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12 Minutes from 26th Nov 2012

Page history last edited by Peter Verity 7 years, 9 months ago



Date  26/11/12 Facilitator Sue W
Time  19:45 - 21:00
Secretaries Peter
Location  Quaker Meeting House  Type of meeting Meet-up


(add yourself if missing)

12 present


Table of Contents



Campaign update

presenter: Peter



  • Positive Money book "Modernising Money"
    • now expected to be launched in January, at the conference


  • Getting an "ethical bank" to a meeting
    • Handelsbanken declined our invitation.
    • Peter has contacted the Coop bank who also declined, but he is questioning them further about a statement in their publicity that "we don't take unnecessary risks, only lending money that's been deposited with us". He is trying to find out how they justify this claim.


  • Transition awards
    • Positive Money had been nominated
    • [Post Meeting Note - there were over 80 groups nominated, and 10 winners were picked from a hat (actually a flowerpot!). We didn't win - Portland Works were picked as winners in the 'Wealth & Lifestyle' category. Some useful new contacts were made. See http://www.transitionsheffield.org.uk/node/119 ]


  • Meetup dates
    • Some people can never manage Mondays, so Peter proposed that we alternate between Mondays and Wednesdays (ie. last Monday in Jan, last Wed in Feb etc). This was agreed, so Feb meetup will be the 27th, not the 25th.


  • Forum
    • Peter and Steve plan to set up a "forum" using the free 'proboards' provider


  • Film 'growing change" (WDM)
    • This film, which was advertised in October through our mailing list, attracted a full house and it will be repeated in February


  • Contacts with Sheffield uni
    • Steve has contacted the head of economics at Sheffield uni to find out what (if anything) is taught about where money comes from, and to see if he will come to talk to us. No reply yet, so Steve intends to cast the net wider to other people in the department.


  • PM "draft bill"
    • Dermot offered to run a workshop on this at the February meetup. Also on the new book. This fits in nicely with preparing for Ben Dyson's visit in March


  • People's Forum (Occupy)
    • Occupy are preparing a series of Saturday workshops, starting in March. The series is called "A tale of 2 cities - Poverty and Wealth in Sheffield", and the first workshop on March 2nd will be on "Debt"
    • Positive Money should be able to contribute and we should start preparing at the January meetup. The workshop starts from the experience of personal debt, and it might not require 'speakers' or 'experts' but should be bottom-up.
    • Ash's story (see below) is a good approach



A short story about Debt Slavery

presenter: Ash


Ash told us a short story he had prepared, of a simple barter community which was impoverished by the introduction (by a banker!) of debt-based money

(see A debt-based currency illustration )


  • Everyone liked the approach - story telling is important, and a good story should be simple enough for a child to understand (which this was!)
  • The story is deliberately open ended - it encourages listeners to draw their own conclusions and find solutions
  • It was pointed out the the barter story is historically a myth (see Steve Bollom's review of Debt:The First 5,000 Years) but this doesn't reduce it's impact


There then followed a good discussion on the social role of money

  • A 'gift' economy forms the strongest community ties; money destroys community.
    • Gordon has written a paper There is no such thing as money in a community
    • in a gift economy, labour is given for the benefit of the community, without any obligation placed on the recipient to repay. Debt arises where there is an obligation to reciprocate. Favours 'need to circulate 7 times!
    • reference was also made to Ruskin "Unto This Last" (link to go on book review page?)
  • An economy based on exchange of "favours" exists, in parallel with the money economy eg. in the building trade
    • Arguments against
      • That's how an old boys' network works. It can lead to concentration of powers
      • It can be exclusive. How do you enter the network in the first place?
      • Can't replace the modern economy - eg. people don't gift petrol
  • Even a barter economy weakens social cohesion by replacing community ties with inter-personal ties
    • Money lubricates barter, and makes a much bigger network possible
    • In a LETS scheme, the money stays local and the network stays relatively small
  • Monetisation of debt (even in a LETS scheme) breaks down social obligations


There was also discussion on inequality

  • Inequality always arises when you use monetary tokens - it's a natural result of the implied debt
  • Who controls the resources? - the person with the money
    • this would be a good topic for presenting in story form
  • Occupy Wall Street have a campaign to buy off and cancel debt
  • On a national level, there is the Jubilee Debt campaign
  • See the links to debt cancellation campaigns on Website Links


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