PAY IT FORWARD


Community Inclusion Currencies are an important step in the transition towards the re-appropriation of the value of a bond: material, emotional, ecosystemic, voluntary! Looking deeply, at the base of this structural concept lies the spontaneous inclination to sincere gratitude towards a heartfelt exchange, illuminated by participation and awareness in the care of the unconditional Gift.


At the heart of the NGO Grassroots Economics lies the dream of enabling marginalized communities to take responsibility for their livelihoods and their future. The mission is to support prosperous economies built by thriving communities.



But what is meant by this term, which is soaked more and more by a blanket that is somehow inviolable?

Economy derives from the Latin oeconomĭa, "house management": I take the liberty of interpreting it, under the simplistic but inclusive lens of the good savage I am, as the ability to sustain one's own life and that of the group to which one belongs, perhaps even appreciating its creation. But why, instead, in trying to move forward in our lives, do we live in omnipresent anxiety?


This deep emotion that accompanies us from time to time has its origin in the perception of being born in a world of scarcity: it is nourished by the primary and intangible condition of a companion with whom each of us relates on a daily basis: money. We find ourselves in a reality in which we depend on money to live - the phrase "the cost of life" testifies - suffering the effects of its lack, because in order for something to become an object of commerce, it must first be made limited. From the immersion in this great illusion we have come to consider scarcity as the nature of reality, building an uncontrollable desire within our minds: greed, a reflection of the perception rather than the truth of this insufficiency.


The modern experience of money is the product of fear, the fruit of identification with the self, of being in danger, forgotten and, ultimately, of feeling alone and dying.

In today's world, it's understandable to think like this: "money is my guarantee, it's what keeps me safe for the future." It is a vicious circle. The interest-based debt system creates scarcity; hence the self-protective reaction towards accumulation: the flower of fear, the root of social injustice; in this way, inequality is rampant, promoted by decentralization of costs and hierarchical power. The last link that closes a chain of addiction is our approach: we hypothesize our dreams into money, transforming it from a means to an end.

Money is a system of social agreements, meanings and symbols that develops over time. It is, in a word, a story. It is up to each of us to believe in it, imagine a possible transformation and make decisions to act towards the construction of a new one.


It is not only our attitude towards money that must change, we must create new types of this medium of exchange that embody and reinforce the changed attitudes; they go to the core of what it means to be human: our understanding of the purpose of Life, the role of humanity on the planet, the relationship of the individual to the human and natural community; also what it means to be an individual, a self. After all, we experience money (and property) as an extension of ourselves; hence the possessive pronoun "mine" to describe it ...

It is from this drive to appropriation that we realize how the connections with Nature, culture and community have been torn apart, causing the destruction of our sense of identity: a visceral separation between the human being and the natural world that surrounds us.


Yet Life was given to us, we were born free on this Earth: we need to regain the awareness of walking in a dimension made up of an infinite and magnificent ocean of Commons.


The new holistic economy will be an extension of the ecosystem, not a violation of it, restoring lost realms of natural, social, cultural and spiritual capital: an inherent rethinking of what we value.

It means cultivating the uniqueness of each one: a participatory journey that allows us much more control over our Lives and as much creativity we can handle, manifesting a positive impact on the rest of Nature and on our own community. We will be able to manage ourselves and become productive thanks to intentions, freeing the primordial instinct of expression through art, music, listening and Love.


Thanks to Community Inclusion Currencies (CICs) people have a way to exchange goods and services and develop projects and businesses, without relying on a global market that appropriates a slice of each transaction, outsourcing awards, costs and, ultimately, responsibility.


It is a special currency system, typical of an evolving local human systems, part of a transition that uses a money free of usury, and purely individual interest and which pours into the visceral development of the integrity of the group in which it flourishes.


CICs are an internal means of exchange, conceived and put into practice by the community itself, which is based on Trust. Just like "normal" money, believing in its value is the essential prerogative (as indeed any type of token ever used), but instead of relying on a universal capitalist system led by corporations, it is based on and nourishes locality in its entirety, keeping its richness within it. A circle that closes, shrinks and expands in an equally recognized way, in which the links between the beneficiaries are intensified and form the foundations for the rediscovery of the Truth of Interdependence.

It is an invitation to come back to the roots, thanks to which to remain down to Earth. In doing so, we realize the importance of caring for what we all share, becoming aware of our role on the planet. Our existence does not necessarily have to be destructive; indeed, we have the possibility of putting into practice the reunion of a permanent, regenerative culture.

Syntropic Agroforestry, included in a Permaculture holistic design framework, is one of the best techniques for regenerating soil, protecting ecosystems and producing abundant crops in a sustainable way. Community Inclusion Currencies can be the way both to finance their development and maintenance, and at the same time food forests establish a solid foundation for the intrinsic value of currencies, producing a variety of easily tradable essential goods.

We learn from Nature, the greatest teacher: we can merge communities in an ecosystem of Trust, creating beneficial mutual relationships in which to be protagonists. Through the awareness of belonging to the Commons, we remember to have responsibility (= ability to respond) towards it, just like any other species with which we share this existence.


"You didn't come into this world, you came out of it. You are not a stranger" - Alan Watts

I deeply believe that the greatest evolution that the human being can undertake, now more than ever, is that guided by an inner spiritual path. Wondering why this Life has been given to us can break down the barriers we have created within and lead us to the Peace of our hearts: the prerogative of a prosperous expansion in concentric circles that comes to include the Other. We flourish in the maturity of making conscious choices, at the service of sustenance of what is common good, giving value to the foundations of a simply shared Life.


We are stewards of the cultivation of an interdependent ecosystem, intrinsically constituted by cooperation, evolution and acceptance of succession... the natural law that dictates the constant alternation of Life and Death, apparently opposite but deeply united poles. We are beautifully unique beings and at the same time no different from the smallest grain of sand. From here we come and here we will return, flower of the impermanence of every thing.

Let us accept ourselves as part of a larger organism, for which our destiny is dictated by the ability to rediscover the Truth: ourselves, the Other, Nature… we are One, together!

PAMOJA, we have the potential to restore Unity.


by Marco Bonfanti

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