The following is a paper written for a conference. After finishing the paper and reflecting on its content I realised that the approach of harnessing the mutual credit of communities will inevitably lead to the elimination of all public and private debt. It will not happen as a big bang nor will it require any agreement amongst communities and governments; it will happen because it is lower cost. How much lower? Add up the cost of all interest on all money plus the cost of inflation and you get an approximation. It makes these savings because we can operate low-cost distributed financial systems and replace traditional money markets and debt.
Sustainable Investing – Self-funding community services with low-risk, low-cost, high-value investments
Kevin Cox – 16th August 2019
“Building the New Economy: Activism, Enterprise and Social Change”
Glebe Town Hall – Sydney 16-17 August 2016
In Australia, it is difficult for members of a community to invest in local infrastructure. Recent advances in information technology provide investing alternatives that are low-cost, low-risk and high-value. This paper describes Water Rewards to halve the cost of Water Infrastructure while providing community savers with secure high-value annuities. Water Rewards reduce the need for water restrictions and involve the community in the sustainability of water supply.
Sustainability requires investment. If each community supplies the funds to make its resources sustainable, the world will be sustainable. A community requires many resources. We need to sustain each resource. Money is a resource. It too needs to be sustained.
Money measures the value of goods and services and links the value of different goods and services together. Efficient use of money will drive sustainability. This presentation and paper describe how we can design money to ensure we have a sustainable water supply. We can apply the same principles to all resources.
Sustainable Money for Water
A water system requires investment in infrastructure to save or supply water. The price of water is the preferred way to control the demand for water. Over time the sales of water must be greater than needed for investment in water services.
To be self-sustaining, the money we obtain from the sale of water must pay for the infrastructure to supply the water. But, we sell water in the future and pay for the infrastructure today. To make an effective, workable money system, money in the future, should have the same value as money today. If we don’t do this, the cost to operate the money system will take away money from building infrastructure. There is good reason to believe that the existing worldwide money system costs more to maintain than the value of goods and services it supports.
Self-sustaining money must have the cooperation of the population it serves, and so it must be fair and equitable in the way resources are distributed. The current money system is not fair and equitable because those with money have access to more community water than those without money.
For all these reasons we need a separate water currency for each community.
Water Rewards is a currency for community water. It looks like and operates like regular money, and the community will notice no difference in the way it pays for water. Water Rewards are used to build infrastructure to either increase the supply of water or to save water.
Water Rewards come from the Water Authority. They issue every community member with the same number of Rights to Buy Water Rewards. Using these Rights community members purchase Water Rewards with normal money and get a high return on investment. The return is a discount on their water bills.
Water Rewards and Rights to Buy are transferrable. The Water Authority establishes a secondary market for trading these products. This market will have stable prices and be liquid.
If water consumption needs to be restricted the price of water increases and low consumers of water receive extra Water Rewards to compensate for the price increase.
The Water Authority can issue more Rights to Buy Water than it needs. The extra money raised can be used for other community projects.
The funds to build and operate Water Rewards comes from the sale of Water Rewards. Its introduction will not affect existing invoicing and billing but over time it will replace these expensive systems.
The recommended discount value is 10% per year, and the value of Water Rewards should increase with inflation. This is an attractive investment as it is the same as buying an annuity that starts at any future time. While it is not used, it accumulates discounts at a fixed rate. It is an ideal investment for superannuation and the Rights to Buy will be in high demand. If community members sell the Rights to Buy, or sell Water Rewards, the funds raised should go to pay off any private debt.
To introduce the system, a Water Authority should immediately issue enough Rights to Buy to pay off all government debt. Doing this will give an immediate saving of interest payments. The money saved is available to the government for other purposes.
The current worldwide money system is too expensive. The way to reduce the cost is incremental with new distributed sustainable money to control community resources. Each resource is different and with it money that reflects its value. The implications for any society which adopts it are profound. It is fair, removes much rent seeking behaviour, eliminates the time value of money, stops inflation, makes prices reflect value, removes both public and private debt and with it traditional casino like money markets.