What is the American dollar based on? It was based on the gold standard until 1971 when it transitioned to a floating monetary system. This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio believes US currency now rests unofficially on the price of oil. What will a successful Green New Deal will look like if the underlying currency upon which the US economy rests is based on fossil fuels? We speak to James Quilligan, the Managing Director of Economic Democracy Advocates and longtime policy analyst in the international development space. Quilligan explains the history of the commons and monetary policy, points out some of the shortcomings of capitalism, and lays out how to ensure the survival of democracy. He argues that understanding the complexities of our global economic system is the first step in fixing it.
If you’ve heard about Bitcoin on the evening news or seen a headline about it, you might have been left with the impression that it’s some sort of online scam or the next Dutch tulip bubble. But Bitcoin and other cryptographic currencies are very real.
Our guest this week on Sea Change Radio is Jem Bendell, a professor of sustainability leadership at the University of Cumbria, the world’s first public university to accept Bitcoin for tuition payments. He explains how Bitcoin works and why he thinks it might help us move beyond the inadequacies and inequities of central bank-controlled currencies toward a sharing economy. Bitcoin has its critics to be sure, but, as New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki has so aptly put it, “the value of currency is, ultimately, what someone will give you for it…” Listen now as host Alex Wise and Jem Bendell discuss how Bitcoin is valued and the promise crytpographic currency holds for the sustainability movement.
This week on Sea Change Radio we talk to two innovative thinkers, one who’s already had an impact on how most Americans live, work, and exchange goods, and another who hopes to revise how we conceptualize and apply currency. Our first guest is Craig Newmark, the founder of craigslist. We’ve all heard the adage, “one man’s treasure is another man’s trash,” but nothing illustrates the point more clearly than a perusal of the listings on craigslist, a website that may be the single greatest influence in getting people to reuse stuff instead of always buying it new.
We ask Craig if this sustainability angle was a part of his driving vision or more of a happy accident and learn about his latest project Craig Connects. Then, host Alex Wise talks with Matthew Slater, whose ambitious software initiative on Drupal strives to create alternative or complementary currencies that will keep commerce more local and reduce the carbon pricetag of everyday exchanges. And, here’s a link to Slater’s other project, Community Forge.