Back To California & Arizona
By Thomas H. Greco
For more than 27 years Tom Greco has been working at the leading
edge of economic and financial restructuring. He�s traveled
throughout the world lecturing and working with various
communities (to set up community currencies).
Greco addressed the 2006 International Reciprocal Trade
Association�s (IRTA) Annual Convention, pointing out the unique
opportunity the barter industry has to be a major savior of the
coming currency crisis�if there was a united worldwide common
Tom Greco�s recently published book is �The End of Money and the
Future of Civilization� from Chelsea Green Publishers.
Blog dated Saturday, May 30, 2009
It seems like ages since I sent out my last missive. Checking my
files, I see that it was on April 21, the day I flew from New
Zealand to Australia. It�s taken a while for me to get up the
motivation to complete this next installment that I started writing
weeks ago. As usual, there�s been a lot going on, and I must confess
to a bit of travel weariness. Despite a six week long sinus
infection that lingered through the end of my tour, a lot was
accomplished, but it left me more depleted than I first realized. I
think I need to stay put for a while.
I�ll start with a few highlights. Yes, I�m back in the USA, having
flown from Adelaide to Melbourne to Auckland to San Francisco all in
the same elongated day (April 27). I was warmly welcomed by the Lub
family who took me into their home where I was able to rest up.
After a couple weeks in California I drove my Dodge Caravan to
Tucson where I intend to base myself for the next few months. I�ll
fill in a few details below�but first a word from our sponsor (that
would be me).
After more than a year of intensive labor I finally got to hold my
new book (The End of Money and the Future of Civilization) in
my hands. It arrived in the mail at my California address just a few
days after my return. What a thrill it was to look at it, to feel
the weight of it in my hands, and to riffle its pages. Even the
cover is pleasing to the eye. The more I look at it the better I
like it; its imagery portrays the proper hopeful message of the
My choice of title for this book is intentionally provocative, but
not at all based on wishful thinking. It expresses what is actually
happening NOW. The recent emergence of commercial �barter�
exchanges, mutual credit clearing associations, private voucher
systems and community currencies, represent the early stages of a
process of power devolution that will inevitably lead to the end of
But the end of money refers NOT ONLY to the end of
political money, but also to the evolutionary process by which
the essential nature of money has changed over the past two or three
centuries � from commodity money, to symbolic (redeemable paper)
money, to credit money. Of course, the reciprocal exchange
process that money is intended to facilitate will continue, but in a
different way from before, a way that does not require the use of
conventional money or banks.
The ultimate stage in the evolution of money and the exchange
process that is now emerging is the direct credit clearing
amongst buyers and sellers, i.e., the offset of their purchases
against their sales. The widespread application of this process does
indeed mean, in a very real sense, the end of money.
The more than a dozen pre-publication reviews of the book have been
uniformly positive and we�ve gotten important endorsements from a
number of people who are both knowledgeable and well-known.
The important thing now is to get large numbers of people to read
the book. I truly believe that it provides information that is
essential for people to have as we negotiate what futurist Robert
Theobald called, �the rapids of change.� You can help by placing
orders through conventional channels, especially your local
independent bookstore. If they get enough orders, they will stock it
and hopefully display it. It is also important for
readers to rate the book and post their reviews on
My Australia visit during April was tacked on to the end of my New
Zealand tour. While only a brief six days, it was both interesting
and productive. I was able to renew and deepen relationships with
long-time correspondents, John Zube and Shann Turnbull, to initiate
some new working relationships, and to present my ideas to an
attentive audience in Adelaide, the latter resulting in several new
members for the host organization, Economic Reform Australia (ERA).
To all of my Kiwi and Aussie friends, both old and new, I want you
to know that it was a great pleasure for me to spend time and to
share ideas with you. I appreciate having had the opportunity to
enjoy your warm hospitality and experience the beauty and culture of
your great countries. I hope that my visits may have helped in
moving your projects forward.
Living abroad for significant amounts of time, one gets and a chance
to see a broader range of lifestyles, and a different perspective on
the world. Returning to the United States can be a bit of a shock.
The most striking thing about Asian cities, for example, is their
liveliness. The people are hard-working and enterprising, and the
streets are filled with hawkers and vendors of all sorts.
Besides the food vendors who cook up amazingly delicious food right
out on the street from propane-fueled carts, there are various kinds
of craftspeople, too. It is common to see cobblers and sewers
working right out on the sidewalk, fixing shoes or sewing up bags
for passers-by. American cities by comparison are orderly and quiet,
segmented into districts by function � commercial, residential and
industrial, that may be active only at particular times of day or
In Asia, except for heavy industry, all of these happen together in
the same spaces or in close proximity. I�m not saying that one way
is necessarily better than the other. Both have their advantages, as
well as disadvantages.
Tucson is a medium-sized city that has many cultural advantages. It
is home to a major university and a sizable population of well
educated citizens, many of whom have relocated or retired from
colder climes. A few nights ago I went to the Museum of Art to
attended a screening of the documentary film, Manufactured
Landscapes. The film is a stunning portrayal of places and
scenes that have been impacted by human activity.
Filmed in China, it show factories, mines, quarries, scrap yards,
buildings and dams. There is a certain beauty in the images as
abstractions of color and form, but that�s only because the medium
separates us from the full experience of what we see � the odors,
the tastes, the tactile sensations, the discomforts, and the
long-term personal impact on health and sanity.
One of the most astounding things about it is the massive scale of
the things that are shown. The Three Gorges Dam, for example, which
is shown in various stages of completion, is half again as large as
any other dam in the world. Over a million people had to be
relocated to make way for the resulting reservoir. Entire cities
were not only evacuated but demolished, mostly by hand, by the
residents themselves, who were hired to take down the buildings to
prevent their becoming navigation hazards.
The film opens with a slow pan across a factory floor that extends
for two thirds of a mile, filled with row upon row of work benches
and machines staffed by thousands of ant-like workers engaged in
mostly repetitive tasks.
But this film is no polemic; it merely shows what is. Much of it is
junk. Where does your discarded computer or electronic gadget end
up. Chances are 50/50 that it ends up in China along with similar
items imported from all over the industrialized world to be
disassembled, smashed, cut up, and sorted bit-by-bit by legions of
workers who earn pennies-per-day to do it.
One of the most moving scenes showed teenage kids inside the hulks
of decommissioned oil tankers, scooping out tar and sludge so that
the steel could be cut up and salvaged. These are things that we
don�t normally see that reveal the hidden costs of out own
lifestyles. Something to think about...
For more information on Greco visit