Creative Solutions for UsuryFree Living – Attention Debtors
By Leila Lemghlef
NOTE: Leila Lemghlef wrote this article after she attended the special event celebrating the Third Annual UsuryFree Day & Week in Brantford, Ontario in mid-November 2007.
Readers are invited to plan a local event to celebrate the forthcoming 'Seventh Annual UsuryFree Day & Week' from November 13th to 19th, 2011.
“Behind every great fortune there is a crime.” – Honore de Balzac
Many people are beginning to understand that usury is mathematically inrreconcilable, and they are working to turn things around in a society largely complacent towards the harmful status quo. Five events highlighted the Third Annual UsuryFree Week this year, which starts each November 13th on UsuryFree Day.
It marks the 2004 inauguration of the Tamworth Hours, a community currency established in rural Ontario to encourage local barter to fight debt. It also celebrates the launch of the “Be In Serenity” (BIS) Network, which uses paper notes called Serenity, and rebukes the Swiss-based Bank for International Settlements.
What is Usury?
Usury, by definition, is the lending of money with an interest charge for its use. Banks loan money, then charge back the principal plus interest, but they do not lend depositors’ funds. Instead, they virtually create new, interest-earning money, with each signature on the promissory note when someone makes an application for a loan or mortgage. Commercial banking institutions apply this strategy indiscriminately, to individuals, businesses, and municipal governments etc.
Money leaves circulation with the payment of the principal, and the interest is taken as profit. Usury together with the common practice called fractional- reserve banking, means that shareholders of the global banking cartel distribute more credit than they hold in reserves, begetting assets that are impossible to account for because of their bogus value. The social ecosystem suffers from a shortage of money, and the better part of our incomes support debt service, (interest or usury) because of the growth factor.
Disowning Legal Tender
In 1983, Michael Linton introduced Local Employment Trading System (LETS) software in Courtenay, British Columbia, after the onset of an economic recession. Unemployed people could gain access to consumer goods and services by creating and spending their own private currency called green dollars, together with diminishing amounts of federal cash.
Over the years, people worldwide have adopted this exchange system. With the help of the internet, like-minded traders can accomplish long-distant transactions. Tom J. Kennedy has been advocating “NoUsury” or “UsuryFree” economics since 1984, and is president of The Cyberclass Network, an online resource to help visitors become aware of “what they don’t know they don’t know.” This tool draws attention to the design flaw in our orthodox money system, and its key role fostering fear, violence, war, poverty and other major world problems.
Kennedy points out, in an innovative proposal for municipalities, that presenting local, usuryfree money into circulation connects unmet needs with unused resources. He also explains that it favours the reduction of any debts (personal loans, car loans, mortgages, lines of credit, and credit cards), by freeing up more Canadian dollars to pay off liabilities.
“LETS is an interest-evasion scheme, it’s not a tax-evasion scheme. Because if you evade tax it’s illegal, if you evade usury, it’s smart,” said Kennedy at a special, all-day event in Brantford, Ontario, held November 17th, 2007. The symposium featured four guest speakers including a keynote address by Peter Jon Simpson, of Minnesota, from the Erwin Rommel School of Law. Simpson describes community currency as a parallel universe to the monetary matrix we know across the western hemisphere, from Moscow to Los Angeles, and he commends sharia-based financial conduct for its profit-sharing approach.
“The Federal Reserve System is neither federal nor a reserve, it is magnetic impulses and devices,” he said of the U.S.A.’s central bank. “The bank business deals in the traffic of credit and debt, not money. It’s the business of death,” he continued. “What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is negotiable, sign here,” Simpson summarized.
John C. Turmel spoke at the seminar as well, bringing to the audience his knowledge from years of political crusading against banking systems. In his discussion, he shed light on current affairs, like the dominating “export-or-die” mentality. As one country exports commodities for cheaper than the price of production (by hiking prices domestically), the disease catches. Turmel likens this “ugly, wasteful” profiteering scheme to musical chairs, in which someone always gets squeezed out of the game, through foreclosure or bankruptcy for instance.
In May 2000, Turmel single-handedly got the United Nations to write a declaration known as UNILETS. It reads: “The Forum urges The United Nations Governments to make serious commitments to restructure the global financial architecture based on principles of equity, transparency, accountability, and democracy, and to balance, with participation of civil society organizations, the monetary means to favour human endeavour and ecology, such as unilets, zero-interest, alternative, time-based currency.
Today, changes are underway to restructure the financial setup, but they rely on collective lifestyle choices. Usuryfree community currencies, involving barter, are emerging.
How It Works
Members enrol in a usuryfree network (e.g. BIS Network). A central office distributes currency notes (e.g. Serenity) and a directory outlining membership, products and services. The issuer signs a promissory note with a promise to offer products and/or services to the network, with a value equivalent to the credit issued (note – this calculation can be made in hours and minutes, and the value can be measured in comparison to the amount of Canadian funds that would be deemed to be a fair payment for this job in the free market).
Municipal governments can take the opportunity to accept usuryfree community currency as partial payment for municipal fees, licenses, property taxes, etc. Similarly, business owners must agree to accept usuryfree community currency as partial payment for contracts and/or employees. This exchange is possible when entrepreneurs cover any wholesale costs of doing business with federal cash, and receive a portion of the retail mark-up in usuryfree community currency.