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The End of Money and the Future of Civilization
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The End of Money and the Future of Civilization

Jaswinder Kaur

29th September, 2009

Thomas H Greco Jr's new book on money challenges the growth fetish and gives practical examples of how community-based exchange systems can save the economy, and the environment, from collapse

In the wake of the financial and banking crisis, this book is a timely reminder of the need to change a system that no longer works.

Aimed at social entrepreneurs, business people, government officials and anyone curious to know how money and the economy operates, The End of Money is the fourth book by a leading authority on free market approaches to money and finance.

The title is intriguing enough to make you pick it up and for a financially-challenged person like me, it is an eye-opener, providing a historical background to the world (albeit American) banking system and prescriptive solutions of the need to return back to local and community banking.

The author's central argument is that money as we know it now will become obsolete, though exchange will continue. How all this unfolds is explained in a chronological way, starting with the history of American banking and the export of such banking principles to countries around the world.

Where the money is

Greco starts with the structure of money and the role of money as a medium of exchange.

Money, Greco argues, is a political instrument for concentrating power and wealth. The centralised control of money, credit and banking has harmed societies and the environment.

The present global monetary system perpetuates economic growth that is detrimental to the environment and democratic institutions and the fabric of society. The author contends that exponential economic growth is resulting in shortages in energy, fresh water and food.

In the age of climate change and the financial crisis, this is all too apparent. Exponential economic growth is not sustainable and Greco prophesises, ‘It seems that all our institutions and structures upon which we depend are breaking down.'

Solutions

What then is the solution or solutions? Greco proposes a variety of solutions from a complete web-based trading system to creating local, community- based exchange systems which can be linked to regional, national and international networks. Examples of the ‘banjar' system in Bali, Indonesia and the Mondragon cooperatives in northern Spain shows a workable community based exchange system.

Though the book does get quite technical but the style of writing is clear and crisp enough for the reader to grasp some basic concepts.

A refreshing read into the what ails of the current global financial system. The book leaves you thinking that given the political will and empowerment of grassroots and community -based systems, the environment and civilisation as we know it is not doomed after all.

The End of Money and the Future of Civiliztion by Thomas H Greco Jr. (£12.10, Chelsea Green Publishing Company)

 

 

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