The Tide Economy

Let's look at a different kind of alternative economy. There's a lot to talk about: poverty, marketing, branding. Here are the main points of the article. (As always click the heading to go to the actual article, in this case, from New York Magazine.)

Suds for Drugs
The grocery store, located in suburban Bowie, Maryland, had been robbed repeatedly. But in every incident the only products taken were bottles—many, many bottles—of the liquid laundry detergent Tide. “They were losing $10,000 to $15,000 a month, with people just taking it off the shelves,” recalls Sergeant Aubrey Thompson, who heads the team.
What did thieves want with so much laundry soap? To find out, he and his unit pored over security recordings to identify prolific perpetrators, whom officers then tracked down and detained for questioning. “We never promised to go easy on them, but they were willing to talk about it,” Thompson says. “I guess they were bragging.” It turned out the detergent wasn’t ­being used as an ingredient in some new recipe for getting high, but instead to buy drugs themselves. Tide bottles have become ad hoc street currency, with a 150-ounce bottle going for either $5 cash or $10 worth of weed or crack cocaine. On certain corners, the detergent has earned a new nickname: “Liquid gold.” The Tide people would never sanction that tag line, of course. But this unlikely black market would not have formed if they weren’t so good at pushing their product.

Getting Old

First, here are some related facts and statements to start our brains on the topic.

“Later life seems to be a season in search of its purposes. Aging is an art. It’s not a scientific problem to be solved,” Dr. Thomas Cole, 58, told the crowd. “Being old is filled with unexpected possibilities for creativity,”
Esther Liwazer, 72, stood up and said, “Look! This is very important. What he’s saying is that society needs an attitude adjustment.”
Karen Jackson, 58, a dietician from Detroit, called Cole’s message “absolutely remarkable.” She said, “Our society is in the middle of a revolution because of aging and the overarching idea is that we need to be positive about this.”

Three British ideas for caring for elders:
A kind of timebanking scheme. Care4Care invites volunteers to help care for older people. The cost of care consumes many elderly peoples' life savings
For every hour's care they put in, the volunteers build up an hour's worth of care credit that they can keep in a timebank. They can then use it for their own care later in life.
Rent-free living for carers. People who do the caring live rent-free with the elderly person, and perfomr 10 or so hours of service a month for them. Companionship, constant care, mutually beneficial. Definitely a plan that also needs supervision.

Implementing an Interest-free economy: Currency reform

Money, unlike all other goods and services, can be kept without costs. If one person has a bag of apples and another person has the money to buy those apples, the person with the apples is obliged to sell them whithin a relatively short time period to avoid the loss of his assets. Money owners, however, can wait until the price is right for them, their money does not necessarily create 'holding costs'.

If we could create a monetary system which put money on an equal footing with all other goods and services (charging, on averate, a 5% annual maintenance cost, which is exactly what has been paid in the form of interest for money thorught history) then we could have an economy free of the ups and downs of monetary speculation. Money should be made to 'rust', that is, be subjected to a 'use fee'.

Instead of paying interest to those who have more money than they need and in order to keep money IN circulation, people should pay a small fee if they keep the money OUT of circulation.
--Excerpted from Margrit Kennedy, Interest and Inflation Free Money p. 13

Okay, so how should we best go about doing this? Here are some ideas, I want to talk about the feasibility, obstacles, whether or not you think they're a good idea.

Idea 1: Charge people to store their money. (Margrit Kennedy p.27)
For several years in Switzerland, investors ... had to pay interest in order to leave their money in a bank account.

How economic inequality harms societies

There's a lot of information to process in this video, so I'd like to try the 'on-the-spot critical thinking' experiment again. We'll watch the video together, and the minute anyone has a question, a comment or wants to know more, we stop the video and discuss.

And then, if there's time left over, I'd like to get into a quote from the end of an interview TED did with him:

We’re becoming increasingly aware from occasional wealthy people who get in touch with us that even a proportion of the rich feel some sense of disquiet with levels of inequality — and I don’t just mean Warren Buffet. For instance, an ex-banker e-mailed me saying he’d bought a hundred copies of our book for his friends and colleagues. He recently hosted a dinner for us and some of them. He regards it as immoral not to pay tax. We’ve come across a number of business people who feel that way strongly. One of them suggested that there should be a tick box on tax forms, which you tick if you’re willing for the amount of tax you pay to be made public. Some people would be able to take pride that they’ve contributed, say, fifty thousand dollars to the well-being of society. But the implication for those who did not tick it might be that they felt ashamed and had something to hide.