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Rethinking Money: How New Currencies Turn Scarcity into Prosperity
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Rethinking Money: How New Currencies Turn Scarcity into Prosperity

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  93 ratings  ·  17 reviews
As the United States struggles and the economies of Europe stagger, we fail to see a way out of this agonizing cycle of repeated financial meltdowns. In fact, there are thousands of ways to solve not only our recurring fiscal crises but our ongoing social and ecological debacles as well. Solutions are already in place where terrible problems once existed. The changes came ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 4th 2013 by Berrett-Koehler Publishers (first published January 4th 2013)
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Sandhya Chandramohan
Jul 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am convinced that the root cause of almost every disaster, every scarcity, every human cause of misery in this world, is the design of money as it exists today. Forget about engineering technological solutions to ease people's lives, the solution is to engineer money, rethink the very basic tenets of economics. Decouple money into it's atomic constructs and rebuild it from the ground up. The tonnes of stories in this book about how various businesses, entrepreneurs, governments, NGOs and local ...more
Adrienne Kiser
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I heard about this book in an NPR interview with the authors and ordered it immediately. I was not disappointed - a very interesting read from start to finish, with well-supported claims of how cooperative currencies could improve lives all over the world (and in fact already are). I definitely recommend this book to anyone, but for people with a social conscience it is practically a must-read.
David Donhoff
May 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: business
Lietaer gets 2 stars here (and I am explaining the *UPSIDE*) for the 3 chapters of Part One (or 3 parts) of the book. He does a good job of ripping back the cover that hides how and where modern day fiat currency comes from, and the problems with its risk, opportunity costs, and interest charges as issued debt which has been conjured up completely from elitist imagination.

Unfortunately, after perfectly describing the vision and contours of the mountain peaks to be climbed... he pulls on swim
May 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I would rate the book lower than five if I took off stars for over-enthusiasm and too many stories about the topic. But, what makes it so important is that it describes monetary systems that are operating either in other countries or right under our noses. From the Berkshares, a local currency, accepted by five local banks, to the Swiss Wir, a parallel currency that is used mostly when the major currency is most under stress. These systems have the benefit of not being based on scarcity and ...more
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, own-it
I like the ideas and examples that are provided in this book. I would like to see some of the examples provided in action. The stories are good and I like the examples of what could happen in the future. Having a finance background and seeing the large divide between poor and rich. I like the idea that there is a way to close the gap. I hope these different kinds of currencies will work and is picked up. I wonder with the current state of affairs in the US if any new currencies will be created. ...more
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Highly pessimistic and optimistic both, this is a good primer for alternative currencies and potential paradigm shifts with regards to money, community, and education. Worth reading for inspiration even with its failings. Would be a good book to bring to a church or community adult education class.
Brenden Black
Dec 11, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is tackling a very important subject, and it starts and finishes admirably. Throughout the middle it stopped being the kind of book I wanted to read on this topic in a way that I can't exactly describe. I'm not comfortable with this rating, but I am sure this is a book worth reading.
Aug 02, 2019 rated it liked it
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Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Although we often forget, money is just a social construct. Today's monetary system, as the authors explain, is characterized by a "monopoly of one type of money, in the form of fiat, scarcity-based, interest-bearing national currencies." And the system has had deleterious effects. Just like monocultures in agriculture, monocultures in money increase risk. The manufacturing of scarcity by banks create a society that privileges competition over cooperation. Debt- and interest-driven money both ...more
B Smith
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved how this book offered a completely reframed way of understanding money (almost as if it sprung out of a chapter of Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens highlighting so many human fictions). It offers an accessible technical breakdown of why the current model isn't functioning and how few people - even those tasked with being in charge - actually know how it functions. And it surveys a wide range of alternatives that are already in play.

There is a section that provides guidance for the future as
May 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Many of the examples opened me up to other ways of thinking about creating new behaviors, but I did stumble a few times over what I believe to be factual errors or mischaracterizations of people or events. I’d read more though.
Jenni Huttunen
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Pop science book for people interested (with interest) of how money works. But does it answer to what money is, not what is does, as it promises in the beginning?
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: economics, futures
This book is regarded as a classic by the proponents of new money. It is hard to see why. The book does open with a very strong start. It analyses the problems with money and how the current monetary structure is likely to lead us into a succession of crises. The analysis is quite good.

Of particular note is the distinction between the present use of money (medium of exchange and unit of account) and the future use of money (store of wealth and standard for deferred payments). The authors
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads and would recommend it to everyone who is interested in the well-being of our society. Money is causing so many unwanted and theoretically unnecessary issues in the ability for us to thrive. The authors offer stories that are inspiring and informative when it comes to the allocation of money and the ways that change can and is happening outside of the formal, governmental monetary system. After reading this book, I am inspired to make ...more
Jan 31, 2015 rated it liked it
I needed to read this book to add to my knowledge of why money and jobs seem so scarce in our economy. I have very little background in either economics or finance.

Some of the ideas in this book seem very important, especially the way that the type of currency we use influences our social behavior and the ongoing development of social capital. But I have to agree with many of the negative comments about the book's coherence and the authors' over-enthusiasm about certain alternative currencies.
Steven Fake
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
While nontraditional currencies may well serve some productive functions, this book dramatically oversells their potential. The discussion is also marred by pervasive fuzzy thinking and deeply flawed argumentation. Not a serious work.
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Amazing book on complementary currency. Provides many solutions to our current economic system.
Explains that the problem is a systemic one, not ideological, political or otherwise.
Geoff Hancock
rated it it was amazing
Feb 10, 2018
Malcolm Mason Rodriguez
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Jan 21, 2020
James E. Dunne III
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Jan 31, 2015
Antonio, Fabio Di Narzo
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Nov 13, 2016
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Jan 18, 2016
Nick Van
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Apr 26, 2014
Guy Dauncey
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Nov 25, 2015
Jon Berthet
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Mar 09, 2015
Christophe Jospe
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Dec 29, 2018
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Nov 26, 2015
rated it it was ok
Sep 06, 2015
Joshua Dembicki
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Sep 29, 2015
rated it liked it
May 18, 2014
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Bernard Lietaer was a civil engineer, economist, author and professor.
“Even in the domain of conventional currencies, this trend is in evidence. Today, 14 U.S. states, namely, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, have taken action to create their own state currency, usually backed by a precious metal such as gold or silver.24 In the case of Utah, for example, the Utah Legislature has passed a bill allowing gold and silver coins to be used as legal tender in the state—and for the value of their precious metal, not just the face value of the coins. Utah’s bill allows stores to accept gold and silver coins as legal tender. It also exempts gold and silver transactions from the state’s capital gains tax, though that does not shield exchanges from federal taxes.” 0 likes
“It is a slow day in the small Saskatchewan town of Pumphandle, and streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody is living on credit. A tourist visiting the area drives through town, stops at the motel, and lays a $100 bill on the desk saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs to pick one for the night. As soon as he walks upstairs, the motel owner grabs the bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to the pig farmer. The pig farmer takes the $100 and heads off to pay his bill to his supplier, the Co-op. The guy at the Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer her “services” on credit. The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel owner. The hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so the traveler will not suspect anything. At that moment, the traveler comes down the stairs, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, picks up the $100 bill, and leaves. No one produced anything. No one earned anything. However, the whole town is now out of debt and looking to the future with a lot more optimism.” 0 likes
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