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Charles Eisenstein - Money and the Turning of the Age

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Location: London, UK
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I recently watched a lecture of economist and all around intriguing guy Charles Eisenstein entitled 'Money and the Turning of the Age'. Click here for part two.

Perhaps this man is more rooted in the 'spiritual' side of things than, say Alan Greenspan. For those of whom talk of 'Spirit' and the like make you clamp your hands over your ears and say 'la la la', or just prevent you from taking a person as seriously as a fundamentalist atheist: bear with me! (And with Eisenstein, if you choose to watch the videos). There's some really potent seeds at work here.

One particular idea that struck a chord with me - especially in regard to Permaculture - is in part two at 32:44. The basic premise is about backing up money with land that is allowed to return to nature, as well as land with human input encouraging/mimicking natural systems - RATHER than backing money up with, say, gold.

Within such a system there would be economic incentive to be good stewards to the land. People have arbitrarily(? What do you think?) assigned certain values to metals such as gold. With economies working for healthy ecosystems instead I believe that this would set events in motion, revealing currently unseen benefits.

Next step: implementation! He has a bit to say about that, essentially that dissolving the current systems in place (by going off the grid, for example - CHOOSING NOT TO FEED 'THE MONSTER') may naturally give rise to a system such as this one.

For those wondering what the name of the monster is - or defenders of capitalism - stick around? I'm confident that some good food for thought may come of this thread. For the record, my stance on capitalism is that it holds ideals of infinite growth, thus unsustainable. We live on a planet with finite resources.

Is this thread in the right forum? A little bird told me that Paul likes the philosophical stuff here.
Thanks y'all! Look forward to hearing from you.
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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William O. Manson wrote:

Within such a system there would be economic incentive to be good stewards to the land.

Here in Texas there are substantial property tax reductions for land which is used to manage wildlife. http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/land/private/agricultural_land/
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Unfortunately, backing money with any kind of land doesn't make economic sense.

A quick review of basic economics for anyone interested:

Money isn't 'backed' by anything. Money is the good or goods that a culture has settled upon as a universal intermediary. This occurs because it satisfies certain qualities (relatively scarce, high subjective value per unit weight, divisible, durable, countable, fungible, and a store of wealth). Different societies throughout history have used widely different materials as money. Some of the more famous ones include shells, giant round stones, gold, silver, copper, paper, and most recently, digital representations of numbers.

The idea of backing a currency (not money) comes from the late 19th and early 20th century when governments around the world introduced fiat currency that was convertible for precious metals. There basic reason behind this was that fiat currencies allowed governments to spend a great deal more than they actually had in money since printing paper is relatively cheap. The governments attempting this, however, were perfectly well aware that people would not simply accept a brand new currency based on the local rulers' say-so. As a result they introduced the currencies as a representation of money - that is a certain amount of currency represented a real physical amount of money (gold or silver). Over time, people became more accostomed to the paper currency and bit by bit, all governments but one removed the convertibility of the currency. By 1945 only the US had convertible currency, but it was only convertible by other nations. The people of the US had been forbidden to use gold as money in 1933. There was still silver in use until 1965 though. Then in 1971 all official ties to gold as money were severed, and the paper became true money. Not very good money since it violates the scarcity and store of wealth qualities, but money accepted by the vast majority of people nonetheless.

Anyways, back to the idea of land as money. Land doesn't work as money because it is not truly divisible and fungible. Before you say "of course you can divide land" divisible in this sense means worth the same after division. 2 acres of land is not worth the same as two 1-acres. Land is also not fungible. 2 acre parcel A is not worth the same as 2 acre parcel B.

Eisenstein's motivations are in the right place. Our current monetary system is disastrous and steals value from you and me every day. You can opt out by not participating in fractional reserve banking (or at least to the greatest degree possible). But recognize the difference between monies, near monies, assets.

Clean With Cleaners You Can Eat by Raven Ranson
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