In the frame of the common exchange we are having on the economical organization in the Zone, Chiki sent a mail, suggesting that we create our own money, the "zone". Here are the feed-backs to this idea.
I do not know really what can come out of it. The group will decide. Though what I find interesting here is that it makes us go to the ground of what money represents, on what its value is based upon, and if we can invent a symbol of exchange which escapes to the tricks of official money.
You are also sending references of texts on the subject. They are being gathered at : http://www.inter-zone.org/datamoney.html
Knowing that the most of those tricks come from an unability to handle
symbols properly, what I can do is to sum up the main datas on money coming
from general semantics and other frames of thinking, and give them to the
group. So we can rebuilt something on new grounds, in the frame of a scientific
step, and then see if the results confirm the hypothesis. If yes, then it will
work. And this will be a big piece. If not, then we'll have to go back to our
At first, we gather all the ideas and see what comes out of it.
From: email@example.com Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2000 1:02 PM Subject: How to find a frame to sell ?
About the economical organization in the Zone, and the problems here to have an official status, cannot inter-zone.org constitute a frame for selling our stuff ? The domain name is registered in US, which seems an easier place to make business than France.
In France, I cannot put a system of payment with credit cards in Interzone Productions without being registred as a dealer, which requires a commercial society.
Is this possible to you from US or Japan ?
Other possibility: I might rent a place in my name and be registered as independant worker. This can easily done in Poitiers .
Besides, we can determine together status for Interzone based upon our vision and practice of art, which would preserve us from the tricks of formal business.
See what you think.
From: chiki <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Friday, January 14, 2000 3:51 PM
Subject: Re: How to find a frame to sell ?
this is a just an expeimental idea and might not solve any problem, but how about making our own currency which would circulate only in the zone and building a market and bank on the web.
yes, it's local money.
for example, make the currency named "zone" and build market on the web where various kind of products and services would be updated. if i would buy someones art on there, i'll pay, say,"10 zone" and the artist get "10 zone" which would be automatically calculated and recorded on the web bank when buying action is occured....
the success will depend on our agreement.
just an idea but cool isn't it?
From: amy balot <email@example.com> Sent: Friday, January 14, 2000 3:50 AM Subject: chiki's currency idea
i think it is a cool idea. here are some of the suggestions i can think of:
1. there would have to be a central "bank," where currency comes from, is printed, and is "bought" with the person's currency from their country. for example, if you were the bank, either people could send you amounts of their currency, or could have it exchanged for french currency and sent it to you. you would know how much i "zone" bill was equal to in cash, and send them back the "zone" bills.
2. ideas for printing. i believe all printing should probably be done in one place, preferably by one or two people. they would go to a printer, have it done on a certain paper, in a certain color paper or ink. there should be a stamp (not printing, abut an actual ink stamp), one of those with numbers on it. these could give it serial numbers so they can't be counterfieted and if
they are, you could figure it out.
3. For the bills themselves, it would be cool maybe to have a contest where all artist zoners who want to could send in their designs for the bills.
these are just a couple of quick ideas i had. if anyone's discussing it anywhere, or anything, i'd love to hear what becomes of the idea.
From: <Selct1@aol.com> Sent: Friday, January 14, 2000 7:53 AM Subject: Re: Making our own currency ?
Ok, and where would this currency come from? Who would make it/distribute it? What if I saw something I wanted? Where would I get that currency?
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxFrom: Birbeck <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Friday, January 14, 2000 8:34 AM Subject: Re: Making our own currency ?
i know i haven't written for a
while but i have been reading the zone emails when i get the chance, and i have
to reply to this one. i like the idea a lot, and if everyone agrees and we
figure out how to make it work, i'd be all for it.
From: Greg Boyington <email@example.com> Sent: Saturday, January 15, 2000 11:59 PM Subject: Re: dream machine
Here are a couple of things you
can go digging for in regards to alternative currencies:
- We have something here call the Barter Association of North America, a collection of businesses who exchange products and services with each other using "barter bucks"
rather than actual currency. Mayhaps there's something similar on yer side of the pond. Mayhaps you should start one. :)
- For historical inspiration, search for info on Joshua Norton I, Emperor of the United States, who issued his own currency in San Francisco.
From: chiki <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Monday, January 17, 2000 4:41 AM Subject: Re: inter-zone.org
About the currency,
after i read the amy's suggestions, i started to think about
combination with local paper bill and other community.
i've been thinking about money which would circulate only the web and only
among our community, but more and various oppotunities to use currency will
be attractive for users, that's for sure.
what do you think?
and cavana emailed me...
> Got an email from Izzy about creating your own money system. This site should interest >you...especially the Ithaca hours. http://www.transaction.net/money/
take a look at the url.
From: Ryu Sent: Sunday, January 16, 2000 11:50 PM Subject: Re: Making our own currency ? (3)
I like the idea of a currency relative to the zone, but like Pooh, I am a bear of very little brain, and am unable to add anything of substance to this discussion. However, the idea of barter, an exchange of real goods or services between interested parties, is maybe our best chance of becoming more autonomous and cohesive as a group. In this framework, everything is equal. Food, art, clothing, music become what they already are- equally meaningful and valuable- relative to a particular person at a particular time.
Books have always had the utmost value for me. A great deal of my life has revolved around books. What about you? What will you trade me for the book you seek? What do you know? What is your interest? What do you do well? Trade me the fruit of that thing you know or do well and beautifully. Write or draw or paint or collage me something extraordinary. Solve my computer problem. Send me a poem with some orgones- it won't do to dash something off as an exchange. Knit me a sweater; send me some food you grow, make a gesture. What matters is that you put your life energy into it. In this way not only we we be able to have the goods necessary to our lives, we will also encourage each other to perform meaningful tasks, and moreover, to respond from the level of meaningful engagement, from the realm of the ever-creative moment.
From: Mireille de Moura <Mireille_de_Moura@compuserve.com>
To: Baudron, Isabelle <email@example.com> Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2000 7:56 AM Subject: In Gold we don't trust
Chère Isabelge, Ah ah ah, :-))))
Est-ce que les SEL n'ont pas des idées et des réalisations, sur les réseaux
d'échanges sans argent ?
Url de leur site : www.selidair.org
Mais je n'y suis pas allée voir, je ne sais pas ce qu'on y trouve.
Bises sans prix,
Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2000 3:58 PM
Subject: RE: Interzone Productions deleted and the
> There is a scheme called LETS here in the UK that works in the cooperative spirit you >describe. Basically if you have a "skill" you list it in a register and when some one needs >something doing they call on you and you perform the work for a certain number of points. In
> return if you need something, ie plumbing, you can use your points to get a plumber. It is a >good idea but.... I'm not sure I see where this is at all useful to the Zone as such.
Hi Gary and all,
Much thanks for all your mails and feed-backs. Here is mine.
The question we are at : finding an economical organization at the scale of the Zone, is a big question, because it confronts us to the official organization, which does not fit the structure nor the aims of the Zone.
As a result, as long as we try to get us into this official organization, it does not work. Hence, we are condemmed to invent ours if we want to function.
Chiki's idea seems interesting to me because if we can find a currency, or a symbol of exchange of any kind, which we can use between us, then we would not have to bother with associations, society, credit card, payment orders, etc... , and we would escape to the whole bureaucracy around money which takes time, energy, and is really boring.
It also seems interesting because it obliges us to go to the roots of what money is, what it represents in our world, it's symbolic value and its effective value :)
Unexpectedly enough, economical problems are not due to money itself, but to the misuse made of it, bound to a confusion between symbols and what they represent.
This confusion leads to an inversion of the values, an over-evaluation of the value of money, and an under-evaluation of human value.
Now Interzone seems to me a sane base to restructurate things here, because people here do not over-value money, nor under-value themselves. :)))))))))))))))))))))
I mean that you guys are not mentally locked into the false postulates on which the present monetary system rests upon, so you are potentially able to build up something more relevant and livable than what presently exists.
As for me, my ignorance on money is huge, so if I want to understand the least thing in the matter, I got to start since the beguinning, and discover how the sytem works from the basic definitions.
A naive point of view might seem a bit ridiculous at first sight, though it allows to examine aspects which clever people generally consider as "obvious" and do not question because they are used to them, but which sometimes rest on semantic twists.
> If enough people feel it is relevant then it should go ahead, but I thought how do we put value >on art and other things we create?
Very practicly, I'm trying to put up Interzone Productions, becuse I think that things we create have a value, and it's a hell of a work !!!!!!!!!!!
>Are we just falling into the same traps as the normal money economy.
No we are not, otherwise we would have adapted perfectly to the existing frames, what we are unable of. If we had done it, we would not be presently having this exchange.
>What particular offerings do we have for each other over the internet?
I have found is a quality of relationship I had never met before in any group I frequented, and a capacity of effective mutual help and organization, from which I benefit myself. ("The Johnsons exist, I have met them", he he he)
Now this mutual help is free, and does not require anything in exchange. So it cannot enter in the frame of an economical exchange. Let's say it's a human exchange.
This is to me the most important thing we got, and we can ever have, and this is much more valuable than any currency we shall ever create. :)))))))))))))))))
> Suppose I produce a book and agree (after spending actual money getting it published?) to >proliferate it via the Zone scheme. If someone orders the book I receive 20 ZC (Zone >Credits). I then need to send the book to them, which costs me £££ in real money, which ties >our currency to the real world and penalises me for wanting to distribute my work.
> Is it not better for me to simply publish it on the internet and let people read it?
The easiest solution I found is the self printing, which I have been practicing since several month now : people who order the book pay its price plus the mail.
Making the books is great by itself. Though the disagreable aspect of this system is the slow mail and post problems : I sent two books from Poitiers to Paris which never arrived, 2
from Belgium to Paris, which took one month to come, 2 to Bulgaria, which have not arrived yet, and one to England, which does not seem to have come to destination.
this is very frustrating :(((((((((((
Definitely, as far as art and litterature are concerned, a physical place for expos and sale would be the most practical and pleasurable.
>This is me as a writer talking. I don't know where else it is relevant
in the zone for me as that >is what I am within the Zone, and that is what
the Zone is.
> Can someone please demonstrate what the value (no pun intended) of this exercise is?
> Can we not achieve these aims without printing our own money?
Yes, certainly. Though whatever will come out of the question, we shall have learnt on the subject and I hope, shall have progressed concerning the way to manage to live from our art.
> Apologies if this seems negative, but I'm just asking how this will benefit us all.
Hoping that this mail answers to this.
One more point : our art seems valuable to me, so I think that we can live on it if we propose it to the public. As we product ourselves, we do not need the usual intermediaries (publishers, agents, etc.), nor the money to invest in them.
The status which fits the most to the facts as for me would be "independant worker and creater".
i read greg and ryu's ideas, which seems slightly more "human" that printing up currency, and thus copying the system. chiki said in the original mail that someone could buy something for 10 zone, then IT WOULD BE RECORDED IN AN ONLINE "BANK." This recording is what I'm interested in... There would be no need for printed money since a bank run by a zone "banker" would record all transactions, though you could make groovy online respentations...
however, we would all need an account. here are some proposals (drawing heavily from ryu's ideas), tell me what you think:
1. Art, writing, OR money would be sent to someone, who appraises it and trades it for "zone" credit. Or, I send you this painting for 10 zone (subtracted by banker from your account), and then the banker puts 10 more "zone"s in my account.
2. How bank would be setup:
a. We would need "bankers."
b. CGI-programming seems a possibility.
3. Misc. Ideas:
a. Online art shows, etc?: I just think it would be cool, related to zone money or not. Artists could scan in works (or send photos of works to people with scanners), thumbnail links could be arranged into "rooms..." If a zoner wanted to sell something they could have a "price tag" on it. This principle could apply to writers as well, they could put excerpts online and then the
price of the book... Same goes for musicians.
Overall, I am all for the idea, whatever form it might come in. I think a barter-type system would make the zone stronger, and bring us closer to gether as a community (as oppsed to traditional cash, which only seems to drive people away from one another). And you don't have much money, a skill or talent is worth just as much.
in other news, i am trying to learn how to better program the search engine so i can move it to my site at http://callmeburroughs.tripod.com (one of the few servers who will host cgi scripts), which would eliminate the problems i have when the remote server is down. also i need to make the database larger, i had too much data so i had to split it into 3 parts.
Also, I have changed my email to firstname.lastname@example.org. email@example.com will still work, but i am using it mostly for other things.
amy balot (aka coolcat)
"Lend me ten pounds and I'll buy you a drink..."
Thank you for the quick reply. I have edited the mail for length. I haven't sent this out to everyone initially because many of these people have not recieved a mail from me b4 and I feel it would be better coming from you Iz.
First I was thinking of a concept I read in a sci-fi book called the gift economy. (Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson) Here people exchange goods on the basis of agreement without money being involved. ie, Izzy has a book to sell, I have a nice picture and Rick has a special sex-toy. Izzy wants the pitcure, I want the sex-toy and rick wants the book, so we engage in a threeway swap. After having this idea I came home and read through the full e-mail to see that Rick had already proposed this idea. This I agree with, then. How to do it? Well, the internet works well here, because we can set up a forum like these on-line auction houses that people can exchange on. People can advertise thnigs they want to have or sell and organise these kinds of exchanges. Like these auctions if people default on the deal or purposefully decieve people they can be marked out for everyone to see and not do business with. This seems a much better solution than money. (to me anyway) Rick, the revolution starts here. Pooh bears can be captains of industry too ;)
At the very least this gives us a start on the way to potential autonomy. therefore this discussion is extremely useful and important - we need a means of exchange amongst ourselves and with "ousiders" so we discuss these things, but would an internal money system not exclude outsiders, maybe to our cost?
(There's more below ==> Gary)
> The question we are at : finding an economical organization at the scale of the Zone, is a big >question, because it confronts us to the official organization, which does not fit the structure nor >the aims of the Zone. As a result, as long as we try to get us into this official organization, it does >not work. Hence, we are condemmed to invent ours if we want to function.
I agree ! Let's get on!
idea seems interesting to me because if we can find a currency, or a symbol of
exchange >of any kind, which we can use between us, then we would not have
to bother with associations, >society, credit card, payment orders, etc... ,
and we would escape to the whole bureaucracy >around money which takes time,
energy, and is really boring.
> It also seems interesting because it obliges us to go to the roots of what money is, what it >represents in our world, it's symbolic value and its effective value :)
> Unexpectedly enough, economical problems are not due to money itself, but to the misuse made >of it, bound to a confusion between symbols and what they represent.
> This confusion leads to an inversion of the values, an over-evaluation of the value of money, and >an under-evaluation of human value.
There may be some truth here in the confusion in what money actually is : But is this inevitable, like the old axiom of power corrupts?
What we have is beyond money and symbols? Why fall for the same old crap?
> I have
found is a quality of relationship I had never met before in any group I
frequented, and a >capacity of effective mutual help and organization, from
which I benefit myself. ("The Johnsons >exist, I have met them",
he he he)
> Now this mutual help is free, and does not require anything in exchange. So it cannot enter in the >frame of an economical exchange. Let's say it's a human exchange.
> This is to me the most important thing we got, and we can ever have, and this is much more >valuable than any currency we shall ever create. :)))))))))))))))))
Again I agree with all of this - up until now this has been the most important function of the zone but how do we assign them Zone money? How do we work out the value of someones piece of advice? What if it turns out to be wrong? Do we claim a refund? If we don't assign them money the only people rewarded are artists and musicians, an artistic elite.
> > Suppose I produce a book and agree (after
spending actual money getting
> > it published?) to proliferate it via the Zone scheme. If someone orders
> > the book I receive 20 ZC (Zone Credits). I then need to send the book
> > to them, which costs me £££ in real money, which ties our currency to
> > the real world and penalises me for wanting to distribute my work.
> > Is it not better for me to simply publish it on the internet and let
> > people read it?
> The easiest solution I found is the self printing, which I have been
> practicing since several month now :
<Sorry I've deleted some here : >
I don't think you really answer my question, because here I'm asking what about the relation between zone credits and "real" money. Self printing is a solution, but it's one that costs you real money so you need real money back in return. Me buying your book with zone money does not help you pay for printing or for post, so you are left without money and may go bankrupt and unable to publish any more books. Where people cannot send real money perhaps a gift would suffice? But how can we turn zone money into hard cash, why would we want to and doesn't that then defeat the point of it in the first place. I just don't see this concept of zone money as viable. If any one can explain to me a system of zone money that can work then I want to hear it, but no-one has. You simply say, hey, zone money, what a good idea! and say nothing of substance.
These questions are important to resolve, maybe soon, so I encourage everyone who has an opinion not merely to say yes or no but to say why and how, otherwise we have nothing to build with.
Whoo, well I hope this keeps the ball rolling. Love to you all,
Blog: Pour une économie non-aristotélicienne (Décembre 2010)
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