Austerity-ravaged Europe is a breeding ground for new, experimental economies

In Spain, where a recession is expected to get even worse after the government passed $80 billion worth of austerity measures, new economies are springing up all around the country that aren’t dependent on the crippled euro. The economies are based on barter and exchange.

For example, “time banks” are popping up around Spain – that allow workers to trade in their services in hours – and receive services in return. Labor and services are thus exchanged through hours – and not through currencies. Tens of thousands of citizens are participating in more than 325 time banks all around Spain – making it one of the largest modern economic experiments in recent history. Similar time banks can be found in Greece and Portugal, too – as alternatives to the corporate free-market, austerity recovery being pushed by banksters and technocrats.

As the Washington Post describes these new economies, “These experiments aim to take communities back to a time when goods and services were bartered, before things such as interest rates, market speculation, and derivatives complicated the financial world.” Clearly, the globalized, free market experiment of the last thirty years has failed us, and it’s time to look for new alternatives.


Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 42 weeks ago

Napoleon´s Nightmare: Guerrilla Warfare in Spain (1808-1814)
by José de la Pisa
"This paper maintains that this occurred because of the insurrection of the entire nation, and in particular the formation of a fierce and indomitable unconventional army: the Guerrilla. Encouraged and supported by the people, the Guerrilla gave the struggle the character of People in Arms: “Guerrilla” came to represent the spirit of rebellion that undermined the foundations of the Napoleonic Empire.

The guerrillas forced the French troops on the Peninsula into a dilemma that they never resolved: How to fight against regular armies, while simultaneously fighting against guerrilla operations that constantly threatened their rear, and the lines of communication and supply, thus forcing the deployment of more troops throughout the conquered territories. Napoleon never seemed able to grasp the danger of the insurrection and the guerrilla. This miscalculation was the leading cause of the downfall of his Empire."**

**Our founding fathers kicked out the British. And the British Empire was kicked out of India and nearly everywhere else...and maybe soon, hopefully, in the Malvinas. The Russian people kicked out the Tzars, the French people kicked out the Monarchs. The French were kicked out of Vietnam. The US was kicked out of Vietnam. Afghanistan kicked out the Russians and the English before that. Libya overthrew their corrupt government. Egypt overthrew their corrupt government. All over the world, the people are saying they have had enough of this ruling elitism that selfishly denies life, liberty, and happiness to everyone else.

All of these countries were successful in overcoming what seemed like irresistibly superior armed forces. Will the people of the US eventually have the balls to do the same with the corrupt regimes that have taken over America? I wonder if China or Russia or any other country would support the future U.S. "rebels" like the US is supporting the "rebels" in Syria. It has long been known that you cannot really win a war without winning the hearts and minds of the people because the greater masses of the people greatly outnumber the armed forces and can act in ways that are not anticipated by the superior forces. They cannot be everywhere at once...the people can. So, they are desperately trying to use propaganda to sway and confuse the masses in order to weaken their resolve. Nobody wants it to happen, but since the ruling elite leaves us no choice, as they are undoubtedly not going to change, it leaves the people no choice either. The people are backed into a corner from which there is no hope left.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 11 years 42 weeks ago

A couple days ago on Ed Schulz's radio show, the President of the Steel Workers' Union said they had set up a toll-free number to help people register to vote in Pennsylvania. The number was either 1-866-OURVOTE or 1-877-OURVOTE. They're providing transportation at the very least.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 42 weeks ago

‘Operation Free Assange’: Anonymous take down Interpol website

Anonymous attacks UK government websites to protest Assange-case

Saudi Aramco Oil Producer's 30,000 workstations victim of Cyber Attack

Team GhostShell leak One Million Records

Anonymous may hack Mars rover 'Curiosity'

Anonymous hacks hundreds of Chinese government sites

Julian Assange supporters claim to have hacked Cambridge University

TruthAddict's picture
TruthAddict 11 years 42 weeks ago

Money is currently loaned into existence by private banks which requires a continual growth in the money supply to pay back the loan plus interest.

For a sustainable future this concept of money is clearly not the best model for the exchange goods and services. Time for a change anyone?

dowdotica's picture
dowdotica 11 years 42 weeks ago

welcome "back" to the dark ages! so much for evolution, huh?'s picture 11 years 42 weeks ago

Trade and barter happens all the time. It's not new and it's not "going back to the Dark Ages." It sure as hell is a good way to avoid the practice of usury, which banks and other corporate vultures use to their and no one else's advantage. One of the issues it also brings up is, using barter and trade, taxes are not being collected and going to provide essential services.

ikeberltersen's picture
ikeberltersen 11 years 42 weeks ago

This is how people escape the corporate chokehold. People who provide real goods and services can trade with other people providing the same, without a corporate entity that provides no real goods or services taking its cut. Global corporatism's promise of riches for all has proven to be fools gold, a venture supported in the short run by a fast buck mentality and finite energy resources. That chapter is closing now. What's happening in Spain will eventually take place in America and everywhere. Corporations will lose their dominance over people's lives when the people turn their back on them.

Craig Bush's picture
Craig Bush 11 years 42 weeks ago

We want a 4 day work week. A 3 day alternate shift with a liveable wage. Your funny money has no value like before this century. We want our lives back. Give the children their parents back. Banish overtime. If we did these things there would be very little unemployment. We could build energy and water efficient homes for single income families to own. We must demand a 4 day work week everywhere in all languages.

historywriter's picture
historywriter 11 years 42 weeks ago

Doesn't have anything to do with evolution.

historywriter's picture
historywriter 11 years 42 weeks ago

With the increased productivity brought about by technology, we could have a 3 or 4-day work week.

There are alternatives to our economy. One is, and it has been successfully done, is worker ownership of the business. I think that would be a wonderful idea. I used to work at a computer company under managers that not only had no education or experience in the sort of thing we did, but really knew nothing and learned nothing during their time as managers. The idea that a manager doesn't have to know what his/her workers are doing is a chimera. Some of us practically begged to help improve the processes. Some of us practically begged to do something about our colleagues who did almost nothing all day long. Or were as ignorant as our managers.

Co-oops and worker-owned companies and barter could go a long way toward changing our culture. But we have to change the focus from making lots of money to supporting all of us well and working on community--and spiritual practices and directions, good citizenship and the like.

I won't live that long.

Sojourner_Lisa's picture
Sojourner_Lisa 11 years 42 weeks ago

The people are tired of the tyranny of the elite banker-class running and ruining the lives of hard working people that refuse to live like slaves or serfs. These time banks are the beginning of a solutions based, peaceful uprising.

Karl Smiley's picture
Karl Smiley 11 years 42 weeks ago

Over the last few years there is a growing "hours" community in the central Willamette valley in Oregon. Many people take full hours in pay and some, like me for my clay art and CDs, take 50% in hours. There are many who accept hours for local produce. You can google Hour Trader Corvallis to check us out. I'm not listed in the Summer issue, but I will be in the fall.

Harry Kellogg's picture
Harry Kellogg 11 years 42 weeks ago

Ithaca, NY used to have Ithaca Bucks. You earned them by barter and spent them on local goods and services. I don't know is this is still going on but it worked for decades.

Ha found it in Forbes no less...

Loren Bliss's picture
Loren Bliss 11 years 42 weeks ago

Yes, time banks give an entirely new meaning to the phrase "will work for food."

But, based on the few U.S. examples of such arrangements I saw during the 1960s, they are utterly useless to an intellectual like myself because my skills -- the entire journalistic/academic package of writing, editing, research, photography, publication design etc. -- are utterly useless in terms of feeding people, especially now during the uniquely anti-intellectual New Hard Times of today.

Meanwhile the skills I have that could in fact feed people or contribute to their physical well-being in today's apocalyptic world -- fishing, hunting, organic gardening, rough carpentry, engine and boat mechanics (the last the legacy of a long-ago year as the engineer on a 96-foot salmon seiner) -- all these abilities are utterly nullified by the fact old age, spinal injury and arthritis have reduced me to a cripple.

Point being, what happens to those of us who, like myself, have nothing tangible to trade?

The answer is obvious: we are discarded as useless and left to die, exactly as the Ruling Class intends.

David E. Cowlishaw's picture
David E. Cowlishaw 11 years 42 weeks ago


Thank you for the first in-line, for examining a growing problem since time immemoriable! Jesus chased out the money lenders, and even though I am no longer considering myself a "good christian", he had something there, a concept that runs deep.

In my opinion, the "Third Party" to any agreement has become the problem.

Shakespere stated it best "Neither a borrower, nor a lender be, do not forget, stay out of debt". Ok, some literary license here, I am quoting an addapted musical play. "First, kill all the Lawyers" was perhaps, more succinct.

A third party to any barter has become the new kingdom of rapacious "entrepeneurs", including taxing authorities, that will interject themselves into a trade between two farmers. For example, one wants to trade a brown horse for his neighbor's grey horse, perhaps just to mix up the genetics.

A third party comes in, demanding their "cut", and a chain saw rips up both horses, cutting them into thirds, leaving all parties with dog meat (or human comsumable meat, if you can stomach eating horse meat, against your objection to turning a working lifetime riding and work partner, into food, for all three partners in the trade, as tempory rations).

Eliminating transactional taxation, on any level, was the founding anathema for the United States' original charter (No state shall make anything other than Bold or Silver Coin a tender in payment of debt). We went further, into NOT directly taxing accumulated wealth (property), but rather taxing "interest, and income" on capital investments.

That has been turned around into "opposite world" lately.

The original legal definition of "Income", was gains aquired as an "employee" of a corporation that one held stock in (and NOT wages!), or interest gained on capital investment, or "loans".

And thus, (through the elimination of material trade in substance as money, replacing it with a promise to pay, some day), that third party has ascended to royal proportions.

Mitt Romney is a clear example of the royalty of the "third party" trading scheme. "Leveraged buy-outs" can place "bets" on the future, that they can control between one farmer, and the farmer's market.

But I digress. SO much to say, but living within a controled forum, my raised hand will only be a flicker of a finger, and my outrage will only be released, once someone clearly states the case of "OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!"

Those that don't study history, are doomed to repeat it.

David E. Cowlishaw

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 42 weeks ago

Bitcoins was an interesting currency for a while, although very volatile, until servers were hacked and $90,000 was stolen. Interesting that it was giving the FBI fits because bitcoin users were very difficult to track down. It created a situation where money was easily laundered.

"Although Bitcoins have become increasingly popular because they can be used to purchase goods and services when other currency is not feasible, some skeptics have condemned the system for poor security practices. Only ten weeks before the latest breach, hackers infiltrated the e-wallets of Bitcoin customers hosted on cloud-hosting provider Linode and managed to apprehend over 46,703 BTC (almost $228,845 USD worth)"

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 42 weeks ago

We might start with horse meat but eventually we'll likely be eating Soylent Green. Alas, poor Yorick!

David E. Cowlishaw's picture
David E. Cowlishaw 11 years 42 weeks ago

Clearly, "hours working" are not a viable coin of trade. Organization of those hours, intelligence in making them "profitable", and new ways of doing things (patentable), will have differing values.

A "Bill Gates" or "Steve Jobs" contributes to our society by changing the paradigm, making each and every one of us "richer" as a result. Ok, I have to throw in Nicola Tesla in this thought, just because. He paid his staff by dividing the gold medalion between trusted workers, just to keep the faith, and recognizing their value to his endeavors, AFTER the "money changers" cut him off, because he wanted to make electricity "free". He even ripped up an agreement to charge a dollar for every watt (Kilowatt?) of power delivered by George Westinghouse to his customers, just to see it happen.

And, Loren Bliss, you DO still have things to trade, such as your experience, and ability to see what is coming next, by making plans, and speaking out, to prevent a loss for our communities. History is hard won, within the experience of our lifetimes.

DavidC - 11:41 PM, Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Kend's picture
Kend 11 years 42 weeks ago

Criag you live in a free country. You can work as little or as much as you what. Just don't expect to have what I have when I work 70 hours a week.

Time bank is just tax evasion, that will help get them out of there money trouble.

I have a new crazy idea. How about not spending more than you have.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 42 weeks ago

Funny how people who seem to support conservative ideas belittle tax evasion and claim that Progressives in the US are doing what the conservatives are masters of, themselves. And coming from someone in Alberta, Canada where their so-called "conservative" government acts more like a progressive just seems very hypocritical for one who receives all of those "progressive" benefits in Alberta to talk down their nose at anything "progressive" in the US.

Albertans have Individual personal tax exemptions of $16977 (compared to $3,700 in the US), personal income taxes roughly equaling corporate income taxes of roughly 20%, and grants from the federal government primarily for infrastructure projects of 9.8%. 30.4% of Alberta's GNP comes from royalties on non-renewable natural resources like the oil sands and natural gas.

And on top of that ..."In accordance with the Canada Health Act, Alberta has a publicly administered and funded health care system that guarantees eligible residents of Alberta receive universal access to medically necessary hospital and health care services."

rs allen 11 years 42 weeks ago

I guess mentally the concept of a barter system can be argued on infinitum, in the real world it's been going on forever between all the actual producers of goods and services.

Those that don't return value in kind (wheather in perception or real content) aren't dealt with again. One learns who to deal with and whom not to deal with as well as what ones value is worth to the community at large.

It's simple, and no government or monity system will ever change it.

OR be able to tax it.........

dowdotica's picture
dowdotica 11 years 42 weeks ago

like i said welcome back to the dark ages...

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 42 weeks ago

Only loan sharks make it possible to spend more than a person has. How can you spend more than you have if you don't have it to begin with unless you borrow it...and how is it that the system has been gamed...through get people so indebted that they will lose everything that they may have earned, including the equity in their defaulted houses.

This sinister unregulated capitalist "free market" system uses psychology experts in marketing to get people to buy in to the idea that they need things they really don't need and to pay way more than they can afford for those things.

Some people are not smart enough and/or educated enough to see through this charade or the intricacies of finance, investment, mortgage lending, legalese fine print and they are victimized by those who are smarter. And this is the reason why we need a government that looks after and protects the interests of the majority of people and not help those rapacious capitalist wolves unfairly exploit them.

Many smart people, who already have lots of money, know that they don't know everything and have the ability (money) to buy the expert paid opinions of lawyers or financial advisers. Someone struggling to make ends meet, who are propagandized into believing (through commercials, etc) that they have the ability to rise above their means, their last chance to take advantage of the promises (lies) the capitalist, rapacious, wolves entrap them with, will get baited into entering into legal agreements that eventually leaves them worse off than they would have been had they not fallen for the bait.

And even some very smart people get caught in the trap. People can be brilliant in some things and just plain stupid in others. Commercialism, propaganda, and hidden or embedded messages in movies and other media help to get people to react in ways that may result in damaging ones future interests....just to be called names like "free-loader" by conservative simpletons who have not yet felt the pangs of reality yet.

At first, they shipped the relatively unskilled jobs overseas...and they told us that it lets our country "move up" to more highly skilled jobs. Then they shipped the more highly skilled jobs overseas...and they told us it lets our country "move up" to more professional jobs. Then they shipped the more professional jobs overseas...and they told us it lets out country "move up" the only thing left is a few scamster Wall Street speculators who drive up prices on everything from oil to food...and at the bottom is a whole nation of unemployed people who are struggling to pay for that food and oil. It went down just as it did in the mortgage market...where they told us we should "move up" into bigger and more expensive houses...because there is no where else the market will go but up. The ever expanding bubble! Pop! The ever expanding bubble! Pop!

dowdotica's picture
dowdotica 11 years 42 weeks ago

man i love that movie!

dowdotica's picture
dowdotica 11 years 42 weeks ago

and what is, is in fact in the moment of isness and with each dropping sand grain what is bcomes what was...

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 11 years 42 weeks ago

Which one? Soylent Green or Hamlet? Just kidding! Yes, Soylent Green was great!

David E. Cowlishaw's picture
David E. Cowlishaw 11 years 30 weeks ago

THANKS Palindromedary!;

Apparently you see the difference between making it "on our own" as a constitutionally given right, with substance as trade, and "priveleged exchanges" between bankster alowed trades, that are taxed, regulated, and aportioned among the "peons" as would be allowed by our "royalty", lately in the form of "banksters".

Interestingly, "No State Shall Make ANYTHING OTHER THAN GOLD OR SILVER COIN A TENDER IN PAYMENT OF DEBT", is still the Law. The Feds realized that this particular constitutional wording did NOT apply to the federal government.

This has left the states with a rather large legal monetary problem. I actually used the "money" defense against the driver's "license" issue (a license is permission to do that which is ordinarily illegal or unLawful), in a state court, and I got a response to a three page brief, "You are required to pay in $_________" (Dollar sign, blank line).

Helter Skelter! Once we are no longer a nation of Laws, but a tribe of peons, ruled by those that can yell the loudest, reason no longer holds sway, and the gillotine will once again hold sway, along with torches, and riled up villiagers.

"David E. Cowlishaw" (search term in quotes) - 11:41 PM, Sunday, 18 November 2012

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