Could Money be designed to sustain the Commons?

This was first written in answer to a question on Quora. The question was:

How might a currency be designed that helps build the commons?

I am putting my answer in an article here on the blog, after it was previously put in a note on fb, to preserve it and make the information available. Here is what I wrote…

If a currency could eliminate or at least attenuate the profit motive, which seems to drive most if not all economic activity today at the expense of the commons …

If that currency could lessen or even eliminate poverty, which can also act as a driver for activities that endanger the commons…

it might remove some of the pressure that is put on the commons for the purely economic reasons that grow out of greed and necessity…

but to actually build up the commons, active intervention might be needed.

That brings me to the proposals Silvio Gesell made in “Die Natürliche Wirtschaftsordnung” (The NATURAL ECONOMIC ORDER) almost a century ago.

Silvio Gesell
Silvio Gesell

We must realize that this book needs to be read with some patience, first because of the less-than-optimal translation that is available on the net and then because of the time that has passed since the book was written. Completed and first published in 1916, the work is a product of its time and back then, times were different from what they are today. Many of the conditions and events made reference to would be difficult, to understand. So reading Gesell’s book would also imply translating the concepts Gesell expressed into a modern day setting.

I will attempt to give a short overview of what Gesell envisioned in his monetary and social reform proposal, and how it could help build up the commons in a rather effective way.

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