Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Looking Back Through the Bottlenecks

Assume we are in the not too distant future when our Emission Reduction Currency System is operational and growing.

In this imagined future we have had our first Annual General Meeting, adopted our Constitution, elected our officers (anyone up for the challenge of building a genuinely NEW kind of community from the ground up! WE NEED YOU!), have signed up members and distributed Booyas and they are actually being accepted as currency by other members.

HOORAY! Doesn't that feel good! We've done it!

Imagining we are already where we are headed is a part of the challenge. Otherwise all the mundane and difficult steps, each one taking time and energy and attention, that we need to take, one after the other, can make achieving a dream seem impossible.

So celebrate the vision. We have succeeded in finding a way of moving forwards. We are no longer cynical, despondent, waiting for politicians and impersonal powers to dig us out of the global environmental and energy crisis that we all have been complicit in. We are beyond all that now. We are having fun, making friends, doing meaningful work and literally "making money out of thin air" and a bit of care.

And what do we do when we are through all these inevitable bottlenecks?


Which happens to be precisely the same thing that we need to do right now.

This is a thought that one of our members, Nick, shared with me. Nick was a bit more to the point actually.

Nick has recently been successful in getting our Local Council to go along with his stalwart group of volunteers in granting land and resources for creating a community garden. We went to a council planning meeting this week and everything is going better than expected. Now they are doing whatever comes next.

On a more abstract level, Nick dropped by over the weekend and we had a lively conversation about a potential bottleneck in the Maia Maia Project currency system, one of these things on the far side of next. If we award Maia Maia groups annually for dropping below their original baselines and if businesses also contribute their emissions reductions to the system, won't the value of a Booya inevitably go down as the numbers of Booyas in the system goes up? In other words, won't we have inflation?

This is a question that has bothered me for sometime and I think Nick and I came up with a potential answer for you all to consider. Suppose the Maia Maia Project levies a surcharge, say 5%, on each Booya transaction. Some of this surcharge could 'pay' volunteers and retire the initial loans of Booyas to new members. However, after 20 transactions (for a 5% surcharge) a Booya would be removed from circulation and be stored in a Reserve account. Eventually a portion of the Reserve would be 'retired' and would be considered then as a 'permanent' reduction in emissions by the scheme. Alternatively, if there were more opportunities to spend Booyas that there were Booyas to spend, some of the Reserve could be donated back to the grants scheme to increase opportunities for folks to earn Booyas. By managing the Reserve and surcharge rates the Maia Maia Project can manage inflation and deflation in the scheme in much the same way as a Reserve Bank does in the national economy.

Hopefully this last paragraph hasn't become a bottleneck in itself for anyone.

The good news is, you are already on the other side of it :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

ERCS and Other Mythical Beasts

I have taken the liberty of posting a document summarising all of our group's ideas which we have generated over the last two years (What is the Maia Maia Project).

The document is structured as a how-to guide for anyone else with perhaps more organisational accumen to take over. The ideas are important and revolutionary and should take on a life of their own in the right hands. Hopefully someone out there on the web can beat us to the punch and take all the credit as this could save us alot of hard work :)

Some developments that have occured by our own hands in the last 6 months are:

1. We established a coherent general concept as to the underlying value of booyas and how they fit into the community from our Camp Runamuck retreat.

2. Our ideas have consolidated into an operational system, as opposed to remaining as general concepts. Much of this is due to input from Cam Jakocevich who was previously involved in bringing alternative currency systems to Western Australia.

3. UnleashedDesign have been so kind as to volunteer their expertise in setting up our website (Soon to be released at www.maiamaia.org).

4. We were included in a successful grant application to local government for a community garden project. In theory the community garden will become a Maia Maia group and attempt to use booyas to attract resources.

5. We have been included in a grant application for building funds for the new library at a local Montessori school. A successful outcome of this grant would give the Maia Maia project an operational base. They have included the Maia Maia Project in their curriculum planning for next term.

6. We had a greatly fun annual dinner (albiet with a small number of attendees) at the Wild Fig last week with a rousing serenade of 'What a wonderful world' by the house jazz band accompanied by various group members on the tambourine.

7. Have made some terrific contacts with pledges of support from interesting quarters.

So slowly slowly slowly we are becoming real. The best indication of this is that we have been given a four letter academic acronym - we are now officially an ERCS (Emissions Reduction Currency System). Credit goes to Sally Paulin at the Murdoch University Institute for Sustainability and Technology Policy. This was used rather casually by Sally in an email to me and I have tried to use it liberally where I can to good effect.

This idea is so much bigger than we are it is truly deserving of a bland moniker that can be used universally in studies and polices. Hopefully this only ERCS the right people :)

All for now folks - let's see where this all takes us.