This paper investigates a special form of a community currency, the German Regiogeld System, which is a private monetary system with a regional validity and a non-profit-agenda. The focus of the sociological study is on how this special money effects actions of consumers. After some general information to the Regiogeld system, it therefore describes why people use this limited and costly form of money at all, how exactly they use it and for what special patterns of usage they adopt the regional money as their own. As a result it can be demonstrated that money is evaluated concerning its functionality and its symbolism. Since Regiogeld attempts to be an efficient monetary system and a moral symbol at once, it develops a structural problem which restricts the Regiogeld’ expansion.
To cite this article: Thiel, C. (2012) ‘Moral Money – The action guiding Impact of Complementary Currencies: A Case Study at the Chiemgauer Regional money’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 16 (D) 91-96 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN 1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2012.015
“The Idea is simple. People trade Money or Services into a regional currency and can only spend it regionally.
This strengthens smal and medium sized local businesses because it is not possible to buy products from overseas”.
“Die Idee ist simpel. Menschen tauschen Geld oder Leistungen in eine Regionalwährung und können diese nur in der Region ausgeben.
Ebenso müssen Unternehmen die Regio-Einnahmen in der Heimat investieren. Damit sollen regionale Wirtschaftskreisläufe gestärkt werden. Zudem verliert Regiogeld an Wert. Diese sogenannte Umlaufsicherung soll gewährleisten, dass Geld nicht gehortet, sondern ausgegeben wird. ”
“I had been accidentally – part of situations (professional jobs) that usually are mutually exclusive – i had been a central banker – i had been involved in the design of the Euro – i had been an off-shore currency fund manager – i had been an academic and i had been president of an electronic payment system – i have been working with the largest multi-nationals on this planet – and i have been working with some of the poorest countries of this planet.
Every one of this angles has every time given me a way of looking at money – in a way that was not visible from the other angles.”
“Humanity faces an extraordinary series of unprecedented challenges:
Aging of Society
Monetary Instabilities under the current system
Structural Unemployment – because the technologies we have today – can have economic growth without jobs
Money as a solution
“The conventional money is incompatible with sustainability”
“It has a number of implicit automatic programs that are incompatible with that.”
The way money is created – it is pro-cyclical – it increases the business-cycle
it brings all the users in competition with each others. Which is not the best way to operate in certain environments.
is this the Orwellian plan of constant warfare? (just to keep poor people busy from revolting against the filthy rich?)
Learning from Nature
“Nature does NOT look for MAXIMUM EFFICIENCY.”
It looks for a balance on efficiency on one side and resilience on the other.
If the balance is not correct – if you only go for efficiency – you gonna have a very fragile system.
If you have a over-emphasis on resilience you have stagnation.
Conventional money is extremely efficient.
Money and Sustainability
“The challenges i have mentioned – i claim non of them can be addressed within the current monetary paradigm. (i.e. with a single currency created through bank-debt with interest – none of that is feasable)
With complementary currencies one can address every single one of them.
Money is the most important/powerful leverage point – because it changes the motivation system.
We need to rethink the motivation system that makes it possible to address those challenges.
Complementary Currencies Influencing Behavior
“A complementary currency is a medium of exchange other than conventional money – that people use – within a particular community.
The oldest complementary currency – what i call loyalty currency – the frequent flyer miles – provided motivation to change behavior to use the same airline or return to the same shop.
Those commercial currencies are usefull for the airline or shops but they won’t do anything for society.
Using this technology which is established – 40 years is enough time – a technology that comes from the information age – but apply them for things that do make a difference.
Changing behavior towards the environment, changing behavior to people – motivating people to do things that they won’t do spontaneously – and there is a long list of things that this could apply to.
We need to change behavior on a very large scale rather quickly.
The alternative is regulation or force – prohibiting people to do things – with a currency you can make it attractive – it’s a pull as opposed to a push – and that is a lot more powerful and way more effective.
The big advantage of complementary currencies is you choose your objectives – and you can design a currency that specifically motivates and changes behavior in the direction you are trying to motivate.
If you want to motivate people around the world – to have a complementary currency that specifically aims these behavior patterns and is exportable anywhere in the world – and you can actually bring everybody on board.”
“There are more people on the planet having mobile phones than bank accounts.
And the costs of these things 20-30 bucks you have a system that can take part into a global payment system if you want to.”
(Chinese use SmartPhones a lot for payments)
“With the information-age we can now design much cheaper and much more universal payment systems that can have multiple currencies than we could have ever done before.
And that is why i claim that it is possible today to do things with complementary currencies on a scale that has never been available before.
That is fortunate – because we need it on a scale that was never be the same as in the past as well.
My drop in the ocean is an interesting pioneer model.
I want to encourage experimentation – improvements – diversity and my drop in the ocean is part of that.
And it is part of it in a specific field where there is not a hell of lot of things happening otherwise.
We also need to actually start doing work on the main-stream economy with businesses and the relationship with the businesses and citizens/consumers and that is what my drop in the ocean is tackling.”
Visions for the Future
“Leverage of changing the money system is making it possible not only to address the challenges – but actually create a world that i describe as ‘sustainable abundance’.
There is no reason that there should be scarcity in everything.
We can create a planet of sustainable abundance even for 10 billion people i claim.
At the condition – the necessary condition of rethinking our money.
It is not a sufficient condition – i am not claiming it is enough to change the money system and everything else will fall into place.
We still need education – we still need regulation you still need other things.
But i claim it is a necessary condition –
without touching the money system i claim we have no chance – of in a period of 10-15-20 years to have a planet we want to live on.”
The Sam Adams Award is given annually to an intelligence professional who has taken a stand for integrity and ethics. The Award is given by the Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence, a group of retired CIA officers. It is named after Samuel A. Adams, a CIA whistleblower during the Vietnam War, and takes the physical form of a “corner-brightener candlestick”.
Ray McGovern established the Sam Adams Associates “to reward intelligence officials who demonstrated a commitment to truth and integrity, no matter the consequences.”