Saturday, 2 November 2013

A ramble through the thorns: money, politics etc.

Some of the currency designed by my boys
"Why can't we all just have our own currency? Then the money will have to stay within the local community." - my son (8) 

He surprised me with this comment the other day. He was even more surprised when I explained that there are local communities that are already doing this. I love how local currencies encourage spending locally and less of it disappears out of the area to large multinational companies. I suspect that just by having local pounds in your pocket you are more likely to consider whether to spend it at a supermarket or a more locally run store. I'm not convinced by their long term staying power but I love the fact that people have been prepared to give them a go and, in some cases, have local government on board too.

My youngest does seem to soak up everything at the moment only to regurgitate it at some future bizarre time and date. I often debate things with my eldest, including putting forward view points that I don't actually agree with. I think that trying to look at things from different angles is important. But, quietly in the background, my youngest is taking it in too (whilst looking as if he is completely entranced by the computer screen). Yesterday he broke into our conversation (on another topic) and announced that we would have to actually do something.

"Do what?" I asked.
"Do something about the supermarkets. They are taking all of our money, leaving us poorer and poorer and they are getting richer and richer. They sell us stuff that we don't need and make us think that we do. Something has to be done and we might have to actually do something about it."

There was a lot more along this train of thought and it is always slightly frightening to realise that he has picked up little snippets that he's overheard to create his own coherent arguments, this time against supermarkets. But what I found even more interesting was how he recognised that we had to take on the personal responsibility of this rather than just blaming others. After all we choose to use the supermarkets.

It felt very refreshing especially after having had Russell Brand everywhere for the last couple of weeks being praised for stating the obvious yet having absolutely no solutions. "We need a revolution!" he cries. "I speak for the common man!" Well actually, you don't. You don't speak for me and I would rather have a useless politician that I have at least had the chance to vote out represent me than a self-proclaimed Messiah who can't even be bothered to partake in our current system. I don't think that things are perfect as they are but I will always take up my right to vote even if it is simply to spoil the ballot paper. Choosing not to vote may be a political statement but nobody hears it as you are just lumped in with the group of people who can't be bothered.

The Russell Brand thing has been annoying me for a few days. I am not anti Brand, more annoyed by the over the top reaction some have had to what Russell Brand has said. He is very eloquent, I enjoy watching him befuddle people and often agree with him. But I've yet to hear a practical solution as to how we can all live together in a healthy way on this overpopulated planet. Perhaps he's correct and revolution really is the answer, at least by killing each other off we can reduce the population!

I do get fed up of people who spout Utopian ideals without recognising that they (and probably all of us in different ways), in order to keep their high standard of living, are firmly chained to the capitalist machine. We can all lessen our impact on this earth but it is hard to let go of our luxuries. I prefer the reality of this acceptance and the desire to make long term, hard but maintainable choices to the cry for revolution with the proviso that we still get to keep all of our cheap products and toys.

Returning to the subject from the beginning of this post I have a couple of links on alternative trading methods
Bristol Pound:
Wikipedia article:
North Dorset LETs:

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