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Sarel Steyn
 
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Money

12 December 2013, 19:09

Its undeniable that SA has major problems facing everyone in this beautiful land, ranging from poverty, government services, power shortages, corruption, crime and many more.

As our fight for freedom from Apartheid was heavily influenced and supported by underlying ideological believes we were almost certain that the democratically elected government would be more socially orientated, as most of the leading fighters against Apartheid was influenced by communism and socialism in general.

In other words, big government was seen as the solution for our social problems. The newly freed South Africans demanded justice and a government that would act in the interest of our people. Most people saw this in the form of hand-outs in the form of housing and other goods.

Now almost two decades after our first democratic elections in 1994 we are confronted daily with major issues that resulted in us having chosen a government system where the government has become the one that needs to rectify the social inequalities in our society. In the last 20 odd years we have seen our currency decline in value nearly 70%, we have seen more wealth distribution to a small elite, be that white, or black. We have witnessed an education system that failed and is still failing our youth, the future of our country.

We are seeing the continuing militarization of our police, we are seeing our government taxing its people in every which way possible on the pretext of new laws and systems that we have not consented too. The irony here is that South Africa is the richest country on this planet in terms of resources, but like during Apartheid, these resources leave our country to get processed somewhere else, and we are then forced to buy our resources back.

Two decades is a long time and to say that we are still in the struggle, and that things will get better, this to me is very naïve and demands attention from the people to start asking why, why, why, why, why.

One thing that amazes me is that no one, not in government, in any political party, business or the masses ask themselves or demand to know the root causes of our problems, we are always told the problems are the result of Apartheid, and nothing more is done as this must be true. Well this answer is not sufficient for me and a growing amount of people in this country any more.

Most of the problems we are facing has to do with finances, money, taxing, inflation and corruption. So our financial system in this country must be fault, why don’t we have enough money to do what we are supposed to do to uplift our peoples? Well we can argue that its due to corruption, that our ruling elite has been robbing us blind and this must be the root cause, so an easy solution would be to vote them out? I say no, this is not the root of our problems, this might be a part of the problem but we must look at the big picture again. How does our government work, how does our socialist orientated system work, how does our monetary system work? We believe we live in a democracy where the elected represents the people, but in fact this is not true, we have a self-serving ruling elite that uses the guise of democracy as a veil to rule and rob, this is done in some cases totally within the law, as this same elite writes the laws.

Let’s look at our monetary system quickly and see what this means for normal people in SA, I mentioned that since 1994 the SA Rand has lost 70% of its buying power, this means that the normal hardworking people in SA have been robbed, and in most cases they have not even noticed this. How can the values of our Rand decline, isn’t money, money?

The SA Rand is a so-called Fiat currency, meaning that the Rand has no intrinsic value, its value is determined by the trust we have in it. When looking at a Rand note it becomes rather obvious that this currency is not issued by the South African Government, but by reading the words on the notes “South African Reserve Bank” should make it very clear to people that something here is not right. What is the South African Reserve Bank, well it says SA on it so it must be part of the government, in other words owned by us the people.

This unfortunately is not the truth, this bank is in fact a privately owned bank that was given the monopoly, together with the commercial banks in SA, to issue, print and control our national debt based currency. And to make this marriage complete, the government, our government, forces us to use this private monopoly money and nothing else. This currency is based not on our gold or other resources but, without consent of the people, it’s based on us, on our hard work on our taxes on our suffering, now and in the future as the Rand is debt based.

So this Rand that controls almost every aspect of our lives, have no intrinsic value, is not controlled by the peoples government, but is controlled by big banks, and represents debt that someone has to pay at some stage to the banks that issued these notes, with interest. This also means that as our government uses us the people as collateral for the loans it makes with banks and other investors. This to me begs the question, why wasn’t I asked if I consent to being a resource for the government?

Let’s look at why we have currency and what we use it for, and what we can do to change our fate? Currency is used as a medium of exchange for goods and services, what happens when I have goods to offer but my would-be customers have no Rand to use to buy my goods with, nothing, I am stuck with my goods and still need to pay taxes to the government and pay to upkeep my business. So the problem is that we do not have enough currency to support our economy with, what can be done to change this without involving the banks and printing more debt that we will carry into the future?

A recent project in the slum Bangladesh close to Mombasa in Kenya, where Will Ruddick, an American physicist, economist and former Peace Corps volunteer, introduced a complementary currency. Will’s local development organization, Koru-Kenya, worked with over one hundred small business owners in Bangladesh, who agreed to give each other the equivalent of 400 shillings (about €3.5 or $4.60) in mutual credit in the form of business vouchers called Bangla-Pesa. Half of the vouchers would be available for spending on each other’s products and services, and half would be spent into the community on public projects such as waste collection and health services.

Allocation decisions were democratic and transparent, and the new currency was backed entirely by the community’s own resources and insured by a system of group guarantors, not by the Kenyan government or a development agency. The project was launched on May 11, 2013.  The immediate effect was an increase in sales of 22%. That meant increasing incomes and purchasing power by 22%. 

These exchanges were of goods and services that without the additional currency would have been thrown away or gone to waste, not because they were unmarketable but because potential customers did not have the money to buy them.  Introducing Bangla-Pesa worked to move the economy forward at full capacity, connecting the community to its own resources when the only things lacking were those slips of paper called “money.”

Unfortunately Will and his team were arrested and thrown into jail, after the Central Bank of Kenya was called in and charges of forgery were formally placed. Currently the only complementary currency in SA is the Ora, with is used in Orania. Why not use the same in

We need to start looking at our system our so-called democracy and ask ourselves, does this system work for us, our work only because we allowed ourselves to be enslaved to this parasitic system? The tools to free ourselves are available and not rocket science, even Bitcoin can and will have a massive impact on the way the world will work in the future. We need to go back to our roots, this means we need to engage again with the people in our communities in trust and mutual respect.

Trust and mutual respect is essential for a local currency or exchange to work for all. This will also force us back to the community and also allow us to eat local, buy local and support and uplift our local communities. This to me is Ubuntu and taking back the control over our own destinies again, without government.

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