Slow Money

Slow Money by Woody TaschFriends of Slow Money recently challenged themselves to raise $25,000 in increments of $5.  This means that a mere  5000 people needed to make a donation.

While it would be great if 1 person donated $5000, and I doubt they would turn it down, I think there is another point to the exercise.  The challenge gave the group an opportunity to show a few things.

1) That there are at least 5000 people invested in the idea of Slow Money.
2) Just a little bit of money when combined with others in the community can accomplish great things.
3) With a 7 day time limit, this has the urgency and potential to build momentum.  Something which can be a struggle.

While they did not achieve their goal in terms of numbers I think that the push for members and outreach was positive because for very little effort and resources on the part of the organization they got the word out to more people about Slow Money.

For those who are not familiar with the concepts championed by the Slow Money Alliance, the most complete description can be found in Woody Tasch’s book Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money.  (Follow this link to find a locally owned bookseller in your community if you are interested in picking up the book.)

For those who are interested in the short version I think this sentence from the principles sums it up the best

“In order to enhance food safety and food security; promote cultural and ecological health and diversity; and, accelerate the transition from an economy based on extraction and consumption to an economy based on preservation and restoration…”  For more, you should certainly check out the Slow Money Alliance website.

While I like the idea of Slow Money, have donated and become a member, the one thing I wish were more clear on the website and in the presentation of the concepts is how to do this and what it really means.  Is my membership money going to eventually go to giving out loans or just general support of the organization?  I get most of it, and like what I see so far, but the nerd in me want to see more information on the website in a digestible form before I buy the book or run around wall street with a cardboard sign.

Changing the face of money through… Twitter?

While many of my friends find twitter to be pointless, a timesuck, and annoying, calling twitter users ‘twits’ or asking if I ‘twatted’ today you can still find me there @kirbonanza because I believe that it has value.

I find that with information and newsletters that I otherwise wouldn’t have time to read I can scan their tweets for titles of the important and pertinent articles. I follow a number of great environmental and evolutionary voices such as the Grist (@grist), Yes! Magazine (@yesmagazine) and EnlightenNext (@ENextMag).

But, beyond this I believe that twitter has another interesting potential use which is recently emerging in the form of two different experiments in alternative currencies, namely Twollars and KayGroschen.

logoTwollars are cash based, like a movie ticket or a bus pass, as in you can buy them with ‘real’ money. When you give someone a twollar the recipient can get money for this through donations on the Twollars website. It will be interesting to follow whether this catches on and becomes the helpful tool that the makers intended. Charities could potentially get Twollars for good tweets, good work, or general support.

NooPolis whose slogan is “A new world starts with you and me,” can be found on twitter as well (@NooPolis). When a friend who knew I was interested in learning more about alternative currencies told me about KayGroschen I had a hard time finding information that wasn’t in German. While my German is passable while visiting the country, this was out of my league. I finally struck gold on Twittter where I found users @RalfLippold and @kujawa0708 who were able to direct me to information in English. What I found was that KayGroschen is the virtual internal currency of the virtual MicroNation Noopolis (@NooPoBot). This wiki based simulation might prove to be an interesting exercise on re-thinking our systems.

As more people use twitter I am interested in seeing if any other twitter-based alternatives to currency pop up.