SOUTH AFRICA GREENS SUPPORT LETS TIME-BASED CURRENCY
LOCAL ECONOMY POLICY http://www.greenparty.org.za/economic.htm
The Local Economy
Background and Objectives
In the development of a sustainable world economic system, the local economy is the arena in which many of the key decisions must be made. In accordance with the Green Party objectives of bringing decision making to the most appropriate level, and promoting self reliance within communities and regions, revival and support of the local economy is of the greatest importance. Policies are necessary to enable more local needs to be met by local work using local resources.
Policies to increase local investment and the circulation of local finance within the community, include the development of democratically accountable Community Banks, designed to encourage local people to invest in local economic activity and empowered to create credit at interest rates sufficient only to cover administration when channelling local savings into economically and environmentally sound community enterprises. They should include removal, where necessary, of national restrictions. We will promote Credit Unions and skills exchange schemes, along with researching the best use of local currencies and encouraging their adoption. (see Agricultural policy)
Local Government Finance
In a decentralised economy, most taxation will be levied, most public services provided, and most expenditure decisions made at local level by local government. Each local government must be free to decide its revenue and spending priorities, within the limits of regionally, nationally and internationally agreed resource and environment needs. The revenue required should be raised locally, by local taxes which each local community selects from an agreed range of options, or be created by local community (or municipal) banks to fund capital expenditure.
In a Green society the informal sector will eventually gain in significance so that formal transactions and money generally will have a lesser role than at present. There is however no reason why a financial system cannot be made to work in the interests of the community. Practical decentralisation of banking and monetary policy will therefore be linked with a programme of political devolution.
Under the current banking system, money is created predominantly as interest-bearing debt by commercial banks and the financial institutions. This will gradually be replaced by one in which money is created interest-free for the benefit of the community.
The place of the commercial banks in financing enterprise will gradually be taken by mediating, non-profit local community banks providing low-cost finance, both at district and regional levels.
Phased restrictions on the powers of commercial banks and other institutions to create money by credit can be introduced by such means as reserve asset ratio requirements, special deposits, personal credit controls, together with more directive guidance to banks and building societies to limit lending.
As money is a universally used social utility, monetary policies must be dominated by an understanding of their effects on all other aspects of the economy. The emphasis in monetary policy will be to control and redirect the creation of money towards socially and environmentally sound areas of the economy, and away from unsustainable and consumption-driven areas.
The GREEN PARTY will:
- promote and encourage a widespread network of genuinely democratic, financially secure and mutually owned financial institutions, including credit unions, building societies, co-operative banks and local currency groups.
- encourage the creation of regional and local currencies within a properly regulated environment. These policies would result in multiple levels of currencies which would be available for use in different appropriate circumstances.
Foreign Aid In the short term, policies to reduce the damaging effect of self- serving foreign "Aid" must be adopted. These could include replacing interest-bearing loans by grants (gifts) and interest-free loans.
Debt To make progress towards a global economy which resolves inequitable relationships between rich and poor nations, and which eliminates the exploitation of global resources, the international debt crisis must be tackled. A programme to eliminate international debt must be accepted which adopts wholesale writing-off and writing-down together with the selective use of 'creative redemption' and limitation of the banks' right to create credit at high interest rates.
Creating Jobs Restructuring the Economy Our current centralized monetary policy has evolved into a controlling and repressive force, rather than a system that serves the community as a medium of exchange and a store of value. People who have goods and services to provide have no outlet, except conventional commercial businesses.
To foster local economic diversity and to stimulate individual productivity, the Green Party advocates restructuring the economy: Encourage the development of an informal economy, including volunteerism. The unemployed and underemployed could participate in the local economy through a credit barter system. In this system, the medium of exchange would be individual credit-debit accounts. People would extend credits and collect debits from one another for the purchase of each other's goods and services. These credits and debits could then be transferred among community members, circulating much like a currency. Since local members would redeem the currency with their goods and services, this medium of exchange would have a local value. Changes in banking regulations would be required to support such a program.
Send a comment to John Turmel