertaken in a responsible manner.
Apart from mining sea beds, there are other ways to deal with the potential resource scarcity question. They could include the following:-
i) The development of safe nanotechnology which could create new resources out of thin air via the manipulation of atoms.
ii) Space exploration with the aid of Facilitation Finance could find resources from other planets. These could be brought to our terrestrial world.
iii) Again, with Facilitation Finance it would be possible to create colonies on other planets, and hopefully, use their resources responsibly.
iv) Inventions could be developed to create more out of less, and less.
It should be said here that people (especially the young) should become more, and more educated in that we must live simpler, less materialistic lives. This does not mean going back to the "stone age" but instead to an advanced technological world in which higher values, or ideals should take their place of unnecessary overconsumption, or "affluenza". This is not a question of ideology. It is a question of practical necessity.




Some Other Key Benefits of Transfinancial Economics.




Apart from the above section there are many other benefits with TFE. They would include the following list.

a) Poverty.
With TFE, NGOs concerned with this issue would become increasingly empowered financially by Facilitation Finance which could be had directly from a FB, or possibly a government agency. It could also come from one, or more "independent" grant-making body (ie. a foundation, or trust). It could also help to reduce inequality in the world.
Moreover, it could modify microfinance in the developing world to include an UBI, or Universal Basic Income, or subsidy of sorts without having to borrow money all the time (except possibly for the development of some form of self-employment/business ofcourse). It would be electronically created by FBs, or by genuine governments, or by both of them in partnership.
It should be stressed that every effort would be made to ensure that new money does not go into the wrong hands especially in the developing world. What is notably required here is a very credible "full-proof" system for the electronic tracking of funds which could lead to instant fines, and/or freeze of relevant targeted accounts. This was mentioned earlier on in the text in connection with FBs, but is worth repeating.
Moreover, apart from what has just been said, there would also be funds to fully ensure that international aid organizations would be doing their job properly, and effectively on the ground. Where necessary, Facilitation Finance would also be available to fully protect aid workers, and their convoys from terrorist attacks.

b) Health Care.
Irrespective of whether health care is largely in private hands, or not,Facilitation Financing could help enhance the existing system in which everyone in spite of their economic status has access to high quality medical intervention.This process could happen in both the developed world, and the developing world. Efficient planning plays a vital role in all this ofcourse.

c) Food Security.
Here, innovative but safe production of more food could be funded in full, or in part by Facilitation Finance. Moreover,like their developed world couterparts, farmers in the developing world could receive in full, or in part subsidies notably via closely monitored new non-repayable money created electronically.

d) Population.

NGOs with ideas, and projects concerned with this matter could be funded in full, or in part by Facilitation Finance. These would probably be largely educational in nature (ie. family planning advice).


e) Climate Change, and Potential Global Warming.

This is probably the most important challenge facing the human race,(apart from potential resource scarcity) and could infact, threaten its very existence. A huge amount needs to be done in the quickest space of time. "Science Fiction" type projects should be considered seriously such as geoengineering, and various adaption, and mitigation projects such as special dams, underground cities, artificial underwater dwellings, underground agriculture(even), and the like could become serious possibilities with the aid of Facilitation Finance. Governments need to take climate change seriously, along with global warming irrespective of whether such "scenarios" prove ultimately true, or not. It is also should be stated that most scientists believe that climate change is largely man-made, and could lead to serious global warming.


Possible National, and International "Compensation" with Facilitation Finance

One aspect of TFE notably in its Advanced Stage is that any "unethical" environmental activity undertaken by some company, or transnational corporation could if absolutely necessary be paid "compensation" (depending on the situation) to stop, or correct itself from going ahead, or continuing with something which may be "wrong" for the people, and the planet. Such an approach has already been undertaken by a number of governments on certain issues (eg. protecting threatened forests), but ofcourse using earned money (ie.via taxation) on a very limited scale. With TFE though such "compensation" can be undertaken on a massive scale by FBs, and possibly governments via an independent public authority.

In an ideal world there should be a credible global environmental agency which could ensure that corporations, and smaller business organizations are regulated in ways which are legally binding, and truly enforceable on an international scale. This is the high ethical approach.
Unfortunately, whether we like it, or not, the lower ethical approach of legally "bribing" them to move in the right directions would probably be necessary in a large number of cases. Ofcourse, we are not discussing here a friendly, or hostile takeover, or indeed, disinvestment. The aim is to be business friendly as possible without sacrificing many important ethical/environmental principles. This should speed up change.
An important example, of all this is the possible implications for overconsumption of certain products (even where there maybe a demand for them). Some lines of environmentally "wasteful" productions (eg particular types of goods with planned obsolescence) could be quickly phased out altogether where necessary, and profits lost as a result could be compensated using for as a one off payment, or alternatively as continuous compensation as if the products concerned were still being created, and sold. In other words, a lower ethical approach which may seem "utterly outrageous" for some, but may for practical purposes be very necessary indeed.
All this has profound importance for humanity. But it should be said that TFE is not the panacea for all the problems of the world. Yet, it can certainly help solve many of them in a "surprising" manner.


"Full" Automation, the Future, and Global Citizenship


During the transition from a debt based economic system to a non-debt based one in which taxation, and interest could ultimately be phased out, many momentous, and simultaneous socio-economic, and political changes would probably occur. But the rates at which this evolutionary process would happen will vary from one country to another.
One of the future momentous events is the phasing in of "full" automation on a huge scale. This could lead to growing "unemployment". However, something like an UBI, or Universal Basic Income (mentioned earlier on) could be introduced irrespective of whether one is employed, or not. This would not require means testing. Moreover, it could be financed in full, or in part by new non-repayable funds without fear of serious inflation.
In the light of the above paragraph, other kinds of "leisure-like" forms of work, or employment could come into being. Alternatively, for some, a green business could be created but with a high degree of automation included. The finance for such things would not be a problem. Ultimately, the only problem with developing such "enterprises" would no longer be financial capital but rather good efficient small-scale, or large-scale planning, plus relevant resources. Ideally, such "businesses" should also be genuine cooperatives.
Interestingly, TFE has great implications for NGOs. These Civil Societies could expand, and be able to bring aboard new recruits as money would become easier to find, and fundraising itself could also be ultimately phased out altogether in many cases. Hence, progress of socio-economic, and political issues (eg. Fair Trade, Human Rights, Poverty Reduction, Globalization, Racial Discrimination, Campaign Finance, et al) will gain far greater momentum, influence, and power as never before. Thus, Advanced Stage TFE can lead to greater, and greater Democracy.
Certain better financed NGOs would find it easier to challenge elitist plutocratic power structures if they feel that their activities to a certain extent are unethical in some manner, or other...
Yet, TFE may make the wealthy richer notably with green, and socially ethical type investments. It could also ironically lead to their own demise when automation begins to take over most work activities. This could be accelerated with new non-repayable money. When near "full" automation is achieved on a largely global scale money itself could become unnecessary...This is very important to try, and understand.It is revolutionary. Essentially, TFE can be seen as a transitional stage from a money based system to a non-money based one.
With the growing financial empowerment of NGOs for a new, and hopefully a better, and fairer world the following values could be included notably.

i) The continuance of Open Democracy, and respect for Universal Human Rights.

ii) Growing altruism, and more humanitarian action in society should act as the key incentive rather than the profit motive. This is very important. Indeed, so-called Hedonic, or Happiness Economics seems to indicate that money is not everything. As long as people have enough, they are found to be reasonably happy.

iii) Possible evolution towards direct/digital Democracy in which a Universal Debating Project could be part of a "Global Brain", or "forum" could be credibly created on the internet on a P2P Open Source basis to show clearly "all-known" arguments notably for, and against social, economic, and political issues (presented without too much verbal padding). In other words, an objective, and holistic approach to information. This could be updated continually in Real-Time.

iv) The need to move towards a society in which cooperation, and high ideals rather than competition, and greed should be the incentive to drive the world forwards. At the same time, there should be greater growth in the development of the Sharing Economy in which products, and services could be shared for financial, or non-financial gain.

v) There should be a greater emphasis for "smaller" human-scale communities which could be highly self-sufficient. This is important, but huge "smart" eco-cities could also possibly be developed, and expanded simultaneously. Also, there should be a drive towards more, and more decentralised energy systems.
vi) As already indicated, NGOs notably concerned with inequality would become increasingly empowered by Facilitation Finance in the form of grants, and interest free loans to improve the lot of the poor. One aspect of this is the creation of more social housing which could be funded in full, or in part with new non-repayable money.

vii) Greater decentralisation of power especially at the top.

viii) Society should become less, and less hierarchical.


It is ultimately envisaged that something like an advanced technological world will emerge. The Venus Project inspired by Jacque Fresco, a noted populariser of Technocracy is an example of what could be done in the future but arguably has no real, or credible transition plan unlike Transfinancial Economics.
The ideas above could help form the basis of a new global order of existence. They are progressive, and humane. They also indicate the need for the entire world to move towards Global Cooperation, and Global Citizenship.
Indeed, there should over time be the creation of Global Education Movements (or GEMs)which could inspire the young especially, to bring about change in the world. Ofcourse, there are many groups already which are similar to GEMs. They could join in, and work together more, and more to bring about a "saner" reality in the spirit of genuine cooperation. This could notably occur with P2P-like computer networks.
Naturally enough, GEMs could be funded in full, or in part with new money electronically created.
PS. It should be stressed that automation (including robotics ofcouse) should be totally suited to a low carbon, or "zero carbon economy," and as such would be eligible for Facilitation Financing.


Campaign Activism for Transfinancial Economics.


In order to bring about the serious possibility of change from our present debt based economy of taxation, and interest to one which is largely non-debt based, a campaign would be necessary. Unfortunately, a grassroots organization(s) at the present time to challenge banks, and their kind is unlikely to work....though we may be wrong.
To promote this campaign it is suggested here that a professional website would be set up to spread the word of Transfinancial Economics as a serious, and credible proposal if the world is to successfully "survive" the global problems of the future (especially climate change, and possible global warming). It could be sent to people, and organizations that have real power, and influence such as government policy makers, financial companies, progressive think tanks, et cetera. This is probably the way forward.
I. The TFE website itself could include the following features.

II. News update about the campaign progress, notably the lobbying of certain governments.

III. Commissioned papers (initially) by willing forward thinking economists (and others, notably computer scientists) possibly using econometric models to show the efficacy of TFE in technical terms, including detailed studies on various facets of the subject.

IV. A scholarly online Journal of Transfinancial Economics.

V. A powerpoint presentation of TFE for downloading.

VI. Monitoring advances in technology, notably in connection to dynamic algorithmic pricing, and developments in Big Data would help to give TFE greater, and greater credibility. Indeed, it aught to be added that there are now initiatives to electronically track to a limited degree, the Free Market Price of products, and services in Real-Time.

VII. Possible field trials of the electronic technologies involved in TFE. This could be partly, or fully funded by governments, and/or by corporations, or by some other source such as an NGO(s).

At some point, the concept of TFE would probably have to go before the US authorities,the European Parliament, the UK Parliament, and other democratic governments. Ideally, most countries especially in the developed world should work in consort to introduce something like TFE.
More controversially, a "good" idea may be to try, and market the new global paradigm to certain corporations(and ofcourse, other smaller businesses) as a huge global "business opportunity" of colossal importance. Such powerful businesses though should have some serious, and genuine interest in sustainability. They could form a special alliance to put pressure on governments notably in Washington to at least phase in Primary Stage TFE to some extent.
Advanced Stage TFE (ie. full, or limited Electronic Transaction Monitoring, or ETM)though would ofcourse be more difficult, and controversial to become law on a national, or more international scale.
However, it should be noted that the huge global benefits for humanity far outweigh its risks for phasing it into society, and the world. This must be emphasised as it is vital for people to appreciate TFE in its advanced stage of development.


Basic Glossary


What is presented here are the basic definition of key terms in TFE. New terms may be added in the future, but most of the terminology would ultimately come from mainstream economics.




  • Transfinancial = The latin word trans implies something above, or beyond. In this case, it can be interpreted as being beyond conventional finance, and indeed, economics itself (ie Transfinancial Economics). In another context, transfinancial can imply money being transferred across borders to other countries.


  • Facilitation Banks = These are quite unlike their mainstream "counterparts" in that they have a licence to create new non-repayable money directly into the economy. Moreover, their regulatory framework is far more tighter than an ordinary bank. They can among other things closely track, and monitor electronically where newly created money goes, and can instantly override, and fine an account holder if it is deemed that certain funds have gone to a "wrong" account (ie. fraud prevention). The aim of FBs would be notably concerned with creating finance for environmental projects, and high ethical concerns.


  • Primary (Stage) TFE = Here, very limited amounts of mainly new debt-free non-repayable money could be gradually created electronically into the economy directly. Repayable money, or loans could be created as well if necessary. Economic Indicators (notably the Consumer Price Index) could be used to decide whether more new money could be created, or not. If inflationary pressures grow the conventional methods of raising taxation, and interest on loans could be undertaken. This is intended to help reduce the money supply, and hence, inflation.
(One vital potential application of Primary Stage TFE is that it could fund in full, or in part new antibiotic drugs to help save the lives of huge numbers of people in the present, and in the future. Such medicines make little, or indeed, no real profit for the big corporations, and their ilke, and hence, an "unconventional" approach to funding may be required. However, the focus is now on the creation of an accurate diagnostic which could help "seriously" reduce the demand for antibiotics for patients. This is a good ethical idea as it would also reduce the demand for the resources necessary to make antibiotics. But it would still require conventional, or indeed, "unconventional" funding arguably.)


  • Advanced (Stage) TFE = This is when most goods, and services would be tracked electronically, and have instantaneous checks undertaken at the point of transaction. This is done to find out their inflation status, and also to ideally discover the IDs of most goods, and services. The latter aspect is used to build up a profile, or electronic GDP of the economy in Real-Time. At the point of transaction electronic checks are undertaken by supercomputers when the relevant pricing data is sent to an inflation authority. It is then that the inflation status, and IDs of most goods, and services can be ascertained. The resulting data is transmitted to the cashier, and certain "unconventional" electronic controls may be used to adjust the Free Market Price.


  • Electronic Transaction Monitoring (ETM) = This is explained above. It is simply the monitoring of most goods, and services of products, and services.


  • Facilitation Finance = The circulation of mainly new debt-free non-repayble electronic money by special Smart Banks, or Facilitation Banks(FBs), and/or possibly by governments. This Facilitation Finance can be seen as the result of a money creation process known in economics as Quantitative Easing, or QE. Ofcourse, repayable money could be created electronically sans interest.


  • Grant Interest = A highly controversial concept in which an independent authority (eg. the Central Bank) could pay on behalf of the customer, or company the interest on the amounts of electronic creation of new non-repayable money (ie.a commercial grant) by Facilitation Banks. A more ethical approach to Grant Interest is a one off payment for the electronic production of new money. Another controversial aspect of all this is that repayable loans could also have their interest paid by an independent authority (eg. the Central Bank). In other words, they would be interest free.









Some Key References



The following is not exhaustive ofcourse. The literature on finance, monetary reform, economics,and sustainability, is vast with an array of well-known, and little-known authors.

Steve Keen, Debunking Economics - Revised and Expanded Edition: The Naked Emperor Dethroned? Zed Books, 2011

David Colander (Author), Paul Ormerod (Author), Dave Ramsden (Author), Paul Seabright (Author), John Sloman (Author), Edward Glaeser (Author), Andrew Haldane (Author), John Kay (Author), Andrew Lo (Author), Diane Coyle (Editor), What's the Use of Economics? Teaching the Dismal Science after the Crisis, published 2012.

L. Randall Wray, Modern Money Theory: A Primer on Macroeconomics for Sovereign Monetary Systems, Palgrave Macmillan, 2012

Stephen Zarlenga,The Lost Science of Money: The Mythology of Money, The Story of Power, AMI, Dec 2002

J.W. Hughes,Major Douglas: The Policy of a Philosophy, Wedderspoon Associates,2002

Ellen Hodgson Brown and Reed Simpson, Web of Debt: The Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free, 2012 edition (among many other interesting things, it includes some rare info on "experiments" used by early American Colonists to create "enough" new money to fund various projects)

Josh Ryan-Collins (Author), Tony Greenham (Author), Richard Werner (Author), Andrew Jackson (Author) Where Does Money Come From?: A Guide to the UK Monetary and Banking System, New Economics Foundation, 2012

Jeffrey D. Sachs,Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet,Penguin Books, 2009

Jeffrey D. Sachs, The Price of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity, Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2012

Joseph Stiglitz, Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy, W. W. Norton & Company, 2010

Noreena Hertz, IOU: The Debt Threat and Why We Must Defuse It, Fourth Estate, 2010

Mckenzie Funk, Windfall, The Booming Business of Climate Change, Penguin, 2014

Viktor Mayer-Schonberger, and Kenneth Cukier, Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think, John Murray, 2013

Jeremy Rifkin, The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism, Palgrave Macmillan, 2014

Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate Simon & Schuster, 2014



Some Links Of Possible Interest.


The following links may be of interest.


1) TFE is notably similiar to Social Credit. The following link may be of interest, and a French version also exists. http://www.michaeljournal.org/plenty42.htm

2) An introduction to MMT, or Modern Monetary Theory which is also very similiar to TFE. http://ralphanomics.blogspot.com/2011/02/introduction-to-modern-monetary-theory.html

4) Trond Andresen connects electronic money to MMT in his working paper. He seems to have drawn something of his inspiration from TFE. http://www.itk.ntnu.no/ansatte/Andresen_Trond/econ/mmt-electronic.pdf


5) The following link to a NGO is concerned with how money is created, and used. http://www.positivemoney.org.uk/

6) The idea of businesses working in a real-time economy is nothing new. Ofcourse, TFE ultimately goes beyond this to include a deeper, and far more accurate understanding of the actual workings of the economy itself. This is revolutionary, and turns economics on its head. Indeed, it could be argued that TFE is the most important breakthrough in the history of economics, and this may one day be recognized. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real-time_economy Certain initiatives are being undertaken to a limited degree to track the Free Market Prices of goods in Real-Time. Some examples are as follows http://theeconomicrealms.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/real-time-economic-data-tracking.html http://theeconomicrealms.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/mit-launches-real-time-inflation-indices.html http://theeconomicrealms.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/raging-inflation-narendra-modi.html
7) In the future smartphones could be used on a common daily basis by most of society, to transfer, or transmit money. This has great relevance to TFE as one can imagine. Barclays came out with their model phone called Pingit http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2012/feb/16/barclays-pingit-money-sending-smartphone

8) In contrast to the Developed World, Kenya, of all places have been using the mobile phone as the main means to transmit, and indeed, recieve funds electronically. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11793290

9) A growing, and comprehensive blog on economics in general. http://theeconomicrealms.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/how-can-anything-rival-threat-of.html http://theeconomicrealms.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/paradise-or-oblivion.html

10) High Frequency Trading is an example of the power of advanced automated computer technology. http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_frequency_trading

11) The idea of something like a cybernetic economy has been around for sometime. The following links may be of interest, and appear to offer "techno-economic" ideas within an "extreme" socialist, or communist type system. With TFE though we are discussing an economy that exists within the framework of a more "ethical" futuristic capitalist system which would ideally have genuine open democracy, and respect for universal human rights rather than some dystopia, or totalitarian system. This is always important to remember. Yet, if society decides it can evolve into a "higher," or more "advanced" social structure similiar to one envisaged by Technocracy. In this respect, TFE can seen as a "credible" transitional system to a "better" world. http://p2pfoundation.net/Towards_a_New_Cybernetic_Socialism http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/why-you-should-read-the-essay-red-plenty-platforms/2013/08/20 http://p2pfoundation.net/Cybernetic_Communism http://p2pfoundation.net/Cybernetic_Revolutionaries http://p2pfoundation.net/Cybernetic_Planning http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Economic+Cybernetics Reference is also made to Paul Cockshott, and his Cybersocialism https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtlZys7QOO4

12) Professor Richard Werner was the originator of the term Quantitative Easing, or QE. But it has been completely misinterpreted as the following link reveals http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-24614016#story_continues_3

13) The problems facing the management, and possible success of Megaprojects, notably IT ones.http://blog.budzier.com/me-research/ http://www.mckinsey.com/client_service/public_sector/latest_thinking/mckinsey_on_government/seven_imperatives_for_success_in_it_megaprojects


14) The use, and develeopment of Big Data appears to be growing apace in the world. It has huge significance for TFE http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_data

15) The use of dynamic pricing, and algorithms is becoming a serious reality. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_pricing


16) Serious problems may be faced with ageing bank computer systems. With TFE it may be possible to help in full, or in part the financing of new IT systems.http://theeconomicrealms.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/banking-it-crisis.html

17) The Resource Based Economy may be of interest. http://www.theresourcebasedeconomy.com/

18) The Universal Debating Project http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Universal_Debating_Project

19) The idea of the Industrial Internet is similar to the concept of ETM in TFE. http://gelookahead.economist.com/industrial-internet/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Internet

20) The Internet of Things has great relevance to TFE. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Internet_of_Things&redirect=no





PS A paper on TFE was actually accepted by a peer reviewed journal. However, due to a dispute with the editor/publisher I withdrew it from publication, and at the time of writing a new version has been sent elsewhere.
Robert Searle is the originator of this "work in progress" project. His email address is robertsearle46@googlemail.com . Admitedly, my bio below is to some extent "unconventional," but it is hoped it will not detract from any interest in the above project.

http://www.p2pfoundation.net/Robert_Searle