Hosted by CRCS, Dr. Delton Chen has unveiled a new web site — www.Global4C.org — explaining his proposal to use a new global complementary currency to reward carbon mitigation and sequestration. The proposal was recognized in last year’s MIT Climate Colab contest, and is explained in detail on the web site. Some notes on the project:
- The idea for the Global 4C Mitigation proposal was initiated by Dr. Delton Chen in June 2013 at Al Gore’s Climate Reality workshop in Istanbul, Turkey, and was conceived on the intuition that a new currency should be developed to globally finance greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation. Dr. Chen devised the theoretical framework while traveling in Eastern Europe and Central America in 2013.
What we’re doing fits within the framework of “whole systems development.” It is made possible by the new levels of human coordination and communication in the digital age — what some people have called the emergence of “the global brain” — and by the possibility of pragmatic and sustainable solutions to human problems.
We are, in our own way, an expression of the most significant event so far in the course of human history, where we graduate to a new level of integrity, responsibility, and interrelationship with ourselves, with other species, and with the universe as a whole. If we’re aware of it, if it’s happening here, it’s likely also happening in many other places and contexts on the Earth. But it’s significant either way: whether we’re leading or joining the parade does not matter as much as the fact of our participation and our stand.
We have a number of ideas that we want to contribute to society, and we want that contribution to be recognized and rewarded in a way that’s proportionate to the value that’s created, so we’ve come up with the idea of a Contribution Economy. This economy would be fueled by an alternative global currency, Commons Credits (CC), awarded according to rules established and continuously updated by a collaborative of the best minds of our era.
“In 1929 I began to consider what the little individual could do on behalf of his fellow man that government and corporations could not do. It became evident that the individual was the only one that could deliberately find the time to think in a cosmically adequate manner. Each human has his lifetime to invest. If he commits to operations in cosmic integrities he will find himself participating in nature’s own formulations and will realize the potentials of her various freedoms and choices, to be employed to the advantage of all human beings to come, in order that humans may fulfill their cosmic functioning on board of our planet.”
—R. Buckminster Fuller
Certainly Buckminster Fuller was no “ordinary individual,” as he liked to think of himself, but he did not consider any other humans as potentially less capable than himself. Each of us has our unique contribution to make, which is taking the next step for ourselves. Such a step is never arbitrary, in that it occurs inside of a given set of circumstances, and is given to us by the totality of our unique life experiences and understandings. But it is also voluntarily chosen. It is possible to seek one’s calling, to discover one’s inner purpose, but ultimately we also have to choose it.
A proposal authored by Dr. Delton Chen, and sponsored by CRCS, has won in the 2014 MIT Climate CoLab Competition. The Global 4C proposal was not the winner of the final prize, but it was a winner and very well received and recognized at the conference.
The conference itself — or at least the part we were present for — was itself quite fascinating, and remarkable for the variety of entries, the keynotes, and of course the conversations in the halls. We were unfortunately detained in New Jersey for a crucial meeting on Thursday morning (which turned out well, advancing the cause of PACE financing in New Jersey), and then set off for Boston in drenching rain, poor visibility, and at least four major accidents along the way. Harrowing. We finally made it around 3:45 to the venue, and got to the breakout room for your presentation just as you were answering the last question.
People felt the proposal was serious and well thought-through, and were happy to speak with us about it. The videos, and above all the new radio interview, linked below, have made the idea very clear and accessible, so we no longer have to spend much time clearing up misconceptions.
Without really giving it too much thought, I’ve been calling the economic philosophy that we’ve been working on “the Contribution Economy.” The idea is simple, perhaps even simplistic: since people get the greatest satisfaction from “making their contribution,” why shouldn’t we have an economy based on their doing so? If everyone got to make their highest contribution, and felt they were doing so effectively, wouldn’t we have a more successful economy, i.e., one that satisfied more people?
Compensating people for what they contribute seems both the fairest approach, and a way to incentive what we want most, which is to encourage people to make their highest contribution to society overall. Of course, there’s a certain minimum that everyone requires to live (which many people currently fail to receive), and this ought to be considered their reward for simply “showing up.”
We’re committed to a future that has New Jersey PACE as a local success story in the making. Working back from this future, what will this look like, and what will it mean for New Jersey?
Let’s imagine what New Jersey might look like in ten years with PACE. Continue reading
Developing our crowdfunding campaign is giving us an extraordinary opportunity to explore using PACE to revitalize New Jersey communities. By itself, PACE is an innovative business model that creates jobs and economic development while providing the ultimate tool to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on private properties. But leveraging PACE for community development is where the real payoff is, that is to say, for the benefit of the community as a whole.
There is increasing awareness of and interest in the role of complementary currencies in local communities and around the world. In Deep Economy (2007), Bill McKibben notes, “If you really want to make a local economy soar, the most important step might be to create a local currency.” More than 4000 complementary currencies are in use around the world; as the name implies, their role is to supplement traditional currencies, not replace them. In a series of books, the Belgian economist and civil engineer Bernard Lietaer has studied and reported on many of these currencies and demonstrated their usefulness in a variety of contexts. While nowhere near as involved in this area of research, the authors are responsible for the original concept and successful demonstration of a commercial credit exchange, in Ottawa, Canada, in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The present proposal grows out of this experience as well as drawing on the work of Lietaer and others, and is further explained in a companion piece called “A New Currency?” available here.
CRCS has published two papers relating to alternative or complementary currencies, which can be downloaded below.
 Bill McKibben: Deep Economy: the Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future (2007), p. 162
 Lietaer, who many consider the “father” of the single European currency, has been involved in the development of alternative currencies for more than forty years. He is the author or co-author of The Future of Money: Beyond Greed and Scarcity (2001), New Money for a New World (2011), and Money & Sustainability: the missing link (2012), a publication of the Club of Rome.
 Called Credex, the exchange involved more than 100 companies and operated successful as a pilot project during 1990-91.