The Solidar - a currency for peace
On a beautiful autumn day in 1994 an aspen tree attracted my attention. It was lit by the sun like a lamp, beckoning with its golden coin leaves in a breath of air. Absorbed by the beauty I pictured the sun’s ever-new energy dancing around me on its way out in space as warmth, partly saved and distributed by waters, forests, mountains, and the small worms working in the soil under my feet.
Inspired by the energy interplay I began to search for a corresponding stream of money, reflecting the energy interplay I saw.
How could we find a means of exchange that is always reflecting the energy we exchange as goods and services on a market?
I did not want personal values to destroy the logic, but I cannot deny that many conclusions made me happy and erased the rest of my right-left thinking. Consequences appeared, every day, every week, often thanks to inquisitive friends who forced me to go into details. Still I had to stick to the premises of nature, refusing politics to mix into the system.
During the time of development I realised that in my curiosity I had stumbled on, not just a monetary system, but potentially an entirely new economics for ecological, social and cultural renewal - even peace, because poverty can be abolished by a fair money system.
How the system operates
The proposed Solidar is electronic, regional, convertible and complementary. A new Solidar is nothing but an electronic number, issued free of charge every night as potential money on so-called Basic Accounts for basic income to persons and commons in a Solidar region. One-way locks on the Basic Accounts hinder deposits there. The base income on these accounts allows a lifetime basic i for a decent life to those who chose to join the system.
As the solidar cannot be deposited you save by working for money, letting your basic income accumulate for future use.
The Solidar is “born” as money the first time it is used. At that moment it enters the market as payment on so-called Trade Accounts. There all sums are gradually reduced at the same rate as the inflow of basic income, equally distributed each night to the users and their commons.
Note that all solidar streams on the market are running at the same rate. It means that a big sum takes longer time to reach the reieiver than a short sum.
Ever-new streams of solidars would follow the variations of sold products. It means that the streams will reflect the flow of goods and services on a real market served by ever-new time-limited money. That makes the Solidar a symbol of real value at any time - like winds to breath, running water to drink or the sunshine passing the Earth while giving life on its way out in space as warmth.
You can see the system as an ever moving network of passing money-rills, running like blood in the capillaries of a body. The concentration of money passing the companies would be like blood vessels converging in the organs of the body of society.
SOLIDAR FLOW IN A SOCIETY
The Commons only have Base Accounts for society use. Companies have Trade Accounts only. Private persons have Trade Accounts for transactions and Base Accounts for receiving and saving daily basic income, enough for a decent life.
One-way-locks on the Base Accounts will hinder deposits and transfers between them. Transactions are made on the Trade Accounts where the sums are gradually reduced at the same rate all over the Solidar Region. Transferring bigger sums takes longer time.
Used solidars could not be deposited because of the one-way locks on the Base Accounts. So, if you want to save you would work for salary, letting the base income accumulate. Your income from work enters the Trade Account where the sums are gradually reduced. It means that you pay bigger sums gradually to avoid loss. NOTE! All big transactions would be paid gradually, running at the same rate all over the region.
You could let your basic income accumulate as interest-free saving on your Base Account when you live on your salary for work. Your income from work enters your Trade Account where your solidars are gradually gone.
The disappeared solidars on the market are currently re-issued next morning, equally distributed on the Base Accounts of the users - and their commons according to votes among them. That would make a continuous circulation of ever-new money, currently distributed among the users in a Solidar Region.
The system has to be regional because of different human and nature resources in different parts of the countries involved. It means that the Solidars have different relative value due to different real resources in different regions.
The Solidar could be introduced in a municipality or within the members of a regional association, a coop, or a private enterprise.
As soon as a Solidar is used it enters a Trade Account of a seller. From there it moves as payment on the market until it is gone and replaced by a new Solidar, also once used from a Base Account. That makes an ever new stream of life-limited money reflecting real values sold on a free real market without loans and debts.
When the total sum that enters the market is the same in each round it makes a constant circulation. But in case of a nature disaster, a pandemic disease or another sudden change of real value the amount of basic income and/or the rate of demurrage on the Trade Accounts could be regulated. There is technology for that.
At the departure of a user his or her accounts are nullified along with a proportional part of the commons. That is for the balance of the system.
Introducing the system
The system could be introduced as a pilot project in a village or municipality where the taxation does not cover the needs anymore, maybe because of an aging population. It could also be introduced for countryside entrepreneurs lacking risk capital in the system of today.
When the system is prepared it could remain resting until it is activated, maybe as regional civil preparedness or to compensate for insufficient pensions.
For introducing the system in the third world some electricity problems have to be solved, maybe by technological aid to build sun plants in deserts. That could be possible in a system that does not create debt. As there are no loans in the system there would be no risk for countries to be indebted anymore. The end of debt could save the world.
A nature-congruent system like this could change not only economics, but a new and healthier spirit of society. The relief of interest might be seen as a triviality for some people, but it would soon be clear that it is a way to many win-win solutions, even peace.
People who live on basic income would supply the market with money while resting or working idealistic. Those who work for salary would fill the needs of others. Their savings would accumulate untouched on their Base Accounts, maybe to fill a dream in the future. But most people would surely combine the use of their two accounts and vary their saving and consumption during the cycles of life.
All are needed in a system with the combination of Base and Trade Accounts. Those who live on basic income could work idealistic or just recover. They would supply the market with money for those who work for salary and produce what is asked for. All are needed, and all could contribute to a peaceful society in their own way.
Demand would be the only incentive for production, because there would be no obsolete investments to protect anymore. Streaming time-limited money cannot be accumulated. It would be the end of much misuse of people and nature.
Commons without taxes
The Commons would be a body evolved from a democratically strengthened form of our existing national and local governments to handle the provision of services such as railways, power stations, street lighting, garbage collection, and to organise other large scale works that is agreed about for the common good.
The Base Accounts for Commons make a simple and organic replacement for the taxation system of today. The money reduction on the Trade Accounts could be regarded as a negative interest compensated by the daily basic income for people and their commons. The compensating basic income would make a neutral, zero-interest economic system with potential to spread to other regions.
Private basic income would replace the private part of the taxes of today, such as social allowance, child allowance and pensions, including insurances and the administration of it all.
The attractive passive saving on the Base Accounts promotes a decent lifestyle by free choice. That is needed right now when the climate and biosphere is threatened by our over-consumption. In poor parts of the world there would be space for more basic income.
The Solidar Commons are funded by ever-new streams of new-issued, time-limited money. The interest costs of today, such as baked in interest costs in taxations and transfers would be gone, and so would the interest costs of companies, now eating about 40% of the Swedish consumer prices.
Interest-on-interest would be gone in this system. Interest is charged by bank after bank where interest is added to interest on loans with security in another loan against interest in round after round. As result we have got an explosive debt expansion of interest-on-interest in a global economic system. It makes immense social problems, as the system of today demands ever growing economic growth, leaving the poor behind. Even the rich are affected by an economic growth that now threatens the mankind and the planet as a whole.
The Solidar System gives hope. It could even cure our money addiction in a nature-congruent way where interest and municipal taxes are gone. A part or the state taxes would probably remain for national protection. The more poverty, the more impending are the risks of war. If the system is globally implemented the speculation in currencies will be gone, and so wo the poverty on Earth would be gone - and replaced by world peace.
A Solidar pilot project could start in a region of appropriate size. If it shows to be attractive enough to spread it could reduce risks of war, even globally if it spreads.
In addition to saved human and natural resources the system includes a continuous capital allocation, promoting decentralisation, releasing people from polluting long transports and social disasters. The Solidar would give a maximum of result by a minimum of sacrifices, because there would be a giant cost-efficiency in an "economic economy".
Pleasure of work
The more pleasure of work, the more you work. Basic income makes you free to choose your work, with or without salary, using your creativity and talents. And if you work for money you would let your basic income accumulate on your Basic Account for a dream. In the meantime you fill the needs and wants of others. Dreams can come true because the passive saving in the system.
Dreams are strong. Remember the speculative money-market now occupying about 98 % of the money on Earth. It is built on dreams. The same dreams could make us slow down our consumption to an ecological level by free choice.
Passive saving would reverse the stream of poor people hoping for work in big cities. There is logic in that, because where there is money, there is job. But the money cost. A built-in mal-distribution caused by interest-on interest prevents people to settle where they want to live.
Free market of work
The basic income promotes a lifestyle based on new values. Free money makes you free to work. That is the opposite of a system producing victims. The really poor are sacrificed first. For the sake of peace we need to break the old coupling between work and money. We need money to be able to work, not the other way around.
The security of the basic income gives freedom to refuse destructive work. If you do what is needed you could claim for salary. You might even be sponsored by the commons if the work is needed for society protection such as cleaning infection clinics or disarming land mines. Freedom of work makes a free market of real goods and services, and people get a chance to use their gifts in the work. When we realize how wrong the old coupling between money and work is, then we could turn it all around. Maybe we understand one day, that money is there for us to be able to work. That day the era of slavery is gone.
Our Earth needs soil and water sanitation and renewable energy from sun, wind, and waves. The big projects could be financed by ever-new streams of time-limited solidars. That could slow the pathological consumption in the world.
The biased, debt-creating system of today has a built-in compulsion of economic growth. Most of the interest costs, mainly baked into the consumer prices, are paid by those who have little or no compensating income by capital. The poor and the nature pay the bills.
Doing nothing is life dangerous. Many people starve to death every day, year after year, because of the money we use.
The built-in friction in the system makes small scale production, shorter transports and saved resources. Black work turn to white, and economic crimes would be history. If the Solidar is spread worldwide it could be the end of real poverty.
Time-limited, ever-new money makes a flexible real market served by fine-meshed networks of moving money-rills, automatically and momentary adjusted to availability and demand.
The money-reduction on the Trade Accounts of companies motivates gradual payments all over a Solidar Economy. Expensive things would be paid by instalments or leasing such as equipment for production of different kinds. Houses would be paid gradually during the construction, and flats would be leased until they are fully paid. A diversity of non-profit coops could be started without loans and debts.
To avoid loss the companies would pay their costs gradually, at least at the same rate as the money-reduction on the Trade Accounts. In case of a surplus returns would immediately be sent as gradual returns to their share-buying supporters. Bigger transactions are gradual all over a Solidar Society.
New demands are filled by new production adjusted to actual needs and wishes, as there would be no obsolete investments to protect. Companies and private persons could donate surplus on their Trade Accounts to help organisations, or they could support a needed solidar production by buying shares.
When a company does not sell anymore it would be closed without bankruptcy, because there are no loans or debts in the system.
How to get rich
A high salary means a long term salary. It could even last long after the work is finished - even until you die when your accounts are nullified.
Getting rich is possible, but not at the cost of others, because the system is not a zero-sum game, and not a pyramid, just an ever new stream of passing Solidars that you cannot take hold of. You can see it as a wind to breath, or water evaporating to clouds, or falling as rain, again and again.
Saving the Solidar untouched means saving nature. But there is a risk. A greedy one might build up a fortune on his Basic Account until he dies. If he was wiser during his life he would have used his time better, spending more time with family and friends or giving and helping when it still was possible. His lack of life-quality would be a warning though. His stupidity could inspire his descendants to catch the day in a better way.
When you get old you could take the chance to help others instead of letting your saved basic income disappear when you die. Some would surely buy shares in a hope-inducing production, and others might contribute to sanitation projects, and all would surely like to give gifts to those they love before their accounts are gone. The one who die with empty accounts would die in peace.
Money as a trap
The amount of the virtual money of today is varying around 98 % of the money on Earth. It enters the market as debt against interest, issued worldwide at an explosive rate to pay a likewise explosively growing global debt. More new money is a way to postpone the built-in collapse of our monetary system. It cannot survive without “economic” growth, and the life on Earth cannot survive an “economic” growth. Today we need economic lifeboats.
Doing nothing is risky. It could make a scared mankind to ask for a World Government. That would be the most horrifying scenario. Even if the first world leaders would be wise, it does not guarantee that the followers are. History shows many examples of that. Even most caring people can get speed-blind and develop greed for power. Power-addicts lose their conscience. Some turn to beasts. Money-power works like a drug. Combined with chemical drugs it would probably be the end of life on the planet.
Another nightmare is that nations with collapsed economies would build simple independent economies by trading with one another. Because of the threat they could evoke in a still resting financial game there could be military consequences. Proper timing is needed....
Let me tell a true story!
One day I took out money from a cash machine together with my six years old grandson Alvin and his little sister.
– Great, said Alvin. You can get money from a wall! – Well, I said, I can only take the money that I already have. Not a lot. – I see, said Alvin. – Who makes the money? – Banks, I said. – So kind they are! – Well, I said. Money costs. – So the banks make new money, right? – Hmm, I said. Alvin continued. – But the new money don´t cost, do they?
He needed an answer. Fortunately his sister interrupted, and I was released. I do not like to scare my grandchildren.
Even adults are questioning the man-made pyramid of debt money. I wonder what would happen in an open discussion about money.
It has begun. If the insight grows too fast it could be dangerous, and if it grows too slow could be dangerous too. Proper timing is needed for the sake of peace.
Let me tell another true story
A fuel station was broken on a poor island in the Baltic Sea. In spite of a warning signboard the customers put the money in the machine and took the receipt - but they got no fuel. They complained of course and were told to come back later and get their fuel by showing the receipt. The outcome was that many receipts on fuel moved as payment a long time after the fuel station was repaired.
I liked his story from real life, and I mentioned that they used home made money. The farmer protested indignantly, but soon he calmed down and said: “Yes, we used the receipts, but we never made false money.” I asked about the difference. The difference was the fuel, he said, because it was already paid. But he doubted about the security behind the bank money. At last we concluded that money is a matter of shared believes - and a question of life or death.
My background: I was born in 1940. Once I had a family of nine including 4 foster-teenagers who later rendered me a job as a foster home adviser. After studying psychology, social sciences and Waldorf education I worked with autistic teenagers. One day I was a widow with 3 children in school age. Inspired by my own money problems in addition to ideas by Rudolf Steiner and others I was was dealing with the phenomenon of money during the seventies and eighties. I also stumbled onto “three-folding” through a five years work in a Norwegian organization consisting of producers, sellers and consumers who regularly met and negotiated about prices, amounts, sorts and qualities. Later I started a fair-trade silk import in Sweden. Today I work in two organizations, one for ecological and social renewal, and one for helping refugees. Now I am retired. It is almost as if I was a Solidar User.
Åsa Brandberg, Sweden, firstname.lastname@example.org