Phil Stevens - Alternative Currencies, Money Systems, IT, Consultant, Disaster Recovery, Polymath

Interviewed by

Tim Lynch

Phil Stevens - Alternative Currencies, Money Systems, IT, Consultant, Disaster Recovery, Polymath

Time Banks, Green Dollars, Savings Pools

The interview initially starts with latest topics of Universal basic income, Bitcoin and crypto currencies and that people are awakening to the fact that central bankers don’t have a clue as to solve this ongoing and deteriorating crisis.

Time Banks, Green Dollars, Savings Pools

The interview initially starts with latest topics of Universal basic income, Bitcoin and crypto currencies and that people are awakening to the fact that central bankers don’t have a clue as to solve this ongoing and deteriorating crisis.

In NZ the situation today looks pretty good to the casual observer - listen to MSM and government sources and we are in a stable and robust moderately growing economy - everything is quite good, some of our major trading partners are experiencing some head winds but … ‘she’ll be right.’ If you rule out the dairy shock of the last 14 months and take out the Auckland property bubble but don’t worry about those little wobbles, we as a country are doing just fine!

What this means that we in NZ are going to be following most of the rest of the world into 'debt deflation' which over the coming years is going to take hold with a greater severity.

We have been a lucky country and managed to come through the recent (GFC) Global Financial Crash of 2008 along with Australia and NZ being almost alone in the world because we had many trade ties to China and we did not get hammered like other countries - Australian minerals and NZ dairy were doing very well. China being the last big bubble to implode and it looks like it is going to do so now as well - this is big news, for if China starts to deflate, the rest of the world has nowhere to go … who is going to prop up all the bubbles and asset prices? It appears that there is soon going to be a rush to get out of all the equities markets. As this has all been built on debt finance and short sighted policies.

Most small cities in NZ can do a certain amount of business locally, so that what is produced locally and the money that changes hands, gets recycled through the commercial areas of that town and district. however when it comes to big ticket items, money and goods or materials they may come from a larger more distant source, the money that goes around in a smaller isolated town or city, has a tendency to quickly go back out of town, sometimes very rapidly, hence keeping the area less financial and liquid.

If you have a local currency, like time banks this can cycle through the localised area continuously supporting local community and business, however if you have a national currency it comes and then leaves and if there is a head office overseas, the money actually leaves the country. For example the near on $5 billion in profit from the large Australian trading banks, and the 4.7 million NZ population, gives one cause to realise how much money leaves NZ for other countries.

At present local and regional government are becoming interested in embracing forms of alternative currencies (listen to the interview for more)

Covering the immediacy of putting in a Time Bank, you get the community engaged, working, and creating value and worth.

Time Banks are able to work in very well with voluntary agencies and there are a number of them in NZ and growing from strength to strength.

Project Lyttlelton http://www.lyttelton.net.nz as a time bank example, has become the glue of the community that as they had been established prior to the Christchurch earthquake it was through their tightly associated team and connectivity, that they were able to mobilise within minutes of the earthquake, have people on the ground and assisting hugely with civil defence, police, ambulances and the fire department and council.

Phil also gives a narrative as to how a time bank can be set up. Once you set up with freely available software and you have your team of early adopters you can branch out. Plus, get some of your charitable and non profit organisations onboard early because you can also assist these NGO’s donating ‘numbers of hours’ to them, which means that you can assist them with additional help, because of ‘serial volunteers' - people who like to work and donate their time and effort to the community. These people love to work for community and they are just living their values. This way Time Banks can put their ‘accumulative time’ into a ‘community chest’ which can be called upon and used by various charities etc. But also in a simple situation of a hairdresser swapping hours for their lawns to be mowed or gardening for house painting. Tuition for baby sitting etc.

That Christchurch City at present is looking at the possibility of a council backed regional currency - which is a very interesting concept. Margaret Jeffries is even talking about a UBI Universal Basic Income being included in this discussion.

Software used is called Community Weaver by Time Banks USA
http://timebanks.org/get-started/community-weaver/

Also, Community Forge - Hamlets
http://communityforge.net/en/software

Note that the whole of NSW in Australia are on a Community Forge system.

Madison in Dane County is a time bank in Wisconsin USA and has over 2000 members at http://danecountytimebank.org

The founder of Time banks was Edgar S Cahn who was an invalid, yet he could still think and do simple tasks and he set out to create a time bank, because he did not like being seen as in-valid!

https://www.bostonfed.org/commdev/c&b/2005/fall/nonmonetary.pdf

We also cover Professor Thomas Greco who is presently in Greece to educate and assist in creating alternative currencies as Greece’s economy has floundered. That the imposed austerity exacerbates the problem that it is claiming to fix, because the people at the lower socio economic spectrum are the ones who suffer the most because all their money is spent keeping themselves from going under. So austerity starves the economy of liquidity thus you restrict economic activity. Time banks and ‘Green drachma’s’ can really pull the strings of community together and get an economy up and running very quickly and bring more stability and peace to the community. thgreco@mindspring.com for more information.

Phil says that it’s a good idea to have a back up and have a connection to a time banks or some other localised currency system - because you never know when you may need one.

http://www.le.org.nz

A very interesting interview, with one or two seconds of scratchy recording due to a chronic limitation in the use of copper wires in NZ’s telecom system.

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Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch, is a New Zealander, who is fortunate in that he has whakapapa, or a bloodline that connects him to the Aotearoan Maori. He has been involved as an activist for over 40 years - within the ecological, educational, holistic, metaphysical, spiritual & nuclear free movements. He sees the urgency of the full spectrum challenges that are coming to meet us, and is putting his whole life into being an advocate for todays and tomorrows children. 'To Mobilise Consciousness.'

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