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← Free currencies | Jean-François Noubel | TEDxParis

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences.

Jean-François Noubel speaks on free currencies and the end of money.

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Showing Revision 30 created 10/22/2015 by Denise RQ.

  1. Good afternoon.
  2. I'd like you all to breathe
    through the little straw.
  3. We're even going to stand up,
    if it's OK. Come on.
  4. We're going to move our bodies
    while breathing through this little straw.
  5. And go! Go on!
  6. ♪ Tum Chiki Cha Chiki Tum Chiki Cha ♪
  7. Keep going, move!
  8. ♪ Tum Chiki Cha Chiki Tum Chiki Cha ♪
  9. Keep moving; keep breathing
    through the straw! Go.
  10. ♪ Tum Chiki Cha Chiki Tum Chiki Cha ♪
  11. Move a lot!
  12. ♪ Tum Chiki Cha Chiki Tum Chiki Cha ♪
  13. ♪ Tum Chiki Cha Chiki Tum Chiki Cha ♪
  14. Great. Thanks.
  15. Is it easy?
  16. So, we do that for one short minute.
  17. What if we did that for many weeks,
    many months, or the rest of our life,
  18. or if we were born with this little straw
    in our mouths, what would happen?
  19. First of all, we would certainly forget
    that we have this little straw,
  20. and we would probably build
    a philosophy based on scarcity.
  21. In other words, we'd say air is scarce,
    just because we forgot that that the tool
  22. that links us to this abundant air,
    there's plenty of it for us,
  23. but we forgot this object, so we build up
    a vision of a scarce world.
  24. Also, it was a bit short in one minute,
  25. but we realize that if we really
    start breathing through this little straw,
  26. then all our physical,
    emotional, and mental energy,
  27. all our inspiration,
  28. are entirely devoted to this breathing.
  29. We don't think about anything else,
  30. we're not going to write
    a symphony or a book,
  31. we're not going to run, or dance.
  32. In fact, each breath becomes
    the conquest of the next breath.
  33. And another thing:
    this suffocation will encourage us
  34. to steal our neighbor's straw,
    or at least to feel tempted to do so.
  35. Moreover, if I accumulate
    many little straws,
  36. I might become able to ask others
    to take their neighbor's straw,
  37. and also ask anyone to work for me,
    and hand out the straws.
  38. So you see, this situation
    of asphyxiation,
  39. this is what most of humanity
    is experiencing today.
  40. With this tool, not to access air,
    but wealth, I mean money.
  41. Money is missing, money is lacking.
  42. This is the experience
    of most of our contemporaries,
  43. to different degrees, but most of them.
  44. Why is money lacking?
  45. We know for sure
    that there is a huge quantity of it,
  46. but this money is going
    to become concentrated.
  47. We encounter this concentration already,
    as young children playing "Monopoly",
  48. which is a kind of miniature model,
    a simplified version
  49. of the economic system in which we live,
  50. but it's the same thing,
    the fundamentals are the same:
  51. the more money I make,
    the more I can invest,
  52. the more I can invest, the more I make,
    the more I make the more I can invest.
  53. This shows that there is
    a phenomenon of "condensation",
  54. that's the technical term, of currency,
  55. which becomes concentrated
    in the hands of a few.
  56. And while money becomes condensed here,
    of course it becomes rare somewhere else.
  57. There we have what
    we call undermonetization.
  58. That is where this asphyxia takes place.
  59. This phenomenon of currency condensation
    has a name; it's called the Pareto effect,
  60. and this is what we experience
    in the Monopoly game.
  61. This leads to interesting conclusions,
    not the ones you find in school books,
  62. and even less in the economic press.
  63. First, in this monetary system,
    by design, there no one winner,
  64. the one with all the bank notes,
    because if I have all the bank notes,
  65. and the other players have nothing,
    I am as economically dead as the others.
  66. So, I can do what I want
    with the piles of bank notes I have,
  67. I can turn a blind eye to them,
    but anyway, I can't do anything with them.
  68. Or I can change the rules of the game,
    and then the game can continue.
  69. So in truth, this is a game of mass death.
  70. It's inherent in the monetary structure
    of the Monopoly game,
  71. as well as in the monetary structure
    we use in the world today.
  72. The next thing is that no matter
    what the participants' intentions may be,
  73. even if people want to make
    favorable exchanges,
  74. even if they're not trying
    to kill each other,
  75. regardless of people's intentions,
    the system as a whole,
  76. goes towards its destiny, independently
    of the will of the players.
  77. It's the mechanism of scarcity, and this
    is why we call money a "scarce currency".
  78. It's not a value judgment;
    it's a technical term that describes
  79. the kind of currency humanity uses today.
  80. Whether it's euros, dollars,
    any other currency, it's the same thing.
  81. But today, of course,
    a response is being made to that.
  82. It's simple: from the fact that currency
    is missing in a given region,
  83. the people see that the money
    has gone somewhere else,
  84. so they create their own local currency.
  85. Today, we see local currencies
    proliferating all over the planet.
  86. As a result, trade picks up again,
    the social body resumes its activity
  87. and its energy, and it starts over.
  88. There are also currencies
    called "social currencies",
  89. complementary social currencies.
  90. For instance, let's imagine
    that I am a student in Japan,
  91. and my next door neighbor is an old lady.
  92. I can do her shopping, keep her house,
    maybe even help her to get dressed.
  93. I earn Fureai Kippus that I can now send
  94. to my old great-uncle
    on the other side of Japan.
  95. He can then use them
    with someone in his neighborhood.
  96. Here we see that this currency
    has an exclusively social function.
  97. it creates relationships,
    while the Yen as such
  98. is not at all adapted
    to performing this function.
  99. And it also allows the government
    to save billions of yen.
  100. There are also currencies
    used for business purposes.
  101. There's one that most people
    know worldwide: Air Miles,
  102. which allow one to purchase plane tickets,
    hotel rooms, rental cars, etc.
  103. There are also currencies
    that we call "targeted",
  104. because they fulfill a specific function,
    such as carbon or kilowatt currencies.
  105. These targeted currencies are made
    to support a specific sector:
  106. education, energy, etc.; there you go.
  107. This was a quick overview
    of "complementary currencies".
  108. Therefore, a breach has opened.
  109. If you go to the Internet to observe it,
    a breach has opened
  110. in the monopoly of scarce money;
    this is one response.
  111. However, we're not going to stop there,
  112. because complementary currencies
    are only a transitory step.
  113. It is a response to...
  114. "Complementary": means what it says,
    it "complements" the system.
  115. It creates patches, bandages; it's made
    to heal, to supply deficiencies.
  116. But in fact, what's happening
    foreshadows an historical moment,
  117. as has sometimes happened in the past.
  118. For example, when people said,
  119. "Look, everyone has the right
    to think what he likes,
  120. and everyone has the right
    to freedom of speech.
  121. It is a universal and inalienable right."
  122. Well, we know that before this, freedom
    of speech was an elite prerogative.
  123. One couldn't express oneself
    without the permission of some authority,
  124. be it the king, God, or whoever else.
  125. And today, in our own time,
    we still speak of sovereign currency,
  126. In our minds, we say -
    it's indisputable -
  127. currency is tied to power, to authority,
  128. whether it be that of God, the state,
    banks; it doesn't matter.
  129. The transition that is happening now is
    the shift from power-controlled currency
  130. towards MANY currencies
    controlled by the citizenry.
  131. Everywhere we begin to hear people say,
  132. "Yes, indeed, we can create a currency
    to support this sector of education,
  133. or that one, for clean water."
  134. In the latter context, people want
    to create social solidarity, and so on.
  135. And this whole nascent movement,
    is called "free currencies".
  136. And as well as resolving social issues,
  137. these free currencies foreshadow
  138. an evolution of our species
    of the same magnitude
  139. as the invention of language,
    or the invention of writing.
  140. That is, we are becoming capable
    capable of creating large groups,
  141. small ones, local ones, huge ones,
    specialized or general, it doesn't matter.
  142. These communities will soon have
    a language that will give them the ability
  143. to understand their own dynamics,
    the dynamics of exchange, of flows.
  144. By the way this is the original meaning
    of the word "currency" in English.
  145. John Locke considered that "currency
    is the ability to see currents, flows,"
  146. and there are thousands of currents
    everywhere around us.
  147. Some of them are
    really interesting for us,
  148. and we must have the freedom
    to play with them, to see these currents.
  149. Now, I would like to share a dream,
    this dream on which I am working.
  150. I would like to--
  151. I dream that every human being
    can become involved with his or her peers,
  152. to the extent of her strength,
    to the best of his ability and talents,
  153. without having this momentum stopped
    merely because of a currency shortage,
  154. only for that reason.
  155. I work, I wish to create the best system
    of sharing and exchanging wealth,
  156. and free currencies
    seem to be ideal for this.
  157. This system is not one imposed
    on everyone by a few,
  158. it is one that people
    will create for themselves,
  159. wherever they are, in their own context.
  160. This city, that social network,
    this company,
  161. this group of people
    sharing the same values.
  162. That makes millions of different circles:
    small, large, local, global;
  163. each of them must be able to create
    free currencies that will allow trade.
  164. Of course I want this system
    to be easy to use, to be fun,
  165. and able to work on any mobile phone.
  166. We're working on it, we already have
    the first experiments; it works very well.
  167. It opens up more than 50%
    of humanity to free currencies.
  168. Today, less than 50% of humanity has
    access to currency in this free manner.
  169. I wish that-- I dream that
    you'll leave this auditorium
  170. with this little seed inside, thinking,
    "Currency is a citizen's right."
  171. And everyone here in this room can do it.
  172. By the way, already in this very room,
    a whole potential economy can start.
  173. If you want to do it,
    that's it, it can start.
  174. Maybe even TED itself,
    this huge exchange of ideas, of talents,
  175. of people who share
    and disseminate ideas everywhere,
  176. maybe this can be an extraordinary
    starting point for free currencies, too.
  177. Once free currencies are
    everywhere, then you will choose.
  178. The old, exclusive currency,
    that you have to pay for,
  179. or multiple free currencies,
    that are citizen-based, and free to use?
  180. In order to bring this dream about,
  181. I work on two levels:
    first, a technical level.
  182. There's technology to build,
    software and code need to be written.
  183. You can also visit a website
    afterwards, if you want,
  184. that will direct you to everything,
  185. Sorry, we work in English:
  186. where you can easily find information.
  187. Then beyond technology,
    beyond software code, protocols,
  188. user interfaces, cell phones,
  189. I also made a personal choice,
    which is to abandon money,
  190. in order to become "rich".
  191. That is, to become rich without money,
    but, of course, with free currencies.
  192. And when I say "rich", it's not
    in the consumer sense of it,
  193. but in its most profound meaning:
  194. rich in relationships,
    and also in the material sense.
  195. I have spoken a little
    about this misery in the world,
  196. but I don't speak about it
    only in a theoretical way
  197. as I have met with this misery myself.
  198. I have earned money, I've inherited it,
    I've had pocket money,
  199. and I've stolen it
    at one period of my life.
  200. I myself have been in this predatory mode,
    which sent me to prison twice.
  201. I found, I saw that most people
  202. in prison, experiencing incarceration,
  203. were people like me, who had
    predatory relationships with money,
  204. who stole it, or were involved
    in drugs, break-ins, etc.
  205. Traveling as I do in the world,
  206. I've learned that in fact, true misery,
  207. the true humiliation of a human being is
    not about not having access to something.
  208. It is above all not to be able to give.
  209. And now, today, we have the means
    to change that, precisely because
  210. of all this work on the economy,
    that the media doesn't talk about.
  211. Tomorrow's world won't be
    the fruit of our reactions,
  212. it will be the fruit of our creations.
  213. We're working on it; we need
    one another to complete the work.
  214. We are a small global team,
    very determined, and we need your support.
  215. Thank you.
  216. (Applause)
  217. Host: Jean-François! (Applause)
  218. I took the x from TEDx, so I no longer
    have to pronounce "TEDex".
  219. I exchanged it for a thousand thanks,
    and now I give it to you.
  220. JFN: Thanks! And they say that x
    is valuable, so thank you.
  221. (Applause)