Segments in this Video

Meet the Panelists (01:18)


Debate moderator Stephen Hewlitt introduces economics professor Nigel Dodd, Timebanking UK CEO Sarah Bird, and "Financial Times" reporter Izabella Kaminska. No longer backed by gold, money is a fantasy.

Nigel Dodd: the Pitch (02:55)

Dodd says we are witnessing a monetary revolution through multiple currencies. Bitcoin and time dollars are challenging the state issued currency model. He discusses how using the mobile phone as a payment platform will circumvent the banking system, and advocates maintaining a state managed payment infrastructure for universal access.

Izabella Kaminska: the Pitch (03:31)

Kaminska discusses her interest in ancient Roman monetary systems. Diocletian did not cause hyperinflation; the empire had reached its expansion limits and there were not enough goods and services to justify money in circulation. She argues that bonds are more valuable as currency than gold.

Sarah Bird: the Pitch (04:30)

Bird discusses time banking as a complementary currency. Her organization recognizes people as assets; skills and activities are exchanged on an hourly basis, building self-confidence. She distinguishes time banking from volunteering and clarifies that it will not replace paid or professional services.

Theme One: Why do We Have Money? - Part One (09:08)

Kaminska explains concepts of labor division and coincidence of wants. Favored by economists, barter theory, says money represents surplus goods, is guaranteed, and has value in a finite supply. Dodd explains the debt theory, favored among sociologists and historians, which says that money developed as a debt or payment tribute and has value in circulation.

Why do We Have Money? - Part Two (07:07)

Kaminska agrees with debt theory. Money is a circular phenomenon; using only gold hinders economic growth. Bird discusses issues with creating paper representations of time banking credits and explains how a time bank works. Dodd explains Spice, a voluntary time exchange organization using paper notes.

Theme Two: How does Money Transform Society? - Part One (06:37)

Dodd surveys the audience on how the money circulating in the British economy is created. He explains how private bank debt creates currency in the fractional reserve system. Activist groups like Positive Money protest banks requiring the economy to grow to repay debts, and advocate a return to central banks producing 100% of money.

How does Money Transform Society? - Part Two (08:07)

Kaminska says there are two types of money: gold money that does not incentivize growth, and debt money incentivizing growth. She explains how debt cycles occur and discusses our paradoxical attitude toward money. She explains how Bitcoin is created by a producer cartel; value is determined by asset holders.

Theme Three: Is There Something Special About Money? - Part One (05:26)

Bird distinguishes time banking from barter systems; time banks should never trade goods for time. She discusses alternative currencies for time credits and explains how time banks grow organically via word of mouth. Members can accumulate time credits for the future.

Is There Something Special About Money? - Part Two (06:06)

Dodd says currency plurality may strengthen the economy; local currencies stimulate local economic growth and encourage identity. He discusses debates on whether to let McDonald's to join the Brixton pound community. Kaminska says currency plurality creates complexity and liquidity risk.

Credits: The Fantasy of Money: Are There Alternatives to Currency? (00:07)

Credits: The Fantasy of Money: Are There Alternatives to Currency?

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The Fantasy of Money: Are There Alternatives to Currency?

Part of the Series : Institute of Art and Ideas: Cutting Edge Debates and Talks from the World's Leading Thinkers
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
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3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



When backed by gold money had a real value. Yet now it floats free, a fantasy made real by our belief. Are there alternative fantasies that we could create to generate different and perhaps better realities? Or is there something special about the fantasy of money that makes it irreplaceable?

The Panel

Guardian columnist Stephen Hewlitt asks CEO of Timebanking UK Sarah Bird, reporter for the Financial Times Izabella Kaminska and The Social Life of Money author Nigel Dodd to explore the alternatives to money.

Length: 56 minutes

Item#: BVL115760

ISBN: 978-1-63521-202-0

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.