Cool Currencies: The Evolving Flows of a Sustainable Economy

The theme for this book is from one of my favorite books, Into the Cool.  It introduces a couple of ideas that are central to the design of currency systems that support sustainable development.  The first is a model of our situation on planet with a sun near enough to supply us with a constant flow of energy.  In terms of thermodynamics, this produces systems that are dynamically pulsing with energy, not quietly tending towards equilibrium.  Even without the aditional dynamics of living organisms, there is a dynamics of flow that only recently came under a beter mathematical discription under terms like dynamic or chaotic systems.

A second important theses presented is about living systems and how they evolve.  Life evolves within this flow of energy, interacting with and mediating those flows.  Life stores energy in chemical forms, and generally uses this energy for its own purposes.  The authors suggest that if there is any overall purpose of life, it is precisely to mediate, deintensify and cool down from that raw flow of solar energy.  If you concentrate on the thermodynamics of equalibrium and why that means perpetual motion machines or organisms are not possible you might conclude that the world is running down towards death, but if you concentrate on the present flows, you are part of a 4 billion year history of biochemistry and life evolving on the surface of a planet.  The sun that powers it all will go on burning for some billions more years, and life could escape the solar system, and for all we know it may have originated elsewhere and seeded Earth in the distant past.

What I want to do with this book is the show how we can have an economy that is based on the same fundamental relationships that produced life.  According to some ideologies, we already have that in the market and capital systems of the world economy.  The chapters of this book will show the ways that current systems fall short and also suggest a way forward through the implementation of currency systems that are more aligned with natural systems.  We will explore and expand on the design goals of such a system and how they might be implemented.

The technical systems needed to implemet the system are well understood and straightforward.  Getting people to adopt and use the system has more in common with the adoption of new social media.  If and when the systems become integrated into the web of social and financial transactions and obligations of a community of early adopters, the wider adoption on a global scale if virtually assured.