Opting In To Civilised Money

by Lorne Mitchell on 10/11/2011

A couple of weeks ago, I took one of my sons to London. He wanted to go and see the Occupy London site near St Paul’s – during time that the Church of England were digging deep into their consciences to work out how they should react. A few days later, I was in Edinburgh with my daughter and went to the equivalent tented camp. In both cases, I took the time to try to understand what was in the minds of those protesting. There was a peaceful atmosphere in both camps – but a surprising lack of practical things for people like me to do. However, the two experiences got me convinced that the system is broken and that things need to change.
A chance Tweet on Twitter this morning gave me the opportunity to explore the issues further. The Tweet alerted me to a new sort of Peer2Peer investment site called CrowdCube and a new sort of bank – called Civilised Money – who were looking for investors.  The idea took my interest and I read to find out more.

I was particularly struck by the coincidence that the project is the brainchild of Neil Crofts.  I have been a keen reader of Neil Croft’s weekly blog – and applaud his ideas on Authentic Leadership.  On reading more about the Civilised Money idea, is struck me that this kind of Peer2Peer banking is just like Skype was in 2002 – only transposed onto the banking system.  It made a heck of a lot of sense, so I took the plunge and invested!

By the way, I am definitely NOT an investment advisor.  I am not even sure that by the time you read this, the investment opportunity will still be open.  But I am so encouraged that there are those protesting (making the issues clear) as well as those who are trying to find new ways to design banks.

I hope it makes you think a bit more about what you opt in to – and out of.

 

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1 Favabank November 24, 2011 at 23:13

Civilised Money and similar ventures offer an interesting alternative to the kind of banking we’re used to.

I wonder if there will be a return to mutual banking after the de-mutualisation of of recent years (see list of de-mutualised banks: http://www.bsa.org.uk/consumer/factsheets/100010.htm). There’s an interesting trend in the US at the moment towards taking money out of big banks in favour of local credit mutuals. People seem to be sensing their own power to influence the world they live in via their investment decisions.

In the meantime peer-to-peer banking initiatives may be an example of the potential for technology to be used for redefining all of our institutions from the ground up. People are getting used to trust networks and online reputation building and this may well lead to a kind of peer-to-peer trust in each other which may enable people to rebuild the kind of institutions which we have hitherto accepted as only being feasible if imposed from above. For example, there are many examples of attempts at peer-to-peer money generation (e.g. LETS and community currencies, as well as my own attempt at creating a ‘favour sourcing’ mutual credit based currency with Favabank). Could there even be a potential for peer based judiciary (e.g. peer arbitration to resolve disputes where usual legal processes are inaccessible or too costly)?

I also invested in Civilised Money, albeit a tiny amount, but therein lies the spirit of participation that new business models are beginning to engender, hopefully our future institutions will be better for it.

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