Monday, August 30, 2010

Healthy Money Diary 1: fortuitous meetings

Whenever I ponder the economic crisis (recession/coming financial apocalypse/whatever you want to call it) I come back again and again to the usefulness of local currencies and alternative forms of trading -  vital tools that could help enable ordinary people like me to cope.

Just lately I've started thinking about it all a lot more, and I thought I'd blog a semi-regular diary about it. I'm calling it the 'Healthy Money Diary', after a book I read the summer before last - Healthy Money, Healthy Planet by Deirdre Kent.

(Highly recommend! A fantastic, clear explanation of the global financial system and its failings ... plus a detailed look at alternative forms of trading within communities).

I really feel right now that I want to increase my involvement with alternative forms of trading and currency.

The flames of my interest were fanned a few weeks ago when I got to meet Helen Dew at a Wairarapa craft fair. If you don't know Helen, she is a highly respected and long-time advocate of community currencies, and a board member of the Living Economies Educational Trust. My part in the conversation with her consisted mostly of a lot of vigorous head nodding.

I sat on my thoughts for a bit. Then over the past week I had a couple of other fortuitous meetings:

* I discovered that an anonymous crafter whose blog I had just started reading (thinking this person has some extremely interesting things to say) is actually someone I slightly know in real life! I was thrilled.

I have been especially thinking about this post of hers about a wool mill closure in the South Island, and the ensuing comments. It's the kind of thing that I can foresee happening increasingly often over the next few years. I don't know the answers, but I feel sure they rest at least partly with finding new ways to trade and support local small business.

* Then on the weekend I had the opportunity to meet and chat in real life with Isa - The Nourishing Revolution blogger, which was lovely. We talked about the state of the world, as you do, and yes she is just as full of insights and ideas as you would expect from her blog! I felt galvanised to act after talking with her. (And it wasn't just the two coffees).

So here I am, inspired by the things other people say, and their passion and enthusiasm, determined to try and find different ways in my own life to trade. I don't exactly know what I'm going to do next, but I'll just work away at it, and blog my thoughts as I go (maybe once a week or so).

Oh! And if you are interested in a copy of Healthy Money, Healthy Planet, it is available here. (No, I don't get a commission.) :)


Isa said...

Hi Johanna,
It was great to meet you! I like your idea of a healthy money diary, it sounds wonderful. I have been involved in trying to set up a community exchange system in Hamilton although it seems like a slow process at the moment.

Occasionally, when I've watched dramatic news broadcasts about the financial recession - people having to move closer to their work, not consuming as much, being forced to grow their own veges etc - I find it hard to see it as a bad thing on a large scale. Of course it's terrible when people lose their jobs and struggle financially, but it seems to bring about more of a collective spirit of sustainability which I think is desperately needed!

I look forward to reading more :)

Johanna Knox said...

Hi Isa - gosh - another thing you do! :) All the best with the Hamilton initiative. Yeah, I guess they do often seem to feel very slow to get off the ground ... getting everyone on the same page, and then getting to that critical mass of participants where suddenly it really feels worthwhile to join and their popularity takes off.

Ruth said...

Ok, since we last looked at this issue my outlook has changed (er, not so doomsday)...
Am so into trade and whatever currency that is done in, then great (in my perfect world, it would be trade - something for something that is needed by each party, and if not then there needs to be some form of currency I suppose). What I'mn ot into is currency fixed with interest and investment etc, cos that ensues exploitation etc.
But this is cool Johanna - these new link and info, will go have a read.
Am currently working on a food co-op - will let you know how it goes (a bit tricky with the dispersal of interested folk, in Welli I can imagine interested folk living next to each other :)