Perhaps It’s Time to Start Printing Our Own Money

Over at the always-entertaining Boing Boing, Douglas Rushkoff says that the best response an enterprising do-it-yourselfer might make to the current economic chaos would be to Print Your Own Money.

We think of the economy and its rules as given circumstances, when they are actually constructions.

In brief, the money we use is just one kind of money. Invented in the Renaissance, and protected with laws banning other kinds of money, it has very particular biases that lead to almost inevitable outcomes.

Following this is an interesting overview sketch of the history of the development of the government currency monopoly, and its consequences. Then, his prescription:

If we can adopt what we Boingers might call the “Happy Mutant Approach” to this crisis… this is not an entirely hopeless situation. Yes, corporations may lose the ability to keep us employed as the banking investment they depend on to operate dries up. But this corporate activity was always extractive in nature, getting (or, historically, forcing) people to buy mass-produced, and nationally distributed food and other goods that were once produced locally.

The collapse of centrally controlled commerce and currency simply creates an opportunity for local commerce and currency to revive. For people to learn to work and live together on a human, local scale — as the original free market advocate, Adam Smith, actually suggested. Admittedly, this would be a painful transition for many — but it’s better than maintaining dependence on a fiscal system designed from the start to turn people and communities into extractable corporate assets. (Think about that the next time you’re called up to “human resources.”)

Whether or not we’ve had time to fully embrace the Craft/Maker/cyberpunk/Boing ethos, our ability to provide for ourselves and one another directly, locally, even socially instead of entirely through centralized commerce, will determine how well we can navigate the near future.

For starters, check out the LETS system and other complementary currencies for how to make your own currency, Bernard Latier’s book The Future of Money free online, and Local Harvest for Community Sponsored Agriculture opportunities near you.

Money can be just as open source as any other operating system. It used to be.

At Sunni and the Conspirators, Sunni Maravillosa encourages folks to consider some self defense against the upcoming trillion-dollar bailout fleecing. Excerpt:

First and foremost, the socialist cesspool will be funded by taxpayers — so we need to withdraw that tangible support. The Picket Line is an excellent resource for information and inspiration in that regard. Individuals who can’t easily get entirely out of the IRS’s clutches can almost certainly find ways to maximize deductions and such to reduce the money stolen from one’s income.

Everybody can turn to grey markets for goods as well as services. Roadside produce stands, Craigslist, Etsy, the handyman who’ll fix your various repairs for cash, with no receipts or records — are ways to exchange value outside of the taxers’ reach. Turning to those entities first should become a matter of habit — a principled habit — for those wanting to withdraw support from the USSA kleptocracy.

In a follow-up post, Sunni expanded on this:

The teeth behind [our] warning is that we shrug, as much as possible: we withdraw our activities from the aboveboard market, where inflation and taxation will eat at us with increasing vigor as the government tries to suck our lifeblood to pay bankers who’ve been misrepresenting themselves and cheating us a myriad of ways all along.

Many will argue that they cannot afford to risk becoming tax resisters, especially in such troubled times. As I said , I do understand that such a move is easier for some, both physically and mentally. If you’re having difficulty wrapping your head around dropping out in this way, consider some of the implications of staying within the system:

  1. People who stay in the system will bear the costs of all these nationalizations, in terms of tax increases and a declining value of the USSA dollar.
  2. As such, they will have less of a buffer between their income and ability to support themselves and the fluctuations in the mainstream economy.
  3. Less diversity in one’s income streams means greater risk; this shakeup is far from over, and many of the aftershocks of the moves already made have yet to show themselves.
  4. Less diversity in the type of income (viz., the USSA dollar) one receives means greater exposure to risk if that type of income becomes unstable or devalued.
  5. Being in the system might actually make one more of a target, as new taxes, enforcement of extant taxes that are largely overlooked, and/or seizures of assets may radically change the economic landscape.

As an individual who values freedom, do you really want to maximally support what is an increasingly collectivist and overtly fascist system? Because that’s what you’re doing when you allow yourself to stay under the thumb of their rules, regulations, and reporting that add to business costs but add nothing of value.