Money Day with Bernard Lietaer – Post 3

Aug 9, 2017 by

by Sebastian Patrick and Premtim Kastrati

We were very fortunate to  listen to Bernard Lietear’s lecture as part of the AEMS summer school at the BOKU on Thursday 03.08.2017. Bernard Lietear, who was born in 1942, is a civil engineer, economist, author and professor. He promotes the need for monetary diversity as a means of stability as well as complementary currencies.

We started the “money day” with a game where players were divided into groups, had to take 5 Euros or more out of their wallets, put them in front of them and write what the money meant to them. There were 3 rounds to the game, each of which involved trading Euros between the players. In the first round, players took Euros from each other and each time players wrote down their subsequent feelings. These feelings ranged from “happy” to “sad” or “excited”. Each group was allocated a treasury in which we could deposit money, and this was then allocated to a player in the final round. The round ended with a tax on players wealth. The second round involved the exchange of currency with each other. This rewarding process left players with different amounts of money, although for most this was redistributed so that there was not that much of a change. We noted in this round that the treasury grew as people donated to this fund. The final round saw us both give and take Euros from each other, and this ended with mixed feelings across the room. Some players were only there to maximise their own wealth while others wanted equal distribution.

We learned a lot of things from this game. At the end of the game, we all expressed different feelings about different financial situations. Most of us stated that in the moments when we had more money, we felt much safer, more confident, and happier. This varied among the groups, with some groups having fairer distribution of wealth, while others competed for power and wealth. Then when each of us gave all the money, we stated that we felt proud and happy that we had the opportunity to help and support others. The difference in this game was made by the treasure that taught us luck and fortune are often interlinked.

After finishing the game, we started with the first lecture which was called “Money and Sustainability – The missing link “. Within the lecture, Mr. Lietaer taught the missing link and the relationship between Sustainability and Money. This had to do with the fact that Conventional Money Systems are a systematic cause for six Un-sustainabilites.

The first point is dealing with the problem that the monetary system is systematically unstable. He explained the distinctions between yin and yang currencies, such as the cooperation versus competition, and the balancing of resilience and efficiency for sustainability. The second is the process of currency formation, a process that causes the expansion of business cycles. The third point is that money makes economic growth compulsory. Another problem that arises is that the monetary systems cause concentration of wealth. The fifth issue is that conventional money can generate short-termism. And the last item belongs to the risk of causing competition between money users.

The morning allowed us to interact with each other and question what was wrong with the current monetary system with an interesting approach. Mr Lietaer proposed alternatives to the system, advocating the need for changes to currencies. The morning was extremely interesting, and we were fortunate to learn from an inspiring man.