[P2P-F] [Commoning] Fwd: What happened in the Eurogroup 16 February -

Michel Bauwens michel at p2pfoundation.net
Tue Feb 17 18:54:59 CET 2015

this outlines a potential action that Varoufakis could propose if the
negotiations break down,


Yanis Varoufakis:

" Bitcoin is too deflationary by nature to act as a widespread currency
alternative to the dollar or the euro, its design can be used profitably in
order to help the Eurozone’s member-states create euro-denominated
electronic payment systems that help them, at least in the medium term,
overcome the asphyxiating deflationary pressures imposed upon them by the
Eurozone’s Gold Standard-like (and, indeed, Bitcoin-like) austerian
design." (
[edit <http://p2pfoundation.net/FT_Coin?title=FT_Coin&action=edit&section=2>

A proposal for an alternative currency, by Yanis Varoufakis:

"Is there something that the peripheral countries can do to give themselves
a chance to breathe better and to act as a bargaining chip that will make
Berlin, Frankfurt and Brussels take notice?

The answer is yes: They can create their own payment system backed by
future taxes and denominated in euros. Moreover, they could use a
Bitcoin-like algorithm in order to make the system transparent, efficient
and transactions-cost-free. Let’s call this system FT-coin; with FT
standing for… Future Taxes." (

[edit <http://p2pfoundation.net/FT_Coin?title=FT_Coin&action=edit&section=3>

Yanis Varoufakis:

"FT-coin could work as follows:

You pay, say, €1000 to buy 1 FT-coin from a national Treasury’s website
(Spain, Italy, Ireland etc. would run their separate FT-coin markets) under
a contract that binds the national Treasury: (a) to redeem your FT-coin for
€1000 at any time or (b) to accept your FT-coin two years after it was
issued as payment that extinguishes, say, €1500 worth of taxes.

Each FT-coin is time stamped i.e. in its code the date of issue is
contained and can be used to check that it is not used to extinguish taxes
before two years have passed. Every year (after the system has been
operating for at least two years) the Treasury issues a new batch of
FT-coins to replace the ones that have been extinguished (as taxpayers use
them, two years after the system’s inauguration, to pay their taxes) on the
understanding that the nominal value of the total number of FT-coins in
circulation does not exceed a certain percentage of GDP (e.g. 10% of
nominal GDP so that there is no danger that, if all FT-coins are redeemed
simultaneously, the government will end up, during that year, with no

Once in possession of an FT-coin, you can either keep it in your FT-coin
e’wallet or you can trade it. To make sure that the system is fully
transparent and that transactions are completely free, FT-coin could be run
by a Bitcoin-like algorithm designed and supervised by an independent
non-governmental national authority. Just as in the case of Bitcoin, the
total amount of FT-coins can be fixed in advance, at least in relation to a
variable not in the government’s control (i.e. nominalGDP), while every
single transaction (including the tax extinction using FT-coins) is
monitored fully by the community of FT-coin users on the basis of the
blockchain pioneered by the infamous Mr Nakamoto.

As an FT-coin is about to ‘mature’ (i.e. to reach two years of ‘age’), the
demand for it will obviously rise from those that do not possess FT-coins
of that vintage (as it allows for a major reduction in their current
taxes). FT-coin owners with equivalent tax liabilities will have no reason
to sell (as they will want to use it themselves to extinguish their own
taxes) but those who have ‘stocked up’ on FT-coins (to a tune beyond what
they need to pay their taxes), as an alternative to putting their money in
the bank or in the stock exchange, will be selling; possibly with a view to
buying freshly minted FT-coins.

The great advantages of such a scheme is that it creates:

   - a source of liquidity for the governments that is outside the bond
   markets, which does not involve the banks and which lies outside any of the
   restrictions imposed by Brussels or the various troikas

   - a national supply of euros that is perfectly legal in the context of
   the European Union’s Treaties, and which can be used to increase benefits
   to society’s weakest members or, indeed, as seed funding for some
   desperately needed public works

   - a mechanism that allows taxpayers to reduce their inter-temporal tax

   - a free and fully transparent payment system outside the banking
   system, that is monitored jointly by every citizen (and non-citizen) who
   participates in it.

While the Eurozone’s most stressed governments get much needed degrees of
fiscal freedom, taxpayers are offered an opportunity to reduce
significantly their long-term tax burden and to make electronic payments in
euros that bypass banks altogether. At a time of ultra low interest rates,
large tax bills and high bank fees, these are benefits not to be scoffed
at. Moreover, a liquid new market for FT-coins is created, with zero
transaction costs, and good prospects for gains for those who participate
in it, on the back of the underlying tax savings and the state guarantee of
convertibility at par." (

On Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 6:09 PM, Örsan Şenalp <orsan1234 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Guessing I.M. is someone in the Greek delegation from Syriza government?
> What would really be interesting is to hear whether they had any vision or
> plan for this moment expected to come, since this was obvious possibility.
> Since the email sounds like requesting for public support campaign to grow
> underground. This is partly similar to that we have been trying to think
> of, on these exchanges, like an emergency deployment force, commons action
> plan, so on.. the situation now shows that is rather an expressed need by
> the greek gov? It would be great to know if there is any preparation from
> syriza's side, for instance if they would support, or encourage, such a
> commons conference for instance for radical alternatives? Would it be an
> interest of them? Could anyone who received the above email in the first
> place, or close to Syriza inform us on that?
> Ps: Cant access the original book, but from Kevin's below review of Pat
> and Mike's book, I got the idea that there is another transition
> perspective in the book:
> *"Michael Lewis and Pat Conaty. The Resilience Imperative: Cooperative
> Transitions to a Steady-State Economy
> <http://www.amazon.com/The-Resilience-Imperative-Cooperative-Steady-state/dp/0865717079/> (New
> Society Publishers, 2012) 400pp.*
> This book starts with a macroscopic analysis of where the existing
> corporate capitalist economy goes wrong — the pathological effects of
> debt-based currency, a GDP that counts waste as “growth,” etc. — and
> proceeds to outline a detailed blueprint for a resilient alternative. This
> latter blueprint, in a series of detailed chapters, examines the authors’
> proposals for a sustainable successor society.
> Most of the proposals are things readers in the green, decentralist and
> alternative economics communities are probably familiar with: basic
> guaranteed incomes, barter currencies, taxation of land value and
> extraction, community land trusts, employee ownership and self-management
> as the standard business model, etc. Each of them, by itself, involves the
> kind of fundamental structural change you could spend days imagining the
> effects of. Taken together, their cumulative effect is the a model of
> society that makes a “petty bourgeois socialist” like me salivate, and
> would make P.J. Proudhon and Henry George jump up out of their graves and
> shout “Hallelujah.”
> In the course of each chapter, the authors examine the pathological
> effects of a particular structural privilege or monopoly — and in
> particular, it’s contribution to the cost of living. At the end of the
> chapter, they present the savings from the average family’s expenditures
> that would result from their proposed reform, along with a running total of
> the cumulative savings from previous proposals in the book. By the end of
> the book, that amounts to a huge portion of average household expenditures.
> I have a few quibbles; I’m an anarchist, after all. Although the
> guaranteed basic income coupled with Pigouvian taxation would be a vast
> improvement on the present system, my preference is for
> 1) letting the full deflationary effect of technological progress and the
> abolition of monopoly run their course (with a much bigger likely reduction
> in GDP and prices than even Lewis and Conaty envision);
> 2) distribute the hours of necessary labor as widely as possible through a
> drastically reduced work week; and
> 3) support the elderly and incapacitated, and those whose productive
> activity is difficult to monetize, through cost- and risk-pooling
> mechanisms like communal primary social units (cohousing projects, extended
> family compounds, urban communes, intentional communities, squatter
> communities, and the like).
> Second — a quite minor quibble — I’m skeptical about the authors’ claim
> that an end to the subsidized corporate food system would significantly
> raise household food costs. For one thing, I think a lot of food production
> would be shifted out of the cash nexus altogether, and into the informal
> and household economy. And even if it takes more labor to grow a tomato in
> a raised bed than on a mechanized plantation, I still think the total labor
> involved in growing it via soil-intensive cultivation at the actual site of
> consumption is probably less than that required to earn the money to pay
> the price of agribusiness produce (including all the embedded costs of
> long-distance distribution, high-pressure marketing, batch and queue
> processing, etc.). Ralph Borsodi’s analysis of the economics of home
> production is still valid, eighty years later.
> Third — much more important in my opinion — is their treatment of the idea
> of “free markets.” For example, here’s their take on the neoliberal
> policies of recent decades: “When government got out of the way and the
> free market was unleashed, once again the rich got richer and the poor got
> poorer.”
> No. Neoliberalism involved simply weakening some secondary restrictions
> on the state’s primary grants of privilege
> <http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/free-market-reforms-and-the-reduction-of-statism> to
> big business and the plutocracy.  These primary grants of privilege — the
> most fundamental structural feature of our economy — were left in place and
> strengthened. Without all the government-enforced or -provided subsidies,
> regulatory cartels, artificial property rights and artificial scarcities
> that now exist — subsidies to extractive industries, the state-enforced
> banking monopoly, absentee titles to vacant and unimproved land, and
> “intellectual property” [sic] among them — Fortune 500 corporations and the
> entire billionaire class would melt like garden slugs with salt on their
> backs.
> One thing I especially appreciate is they grok the concept of resilience
> in its essence, not just some accidental features of it. Their seven
> principles of resilience on pp. 19-20 include things like redundancy,
> modularity, and tight feedback loops that should be familiar to readers of
> John Robb or John Boyd.
> If you’re the kind of person who’s review in the first place, it’s a safe
> bet this is the kind of book you’d enjoy. I know I did."
> best, Orsan
> On 17 February 2015 at 09:55, mp <mp at aktivix.org> wrote:
>> On 17/02/15 01:24, Michel Bauwens wrote:
>> > Ioannis requests to forward this message:
>> !!And requests that you delete email
>> addresses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
>> > In case you forward this, please erase previous e-mail addresses for
>> > privacy reasons.
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Check out the Commons Transition Plan here at:

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