Written by By Davian Views (Traditional Industrial Ecologist)
[You can read Part 7 here, with links to the preceding parts]
To sum up about the commons: Probably the simplest and best way to look the concept of commons is something that is shared with other lifeforms. So, you look at anything that you share with others in terms of “Our” and that which is solely yours in terms of “Mine”. The commons in any given situation can be small or large from your living room that you share with a partner, to a park that you share with strangers as well as the many other Lifeforms that live there. Transport is a good example of a man-made systems, with shared use. Driving is probably the most familiar where the road network is shared by users. That use can be a positive or negative experience depending on our conduct and that of other users. Good manners make a big difference and are practised by the majority of users; this cooperative rapport, however, is often marred by rude and inconsiderate users in too much of a hurry.
In the not too distant past, people were given the right to use land to grow food, this was a sort of medieval welfare system. In the twenty first century there are now petitions for a basic income for everyone. Switzerland is holding a referendum for a basic income of circa $1500 per month. The EU has a petition for the right to explore the idea, for those interested, here is a link to the U.K. site.
I include this because, thanks to the advances in robotics, humans will need some form of income in the future, as they will not be able to compete with the robots.
If you compare the medieval form to the 21st Century proposal. The medieval welfare gave people the use of Capital in the form of land, a tangible asset, whereas the 21st Century version just provides an income denominated in a Fiat Currency, which in my opinion will be unable to maintain the purchasing power of the income over time and as such is constructed to ensure its own demise.
If you created a system where an energy based barter currency is used, then the commons would collect its income from allowing the economy to use the tangible resources of Planet Earth, and a viable sustainable bargain could be struck (In my dreams!!!).
Size matters and the energy produced and consumed in human activity is small in comparison to the total solar radiation that falls on the earth. The economy in political terms is much more important than the Earth and so we have the tail that wags the dog, which is the opposite of how things should work.
Here is a simple mathematical calculation to illustrate the relative size of Human activity compared to Earth activity in terms of energy. The short and approximate answer was Earth activity 1064 times bigger than Human Activity in 2008.
Barter Currency Collateral in a Bread and Butter Economy.
In our BABE (Bread and Butter Economy) that uses Jubbly as a currency (JUBILEE) (Joule Underwritten Barter Initiative Local Energy Exchange), the collateral that underwrites the currency is the energy required to make it function.
The mechanism used to create Jubbly is the forward selling of production, that is measured in Kilowatt Hours. In practical terms as a simple example:
You wish to put a solar panel on your roof to generate some electricity. The calculation you do is called EROEI (Energy Return On Energy Invested). EROEI produces a ratio that needs to be greater than 1:1 or you are creating a loss for yourself.
The EROEI for crude oil has dropped from 100:1 when Oil was first extracted down to 14:1 today, which illustrates the hole that the global economy has dug for itself, by not developing renewable energy when the first oil crisis struck in 1974. Shale is a mere 5:1. Simon Wilson wrote an article for Money Week in December 2013 titled “Is this the end for growth?” Which illustrates EROEI, but you have to log on to read it.
Alternatively, the no-hassle Wikipedia is at your service.
Production that is sold forward can be in many different forms. Here is a list of the major ones that we are likely to find in a BABE:
Water: Seawater, Rainwater, Spring water, Mineral Water and Utility water.
- Fuel: Coal, Gas, Petrol, Diesel, LPG, Logs, Electricity.
- Food: Fruit, Nuts, Grains, Pulses, Vegetables, Meat, Eggs, Dairy Produce.
- Clothing: Hats, Shoes, Bedding, All types of clothing.
- Shelter: Tents, Caravans, Mobile Homes, Flats, Houses, Commercial Property.
- Transport: Bicycles, Trailers, Horses, Cars, Vans, Trains, Boats, Planes.
- Leisure: Hobbies, Crafts, Sports, Personal Development.
- Labour: All types of labour from unskilled to Highly skilled.
- Governance: Police, Judiciary, Emergency services, Diplomacy.
- Communications: Letters, email, Telephone, Radio, T.V., Newspapers, Magazines, Books, Oratory and Conversation.
- Healthcare: Decontamination, Testing, Diagnosis, Environmental protection, Drugs synthetic and Natural, Therapies.
- Education: Literacy, Manners, Awareness, Social interaction, Skill development.
One of the missing titles is finance, The arrangement of credit is one of the most un-streamlined parts of the western economies, which is why in the U.K. “Financial Services” account for such a large part of the economy in terms of GDP, but it is in a large part a non-productive sector, in that it is just data-shuffling activity. It is only productive in the same way that a Casino or Bookmaker is.
A Barter Currency is based on tangible production to be delivered at some point in the future, which is measured in Kilowatt hours if it is units of “Jubbly” (JUBILEE) as described. You as an individual create units of Barter Currency by forward selling your production. All that is required is that what you propose to produce is acceptable to the Barter Currency issuer. This process streamlines credit creation.
Once established, Barter Currency represents a fluctuating portfolio of future production that if it is “Jubbly”, is unique to a particular BABE and its LEAF. The cost of the production in Kilowatt Hours, is quantifiable, so is the scrap value, but the probable price relative to a fiat currency is impossible to predict. However, the nature of a BABE is that it can function with or without a Fiat currency.
I must now thank you the reader for your curiosity and tenacity for getting this far. I will conclude with a brief list of the main points that you can have fun with in a social context, should the conversation end up discussing the economy and Bitcoin or other types of currency, HOTELS is an aide memoir.
H: Harmony with nature.
O: Owned by lifeforms only.
T: Tangible intrinsic value.
E: Energy based
L: Locally oriented and governed.
S: Secure against theft and debasement.