Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Syriza, You Can Do This … and You Can Do It Now

Trondheim, Norway. 

As a point of departure I refer to this paper, on page 2 in the Real-World Economics Review, issue 71, 28 May 2015. The paper argues for and describes how to possibly implement an electronic parallel currency in Greece.

But the proposal for a parallel currency should now be even more specific, tailored to the current drama and urgency. And the pressure to do something along the lines suggested below is increasing all the time (because the so-called “bailouts” only imply further exponential debt growth in a pyramid game – something that is mostly not recognised in the media and by commentators).

Here are my suggestions:

PHASE A

1. Forget the need to first organise government hardware for the system. Decide instead to do it initially via the cloud; fast – can be supplied on short notice (by this firm, for instance – DISCLAIMER: I have no commercial engagement there whatsoever). But prepare transit to government servers while the cloud-based system is up and running and gains confidence and popularity. Start with mobile to mobile only, but build a terminals network while the system picks up. Involve the Greek Postal System as the backbone of the network, under the Treasury (not the Central Bank, which continues with euros).

2. Declare that all recipients (employees and pensioners) of wages from the government will receive from a certain date onwards – say – 10% in “Tax Notes” (“TN’s”, but name can of course be something else). This is 10% on top ofcurrent wages in euros, and one TN is nominally considered on a par with one euro. The TNs can be used to pay tax, see below) and do not have to be declared legal tender. Explain to the public (comprehensive and persistent information to the public is very important) that if recipients wish to start spending them, they must first – following an acceptably safe KYC (“Know Your Customer”) procedurego to the nearest post office and identify themselves with passport or similar so that the P.O. can send a confirmation to the system that the mobile phone number actually represents the person in question.

This gradually builds up a database of id’s connected with persons’ mobile numbers. People who procrastinate still receive the regular TN payment into their TN account, but they can’t access it until they register as explained above.

3. Businesses which wish to participate must do the same ting. They do not of course receive any monthly TN payments, but they can sell things for TNs to the government, and people will with time start to offer them TNs in payment for purchases along with euro.

4. Explain that any person or firm can pay 10% of their taxes with TNs, one TN counting as one euro.

Before proceeding to PHASE B (below), note that 10% out and in is a fairly low figure. The idea is to not rock the boat too much in the initial phase. This is also the reason that the TNs are paid out in addition to current euro wages/pensions. Few recipients will protest against this (but this is changed in PHASE C, see below.)

PHASE B

This is when the system has gained a fair amount of confidence and TNs are widely used along with euros. Firms mostly accept a mix of euros/TNs in payment even if some choose a TN share smaller than 10%, and many private sector workers and self-employed also do that for their wages. There is an incentive both for businesses and workers to accept a reasonable TN share, since that results in more sales or probabililty of getting a job. Terminals are gradually available in most businesses, and the Post Office employees are by now schooled and able to help people with advice and other TN-related services. Post Offices can also do non-mobile transactions using old-fashioned giros for the few that do not have or wish to use a mobile phone. There is now a well defined market for exchange TNs/euros, and the TN exchange rate is not too far below par since people have started using a 10% TN share to pay taxes. The initial very low and volatile exchange rate has stabilised at a higher level.

PHASE C

The government wishes to directly or indirectly employ a large share of unemployed. This will be possible if all current employees/pensioners instead of 100% euros plus 10% TNs, now accept – say – 70% euros and 40% TNs. This means that there will be euros freed up for government payouts to former unemployed, using the same euro/TN mix for them. The tax payment mix is also changed accordingly, to 7/11 parts euros and 4/11 parts TNs. This increase in the allowed TN share of tax payments ensures that the euro/TN exchange rate does not fall (much).

PHASE D, E …

Possible Grexit and 100% TNs, but this is not necessary, one can take the time needed with the parallel system – with little turbulence and a smooth process, only with some adjustments now and then to the official payments and taxation TN/euro mix, based on how things develop. One can even go gradually back to 100% euros, if that is the wish.

And during all these phases, the Greek government will have a much stronger position concerning negotiations about euro public debt relief.

More articles by:

Trond Andresen is a lecturer in control systems and system dynamics at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology. His economics research page is here.

October 22, 2018
Henry Giroux
Neoliberalism in the Age of Pedagogical Terrorism
Melvin Goodman
Washington’s Latest Cold War Maneuver: Pulling Out of the INF
David Mattson
Basket of Deplorables Revisited: Grizzly Bears at the Mercy of Wyoming
Michelle Renee Matisons
Hurricane War Zone Further Immiserates Florida Panhandle, Panama City
Tom Gill
A Storm is Brewing in Europe: Italy and Its Public Finances Are at the Center of It
Suyapa Portillo Villeda
An Illegitimate, US-Backed Regime is Fueling the Honduran Refugee Crisis
Christopher Brauchli
The Liars’ Bench
Gary Leupp
Will Trump Split the World by Endorsing a Bold-Faced Lie?
Michael Howard
The New York Times’ Animal Cruelty Fetish
Alice Slater
Time Out for Nukes!
Geoff Dutton
Yes, Virginia, There are Conspiracies—I Think
Daniel Warner
Davos in the Desert: To Attend or Not, That is Not the Question
Priti Gulati Cox – Stan Cox
Mothers of Exiles: For Many, the Child-Separation Ordeal May Never End
Manuel E. Yepe
Pence v. China: Cold War 2.0 May Have Just Begun
Raouf Halaby
Of Pith Helmets and Sartorial Colonialism
Dan Carey
Aspirational Goals  
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Chris Gilbert
In the Wake of Nepal’s Incomplete Revolution: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian 
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail