The Solution offered by the Analogy with Process Ecology: CCCs – Community and Complementary Currencies

In the money creation process, the monopoly of a monoculture of national currencies frames a system, which is constitutively characterized by a significantly fragile structure. The eventual focus on the efficiency of the system in processing higher and higher volumes of national currencies toward necessary growth for increasing the size of total global trade has meant the total distraction from the care of those systemic parameters, which are necessary to safeguard a sustainable system.

In other words, monetary economic orthodoxy fosters the development of ‘bonding capital’ through the adoption of a single type of money. Conversely, community and complementary currencies – CCCs – focus on the value and cultivation of

‘social capital’, which “[is] a form of capital based not on money but on relationships” (North, 2010).

For more efficiency triggers more brittleness than reducing it and since another monoculture of currencies will resemble the present systemic framework without improving it, what is therefore the parameter to take into account for correctly designing an alternative framework of the present monetary system?

The answer is to increase systemic diversity:

more diversity means “an increase in    structural interconnectivity with the deployment of several types of currencies [put in circulation] among people and businesses to facilitate their exchanges, through the implementation of [community] and complementary currencies. [These] different types of currencies are called ‘complementary’ because they are designed to operate in parallel with, as complements to, conventional national moneys” (Lietaer, Ulanowicz et al., 2010).

Thus, the implementation of different types of currencies will change the structure of the monetary system and, by definition, such change will ameliorate the level of overall systemic resilience. This in turn will increase the sustainability of the monetary system.  In a nutshell, the possibility to make more connections through the use of different types of currencies will enhance the potential capability of every economic agent to virtuously respond to unexpected or unpredicted systemic failures in the domain of modern bank money.

Therefore, CCCs are a monetary device for effectively reframing the structure of the monetary system. Indeed, they are negotiable instruments designed in order to facilitate trading by virtue of enhanced interconnectivity of the system as a whole, esp. in those situations in which the supply of conventional national currency is tight. But more than a useful cushion in times of shortages of money, complementary currencies are remarkably significant agreements, because

CCCs “facilitate transactions that otherwise wouldn’t occur, linking otherwise unused resources to unmet needs, and encouraging diversity and interconnections that otherwise wouldn’t exist” (Lietaer, Ulanowicz et al., 2010).

Put it in another way, the possible implementations of CCCs is potentially equal to the all possible social interactions, which are measurable in terms of value.

The new narrative constructed on the assumption of process ecology allows a systemic re-framing by organizational means, which will re-structure the network that shapes the monetary system toward enhanced sustainability. Although it may be counter intuitive from an orthodox perspective devoted to a narrative descending from the epistemology of classical physics, a critical meta-theoretical shift leads to the observation that CCCs are a remarkable and desirable discursive improvement for monetary economics with regards to whole system’s sustainability.

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