New money for a new economy

How can we co-create a new economy which puts people and planet before profit?

The first economic repercussions of Covid 19 on co-operatives are emerging, and there have been calls on the UK government to ensure future trade agreements don’t open countries up to more exploitation. “Money must be seen as the means of mastery of all economic and political problems,” said scholar and campaigner E C Riegel. “Until we have mastered money we shall not master any of our problems.”

Money – and how new forms of money can be used to create a more collaborative, co-operative economy which facilitates ethical trade without exploiting the planet – is the focus of the OPEN 2020 conference, due to take place on 11-12 June in London. 

“OPEN 2020 has two aims,” says Oli Sylvester-Bradley, of Open Co-op, which is hosting the event. “Firstly, to inform attendees about the nature of money, the transformative nature of mutual credit and the latest tools and technologies which support a decentralised, democratic economy. And secondly, to connect businesses and individuals with the people, tools and technologies to help them co-create, collaborate and start trading in a new, regenerative economy.”

The conference, which is in its fourth year, will bring together leaders in alternative monetary theory, community currency designers and practitioners, decentralised technologists, blockchain developers and cryptocurrency experts, alongside co-operative business owners and open source software developers, says Mr Sylvester-Bradley. 

“We will share insights, address a series of questions and co-create solutions for the new economy … We are particularly interested in welcoming members of UK co-ops who are interested in strengthening their commitment to principle 6: Co-operation among Co-operatives, by becoming ‘anchor institutions’ of the new economy.”

To kick off the event, attendees will be presented with an introduction to the nature of money and the core challenges of a new economy through a series of talks and presentations from experts in the field of alternative economics.

“Working in small groups, participants will also collaborate and share knowledge to define the most pressing questions and needs of the attendees within a facilitated open space. We will work together, reflecting on presentations, case studies and lessons learned from successful and failed alternative economy projects, to explore the available solutions and to co-create new strategies where existing ideas do not suffice,” added Mr Sylvester-Bradley. 

Sessions will be split into different levels for ‘Beginners’, ‘Intermediates’ and ‘Experts’ to ensure everyone has the opportunity to gain the most from the event. The ultimate aim is to give delegates a detailed understanding of money, mutual credit and alternative currencies – and the benefits and opportunities they offer.

“There will also be discussions around the latest updates and information from a wide range of new economy projects, the understanding of the tools, technologies and protocols which support a decentralised economy, and guidance and implementation strategies for starting local, federated mutual credit networks in your region or country.”

To find out more, visit 2020.open.coop. If you are interested in presenting ideas, have suggestions, a concept or working alternative to conventional, fiat money, which puts people and planet before profit please propose a session here.

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