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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: June 2019

13 - Conclusions and Possibilities

Summary

In this concluding chapter, I address the implications of my argument throughout this book that many destructive aspects of the contemporary global economy are consequences of the use of general purpose money to organize social and human-environmental relations, and that the political ideals of sustainability, justice, and resilience will only be feasible if money is redesigned. The argument is based on the conviction that human artifacts such as money play a crucial role in organizing society, and that closer attention should be paid to the design and logic of such artifacts, rather than devoting disproportionate intellectual energy to theorizing and meticulously tracing their complex repercussions in terms of patterns of human behavior, as if those patterns were amenable to regulation without redesigning the artifacts that generate them. What is generally referred to as capitalism, I maintain, is the aggregate logic of human decisions about the management of money. Visions of a postcapitalist society using conventional money is thus a contradiction in terms. The chapter sketches a possible redesign of money based on the idea that each country establishes a complementary currency for local use only, which is distributed to all its residents as a basic income. The distinction between two separate spheres of exchange would insulate local sustainability and resilience from the deleterious effects of globalization and financial speculation. To indicate that the suggestion is not as unrealistic as it may seem at first sight, I briefly and provisionally respond to some of the many questions raised by the proposal.