Patterns Of Demonetization

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an attempt to sketch / list the elements of a Pattern Language for a society beyond money. The idea is that such a society can only emerge on the base of understanding of its complex design issues. Its a very early stage of a political proposition.

Source: via Franz Nahrada at

Note by editor Michel Bauwens, I have augmented the page with links to documentation in our own wiki


Franz Nahrada:

Patterns of a demonetised society

Money, the means of buying and selling in the market, is the central social nexus of modern societies.

  • It is the form in which practically all individuals, be they producers or consumers need to relate to each other.
  • It is the form in which the wealth of nations is expressed and measured, managed and allocated.
  • With a highly developed division of labor, everybodies well-being and survival depends on money.

Life without money seems to be at best a primitive atavism. The fall of communism is interpreted as the ultimate failure of the dream of a moneyless or money - free society.

At the same time, our global society is currently experiencing an economic crisis based on the increasing dissociation between what is called the "real economy" and the economy of money and its derivatives. There is much reason to assume that there is a systemic reason for this dissociation, characterised for example by Jeremy Rifkin as the "Zero Marginal Cost Dilemma": The more productivity is created by automation and integrated logistics, the more precarious the business of production for monetary returns becomes, because the monetary value of commodities tends to fall and eventually vanish. The consequences for the productive sector of society are enormous.

“Let us remember that the automatic machine is the precise economic equivalent of slave labor. Any labor which competes with slave labor must accept the economic consequences of slave labor.” "The modern industrial revolution is bound to devalue the human brain at least in its simpler and more routine decisions. The average human being [will have] nothing to sell that is worth anyone's money to buy. The answer, of course, is to have a society based on human values other than buying or selling."(Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics)

At the same time the very same system abounds in material wealth, which makes it possible to maintain the illusion for some time, maybe even many decades, by creating debts. The creation of money based on financial self-reference therefore has been exploding, simulating the lack of sufficient social value creation and leading to tremendous social disparities and disfunctionalities - besides its imminent contradiction of being an outright long term fraud.

Yet very few attempts have been undertaken to conceive a society that crosses the money border. Even the political left has broadly accepted the market as a key element of future societies. Some fantastic assumptions about technocratic solutions, distribution done by algorithms and computer systems are still around, but they are not tested in practise - to say the least.

We lack a transformative design that really implies a living interplay of various patterns mediating nonmonetary social relations. The following collection is in some points leaving traditional pathways of the political left."

  • Why Demonetise?
  1. Money is increasingly losing its relation to economic value
  2. Increasing precarity by disappearance of jobs
  3. Material abundance conflicts with the lack of buying power of the many
  4. Money gives the wrong signals to society, especially when it is in the hands of a few (system B)


  1. Money can be a training ground for demonetisation

  • Why Patterns ?
  1. No monolithic system, but design challenge
  2. Not wishful thinking, but proven elements

Pattern Collection Directory

Note: This is just a sketch, waiting for your contribution!

Basic Patterns of Human Relations

For general documentation:

  • Thinking As Human Being in General
    • How do we perceive ourselves and our actions - "Categoric imperative" as guide to do things right and do the right thing, not success, but reproduceability as highest criterion.
  • Living A Progressing Gift Economy - Mothering, "positive spin" of eliminating deficiencies, paying forward
  • Establishing Participatory Resources - Optimising the use for everybody. Knowledge as the prime economic resource that is participatory in nature.

Traditional Societal / Cultural Practises

For general documentation, see

  • Potlatch (a tradition Native American gifting ceremony in the Northwest)

Beyond Industrial Society - the new productive forces

For general info, see:

"In terms of the ways in which the machine altered our relations to one another and to ourselves, it mattered not in the least whether it turned out cornflakes or cadillacs. The restructuring of human work and association was shaped by the technique of fragmentation that is the essence of machine technology. The essence of automation technology is the opposite. It is integral and decentralist in depth, just as the machine was fragmentary, centralist, and superficial in its patterning of human relationships.” (McLuhan)

  • The Prosumer and Prosumer Communities
  • Flow
  • Embeddedness and Circular Economy
  • Permaculture and Agroforestry - cybernetic perspectives and procedures in dealing with nature.
  • The Integrated Multifunctional Living Space (Permaculture - Prinziples)

Specific Patterns of Transformation in Current Capitalistic Systems

Communication Instead of Market

- towards a factual coordination of social actions

For general info: see Coordination

Money cannot simply be "abolished"; it would need conscsious action and design to implement something that serves needs better.

Patterns of Survival and Rational Production

For general info, see Manufacturing

The times of seeming identity of economic growth and wellbeing are over; globalized production and auutomation led to redistribution of wealth and production. One expresion of this is the dwindling of welfare-state institutions around the globe. We are most likely at the beginning of this process which put more and more people out of the regular labor process and forces them to look for sources of survival.

In addition to this, the "anthropocene" caused by globalisation and global integral factory is also recklessly distroying the natural foundation of human life. The necessity of establishing a sustainable societal metabolism embedded in natural cycles conflicts with the .

  • Collective Appropriation Of Resources and Means Of Production
  • Cooperative Cycles
  • Rooms for Prosumption - Makerspaces, Automation und Prosumption as industrial products
  • Free Knowledge / Open Hardware - physical technologies for building, cultivating, energy etc.
  • Biogenical Turn - Resource-Based Economy as general paradigm

Patterns of Segregated Spaces / Spheres of Collective Self - Determination

For general info, see

  • Community Places (Monastery, Ecovillages)
  • Community as resonance Online Communities and Arrangements (Share and Care Movement)
  • Stigmergical Systems as mediation between need and offer

Visions of another society

- Utopia has vanished, because it is implausible

- Dystopia has succeeded as mass entertainment attitude

Therefore, the shere work with Utopias is inherently political and it also is necessary to ground single steps in an overarching context. But the positive Description of the future requires more productive fantasy than ever.

  • Literary Utopias: Bolo'Bolo, The Glass Bead Game etc.