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TEDx Jean-François Noubel : After Money

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Good afternoon, So yes, I ask you all to breath through the little straw... We are even going to stand up if it's okay. Go! We are going to move our bodies while breathing with this little straw. Go! Keep on! Keep on! Keep on, move! Keep breathing through the straw! Move! Wonderful! Thanks! Is it easy? So... we do that for one short minute... What if we do that for many weeks, many months or the rest of our life... and what if we were born with this little straw in our mouth, then what would happen? First of all, we would probably forget we have this little straw, and we would certainly build a philosophy based on scarcity, in other words, we would say air is scarce, just because we forgot that the object, the tool that connects us to this abundant air --we are in sufficient relationship with it-- but this object, we forgot it, so we build a vision of the world that is scarce. Also, it was a bit short in one minute, but we realize that if we really start breathing through this little straw, it is all our physical, emotional and mental energy all our inspiration that are entirely devoted to this breathing. We don't think about anything else, we are not going to write a symphony or a book, we are not going to run, we won't go dancing, in fact, each breath becomes the conquest of the next breath and so on. Another fact... This suffocation will encourage us to steal our neighbor's straw, or at least to feel tempted to do so. Moreover, if I accumulate many little straws, I might become able to ask others to take the straw of their neighbor, and also ask anyone to work for me, and give them some straws. So you see, this situation of air suffocation, this is the situation that most of the humanity is experiencing today, with this tool, not the one to access air, but the one to access wealth, I mean money. Money is missing, money is gone, this is the experience that most of our contemporaries have, to different degrees, most of them. Why is money lacking? We know for sure that the quantity of it is huge, but this money is going to concentrate. This concentration, we become intimate with it when, as kids, we play the Monopoly game, which is a sort of miniature, a simplified version of the economic system in which we live, but it's the same, the fundamentals are the same: the more money I make, the more I can invest, the more I can invest the more I can make, the more I can make the more I can invest, and so on... It shows there is a phenomenon of "condensation", this is the technical word, of currency, which condensates in the hands of a few. And while money condensates here, then it desertifies somewhere else. There we have what we call under-monetization. This is where this asphyxia takes place. This condensation phenomenon of currency has a name, this is called the Pareto effect, and this is what we experience in the Monopoly game. It leads to some interesting conclusions, not the ones you find in school books, even less in the press about economy. The first thing, in this monetary system, by design, there no winner -- the one with all the bank notes-- because if I have all the bank notes and the other players have nothing, I am as economically dead as the others! So, the piles of bank notes I have, I can do what I want with them, I can read them with an inattentive butt, as some say... but truth is I can't do anything with them. Or I can decide to change the rules of the game and then the game can continue. So, truth is, this is a collective death game. This is embedded in the monetary structure of the Monopoly game, as well as in the monetary structure we use in the world today. The next thing is that no matter what the intentions of the participants are, even if people want to make benevolent exchanges, even if they are not here to kill each other, regardless of people's intentions, the system as a whole, goes towards its destiny, independently from the will of the players. This is the very mechanism of scarcity, and this is why we call money a "scarce currency". It's not a judgement, it's a technical term that describes the kind of currency humanity uses today. It doesn't matter if it's Euros, Dollars or any other legal tender, they are all the same. However, there is a response to that, which emerges today. That's simple: the fact that currency is missing in a region, people see that money has gone somewhere else, then they create their own local currency. Today in many places on the planet we see a proliferation of local currencies. The consequence is that exchanges pick up again, the social body moves again, the energy takes off, and here we go. There are also currencies called "social currencies", complementary social currencies. For instance, let's imagine I am a student in Japan, and my neighbor next door is an old lady, I can do some shopping, some cleaning, even help her to get dressed. I earn Fureai Kippus that I can now send to my old uncle on the other side of Japan, he can then use them with someone else in his neighborhood. We see that this currency has a function that is exclusively social, it creates relationships, while the Yen as such is not adapted at all for performing this function. Last but not least, the Government saves billions of Yens. There are also currencies that have a business role. There is one that most people know, worldwide, this is the airmiles, that allow the purchase of airplane tickets, hotel, rental car, etc. There are also currencies that we call "targetted", it means they fulfill a very specific function, for instance limiting carbon emissions with carbon currencies, or kilowatt currencies, these targetted currencies are made to support a specific sector, education, energy, etc. So here we are. This was a quick overview of "complementary currencies". A breach has opened. If you go to the Internet to observe, a breach has opened in the world of scarce money... this is the first response. But... we are not going to stop here, because complementary currencies are only a transitory step. It is a reponse to... "Complementary"... it says what it says, it "complements" the system it creates patches, band-aids, it's made to cure, to address deficiencies. But in fact what's happening, foreshadows an historical moment like has happened sometimes in the past. An example is when people started to say... "well, everyone has the right to think what he wants, and everyone has the right to freedom of speech". This is a universal and inalieanable right. Well... we see that public expression was before a royal prerogative. We couldn't express ourselves without the permission of some authority, be it the King, God, or whatever else. And today, in our times, we are still stuck in currencies that are... a royal prerogative. We say --this is in our minds-- this is not questionable, money is de facto tied to power, to authority, bet it God, the State, banks... it doesn't matter. The transition that is just happening now is the shift from power controlled currency towards MANY citizen controlled currencies. Everywhere we begin to see people who say: "Of course! Indeed we can create a currency to sustain this economic field, regarding education, or about clean water..." In another context, people want to create currencies for social solidarity and so on. All this energy, this movement that is growing has a name, it's called "free currencies". And beyond resolving social issues, these free currencies foreshadow an evolution of our species of the same magnitude that the invention of language, or the invention of writing. It means that... we are becoming capable of creating large groups, small ones, local ones, huge ones, specialized or for everyone... doesn't matter, these communities will soon have a language that will give them the capacity to understand their own dynamics. The dynamics of exchange, of flows. By the way this is the original meaning of the word "currency" in English. John Locke considered that currencies are the capacity to see currents, flows, and there are thousands of currents everywhere around us. Some of them are really interesting for us, and it is important that we have the freedom to play with them, to see these currents and flows. Now... it's time for me to share a dream... this dream on which I am working. I would like that... I dream that every human being can engage with his/her peers, at the level of his/her forces... at the level of his/her capacities, of his/her talents, ...without being stopped in this momentum because of a shortage of currency, only because of this. I work, I want to create the best sharing and exchange system of wealth, ever, and free currencies are the means for this. This system is not one that is imposed by a few onto everyone, it is the one that people will create for themselves, where they are, in their context. This city, this social network, this enterprise, this circle of people sharing the same values, this makes millions of different circles: small ones, large ones, local ones, global ones... each of them must be able to create their free currencies that will facilitate the flows. Of course I want this system to be easy to use, to be fun, and that it can work on any cell phone. We are working on it, we already have the first experiments, and it works well. Free currencies on cell phones opens more than 50% of humanity to free currencies. There is no 50% of humanity that has access to currencies, in such a free manner, today... I wish... I dream that you leave this auditorium with this little seed inside you, and that you think: "currency is a citizen's right". And everyone here in this room can do it. By the way, in this very room, there is already a whole potential economy, that can start. If you want to do it, it can start. Also maybe TED, this huge vortex of ideas, of talents, made of people who share and disseminate ideas everywhere, maybe this can be an extraordinary starting point for free currencies. Once free currencies will be everywhere then you will chose. The old currency, exclusive, that you have to pay for... or free currencies, plural, citizen based, gratuit. In order to make this dream live I work on 2 levels. First, a technical level. There is technology to build, software and code need to be written... You can also visit a site that will inform you later if you want, it's called "" Sorry, we work in English, so that's where you can easily find information. Then, beyond technology, beyond software code, protocols, user interfaces, cell phones... I also made a personal choice, which is to leave money in order to become "rich". I mean becoming rich without money but, of course, with free currencies. When I say "rich", it's not in the consumer sense of it. It is in the most profound sens of it: rich in relationships, and also rich at the material level. So here we are... I have spoken a little bit about misery in the world... but I don't speak about it only in a theoretical way as I have met misery myself... Money I have earned it, I have inherited it, I had pocket money, and I have also stolen it in a period of my life, I have myself been in this predatory mode, which sent me twice to prison. I met, I saw that most people who were in these jails, who were experiencing imprisonment. It was people like me who had predatory relationships with money, who stole it, or sold drugs, or did bank roberies, etc... Now, with all the travelling I do in the world I have learned that in fact true misery, the true humiliation that a human being can experience, is not really about not having access to something... It is above all the incapacity to give. And now, today, we have the means to change that, precisely because of all this work on the economy, that the media doesn't talk about. Tomorrow's world won't be the fruit of our reactions, it will be the fruit of our creations. We are working on it, we need one another to complete the work. We are a small team, very determined, and we need your support. Thank you Jean-François! I just took the X from TEDx, so I don't have to pronounce anymore "TEDex" [in French] I exchanged it with one thousand thanks and now I give it to you. Thanks! And it is said that the X is a good business, so...

Video Details

Duration: 13 minutes and 53 seconds
Country: France
Language: French (France)
Producer: TEDx Paris
Views: 857
Posted by: hanuman on Apr 14, 2011

Jean-François Noubel speaks at TEDx Paris 2011 about the transition of our world towards free currencies, where conventional money won't be competitive anymore.

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