29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
An Important Book, 5 Feb 2003
Bernard makes a compelling argument that contradicts one of Adam Smith's basic tenets: that money is value-neutral. Instead he provides evidence to show that the structure of monetary systems have built-in biases that encourage certain behaviors / thinking and discourage others.
When Bernard analyzes the prevailing monetary systems and begins to look at the consequences (that are not necessarily consciously designed into the system, and that we are not aware of on a daily basis) you can start to see that there are positive aspects of the system that we have--and some negative ones as well.
Our money system is good at creating competition, financing business ventures that compete in the marketplace and centralizing wealth and power--which can be beneficial to development and growth--which are positive results in many cases. On the down side, the current prevailing global currencies have proved to do poorly at addressing a lot of social issues such as poverty, education, community development, unemployment, etc.
While a lot of time, effort and money has been thrown at these important social issues, they still seem to prevail and little progress has been made in the last century.
In "The Future of Money" Bernard proposes some practical solutions. He proposes creating "complementary currencies" that are designed with different rules and different system and designed in a manner that creates sustainability, community, abundance and stability.
While, at fist glance it might sound preposterous that implementing new monetary systems could have enough leverage in our lives to transform the world into a better place, Bernard give many examples of how it has worked successfully in the past and the growing emergence of many new currencies that are positively transforming many communities around the world when they have been implemented.
Bernard has the credential to speak authoritatively on the topic of Money. He has been a university professor in finance, a central banker and was one of the chief architects of the Euro currency. Not only that, Bernard provides many examples of how complimentary currencies have lead to positive results.
While I am not an economist, I do feel this book outlines a new and important philosophy of money that rivals the major thinkers of the last three centuries: Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes.
I definitely recommend this book for anybody that has a gut felling that "there has to be a better way." After you read the book, you will see that there are many possible "better ways" and that you, as an individual, have the ability to make happen.