Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Chapter 2 – Joytopia

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

Worldwide prosperity in harmony with nature
A visionary short story

The encounter

Recently I had a dream, or more exactly a daydream. I was going for a walk alone in the forest and enjoying nature. All of a sudden, I noticed that someone was walking lightly beside me. He was about two metres tall, dark-skinned, with an athletic physique. He was dressed in a kind of golden track suit. Although he looked like a human being, he did not appear to be from this world. His face radiated such happiness and even almost merriness as is seldom found on our earth. When I looked at him I couldn’t help laughing. It was hearty, cheerful laughter – pure joy at the sight of this friendly companion.

“Please excuse me, I didn’t want to laugh at you,“ I explained when I had got control of myself again. “It’s just that I’m surprised at your sudden appearance.”

“It’s the same with a lot of people on this planet,” was his friendly answer. “Most earth citizens react as you did and only a few run away in fright or get aggressive.”

“So you aren’t from here?“ I asked in uncertainty.

“I come from Joytopia, a nation on the planet Freegaia at the edge of the galaxy. I got here with a jump in the space-time continuum. My name is Goodfriend, Very Goodfriend.”

“How did you learn our language so quickly?“

“We simply use telepathy to communicate with each other. We send each other thoughts and our brain translates them into language. That works just the same with images, sounds, smells and emotions. You see….”

I didn’t see anything. He had vanished. Surprised and deeply moved, I continued my walk.  Was I just hallucinating? Should I perhaps go to the doctor? It would be better not to say anything about it to anyone and forget the incident as quickly as possible.

“I have brought you a present,“ I heard Very say.

“Where did you go so suddenly?“

“I went home for a moment to get something for you.“

“Doesn’t such a journey take years? I mean the highest possible speed …”

“We travel in our thoughts. It is well-known that thoughts are free. Limits to space and time only exist if they have been thought about previously. We also used to think out a lot of limits. Our restricted thinking had shaped our planet in roughly the same way as you are now shaping your planet. Try it for yourself. You see me because you think that you see me.”

While he was saying that, a cyclist came towards us. He gave a brief greeting and rode right through Very.

“Do you understand now?“ Very asked.

“Yes, I do.“

“I have brought you an idea.“

“What kind of idea?“

“The idea that everything you can imagine is possible. Everything you can think will become reality! Everything you wish for will come to pass if you can imagine it.”

“Then I wish for 10 million euros!”


“Pardon? Fine? That’s supposed to work? I can’t imagine it!“

“That’s just it.”

I was ashamed.

“Other people were able to imagine it and became millionaires. But maybe it isn’t your wish to become a millionaire at all. What do you actually wish for the most?”

“I would really like everybody to be rich and to be able to do what they wanted without harming other people or nature.“

“I suggest you make a journey. We have already achieved that aim on our planet Freegaia. You just need to copy it and spread it on earth. That’s our gift to you humans.”

“How can I get through the space-time thingy...“

“Just imagine it and I’ll accompany you.“

It was strange. It seemed to me that I was in two places at the same time: while part of me went on walking in the forest, the other part was flying through the universe with Very. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Chapter 2.2 – Freegaia

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

We approached a solar system and soon it was floating in front of us - Freegaia, a wonderful blue planet, quite similar to our earth. We gently dived into the atmosphere and landed in the middle of a magnificent park, similar to a huge garden. The plants emanated an indescribably delicious scent. Now and then a small space vehicle flitted by almost noiselessly above our heads.

But there in the middle of the plants were houses. They did not look like our houses; they fitted into their natural surroundings in such a way that from a distance they were not recognisable as houses at all. The people we encountered all greeted us in a friendly manner. They appeared to be happy. Humans and nature were living together in harmony.

“How did you manage to achieve this? Can you tell me something about your technology?”

“Technology was never a problem,“ said Very. “The problem that needed to be solved lay in the inhabitants’ thinking and in the economy. Because their way of thinking focused on scarcity our ancestors had thought out an economic system marked by competition. Now our life together and also our economy is characterised by abundance, wealth and love of nature and everything that exists.”

Very gave me a short outline of the history of his planet

“Quite a long time ago some robbing and murdering carnivores – Romucas – increasingly took over power by killing weaker people and depriving them of their livelihood through the force of their martial superiority. To prevent the Romucas eating themselves up, huge books of laws regulating every little thing were written. For the Romucas’ intelligence und ethics were not sufficient for a peaceful life together. In these books of laws there were instructions such as »You shall not kill«. The Romucas had to be explicitly told this! During the Romucas’ raids these laws were either suspended or their opponents were defined as “wild people” who needed to be missionized or exterminated. After their raids the Romucas introduced the same Romuca law for everybody. In this way stability was created and the new power structure was cemented.

The Romucas’ main illusion was their thinking based on scarcity. Seemingly there wasn’t enough there for everybody. So their favourite occupation was fighting or competition. There had to be winners and losers. As killing was forbidden and most of the “wild people” had already been killed or missionized anyway, ambitious Romucas shifted their activities to other fields, such as the economy, sport and games. In sport and games they were able to live out their competition in a relatively harmless way. In the economy, on the other hand, Romucaism led to more and more social injustice. The gap between poor and rich became greater and greater.

On Freegaia there had always been people who observed nature and sought to fathom its laws.
In early times these people had been burnt as heretics. But later when they let their knowledge be used for military purposes they were called scientists. Observers of nature who did not make any discoveries useful to the military were called charlatans and subjected to ridicule.

Over time the climate become more liberal and more and more nations converted to democracy. Shortly before the beginning of the New Age the observations of the scientists and charlatans started to correlate more and more. Analogies were found between natural sciences, philosophy and religions. People started to translate this knowledge to politics and economics. 

Comparison of the economy and nature

Nature produces food from herself and gives it to her living creatures. When nature is in order, abundance prevails, i.e. there is more food available than is needed. Food is perishable and can only be stored for a certain amount of time.

In nature there are no debts and no interest is charged. That’s why it doesn’t occur to plants and animals to hoard more than they need. Because of that there are no  »rich« and »poor« plants or animals.

And another thing: whether and how hard animals work for their food is very different from one form of life to another. Every animal living in the wild behaves in accordance with its nature. If you want an animal in captivity to work, you have to goad it all the time. No animal would fight for a »right to work«.

At that time people didn’t receive any basic income. Although the governments required their citizens to pay tax, they had such a big shortage of money that they had to borrow again and again each year. Great attention was paid to monetary stability but they seldom managed to achieve this. Money was created from debt and there was a system of charging interest. Both the assets and the debts got higher and higher. The citizens did all they could to accumulate money. The rich got richer and richer and the poor got poorer and poorer.

As far as work was concerned, most people did similar work, which was rarely in harmony with their natures. Although they disliked doing these jobs so alien to their natures, they had previously fought hard for the right to work. In spite of this right, large parts of the population were unemployed. On the other side, there was a surplus of goods and services.

The economy behaved in a way exactly contrary to nature. So we had to reverse our economic practice and bring it into harmony with nature. This realisation was the key to worldwide prosperity.

We thus developed our new economic model that today is practised on the entire planet and brings riches and happiness to all those involved: it is the Natural Economy of Life.”

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Chapter 2.3 – The Joytopia model

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

“Like every nation on Freegaia Joytopia has monetary sovereignty and the sole right to create money. Our money is no longer created from debts but from life itself. Our currency is the gradido, which means »thanks«. The creation of money follows simple rules. 3,000 gradidos are created for every citizen each month.

A third of the money created is used for a basic income. Another third is used for the national budget and the rest for the Equalisation and Environmental Fund. We call this the threefold creation of money.

First of all Joytopia and the other nations decided on a general cancellation of debt. So as not to harm anybody the governments paid the amounts due to the creditors into their accounts. That may sound unusual but money is, after all, only a number in a database which is created with binding agreements. And the nations, which have monetary sovereignty on our planet, had agreed on this in a referendum.

After that the payment of interest was abolished and a decaying currency introduced. From then on it no longer made sense to hoard money for a long time, as it got less all the time.”

“A decaying currency? That’s what we call inflation!”

“The word inflation comes from the language of the old economic system and does not give the proper meaning. We speak of the cycle of life, the natural cycle of growth and decay.”

“How high is decay on Freegaia?“

“At the beginning we experimented a bit but now all the nations have agreed on 50% a year. That means that after one year half the money is still left.”

“Does that mean that when a pretzel costs one gradido this year, in three years it will cost eight gradidos?”

“ The gradido is electronic money and the decline in value is debited from your account. The value of the gradido stays constant and your pretzel will still cost one gradido in three years. We had also developed a model for decaying paper money but we didn’t use it in the end.”

“Well, how does it work in everyday life?”

A thousand thanks for being with us!

“The state creates 1,000 gradidos for each citizen every month. You remember that gradido means thanks. Every citizen has the right to an active basic income of 1,000 gradidos. The state, that means the community of all citizens, says thank you to every single citizen: »A thousand thanks for being with us!«

The basic income of 1,000 gradidos covers the costs of living and enables every person to live a worthy life. The second syllable of gradido – »di« – stands for dignity. All people have the right to a basic income – children, adults and old people. Single parents with two children, for example, receive 3,000 gradidos monthly. In this way they are equal to other single people.

“Is it an unconditional basic income?”

“The active basic income guarantees unconditional participation in the community. Everyone has the right – not the duty – to unconditional participation. Participation consists of giving and taking. So every person has the right to contribute to the common good in accordance with their nature. In the local plenary meetings we announce what work needs to be done and who can and wants to do it. The payment for this is 20 gradidos an hour. Everybody is allowed to do 50 hours of paid community work a month to earn their 1,000 gradidos as thanks.”

“What about children and old or sick people?“

“Everyone can contribute something in accordance with their nature. Work is supposed to be a pleasure and give strength. Nobody has to do anything that they do not really like doing. This results in people being very fit up into their old age. If someone happens to fall ill, they will still want to make a useful contribution as they know that it gives them strength and pleasure. And if that isn’t possible, the basic income naturally continues to be paid.

Children want to help in a playful way consistent with their age. Children who are allowed to do something at an early age enjoy this very much. It increases their self-confidence and feeling of responsibility and, besides that, they stay more healthy.”

“You say that everybody has the right to unconditional participation but not the duty. Who is supposed not to want to participate?”

“Some people prefer to spend all their time on their jobs. Because they can earn more money like that, because they are needed more there, because it’s more fun for them or for whatever reason. Everybody is free to decide for themselves.”

“So there can’t be any unemployed at all!“

“No unemployment, no pension problems, better health, more leisure time. The active basic income has so many benefits.”

“Opponents of the unconditional basic income say that it might happen that not enough is produced because too many people don’t want to lift a finger.”

“That is exactly why we introduced the active basic income. Giving and taking belong together. What we contribute is largely up to us but we have to contribute something if we want to earn money. Whether we contribute to the common good or work in the free economy, it is the same as in nature. Everybody does something that is consistent with their nature. A person who likes baking bread bakes bread, someone who like playing a musical instrument plays music. Some citizens practise several professions because they enjoy being versatile. We do what we love, deliver the best quality and are successful. The economy – especially small industry, services and art – flourishes on our planet as never before. On the other hand, everybody only works as long as it’s fun for them. That’s why there is no over-production that pollutes the environment unnecessarily.”

“Who does the dirty work with you?“

“Because of the enormous speed of technological development the dirty work has greatly decreased. Our houses are equipped with compost toilets, which are completely odourless.
All packing material and most commodities can be composted. Our houses are built from natural materials in a unit assembly system. Hard and unpopular work is done by machines. The remaining unpleasant jobs are correspondingly well paid. There are examples of people who have financed wonderful holidays with a bit of dirty work.”

“Are there any other advantages?“

“There are no more compulsory levies such as taxes, contributions to medical insurance or pension insurance…”

“Why’s that?“

“Remember that the second third of the money created is intended for the state budget. As the government creates its money itself, it doesn’t need to raise taxes. That means there are no inland revenue offices, no accounting, no illegal work and much less administration. The government finances social benefits, such as the health service, nursing care, pensions, emergency aid, etc. from the second amount of money created.”

“Isn’t there inflation if the government simply just prints its money?”

“The government doesn’t just simply print money! The money is created in accordance with international agreements with 3,000 gradidos per person per month. It’s the same in all countries. But you’re right! If we hadn’t planned for the money in our system to be perishable, there would be inflation. Decay is a natural law and so inflation would be unplanned decay. The cycle of growth and decay makes the gradido into a self-regulating system. The money supply is stable and can’t be manipulated. It automatically evens out at the value where money creation and perishability are in balance.”

“What do you do about protection of the environment?”

“The last third of the money created goes to the Equalisation and Environment Fund (EEF). An additional amount equal to the government budget is available for nature and the environment. There is no such thing in any other monetary model! Products and services are subsidised depending on how environmentally friendly they are. That’s why nature and protection of the environment have become the most lucrative sectors of the economy. Products that harm the environment have no more chances on the market. Besides that we have amended patent law.”

“What does patent law have to do with protection of the environment?”

“Well, all new ideas and inventions belong to the community. Just imagine, earlier we wasted over a hundred years building vehicles with combustion engines. A terrible stench spread over our planet. In some cities machines were installed so that people could pay to inhale oxygen! At that time all the car manufacturers employed their own research and development teams that kept their results secret or had them patented. In the end almost every single screw was patented. No wonder development didn’t progress. After the amendment of the patent law everyone freely donated their ideas and inventions – in return for a reward from the Equalisation and Environment Fund – and we developed the free-energy propulsion system within just a few months! Like in a big jigsaw puzzle, each inventor and developer placed their piece in the right place.”

“You often use the expression  freely donate. What do you mean by that?”

“Free donation is a crucial part of our economic system. While it used to be important to make big profits, the intention of free donations is to benefit yourself and others as much as possible with as little expense and work as possible. With this it isn’t so important to get something in return because the benefit and joy come back severalfold to the person who freely donated.

A good example is the Natural Economy of Life. The state gives everyone the right of participation. Everybody is allowed to take part and in return receives a thousand gradidos as basic income – »a thousand thanks for being with us«. Because of this there is no more poverty, no unemployment and the more communal services are rendered, the richer all will be together. And that’s only the beginning. With the basic income everybody is taken care of but still has plenty of time left for other things. Many people take on additional jobs. Their earnings are tax-free, for the government has already covered its budget with the second amount of money created. That’s why people can concentrate on their essential activities. Can you imagine how much potential is released in this way? The added value created benefits all the citizens and, in turn, the state.

Another example is what you call neighbourly help: a friend helps another person in the field they know best and supplies what the other person needs. Or you have a certain item to spare that someone else needs. If you give it away you have more room again and the other person has the desired item. As money is available in abundance, it has lost its importance. We’ve all become more generous and have great fun giving things away!”

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Chapter 2.4 – Win-win financing

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

“How can you finance large amounts when money is perishable?”

“Through loans. Both parties benefit from these. The lender gets their money back in full at the time agreed. If they hadn’t granted a loan, their money would have become less because of its transience. The borrower gets an interest-free loan. Here we have a classic win-win situation.”

“I didn’t quite understand that.“

“Imagine a young family would like to build a house and they need a loan for this, let’s say 100,000 gradidos. Other people have a lot of money on their accounts, which would have vanished after a few years. They give the young family loans to the total amount of 100,000 gradidos and the family uses the money to build their house. They pay back the loan in a few years and the lenders have their 100,000 gradidos back in full.”

“That sounds quite simple and logical. Do such things as investments exist?“

“Yes, on one hand, you can lend your money by giving loans and, on the other, you can participate in projects, rather like your shares. However, the need for loans and investments has decreased. After all, everyone is provided for all the time. So they don’t need to accumulate money any more to guard against hard times. The fear of not being provided for has disappeared. We all live much more in the here and now. And we are provided for in the here and now. We often give away a large part of our superfluous money.”


“Yes, when someone is planning a project and still needs more money they write to their friends. The ones who like the project support the person and pass on the request to their friends. So it can happen that the person gets a lot of support from people they didn’t even know beforehand. We call this here-and-now financing.”

“And it works?“

“It depends on the people and the project. Ego-trips can’t be financed like that. You also have donations. You on earth mostly donate to a good cause, for example to help people in need. With us there is nobody in need anymore but there are a lot of good causes. The third syllable of gradido, the “do” stands for »donation«.

“And you really are so generous?“

“Some people more, others less – everyone according to their wish. After all, we have money in abundance. If we try to keep it, it melts away between our fingers. And we get more and more new friends by helping each other. If we need something some day, we will also be helped.”

“That reminds me of the donation buttons we often find on the websites of providers of free software or other free content on the internet. It is a great thing: everyone is allowed to download the software or information free of charge, copy it and pass it on to friends. If you like the thing, you send a donation to the author. Good things can be quickly spread over the whole world without any marketing costs and the authors get money to continue their valuable work.”

“Yes, open source, Creative Commons and similar initiatives are already bridges to the new era. In this way projects which would otherwise hardly be possible can be realised. With our free donations it is similar: we give money to others to help them realise their wishes and projects. We have money in abundance and it’s easy for us to make donations. In addition, there is the feeling of having helped others. Are you happy too, when you can help others?”

“Yes, when I do it completely of my own free will, no matter if someone expects it of me or not. Then I feel good.”

“That’s how it is with the system of free gifts. It’s completely voluntary and it’s fun. Besides that, we see the whole thing more like a game.”

“A game?“

“Yes, money doesn’t have nearly as much importance as it does with you. Since everyone has plenty, you can’t use money to force someone to do something anymore. Money is only a means of motivation, not an instrument of power. Everything has got more playful. Work is play, commerce is play. Anyone who doesn’t want to play the game has a bit less money but still more than enough to live on.”

“Is there still competition?“

“In a sporting sense, yes. Certainly some enterprises are more successful than others. But there are no real losers anymore.”

Friday, November 16, 2012

Chapter 2.5 – The transition

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

“Now I have one more important question: How did you manage the transition? How did you create your Joytopia? Was their any opposition? Was the transition possible without violence?”

“You remember that most of the nations were democracies shortly before the transition. That was a very good thing since in a democracy you can change everything if you have a majority. Do you remember that peaceful changes have been accomplished even in dictatorships on your planet? I’m thinking of India or the reunification of Germany. It’s much easier to make changes in democracies.

It started with some people on Freegaia from the most different classes of society who exposed the causes of the old problems and looked for new ways. First of all, they found many different solutions but gradually the really sustainable solutions emerged. The new social networks created on the internet proved to be extremely favourable. All the necessary software was available at no cost through the open-source movement and Creative Commons made it possible for content to circulate freely.

Portals for online petitions that could reach millions of people at once were created. New political parties developed methods of grassroots democracy with the help of the internet. Protection of nature and the environment were already public issues. Free energy was gradually starting to be discussed. More and more initiatives and organisations were campaigning for peace, social justice, a basic income and a new monetary system. A global change was imminent.

Although the Natural Economy of Life combined many of the single elements right from the start, its advocates had a hard time at the beginning and were often not understood. People don’t like having something foisted on them and they wanted to find the solution themselves. And that’s fine. But now the ground was prepared and the Natural Economy of Life no longer seemed much different from other progressive concepts. Besides, it isn’t something laid down but is a developing research project which everyone is invited to contribute to.

The gradido social network was developed open source. The Gradido Academy was created as a free research network to simulate the Natural Economy of Life and to test and further develop the gradido, the living money, as we called it. Thanks to the decentral structure, communities, associations and organisations were able to communicate with each other. This was how the gradido network was able to spread.

Information on the subject was published under a Creative Commons license. It was allowed to be freely copied and circulated. That was really simple on the internet: you just needed to send the link to your friends. They, in turn, sent it to their friends and so on. In this way it was possible to reach a very large number of people all over the world very quickly.

The research results were collated and the model further refined. An increasing number of people pronounced themselves in favour of it. Online petitions were organised worldwide and these finally led to referendums. The result was phenomenal: the large majority of the population decided in favour of the new model of the natural economy of life.”

“Was there opposition, too?“

“Yes! The banks, which had helped to create the government debt, were against it at the beginning. Some people had fears concerning their property. Others believed that if there was a basic income not enough goods would be produced. Here the superiority of the active basic income, which guarantees unconditional participation, was shown: basic income is not handed out to all and sundry but is tied to an active contribution to the common good.

Informing people worldwide then brought about the turnaround: even members of banks started to speak out in favour of the Natural Economy of Life. So the initial opposition disappeared in the course of time.”

“Did everything go smoothly after the successful referendum?“

“Of course there were difficulties at the beginning but they were nothing compared to problems of the old time.”

“Dear Very, good friend! Thank you so much for this information! I still have one final question before I go back: Where exactly is Freegaia located?”

“A moment ago it was still on another planet but now it is deep in your heart. Good luck!”