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Jean-Francois Noubel:

"From its original roots, the Latin word "currere" means to run or to flow. In this original sense, currencies are tools for seeing and changing flows. Therefore we are not using the word currency in the everyday sense where it means the same thing as money. Instead we take our definition from its original and universal purpose, thus: currencies are systems made to express all forms of wealth flowing within a community.

Currencies exist everywhere around us, in nature, in our bodies, in our cells... Any social system, and life in general, needs currencies as an intermediary tool to trade, measure, save. They are used to exchange matter or energy (water, light, ATP in our cells...), to measure the state of a system (hormones, nerve impulse...), to acknowledge an experience of reality (a scream of joy, a dance to seduce, a smile, a thank you...).

Currencies express the whole spectrum of wealth: what is tradable (partially covered by conventional money), what is measurable, and what is acknowledgeable. The alphabet allowed static representations of reality. If used at their full potential, currencies can offer us a dynamic representation of wealth (flows), in other words a totally new way to represent collective reality." (


Jean-Francois Noubel:

What is the difference between "money" and "currency"?

"Money, as we know it today, is a very specific form of currency. Money's intended purpose is making exchange easy and universal within the community that uses it. It's a unit of measure, a unit of exchange and a store of value. Thus one kilo of potatoes can be exchanged with an hour of gardening or a gallon of oil.

However, there are many other forms of wealth that are central in our lives, but they can't be expressed with money (see "wealth"). Trying to express the whole spectrum of wealth with conventional money, as is done today everywhere, degrades universal wealth into a tradable form of it. This places humanity into a mercantile paradigm in which everything can be sold, bought and owned, and this is a huge epistemological mistake. Non-tradadable forms of wealth need to be expressed in a more universal, more encompassing language of flows, not with conventional money. This is what currencies, in our broader sense, are made for. They are symbolic tools we use to express and manage currents within the whole spectrum of wealth. Currencies can function systemically in a number of independent capacities: as a unit of measure, store of value, token of status and a medium of exchange, etc." (

What is wrong with conventional money?

"Conventional money is scarce because it concentrates in the hands of a few and leaves everyone else short of this indispensable means of exchange.

Entire communities -- people, villages, cities, regions, companies, NGOs, public services, countries -- are undermonetized. They do have wealth --competencies, resources, time, love, genius, assets, entrepreneurship skills, culture-- but exchanges don't happen. Not because of lack of wealth, but because of lack of transactional units: money (see more details in the Common Good Bank video). Conventional money is concentrated somewhere else, offers and needs are not fulfilled, poverty follows. This is very much like an ecosystem without enough water.

This phenomenon of wealth condensation on the one hand, and desertification on the other is called the Pareto principle. This vicious circle increases the gap between rich and poor. At least 80% of humanity lives with less than $10 a day, and almost 50% of humanity lives with less than $1 a day

Close your eyes and imagine the wisest persons you may know on Earth. Now ask them them to play a Monopoly game. If they play by the rules, no matter how wise or good these persons are individually, one will end up rich and the rest will end up poor. The Pareto effect is built into the rules of the game, and has nothing to do with the wisdom of the players. Our conventional monetary system has this same property of wealth condensation.

Taxes are meant to redistribute wealth in an equitable manner, but today no tax strategy has ever overcome the Pareto effect. It's just as if the Monopoly game goes on as normal except that every once and a while some of the monopolists properties are given to the poor players. All this does is slow down the general path of the game, or, if the redistribution is large enough, put someone else at the top. But the principles of condensation/desertification remain." (

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