voice of humanity: The Delicate Question of Money    
 The Delicate Question of Money11 comments
5 Sep 2003 @ 15:03, by Roger Eaton

A voice of humanity will need funding to establish a global presence, and fairly large scale funding, at that. Without money or the prospect of money behind the project, we might get the software to a usable stage, and then stall in actually developing the network. Afterall, no small amount of computer resources and human support will be needed to make the network go.

An intriguing possibility here would be to print money! A bottom up voice of humanity will be highly compatible with localization efforts that key off local money. In this model we kick start local currencies by lending voh-local-dollars to local businesses, which use the money to purchase targeted advertisements ala google on the voice of humanity local hub. The hub offers prizes in voh-local-dollars to users who post items that receive highest ratings. The local businesses accept the voh-local for sales tax or some supportable percent of the purchase price of items they sell. With the voh-local-dollars they take in, the businesses either repay their loans or purchase more targeted advertising. The hub owner keeps a small percentage of the voh-local as it goes by and converts it to national dollars at the going rate to pay expenses of the local hub.

This scheme requires:

1) convertible voh-local, and that means someone must keep the bank, which presumably raises licensing questions. This needs further investigation.

2) intelligent advertisement selection. Businesses will want to pay by the click-through, and may want to specify a target consumer, so the system has to be clever in picking the right advertisement to display depending on the search request and what is known about the person making the search. To make this work, we need a distributed intellent back end of the voh network that can use the categories, item and participant meta-data, and ratings to handle targeted searches and advertisement selection.

3) procedures to scale up to the global level. Although local hubs will develop the local currencies, we need a way to funnel money up both to support hubs that service larger areas and to pay larger prizes to those whose items receive top ratings at high levels. This requires global banking services! No small deal, plus the incentive to hack the system greatly increases if there is a possible financial payout. A particular difficulty is that participants who win prizes at the higher levels cannot be paid in local-voh without disturbing the local market. It all seems very complex, and at the same time, a promising basis for an information economy -- if the details can be worked out satisfactorily.

If, as seems likely, the American Bubble bursts and drags the global economy into ruin, local money and localization efforts will take off big time. We need to be ready. And if, unexpectedly, the Pax Americana somehow succeeds, then this particular form of local money still has its uses for businesses as a advertising with a built in discount for the targeted consumer.

here are a couple links of interest on local currencies

Community Currency and NPOs:A Model for Solving Social Issues in the 21st Century
International Journal of Community Currency Research

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6 Sep 2003 @ 14:39 by ming : Grassroots Money
What I'd suggest as a plan is to do a relatively simple key thing very well, in such a way that it is posed to spread virally, and then form the foundation for the more ultimate aim. In other words, don't try to solve too many hard questions at the same time. Some of them are likely to be solved by people smarter than any of us, if they just have a place to plug in.

I think that a key for a good grassroots money system is a powerful network that can ascertain value in an incorruptible way. If you can really capture honestly and truthfully and in sufficient detail what people find to be of value, a lot of things become possible.

I've thought a lot about that, and talked with collaborators in {link:http://www.xpertweb.com|xpertweb} about that. One of the most subversive things you can do is a transparent network which captures what people find to be of value, including what they think about the value of products, other people's work, etc. If value is easily ascertained, it is no longer a matter of who has the best BS. And that would incidentally be an excellent foundation for an alternative currency system to work. Proper information makes all the difference.

So, I think that's what you might have a chance of making a major contribution to. A bulletproof way of recording relative value of things, and ways of aggregating that information. I think you probably don't have to solve the whole programming and infrastructure around it, if you just figure out a relatively simple protocol that does that.

But, yes, it would be nice to think of a way for communication hubs to be supported with some kind of money flow. Plain advertising is a little too crude, I think. More cool would be a mechanism where it is actually a service, to link up somebody who has something with somebody who wants something. I.e. help the provider of a high quality product find somebody who actually want that, and get some percentages somewhere.  

6 Sep 2003 @ 19:10 by vaxen : Ithaca Dollars:
There was 'Emperor Norton." Ever hear of him? Ithaca Dollars seem to work well. I absolutely agree that in order to forge ahead we need to get off the Federal Reserve Insurance script and the IRS system or at least 'render unto Caesar' what WE feel is due him, if anything at all, but make our own forms of exchange.

There are plenty of ideas in the bin yet...nothing, short of a revolution, seems to be really working as the system, worldwide, is owned by the international banking consortiums and they are reallyt Cartels in every sense of the word. Very tight knit and closed...they fund the wars and the pharmaceuticals, Industry, etc., so...

How to become totally self sufficient is, indeed, the question. Ithaca Dollars has a nice sound plan. Perhaps something like that?  

7 Sep 2003 @ 10:13 by mre : re: Ithaca Dollars
Looks like the magic formula is {link:http://www.transaction.net/money/glossary.html#demurrage|"demurrage"} + {link:http://www.transaction.net/money/glossary.html#mutualcredit|"mutual credit"}. The advantage of a demurrage currency is that it circulates rapidly and holders of the currency have an incentive to promote the currency to new users. The advantage of mutual credit currency is that there is always just the right amount of it. Ithaca Hours are issued by a central authority rather than on the mutual credit model. As for demurrage, well scarcely anybody seems to be using that model, at least not in my quick {link:http://www.transaction.net/money/cc/cc05.html|search}. The theory of "booster" currencies sounds very good, though -- these are demurrage currencies that start at a premium value above 100% -- I think the reason is to get around people's complaints against taking a currency that is automatically going down in value every month. All very fascinating, and it really does have a track record. Whether it can apply to the voice of humanity, I am not sure. It needs a lot more research, and ming is quite right to suggest I stick with the basics. Still....  

7 Sep 2003 @ 10:44 by mre : re: Grassroots Money by ming
Simple solutions that spread virally are optimal. The {link:http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=blogroll+&btnG=Google+Search|blogroll} wave is an example. The trouble is they are too simple. On the other hand a more useful but also more complex vehicle such as the proposed voice of humanity either fails to catch on or if it does catch on, could cut off other interesting possibilities, rather as proprietary code like M$ can do. Of course I am wanting a voice of humanity to take off even though it is moderately complex. Best I can do is make it open source, and middleware with as many api's as possible so it can work with other people's developments rather than choking them off.

Thanks for the {link:http://www.xpertweb.com/|xpertweb} link. That will come in very handy. The next article is going to take me a few days. I have to develop some ideas for adding intelligence to the voh network. A way to capture "what people find to be of value" and use that information to divide the world into Spam and nonSpam for each individual, where 99.9999% of everything has to be Spam because of ordinary limits on what we can attend to.  

8 Sep 2003 @ 10:36 by ming : Money Systems
There are a number of different alternative systems that have a track record. Yet none of them have particularly come close to being a replacement for the mainstream national currencies. Therefore, many, even the inventor of LETS, Michael Linton, are now calling them complementary currencies, rather than alternative currencies. Because nobody's succeeded in replacing more than a rather small percentage of transactions with those currencies. 10-20% would be very successful.

The best resource I know about alternative money systems is Bernard Lietaer's {link:http://www.transaction.net/|transaction.net}. He has a past as an insider in the national currency game, so he knows it very well from several sides. He was working on exchanges that could convert alternate currencies into national currencies and vice versa. I'm not sure what the status is of that.

Anyway, I agree that demurrage and mutual credit are key qualities of a desirable money system.  

9 Feb 2004 @ 12:21 by Josef @ : Economic reform
A viral, global alternative money system could have a great influence on today's economic environment, giving an example of how a currency should be structured to be people-and-environment friendly. Not only that, it would also be supplying a considerable incentive to change things - if enough of a user base can be assembled.

I would agree that demurrage and the mutual credit idea should be built in. If someone is actively working on this, I would like to offer my collaboration from a view of conceptualizing the thing.  

15 Feb 2004 @ 12:13 by Roger Eaton @ : re: Economic Reform
Perhaps you would take the lead on this, Joseph (or is it Sepp?), at least to get us started. It would be a gamble of time and effort on your part, I realize. The voice of humanity, if it does go, will be big, but will it go?

If we can come up with a reasonable design of an alternative currency system that is BOTH local AND global, based on demurrage and mutal credit, and somehow supporting an online voice of humanity, well that would be a great added value to the voh concept and indeed might make the difference between success and failure.

It is that BOTH local AND global part that needs some thought. I have an intuition that it could work. I wonder. Could a local currency community buy something from another local currency community by issuing a credit in the next higher currency in a system that mirrors the bottom up hierarchy of the voh network?

In any case, be assured that I am continuing to work on the voh project. I expect to post a new article that details the api to the InterMix middleware, and which should be a basis for me to finally begin coding the demonstration project for the voh -- {link:http://blog.voiceofhumanity.net/newslog2.php/_v252/__show_article/_a000252-000028.htm|The Annotated Web}.  

16 Feb 2004 @ 12:24 by Sepp @ : Economic reform
Well, it's both. Josef to most and Sepp to fewer. One day I'll have to decide on that one.

I may take up that challenge on the money system, and I will anyway be working on that on my own, but I do not have a lot of time to dedicate. As I do progress I promise to come back and say what I found.  

6 Apr 2008 @ 22:08 by Duric @ : Economic reform
We are ready: Crom Alternative Money.  

12 Dec 2008 @ 06:44 by tibet tour @ : tibet
Want to go to tibet tour? You can rely on us!  

30 Dec 2008 @ 23:52 by 綾瀬はるか @ : thanks
nice site. thanks.  

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