Adam I. Gerard

Toward Gift Economics #1

Ex Nihil

I previously discussed a concept I described as "Sovereign Wealth Funds". This post describes a specific implementation using the already-existing notion of a community currency.

Community currencies

Wikipedia lists several community currencies. Here are several similar concepts:

  1. Coupons
  2. Laundry Tokens
  3. Credit Scores - used to abstract repayment percentages - the score itself can be used to directly obtain money through loans
  4. Reward Points

Below, I shall refer to the nascent idea expressed in this post as a kind of coupon.


A few challenges:

  1. Getting businesses, services, and institutions to accept
  2. Inflationary impact unknown
  3. Lack of long-term scientific and economic data


How does this differ exactly from existing systems (such as those described above)? How is this new?

  1. Not welfare, no tax money transferred
  2. Issued coupon
  3. Does not have to be exchanged into dollars
  4. Coupons that are issued by local communities and accepted by institutions and businesses
  5. Not accepted outside regional zone - is not asserted as universal legal tender. Acceptance is voluntary.
  6. Driven by futuristic gift economics (reciprocal - in some sense an abstraction of traditional market transactions) rather than existing market economic systems but supplements deficiencies with market systems on a regional or city levels
  7. There are level of constraints that can be imposed based on need (the needs of say Berkeley versus say the needs of a small town in rural Iowa).
  8. Rewards can be granted to those who are in good standing - think car insurance premium reductions for those who don’t get in accidents.


What are some specifics that would assist with making this idea actionable?

  1. Coupons that are exchangeable for specific basic needs - housing, food, transportation, etc.
  2. Coupons that are non-monetary but accepted by institutions in the same way that laundry tokens are used to do one’s laundry at a laundromat
  3. Once accepted, these coupons convert and are universally usable by any business accepting them - they may or may not be exchangeable into US dollars
  4. Thus, they are “two-tiered coupons” or “dual-facing” coupons in that they originate as single use coupons and after they are first transacted convert into a more general coupon.
  5. They would likely have to be digital to have this “transmuting” or self-altering effect. At least digital in some way.


What would this be like in practice?

  1. Housing coupon - individuals who are issued the coupon can only use the housing coupon for housing
  2. Once accepted by a non-profit, school, business, etc. the coupon can be used by any other business, school, non-profit, etc. accepted.
  3. Coupons for housing, transport, computer, food, phone, etc.
  4. They need not be restricted to specific categories - they could simple be universal "single-tiered" coupons.