Intentional Community Economics - Part II


David Oesper
 

This is the continuation and conclusion of my notes from the “Intentional Community Economics” presentation by Gwendolyn Hallsmith, Headwaters Ecovillage in rural Vermont.

A bank or credit union is not the only option for the loan you’ll need to make a land purchase and start community development. For example, an individual or ad hoc investment group could employ one or more of the following.

Innovative Financial Strategies

  • Friendraising

  • Microfinance

  • Small Investors

  • Public Banks

  • City investments

  • Community capital

  • Pre-selling

New construction is expensive! Avoid this when you can.

JOBS Act of 2012

(Jumpstart Our Business Startups)

  • Permits equity crowdfunding

  • Removes prohibitions on general solicitation in Regulation D offerings

  • Reduces cost of going public for “emerging growth companies”

  • Increases threshold of Regulation A offerings to $50 million

  • Raises cap on number of private company shareholders from 500 to 2,000

90% of all new jobs created in the U.S. are from small businesses.

Always, you need a good business plan that allows some return on investment.

In the future, we will have an ecosystem of currencies, including things like

  • Time bank

  • Care bank

  • Food currency

  • Commercial barter

  • Data payments

  • Carbon currency

Monetary currency such as dollars are artificially scarce and debt-based. This does not take into account many things of value.


Universal Basic Income (UBI)

  • First introduced in the U.S. by Richard Nixon: “The Politics of a Guaranteed Income: The Nixon Administration and the Family Assistance Plan” by Daniel P. Moynihan

  • Tested in Finland; Stockton, California; Kenya, Iran, and Alaska. Alaska pays all of its residents a dividend from oil (Alaska Permanent Fund). Scotland is currently looking into UBI in part because of the pandemic.

  • Referendum in Switzerland (lost, but got over 25% of the vote)

  • Finland study showed no decrease in work initiative, many health benefits; people still wanted to go to work, showing that work isn’t just about money

  • UBI in local currency?

A Universal Basic Income (at a basic level) + Universal Health Care would much better allow people to do fulfilling work and work that provides greater benefits to society.


Cryptocurrencies are still tied to the money system and therefore not truly complementary.

Tokenomics: The Future of Money?

Cryptocurrency Evolution

  • Bitcoin (the first)

  • Ethereum

  • EOS

  • Tezos

  • Libra

  • Stablecoin

  • SEEDS

There are many problems with cryptocurrencies. For one, they are not disconnected from the existing monetary system with all its scarcity and destruction. All are private and not public, which is also a drawback.

However, cryptocurrencies do point the way towards a new and better monetary system.

Cryptocurrency is essentially a distributed ledger system. Right now, our banks are our centralized ledger system. With cryptocurrency, everybody has the ledger. This eliminates the need for banks to be the central ledger for all monetary exchanges.

Public banking is not an easy thing to do, but when it works it’s great.


In Gwendolyn’s ecovillage in rural Vermont, there are more Europeans than Americans. The idea of living “in community” is foreign to most Americans.

The cooperative idea is more ingrained in Europe than it is here in the U.S.

We have a more individualistic, competitive culture here.


Using different kinds of money for different kinds of purchases (instead of one kind for everything) is a paradigm change.

Alternative currencies: sufficient instead of scarce

We shouldn’t have to worry about “will we have enough?” down the road.

No interest on debt.


There are successful “high end” intentional communities. This is an option, but many would not be able to afford to live there.

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