What has Mr. Doe’s minimum wage to do with the arms of a child soldier in Chhattisgarh in India? The money on Mr. Doe’s bank account is indirectly used by the banks to globally invest in the lucrative arms industry. If this is in the interest of Mr. Doe is another question.
Often times what happens in the world is decided over our heads. This doesn’t have to be this way. With a sustainable way of handling our money, no matter if we have lots of it or little, we can have a great impact on the decisions that form the world and actively take part.
In this article you’ll find concrete tips and solutions for a more sustainable way of handling money.
It Starts with your Bank Account
For most of us our personal cash flow starts on our bank accounts. The money sits on our account for some time and is transferred further only later. It’s transferred to other parties and their bank accounts, to our savings accounts or, through ourselves or our employers, to our pension funds. The money parked on our accounts is a security for the banks, which allows them to give credits to other parties. The money is only digital. Therefore through giving credits the banks create money out of thin air.
Put in other terms. When you have 1000 EUR on your account your bank can create money out of thin air and give a credit of 9000 EUR to another person by only digitally augmenting the amount on the credit receiving person’s account. One can assume that the required security for a loan is a ninth of the credit equivalent, as approximately 90% of all the money is so-called book money, virtual money that has never been put in the bank by someone before. The money invested by the banks puts the maximization of profits first and is used to support questionable corporations, such as the support of the war supporting arms industry.
The organisation “Don’t Bank on The Bombs” shows the connection between banks around the world and nuclear weapons producing corporations in their report of October 2015.
1. Alternative Banks
There is another way. There are banks that put ethical, social and ecological principles first in their investments. When issuing private credits they concentrate on projects and companies that support a positive society as well.
One of these banks is the Alternative Bank Switzerland (ABS), where Lisa and I privately as well as Journey to Real Life has all the bank accounts. Here is a list of worldwide alternative banks. I can also warmly recommend you to transfer to an alternative bank if you haven’t done so yet.
You can transfer your salary account, your savings account as well as your pension fund.
2. Sustainable Assets
The money on your savings account can alternatively be used for investments in private assets. This can be investments in materialistic things that are of personal value for you. To further let your money work for you and to enjoy a higher return than from your savings account you can invest in funds compiled by alternative banks. You can also invest in assets directly by supplying sustainable projects and companies. For this be especially attentive about investment opportunities in your social circle.
The Normality of Economic Crises
Thousands are laid off, there is a shortage of goods and whole countries are mired in debt. In the history of the financial industry, there were multiple economic crises in a continuous cycle.Emerging crises are invevitable in our financial system. Compound interests (accumulated interests on prior periods) and the creation of money out of nothing to grant new loans creates a social debt spiral.
This forces countries to strive for an exponential economic growth (an argument for many purposes) and the uncoupling of the real economy from the financial economy, which in turn provides the breeding ground for speculative financial transactions.
An endless financial growth is not possible in a finite world with finite resources. Therefore after some time the prices of things often develop regardless of their real value, creating a financial bubble. This bubble bursts in the course of time, leading to an economic crisis.
Here is an illustration that explains this process.
What is striking particularly in economic crises, is that money is not real, but a symbol, which is used for exchange and to convey values. This symbol works only as long as we believe in it. What we believe in is up to us, which leads us to the solutions.
3. Alternative Exchange and Monetary Systems
Alternative exchange and monetary systems have the potential to make us part independent of the cycle of crises of our current financial system. We can implement this right now within our communities by working in partnerships, where each party gains an added value through the cooperation. This is reflected in projects, where faith in our relationship networks is far greater than the belief on the current value of money, as well as in projects within the family or among friends.
This is also practiced in various larger communities around the world such as in the form of alternative local currencies, as in the example of the Totness Pound in Totness.
These alternative monetary systems are based on new values that affect how we treat each other, ourselves and our environment. Sharing instead of accumulating and hoarding. Sufficiency rather than greed and the pursuit of more. Serenity and trust rather than struggle for existence. Voluntarism rather than pressure. Cooperation and support rather than competition and envy.
4. Monetary System Reforms
In addition, various groups are working on monetary system reforms to bring about a radically different system, which aims to serve the people. At the same time they want to make our economy economic crisis-proof. These systems do not require expropriation and strive for a peaceful transition.
One of these reforms is the Swiss referendum on sovereign money that seeks that only the national bank can create new money. Another one is Gradido which aims to replace the supposedly necessary exponential growth with a natural corruptible system.
Sustainable Financial Support
Systems of oppression, colonialism, oil wars and proxy wars created and are sustaining a lot of inequality in our world. They promote the divide between the haves and the have nots. Many of us have developed a consciousness for the financial support of those who have a worse access to financial resources. In many parts of the world decades of development assistance had not resulted in the desired sustainable help, which dedicated organizations and individuals had hoped for. In addition to the commonly known forms of donation, there are two more sustainable solutions, which I would like to share with you in this regard.
Microfinance is a way to combat extreme poverty by means of granting loans for the financing of projects and small businesses. In 2006 the economist Muhammed Yunus and the Garmeen Bank received the Nobel Peace Prize for pioneering microfinance. The mircro loans often times have only a small or no interest rates and enable people living in extreme poverty, according to the motto “help for self-help”, to sustainably stand on their own two feet with their own cash flow generating companies. This benefits the lenders themselves, their descendants, as well as their local communities.
The NGO Kiva.org easily allows you to secure the livelihood of individuals and whole communities through microfinance on their internet platform. I’ve used their platform for years now and have seen some projects being realized.
Here is a video of how to fight poverty with microfinance.
6. Effective Altruism
A further movement and philosophy, I want to mention in this context is “Effective Altruism“. It’s about putting together an as effective as possible donations portfolio with your available income, which has an as high as possible sustainable impact on the world.
The Effective Altruism Foundation provides consultation to find the individually most appropriate and most effective donation opportunities for you.
I hope you could find some solutions to the sustainable use of money for you.
What inputs do you have on this subject? Are there questions or additions?
I’m looking forward to your comment.