Will Europeans Embrace Underground Currencies When Draconian Cash Ban Takes Effect?
January 10th, 2013
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by JG Vibes
Yesterday we reported that the European Union was set to ban cash transactions over 500 Euros, bringing the entire continent one step closer to a monopolized, and now totally monitored currency.
As the EU based news source that I quoted yesterday mentioned:
‚ÄúAny transaction in excess of 500 euros will soon only be allowed via credit or debit card or by check, according to a plan by the Finance Ministry aimed at combating tax evasion.¬† The ceiling for cash transactions is to be lowered from 1,500 euros today to 500 euros and could be reduced further over in the course of 2013. Ministry sources say that in the first quarter of the new year all companies and certain self-employed individuals will have to obtain the POS (point-of-sale) terminals that provide for card transactions.‚ÄĚ
As I explained, this is a very alarming situation, but it is likely that this will backfire, pushing Europeans to find other ways of trading, ways that are off the grid and free from surveillance, inflation and taxation.
These decentralized community based currencies have already been thriving in many areas of Europe, and the following months and years will probably see a sharp incline in underground currencies if these sorts of measures continue.
This underground currency development in Europe and other parts of the world is something that I¬†have been watching over the past several years.
In areas that have been most effected so far in the worldwide economic crisis there has been an increasing use of online open source currencies.¬† These currencies help communities barter with one another easily and effectively without using the Euro which is becoming increasingly useless by the day.¬† Last year there was a lot of¬†news about bitcoin¬†being more stable than the Euro, with more and more investors transferring their funds into these types of currencies.
While bitcoin is still popular in Greece, and still growing in popularity by the day, another currency by the name of ‚ÄúTEM‚ÄĚ is being used locally by the city of Volos.¬† According to a recent article at¬†radicalsocialentreps.org :
‚ÄúAfter creating an account, members do business with each other using TEM credits. New members are allowed to deficit-spend up to 300 TEMs, which is effectively an interest-free loan from the community. Only by offering demanded goods and services in return can the new members replenish their balances to keep making purchases.
Credits are created according to these guidelines as new members join ‚ÄĒ no central banking or monetary authority required.The ideas behind alternative systems like TEM aren‚Äôt new.¬†‚ÄėBarter clubs‚Äô or ‚ÄėLET‚Äô systemshave been around for a while. They‚Äôre most often successful in conditions of extreme monetary dysfunction; Argentina saw the¬†nationwide spread of barter clubs¬†during their various Peso crises in the late 1990‚Ä≤s and early 2000‚Ä≤s.‚ÄĚ
While this idea is nothing new, as technological progress moves forward it will become easier and easier for people start their own community based debt free currency.¬† This really could be a great way of sustaining the impending collapse of the forcefully imposed central bank currencies.¬† In the wake of these collapses people will still have services to offer, and goods to trade, the only thing that will be missing from the equation is a reliable medium of exchange to keep things running smoothly.
This is a very important element to society, but as we can see in projects like TEM and Bitcoin it is not difficult to innovate and be creative when it comes to currency.¬† It only seems that it would be an impossible task because for centuries this element of our civilizations has been monopolized by central bankers and governments who had no intent of making things work for the benefit of humanity.
Just recently in the news there has been another example of people effected by the Euro crisis joining together peacefully and combining their efforts to solve the problems facing their communities.¬† In Spain where the official unemployment rate is¬†over 50% in some areas, the unemployed population has began to barter time, and actually use their labor hours as currency.¬† People are now trading hair cuts and car rides for fresh produce, building supplies and legal services.
When the government or any other group of abusive terrorists attempts to limit voluntary action between peaceful human beings, people always seem to find a way.
What we are seeing right now in places like Spain and Greece where this crisis is hitting hardest first, is the beginning stages of a new economic model, an economic model that will grow from the ashes of this long dead system that we currently inhabit.¬† One that is built from the bottom up, and not the top down.
Thinking ahead, we should remember that in the west our turn to deal with this mess will come eventually, so the sooner we start thinking about how we can provide value to our community in the absence of a centralized authority the better off we will be.¬† Decentralized currencies, and creative ways of trading and distributing labor are essential for making it through these times of economic uncertainty.
Read more articles by this author¬†HERE.
J.G. Vibes¬†is the author of an 87 chapter counter culture textbook called¬†Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance, a staff writer and reporter for The Intel Hub and host of a show called Voluntary Hippie Radio.¬†
You can keep up with his work, which includes free podcasts, free e-books & free audiobooks at his website¬†www.aotmr.com
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