Sunday, May 20, 2012

Advantage 81 – Step-by-step plan for parallel introduction

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

»Everything difficult must be planned while it is still easy, everything great must be dealt with while it is small. Everything difficult on earth always begins as something easy, everything great always begins as something small.«
– Laotse
Chinese philosopher

Now we come to plan B, the official introduction of the gradido in one or several countries parallel to the existing system. »Official« means that there is a government decision (if necessary a referendum) to phase in the gradido as a complementary currency. For this we have elaborated a step-by-step plan, starting with a 10% gradido share, which increases 10% in every phase.

A 10% gradido share means that a seller has to accept at least 10% of the price in gradidos. They can accept more gradidos than the minimum share. As gradido earnings are not taxed, it can actually be an advantage to accept more gradidos. When the gradido share is 100% there is no tax any longer.

International trade can continue without any problems. Foreign customers can also pay the gradido share in gradidos if they have some. Otherwise they pay the full amount the old currency. Conversely, foreign suppliers can accept gradidos but if they do not they are at a disadvantage vis-à-vis domestic suppliers. This creates an incentive for foreign suppliers to accept gradidos and the gradido zone becomes larger. The farther the gradido spreads, the more the advantages of the Natural Economy of Life take effect in gradido countries. More and more countries join the gradido zone until finally they are all members.

The step-by-step plan provides for an 10% increase in the gradido share in every phase. If there is a new phase each year, a 50% gradido share is reached after five years. The fifth phase is a milestone when it makes sense to look back and take stock of what is already going well and where there is need for improvement. We can learn from the experience gained and can decide whether and at what pace we will proceed to a 100% gradido share. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Advantage 82 – Immediately feasible when people decide on it

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

»Nothing in the world is so powerful as an idea whose time has come.«
– Victor Hugo
French writer

All this is immediately feasible once we humans have decided on it. That is why it is so important to inform as many people as possible about it in a short time.

During the so-called »Arab spring« we saw how effectively groups of people organised themselves through social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter. We can also make use of these possibilities. Information spreads round the world at lightning speed when the time is ripe. Not everyone has the internet but soon the media will report on it and reach quite a different group of people, which makes the news spread even faster. Once people are informed and have looked into the matter, they can decide. We live in democracies and when the majority decides in favour of something it will happen. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Advantage 83 – Plans are adjusted and improved

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life« 

»Common sense is the greatest enemy of fantasy
but still its best counsellor.« 
– Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
Austrian writer

Gradido is a research project which goes on developing continually. The concept of the Natural Economy of Life has been constantly refined over the years. Plans A, B and C have been developed in the research project and repeatedly adjusted to the current circumstances.

As important as it is to have plans, it is also important to constantly review them and, if need be, correct them. Only in this way is it ensured that the project does not petrify.

You are warmly invited to actively help in realising the Natural Economy of Life, also as a member of the Gradido Academy, if you wish. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Advantage 84 – Paper money is possible

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

»Paper money sooner or later reverts to its innate value of zero.«
– Voltaire
French writer and philosopher

Some complementary currencies are tied to certain means of payment. Thus, there are, for example, purely electronic currencies, which only function on the internet; and on the other hand, there are regional currencies on the basis of printed vouchers.

The gradido, which is subject to the cycle of growth and decay, can be most easily realised with electronic booking systems.

In case paper money is still needed, we have developed the dynamic currency FREE, which continually adjusts its rate of exchange to the gradido. For small amounts and rough calculations it is enough to adjust the FREE every three months and the daily rate is used for large amounts. You can find a detailed description of the FREE in the annexe to this book. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Advantage 85 – Any form of payment is possible

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life« 

»According to anthropological findings cashless payments are considerably older than cash; it is rather to be assumed that cash was introduced so as to be able to meet  payment obligations instantly.«

– David Graeber
Debt: The First 5000 Years

Alongside electronic accounts and paper money, any mode or form of payment is possible. Particularly chip cards are easy to use but naturally also all new electronic forms of payment, such as payment by mobile phone, direct transfer, direct debiting and so on. Gradido payments can be made with any bank software that allows negative interest rates. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Advantage 86 – Pilot projects in single countries

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

»Each of us is an angel with only one wing.
And we can only fly when we embrace each other.«
– Luciano De Crescenzo
Italian writer and engineer

The step-by-step plan is so designed that single countries can start to phase in the gradido as a complementary currency parallel to the existing system. In this way progressive nations can set up pilot projects, thus acting as examples for the whole world. In this way, the gradido can start in a single country and spread little by little. However, it would also be conceivable for a number of countries to join forces and form a common »gradido zone«. The saying »There is strength in numbers.« naturally applies in this case, too.

We do not want to speculate here as to which countries would be best suited for the introduction of the gradido. We do not want to preempt the decision of  any country that may freely opt for the Natural Economy of Life.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Advantage 87 – Worldwide introduction

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

» Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood.
Make big plans: aim high in hope and work.«
– Daniel Hudson Burnham
American architect and town planner,
of, among other things, downtown Chicago and San Francisco

The gradido has the potential to become a new world currency that is established decentrally in the individual countries. This can, of course, also happen by virtue of a joint resolution by all nations.

At present it does not in fact look as if the many nations –  some at war with each other – will agree on a new world currency at the same time. But we do not know everything that is going to happen in the near future. Anything is possible, also the concerted introduction of gradido as a world currency. That would then be plan A from advantage 78, the scenario of the Joytopia story. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Advantage 88 – Ethics

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

»We were not born for ourselves alone.«
– Marcus Tullius Cicero
Roman politician, writer and philospher

It is a bold venture to write about ethics. Something that is ethical for one person may be completely unacceptable to another. Particularly in the various cultural areas absolutely different ethical principles apply. Is it possible at all to find a common ground worldwide? If it is, what might a common ethical approach look like? Once again, nature may be able to give us some good stimuli.

Over billions of year nature has proved that she knows how life functions. She is like a »great mother«, who is anxious for her »children« to thrive. The wish to »thrive« indeed seems to be common to all beings.

The Natural Economy of Life provides a system of incentives that promotes prosperity for all. Win-win situations are created for everyone time and time again.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Advantage 89 – The threefold good

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life« 

»Only great cooperation is fruitful,
 when one person shares in it through another.«
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
French writer

Every decision, every action, every product and every service must, if possible, serve the threefold good – the good of the individual, the good of the community and the good of the big scheme of things (all beings, the environment and nature). The threefold good is, to a certain extent, the paramount decision criterion of the Natural Economy of Life. In everything we do we ask ourselves:

  1. Does it serve the good of every single person?
  2. Does it serve the good of the community?
  3. Does it serve the good of the big scheme of things?

Only when all three questions can be answered with a clear »yes« have we passed the test. If one of the criteria is not met, we should rethink something.

The threefold good is also the basis for the threefold creation of money: the active basic income primarily serves the good of the individual, the national income serves the good of the community and the Equalisation and Environment Fund serves the good of the big scheme of things. The most important criterion has thus been met for the creation of money.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Advantage 90 – The good of the individual

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

»Never do anything you wouldn’t like
to be done unto you.«
– Confucius
Chinese philosopher

Self-interest is probably the greatest motivation factor of all. Everyone is, first of all, their own neighbour, even if altruistic reasons are given. A functioning system of incentives – and money is nothing but an incentive system – must address the self-interest of each individual or, in other words, protect the good of the individual.

With the gradido this starts with unconditional participation. Everyone has the right to contribute to the community and thus receive their active basic income. This automatically results in the common good being served at the same time.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Advantage 91 – The good of the community

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life« 

»I let go the desire for the general good
and the good spreads as generally as grass.«
– Laotse
Chinese philosopher

Not only the good of the individual is served with the active basic income. As it is generated through service to the community, it enhances the general good at the same time. That is one of the typical win-win situations that frequently arise all by themselves in the gradido system.

The creation of the second amount of money is explicitly intended for the good of the community – the national income that is automatically created by each citizen. This is used to finance all the things a nation’s government is responsible for. The good of the state naturally also benefits the individual since, after all, the state is the community of all citizens.

The common good is integrated into the Natural Economy of Life as a matter of course. There are no more conflicts between the good of the individual and the good of the community, in which a decision has to be made for one of them. We can let go of the desire for the general good as the threefold good spreads automatically by itself.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Advantage 92 – The good of the big scheme of things

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life« 

»Paradise is seldom recognized as such until it is considered from the outside.«

– Hermann Hesse
Swiss writer

For the good of the big scheme of things the Equalisation and Environment Fund provides a pool of money equal in amount to the national budgets of all countries together. This fund is filled by the third amount of money created amounting to 1,000 gradidos per person per month.

This is by far the largest environmental fund that has ever existed or is planned anywhere, as far as we know. It many times exceeds all environment funds in the world. The good of the big scheme of things thus has equal importance from a financial point of view to the good of all nations together.

Protection and decontamination of the environment are going to be the most important and profitable economic sectors in the world. Or, in other words, only companies that make and offer their products and services in harmony with nature will be able to survive. Things will be made easy for companies as they receive support in making the changeover. Organic and biological products will thus be lower in price than others. The world economy will switch to biological quality.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Advantage 93 – Reinforce what is positive

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

»Attention brings reinforcement – lack of attention brings liberation«

– Nikolaus B. Enkelmann:
the 11th law of thinking

Once when we were refurbishing our house the architect asked us what colour the rainwater pipe from the roof gutter should be painted. At that time I did not know what this pipe was and so I will explain that it is the pipe that leads down the wall of the house and disappears into the earth, ending up in the drainage system. At that time I was not even aware of the existence of rainwater pipes, let alone what they looked like. So we decided to have a look at the rainwater pipes on houses on our next walk.

And indeed we saw at least one, if not more, on every house. Some of them had a golden sheen because they were made of copper and were still quite new. Old copper pipes were a dark reddish brown. Pipes made of tinplate were sometimes painted in the colour of the roof tiles and sometimes in the colour of the house wall. One particular specimen was even painted in three colours because the wall of the house was painted in a different colour on each floor.

During the following few weeks we almost exclusively saw rainwater pipes in many different colours and models. We now encountered them constantly merely because of our attention to them, although I had not even known of their existence before. They had always been there but they did not enter our lives until we paid attention to them.

The law of attention works with everything: when we primarily pay attention to negative things, actions, circumstances, etc., we will discover more and more of them in our lives. Conversely, when we focus on positive things, actions and circumstances, we will become aware of how many of these are already part of our lives. Both the positive and negative categories were already there before; only our attention to them makes us perceive our lives as having either a negative or a positive tendency.

But unlike the rainwater pipes, which do not really care if we pay attention to them or not, people react very strongly to attention. People who are criticised for their negative qualities in general reinforce these, thus becoming »worse«. Conversely, people become »better« when we praise their positive qualities and actions.

In the present times people mostly pay attention to negative things. They try to fight undesirable things or at least protect themselves from them. We wage wars against terror; we fight unemployment, demographic change, poverty and hunger; we protect ourselves from flower pollen, the sun, rain, insects and body odour. The results are more terrorism, unemployment, poverty and hunger and more allergies to pollen, sun and insect bites. Oh yes, I’d almost forgotten: we try to fight the state debts but they are increasing all the time worldwide.

Now you will certainly understand why the gradido system only provides for positive account balances; why we do not propose punishments for environmental sinners but the Equalisation and Environment to subsidise protection and decontamination of the environment; why the government does not burden citizens with taxes but encourages them to develop their full potential through unconditional participation.

By paying attention to the positive we reinforce it. What works with the individual functions even better in the community because the effects are exponential. By introducing the Natural Economy of Life we can transmit a positive basic attitude to the whole of humanity. The positive effects even exponentiate many times over. A swarm intelligence develops, giving us common abilities we had never even dared dream of before.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Advantage 94 – Promotes swarm intelligence in humans

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

»Nature does not know a teaching space, only masterpieces«.
– Johann Peter Hebel
German poet

Have you ever observed a swarm of migrating birds gathering to fly south together, twittering wildly, flying around a little here and there, and then suddenly flying off without any recognisable reason in a closed formation as if they were a single organism? They change their flight direction together in a single moment without even two birds colliding. The strongest birds fly at the front so that the others can take advantage of their wind shadow. When the birds at the front are exhausted they join the ranks behind and other birds take over the leadership. All this happens seemingly automatically. 

Or have you ever observed a bee colony or an ant heap? How does each of these small insects know what to do so exactly? The queen cannot take care of them as she is too occupied with reproduction.

When a group of individual beings begins to behave more intelligently than would be possible for the individual members of the group, we call this group intelligence or swarm intelligence. Behavioural scientists have been investigating this phenomenon in animals for a long time.

And what about human beings? Can humans also possess swarm intelligence or does a group of humans rather develop »swarm stupidity«, as critics claim? This is an issue for complexity research.

Two requirements seem to be crucial for success:

  1. A clear objective
  2. Only a few rules.

Ailing businesses have been restructured within a short time in this way. The staff were convened and committed themselves to the common goal of saving the company and making it successful again. It was made clear to the staff that absolute confidence was placed in their competence. Each of them knew best how something was to be done in their own job and what possibly needed improving. Accordingly, a simple rule might be: everybody does their best. After a few months the company was in the black again and the staff were proud of their achievement: together they had helped save their enterprise and were able to go on working under good conditions.

What was possible for this company can also be accomplished by the whole of humanity. After the introduction of the Natural Economy of Life we will also look back in pride because together we helped to save the »enterprise of humanity«. And – God willing – we will be allowed to go on living under good conditions.

In our case the goal is to survive together in worldwide prosperity in peace and in harmony with nature. An objective that considers the good of the individual as much as the good of the community and the good of the big scheme of things. The simple rules have been copied from nature. They are the fundamental rules of the Natural Economy of Life – the threefold good and the threefold creation of money derived from it in conjunction with the principle of transience. If we can agree on this, humanity will develop swarm intelligence. In this way we have excellent chances of finding our way back to paradise together.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Advantage 95 – Only possible together, no ego-trip

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

»The only school of genuine moral sentiment
 is society between equals.«
– Harriet Taylor Mill
English author

The Natural Economy of Life cannot be misused for propaganda purposes. It has to reach people’s hearts and minds in order to spread. It has no enemy stereotypes and no idols. We are all equal and there are no leaders and followers, so ego-trips do not work here. We either succeed together or not at all.

In my youth I already felt the impulse to concern myself with this topic. At the beginning I did not know at all what I was studying. It was simply an inner pressure to enquire, question, seek alternatives, try out models and make calculations. I was repeatedly tormented by the question as to why there is so much poverty in the world when everything exists in abundance.

At first it was hard for me to interest other people in this subject. It was not until I started to send out the Joytopia story over the internet that I got a positive response. In 2001 my partner Margret Baier and I founded the Joytopia Academy (today Gradido Academy) to initiate a research project on the Natural Economy of Life. It was supposed to be a free network of free people and it still exists as such today.

We soon became aware that a great gift had been given to us, connected with the clear assignment to pass it on. We can only pass on this knowledge to people who want to accept it. Dear reader, it is up to you to decide if it makes sense for you or not. If it makes sense for you you will likewise pass on the information. And when the time is ripe this gift will reach the whole of humanity.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Advantage 96 – Appreciation of life

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

»Some people don’t know 
how important it is that they are there.
Some people don’t know
how it does good just to see them.
Some people don’t know
how comforting their kind smile is.
Some people don’t know,
how pleasant it is when they are near.
Some people don’t know,
how much poorer we would be without them.
Some people don’t know
that they are a gift from heaven.
They would know it if we told them.«

– Petrus Ceelen
Belgian priest, psychotherapist and author

The name gradido is derived from »gratitude«. The »a« in gradido also stands for »appreciation«. The inner attitude of gratitude and appreciation towards our fellow humans and life is an important step towards personal quality of life. No matter what situation you are currently in, you will feel better from day to day if you cultivate gratitude and appreciation. You will discover more and more things in your life which you appreciate and can be grateful for. Logically, this enhances your personal well-being.

Conversely, if you do not cultivate gratitude and appreciation daily, the all-too-human urge to criticise and seek mistakes will pull you down further. »Seek and ye shall find« applies equally to both positive and negative things.

We can observe this particularly well in old people. They have developed into what they now are depending on their habits. Some of them come across as grateful, appreciative, positive – even almost naïve because they do not seem to perceive the many bad things in life. But mostly they are happy and it feels good to be near them. The others find something that is not in order everywhere. They complain here, criticise there – and seem to have a good knowledge of all the evil around them. They do not feel happy because they see the world as bad and it is much more difficult to get along with them. Nobody is purely one or the other and we all have both aspects in ourselves. We can, however, assume that the people who have a positive impact on us regularly cultivate gratitude and appreciation consciously or unconsciously.

As everything lives from attention, the gradido appreciates life in all its facets. As »living money« it follows the Natural Economy of Life: it follows the cycle of life, the cycle of growth and decay. The gradido shows its appreciation of life already in its creation. Everyone who uses gradidos will regularly be reminded of that. When the gradido is used as a currency, all people worldwide receive a stimulus to appreciate life with each payment transaction. With the feelings of gratitude and appreciation of life the awareness of the need to protect and preserve life also increases worldwide. As everything lives from attention, the gradido values life in all its facets.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Advantage 97 – Appreciation of human dignity

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

»Human dignity is inviolable.
To respect and protect it is the duty of all state authority.«

– Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany
article 1, section 1

The »di« in gradido stands for »dignity«. To appreciate, respect, esteem and foster the uniqueness of every individual – herein lies the deeper sense of the creation of the first amount of money. It is used to finance the unconditional participation which makes an active basic income possible for everyone.

Gradido means »thanks« and with the basic income of 1,000 gradidos the community calls out to every person »A thousand thanks for being with us!«. In this way every person, no matter who they are and what they can do, is always being welcomed by the community – in a dual sense. On the one hand, they can contribute their inclinations and abilities to the community, whereby the community supports them by all means possible in developing and living their full potential. On the other hand, they receive their active basic income, which permits them a life in human dignity, every month in return.

By helping each other to develop our full potential, we sensitise one another to become curious about other people’s inclinations and abilities in a positive sense. We want to know what is hidden in our fellow humans and help them polish their inner diamond and let it shine.  

Everybody brings something with them into the world that they can contribute to the community. It is often claimed that people with disabilities cannot contribute anything but nothing is farther from the truth. Possibly we »normal« people merely lack the imagination to uncover the hidden treasures in our fellow humans but we can all learn this ability. We should already start at pre-school age and make this discipline one of the main subjects in our schools.

When everybody receives the opportunity and support to make their inner diamonds shine, how bright will it be on our earth? How much compassion, sympathy and love will we feel for each other? Might it be that our greater compassion and love automatically extend to the whole of nature surrounding us?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Advantage 98 – After the pattern of nature

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

»We need not view nature as our enemy to be mastered and overcome but learn to cooperate with nature again. She has four and a half billion years of experience. Ours is much shorter.«

– Hans-Peter Dürr 
German physicist

Nature is a living masterpiece. She has existed for billions of years and generates life over and over again, thereby following universal laws. The laws of nature apply to everybody without exception. We have the choice either to observe them of our free will or be reminded of them in a painful way. If we want to learn how to use the laws of nature for our good we are well advised to observe nature and take her inventions as a model. 

In technology this method has long been known as »bionics«. Every aircraft constructor studies the flight of birds before he launches his »iron bird« into the air. Bionics does not means copying everything one hundred percent. Everyone knows that, unlike birds, aircraft do not flap their wings. Their outer covering does not consist of feathers but metal or plastic. They need a runway for taking off and landing but, on the other hand, they can fly much faster than birds. With the aid of bionics, those properties which serve a purpose are transferred to the object in question.

It is the same with the economic bionics we have developed. We do not need to copy everything to be found in nature. If cannibalism is not acceptable to our ethics, we should not translate the model of »eating and being eaten« to our economic model. Instead, nature offers us more appropriate models, such as cooperation and symbiosis.

The same applies to the »survival of the fittest«. In the animal world physical strength is limited to a natural extent. No animal has the possibility to reduce entire nations or even the entire world to wrack and ruin. Due to technological development humans have this possibility; and in business strong companies have the capacity to squeeze all weaker ones out of the market, thus putting an end to them. Therefore it would be absolutely fatal to translate this model to modes of behaviour between people: neither in politics nor in business should the law of the strongest be allowed to rule.

Ethics and religion have given us quite clear guidelines - »liberty, equality, brotherliness« and »Love your neighbour as yourself«, for example. Which inventions of living nature we translate to politics and the economy must first be decided by ethical criteria.

We have to observe the laws of nature, by choice or by force. We can indeed deny the cycle of growth and decay and call for constant economic growth but then the natural law of transience will hit us all the harder – through economic crises, natural disasters, poverty and wars, even going as far as the complete extermination of humanity. However, we can also choose to build the cycle of life into our monetary and economic systems and achieve worldwide prosperity in peace and in harmony with nature. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Advantage 99 – Prosperity for all

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life« 

»Nature knows no problems, only solutions.«
– Carl Amery
German writer and environmental activist

How often we get to hear that prosperity for all is not possible. For those who claim this it is a pretext not to have to concern themselves with the Natural Economy of Life. If they studied it seriously, they would probably come to another conclusion.

Here we are not practising social romanticism but exploring nature’s laws with regard to their applicability in politics and the economy. Natural laws always function the same and they function for everybody. We can learn to use them for our benefit or we can ignore them and perish. Let’s take the example of gravity: if I try to deny gravity and simply jump out of the window, I will possibly not survive it. However, when we use gravity to drive water turbines, we can generate electricity with it.

Thus seen, humankind has two possibilities, either to perish or achieve worldwide prosperity for all. Nature has appropriate solutions ready for either alternative.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Advantage 100 – In harmony with nature

Excerpt from the book »Gradido – Natural Economy of Life«

»Nature can’t take a joke, she is always true, always serious, always strict;
she is always right and mistakes and errors always come from humans!«

– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
German poet and naturalist

Another counter-argument is that worldwide prosperity for all would destroy the environment. But this only applies if we go on as hitherto and even then we would probably destroy ourselves first. Nature would then have many millions of years to recover again. Worldwide prosperity for all is only possible in harmony with nature.

Thus our choice become even clearer: either we humans kill ourselves or we create worldwide prosperity in peace and in harmony with nature. The Natural Economy of Life offers us the basis for the second alternative.

So let’s get going together! In the next chapter you will learn how simple that is.