One spring morning I walked along the shore of Ulsan’s Taehwa River with my wife. I saw a pair of brown wings flapping on the water, and then a still shape floating gracefully. “Look, it’s a wild duck!” I said. “Something is still alive on this river.” However, the joy of seeing this wild animal only lasted a brief moment, because when I reflected, I realized that thirty or forty years ago, there were probably hundreds of ducks feeding on this exact spot of the river, whereas now there was only one. Is one lonely survivor a cause for celebration?
Not if you ask Daniel Pauly, a marine biologist who coined the term shifting baselines. In his work with people who catch fish for a living, Pauly observed that elderly fishers remember that when they were young, the fish, whales and turtles were abundant, whereas now there are very few remaining. However, the young person who starts working on a fishing boat does not have any memory of abundant fish, and considers that everything is fine when a few fish are caught. From this generational gap, Pauly makes the startling inference that we modern people are just getting used to a degraded environment. The environmental destruction is all around us, but we take it for granted that this is the way the environment should look. We consider the degraded environment to be “normal.”
However, cultural anthropologist Anna Tsing offers a different view, in her book The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. As the title suggests, she believes that capitalism has ruined many ecosystems and extirpated many species, but there is reason for hope. Life always adapts to new conditions, and new forms of life spring up and grow in the ruins of the old. Her study focuses on the matsutake mushroom (songi beoseot) which grows in a symbiotic relationship with pine trees that thrive where natural forests that have been destroyed by logging. Tsing reminds us of the value of symbiosis, the entanglement and interdependence between different forms of life, which enables life to thrive and adapt even when many species have been destroyed.
It is urgent for humans to inventory our relationships with other species and to develop our symbioses with them. Currently, scientists are debating the value of rewilding, the re-creation of extinct ecosystems which may even include the cloning and reestablishing of extinct species such as mastodons and aurochs. This plan seems ill conceived. Instead of rewilding, why don’t we recognize the value of the living things around us? The Taehwa River, which blends into rice paddies and urban parking lots, is home to birds such as ducks (ori), magpies (kkatchi), cranes (durumi), and egrets (baekno). Can Ulsan citizens recognize the value of our relationship with these creatures and give them a protected space in which to live? The future life for humans in Ulsan depends upon it.
Please introduce Science Walden.
I’ve introduced it so many times, haha. Science Walden is an engagement laboratory of 80+ researchers designed to solve the problems of our society by connecting scientific technologies to liberal arts and art. I’d like to introduce it as a place not overlooking the pains and conflicts of our society but working to solve them. Science Walden started from Naturalism in Henry David Thoreau’s Walden,and was also influenced by B. F. Skinner’s Walden 2. Science Walden could be considered as a project trying to solve the problems of current society with scientific technology to reach the world B. F. Skinner described in Walden 2.
Is there a particular reason that the solution is the ‘poo’? How did you get the idea?
I wish I had a nice episode to tell you, haha. But, the feces Standard Money (fSM) is one of the efforts we are making, not the core of Science Walden. Another idea hasn’t come up yet, so fSM looks like the key part.
Back to the point, why fSM? I think it’s natural for me as an environmental engineer. So far, we have looked at poo as a contaminant, and have just thought about how to remove it. It eventually ends up in the sewerage system, but I thought ,what if there is a way not to, what If there is a way we can use it scientifically.Those series of questions led me to money. Everyone talks about money, so if there is money that contains economic philosophy, it would be the ethical capital of our society. fSM can change our old view on poo, and even give us something new. This was the start of fSM. There was not one moment when the idea popped up but it emerged slowly from my thoughts.
Please introduce Science Cabin, the second project of Science Walden.
We were thinking about how to root FSM in the world. If people can experience it while they actually stay at a place, they will have a more vivid feeling of the world Science Walden is working on. So, Science Cabin is a living place as well as a research center and a place where you can imagine the future.
So does it have a living area and a research area?
There is a living area, a research area and an activity area called a sharing area. In the sharing area, we have a little kitchen and a studio. This place is for dining together or working together. All kinds of flows - a flow of poo, a flow of energy, a flow of water, a flow of human connection, a flow of money - will arise in Science Cabin.
What’s the similarity and the difference between your first project Sa-Wol-Dang and Science Cabin?
Sa-Wol-Dang was a temporary building from the beginning. Our final goal was building the Science Cabin, but we built Sa-Wol-Dang first with the minimum budget as a prototype. In Sa-Wol-Dang you saw the technology we had, but in Science Cabin you will feel the technology as you live in the space. You can come visit Science Cabin with your family or your friends for a day or a month, living by yourself, with the energy from yourself , not harming the environment. You also can raise crops with the sludge from your poo.
Moreover, imagine the future where Science Cabins are built all over the world. To build the Science Cabin complex, we need new types of pipe lines and a new kind of sewerage system, and new energy lines, thereby creating new companies and new jobs. Overall, a new infrastructure of the society. It’s an asset of our society based on ethical economy.
Is self-sufficiency a goal?
No, it’s not. I can give the energy that I make to others, or give it to a village. It’s not self-sufficient but tradeable. The energy and sludge by poo are all capital and we are trying to design a society connected by this capital.
Then, do you want to make a market with fSM?
Not only a market, but a very inclusive concept of capital. For example, let’s think about the social welfare system. We can serve food to the poor elderly with fSM, and it’s not from tax payers money. It’s a welfare system by our new capital.
How will the research run in Science Cabin?
First of all, anyone can stay at Science Cabin, but he/she should do a ‘check-in’. Check-in refers to downloading the Science Walden app. With this app, you can get 10 Ggool (ggool is the currency unit of fSM) everyday when you defecate at Science Cabin. You will keep 7 ggool and give 3 ggool to your peers. The peers could be anyone; your best friends, someone you just know or people living abroad. fSM can be a connection like social media as in Facebook. Poo can be an income every time and you can share it with someone in the world.
The second research is the “spontaneity” experiment which is about choosing energy options. The visitors of Cabin will choose one of the energies-fossil fuel energy(option A), renewable energy (option B), and bio energy (option C). If the accommodation fee at Science Cabin was 30 dollars, and you chose option A, you’d need to pay 30 dollars. But if you chose option B, your fee would be 31 dollars, option C, 32 dollars. The extra 1 dollar or 2 dollars will be used for renewable energy research. You choices will be recorded in the Science Walden app, so your peers would know your your choices. Even if you used to choose option A to save money, you might change your mind because your peer has chosen option B or C, like ‘Hm, why not use the renewable energy today.’ I look forward to that kind of change.
So, you imagine not only the capital but also a big social network based on the capital.
Yes, I do.
Even though it’s a new capital, I think it should apply to existing currencies. Are you planning to operate it independently first, then connect to existing currencies? Or, is there any connection already?
Most of all, I wish you think of fSM as an economic system we are making now. It’s not like one genius came up and made a virtual currency like Bitcoin, nor like someone declared a new currency and people must follow like communism. We just present fundamental concepts of fSM. We can not only apply it to the market economy, but we can also develop this concept. We can adapt the strength of social economy or improve its weakness or solve its problems . It’s money we are all making together, and I hope this movement starts here in South Korea, specifically UNIST in Ulsan.
Think about it. In human history, we haven’t used two currencies at the same time in a society. (Of course, you exchange it when you go abroad.) If two currency systems can go along together, they could compete and complement each other. Virtual money recently arose, but the value of the money is totally based on the market economy,so it’s more like for an investment or a venture. But the value of fSM stands for human beings. Throughout history, the value of money has been represented by gold, silver, even rice, but never human beings.
Therefore, fSM is a way of answering an old Asian question ‘how much is the value of human?’ by western pragmatism. New logic in human connections can inspire economics, too. Therefore, I can say fSM is an evolving money.
It’s not easy to understand the concept of new capital.
That’s why you have to stay at Science Cabin.
Can you explain the projects in Science Cabin and what the UNISTars participate?
First, we have the ‘Miracle of 10 ggools’ project. When you use the Bee-vi toilets in Science Cabin, you will get 10 ggools and share 3 ggools with your peers. Your peers will share fSM with other people, too. They can be close friends or not, but they all have the same trust in the value of the future. Your thoughts and your changes influenced by others will be sent to someone in the world. Someone who used to use nuclear energy might change his mind as he sees his friend use bioenergy.
A group of UNISTars can estimate the energy usage of Science Cabin. Or, it can be a competition between several teams. Students can stay at Science Cabin by themselves or with friends. They can do artworks with Science Walden’s artists. You can think about your dreams over the night in Science Cabin, and take a warm shower heated by the energy your friend produced… You can make connections that we haven’t had before.
Building unusual labs like Science Cabin or Sa-Wol-Dang looks very different to conventional scientific research. What is the reason for this?
I have considered that matter deeply. Building labs takes a lot of money, and sometimes you get negative opinions too. But you can find researches in conventional labs everywhere, not only in UNIST but also Harvard, Stanford, or Cambridge. We think it’s the duty of scientists to perform lab experiments and publish papers. But in Science Walden, we are undertaking new ways of experimenting. It doesn’t mean that you need a new lab for this, but we need to have a new place to record our experiments in our heart and mind. Just like how you write down everyday experiments in your experiment notes in labs.
Personally, I have one ambition that Science Cabin will be a symbol of UNIST. You can build a symbolic tower for the purpose, but I wish Science Cabin would be a symbol of the mind, of philosophy, of economy to both UNIST members and visitors.
Overall, I want Science Cabin to be a new kind of research center and a symbol of UNIST.
CJW (CHO Jaeweon): In our project, Science Walden, we are trying to make our society as happy as we can, using the concept of the feces standard money (fSM), which is the goal of the Science Walden project. Here, feces, feces standard, money, and happiness mean environmental engineering, humanities, economics, and ethics, respectively. Of course, I understand it is too big jump with big concept but I would start with these for convenience to hit the discussion.
Debater (director of an art center): I think we need to bring our diverse opinions and thoughts toward right directions, through asking ourselves on values of Science Walden. Otherwise, we just do our own research which is fragmentary but not connected to others of the team. Then, it is not easy to converge all the results into a whole at the end of the project.
My first question is why we should deal with feces in the project. If we do not have clear explanation on this, we may have low confidence and big doubt about the project itself.
CJW: It started from environmental point of view a few years ago. I did not have the concept of fSM at that time but wanted to make a different and alternative system to minimize environmental contamination from toilet.
Debater: Environmental issues with contaminations are not new.
CJW: It is not new but different as well in that we do not let any feces into the Nature as we do not use flushing toilet. As you know, even if our community has wastewater treatment facility to treat wastewater including feces and urine, but, the facility can not completely remove the contamionants. As we do not use flushing toilet, we can save water very much, lower wastewater treatment expense, and collect feces and transform it into bioenergy using digestion bioreactor. It is the bioenergy, including methane, that we can give money (i.e., fSM) to users of the non-flushing toilet.
Debater: How much do we get paid when using non-flushing toilet once?
CJW: We can get 10 Ggool in return of one usage. Here, the unit of Ggool is honey in Korean.
Debater: Are all the users supposed to get the same money out of the usage, without respect to excretion amount?
Debater: Is it right to give the same amount of money even though their excretion amounts are different?
CJW: I think we can decide which one is right. We may design we get different fSM money depending on feces amount or the same fSM money (i.e., 10 Ggool). This is why I named the money as feces standard money over simply feces money. Feces is surely not human, but, only human can use the non-flushing toilet for both environmental and economic perspectives. Thus, feces from feces standard money is the symbol of human of the judgment towards environmenal ethics and a justice with relation to the Nature.
Debater: How much money in the present monetary system corresponds to 10 Ggool?
CJW: We have two options to use the fSM. Firstly, we have exchange rate of fSM. When we want to get the present money (i.e., won) from fSM, we may exchange in so called fSM bank. Secondly, we can imagine a certain economic system for a community with a dual monetary usage of the present money and fSM, without an exchange betweeen the two. We can talk about this more in detail sometime soon. I favor the latter but I understand we have to consider other possibilities.
With the first option, when we consider the present economic situations with water and energy, 10 Ggool can give us about a Korean won of 500.
Debater: Considering all the difficulties of human feces and corresponding expenses, the monetary value of 500 Won seems unreasonable. It looks even nonsense.
CJW: I know it is weird, but we consider all the expenses, including costs of initial infrastructure construction and subsequent operations. We did calculations along with a few industrial companies. Based on the calculations, we can recover the construction fee within 6.6 years, with a community of about 1,000 persons.
Debater: I really want to look at those data. By the way, I can not have any confidence whether it is right decision to give whatever money to who does not work at all but only drops poo.
CJW: With your question with doubt, I would ask you whether you agree it is right for who own the building, i.e., infrastructure capital, and do not work, to earn their incomes. Do you think it is ethical? I would rather judge getting a money out of our donating feces is more reasonable in many aspects than earning profits with capitals. We can also build a capital of infrastructure with FSM which I believe is the good capital.
Debater: What is the capital of fSM infracture? How can the fSM infrastructure formed from the process of making bio-energy out of feces?
CJW: I believe capital has not only money, as currency, but also infrastructure. Infrastructure comprises of both private and public ones. We can imagine infrastructure of making bio-energy from poos collected using another infrastructure as well. We may also imagine profit can be generated from both the fSM and the infrastructure, thus, we call those as capitals.
Debater: I do not see clear difference between the fSM infrastructure you mentioned and our present infrastructures. If so, those are going to be the same in the end without any difference in our societal system.
CJW: It is the point where we need our vision and imagination. I would say, we are going to make invisible ones into visional realities. fSM, for example, is believed to contribute to the basic income. Basic income may need more tax collection to some degrees but fSM can minimize the burden thus lowerer the hurdle to the basic income implementation. In this way, we can imagine many other welfare systems once we have certain amounts of source of revenue from the fSM. Or, we may give various different business models to the world.
Debater: I am a little confused. But, what is the exact difference between paying the same amount of a money as the fSM to the public, as basic income, and paying the amount directly to the public, as basic income, without through the fSM.
CJW: Once again, I would like to tell you I prefer to give 10 Ggool to 500 Won or 3,000 Won, even as basic income, after we agree to regard the Gool as cash. By doing this, I believe we can design various models of welfare and business, and also solve conflicts we have for our society.
Debater: What conflicts do you have?
CJW: As we know, we have conflicts between generations and between capital and labor values. FSM may help to mitigate the conflics, I think.
Debater: I do not understand how the fSM eases the conflicts.
CJW: Let me take an example of the financial deficit of subway service. Senior citizen over 65 years old can ride freely the subway everywhere in Korea. Free ride of senior citizens may be controversial in the future as the deficit gets severe. fSM economics can be coupled with subway fare system in oder to make up for the deficit even thought it is not enough. We have another case of job oportunity between generations because we have problems of youth generation unemployment which may get worse when many jobs are substituted by artificial intelligence equipped robotics. fSM uses automatic and machanized system but also produces many new occupations which we do not easily imagine. Rent business using toilets equipped with health monitoring sensors is one that we can think. The company provides maintenance of the toilt, collects data from the toilet with both poo and urine, and more importantly diagnoses the users.
Debater: The toilet with the sensor seems to be charming but only the rich persons can afford it. Right?
CJW: It seems right, but, the true may be opposite. Do you think only the rich persons can afford home water purification unit for potable water? We can develop some business models with rental service and others, to make a reasonable and affortable price of the toilet equipped with health monitoring devices. We may think selling in lots apartments which provide health monitoring for the residents by using the fSM toilets, which increases value of the apartments.
Debater: When I heard what you talk, I think the fSM brings us into two different parts, firstly the economic ands secondly the dignity of human being parts. Does this connect to the poo with dignity?
CJW: I agree. fSM starts from the human dignity, i.e., the inborn value of human being. Poo may be considered as the symbol of the human dignity.
Debater: I think fSM deserves to be studied as far as it is connected to the human dignity, even without lack of an economic benefit. Probably in near future where artificial intelligence substitutes our labor, we surely have many surplus human beings who are isolated from both capital and labor. What do you think with this?
CJW: I do not know much about what happens in near future with the issue of artificial intelligence, with respect to isolation of human itself or human labor, as compared to the present situation. But, I agree we have problems of isolation of human being also in the future as much as we have at present. One thing I want to stress is that artificial intelligence is not labor, even though it substitues, some labors but capital. Then, I am certain the ratio of the earning by capital to the one by labor surely increases. This is one of the backgrounds why persons, like Thomas Picketti, insist we should increase taxation to reduce the inequality of income and capital, or to implement the basic income. But, I am not sure whether or how much the capitalists and the rich accept this.
Debater: While we are talking these, animal right issue occurs to me. It has been told recently many times. The logic is that animal has a right as an animal as human is also one of animals.
CJW: I think differently in that animal has the right as all the lives deserve to be considered precious. The two are seemingly the same but somewhat different. The difference lies in values of between animal and life.
Debater: The reason why I bring up the animal right issue is that we have not asked any question regarding the human dignity in mordern times, especially from philosophy perspectives. I think we may loose the dignity of human being simply because we consider it as we take it for granted. To my understanding the human dignity comes from relations.
CJW: I think your thoughts are deep. I agree with your importance of relations. As you probably know, the Science Walden project has a foundation of Confucian, with conception of benevolence which we have whenever we meet each other. Benevolence is regarded as the highest virtue of all. fSM makes firstly the flow of poo, secondly the flow of energy, then the flow of money followed by the flow of human.
Debater: I hope we can continue these discussion with other thinkers.
CJW: I also hope.
Spontaneity (occurring everywhere at the same time) with alternative democracy
What if we pay for electricity with a higher rate than the present one, with our intentions, to newly shape our society? Imagine we may select different options of electricity sources with different charges (for example, $1.05/kWh for renewable energy oriented electricity versus $1.00/kWh for the present electricity), as measured using monitoring gauges, even with the same electricity provided. The overpaid portions of electricity are subject to be invested for development of technologies of renewable energies and corresponding policies. There are numerous options to select from, when using water (including ecologically treated tap water), drinking coffee (including fair trade coffee and mug cup), eating dishes (including organic, environmental friendly farmed vegetables) in a restaurant, riding a bus, subway, and airplane (with a special airfare considering the climate change), and many others, with different payment options with different charges for underlying sources, policies, and even philosophy.
Money collected from voluntarily-overpaid charges will flow into corresponding infrastures, corporations, and related policies. New prices will be formed based on varying demands and supplies in a new market, initiated from our optional selections, which we call it a new (or the second) invisible hand. New markets give birth to new industrial structures with corresponding policies. Newly born policies may bear different political orders; politicians propose their pledges which may be connected to all the options above mentioned with commodities, services, infrastructures, and policies. In short, citizens will be able to affect their politicians more directly using their selections in everyday lives than ever. Our tax may be subject to be in different adjustments depending on the data we have made through the optional selectios throughout the year. If everything works well, we do not have to vote but may just live to show our preferences through our optional selection.
The optional selections generate data differently from the big data. The digital data can make the yet invisible connections visible, from our optional selection to market prices, policies to be produced and politician to be elected based on the data, and social order. All the connection have been already existing but never take visible shapes. Now we can digitalize all the connection to be identifiable through the smart tools almost at the same time when it happens. Whenever we use electricity with an option, purchase a product and use transportation with options, we can promptly identify how much we have contributed to the resulted market prices and policies, how many persons made the same decisions like us, and how we are connected to politicians who propose some pledges. Right after we select an option to act, we can check the connectivity to the shaped society which is resulted from the selection-tagged big data.
We had better take the shape of our data in our ways, to reveal all the connectivities between everything in the society; otherwise, others do to control us using our data. Thus, designing the order of our society using the optional selection is not an option but a necessity.
Basic Income fSM
I wake up in the morning to get alarm to inform me 10 Ggools of fSM (“Ggool” is the unit of feces Standard Money (fSM) currency) is deposited in my fSM account. It is actually 7 Ggools as 3 Ggools were sent to my peers. This payment happens every morning for every member of fSM currency system without regard to BeeVi toilet usage. Thus, it is called basic income fSM. The difference between normal and basic income fSM is the latter decreases with time with minus interest of 7 % per day. Basic income fSM paid today remains half and only 10% after 10 and 30 days. We can not save basic income fSM, thus, we had better use or send it to peers or others if possible.
We have not experience ever money disappears from our account even though we do not use. However, if we think in a different way, we may recognize it is natural for things to disappear with time. For example, harvested apple decays if we do not eat it right away. Fish as well. It is not natural for us to pack or store apple and fish under specific conditions, using ways and technologies human find or invent; we keep values that are supposed to vanish otherwise, using artificial ways and technologies. Maintaining values using man-made technologies provides side effect as well. For instance, patterns of market change as we do not have to come to market to buy apple and fish too often. We do not say the change in market patterns is wrong but we have to acknowledge the systems of society have changed.
Coinage and paper money do not disappear differently from commodities, such as apple and fish. Adam Smith thought only labor could create an economic value thus correspondingly believed human labor should be the standard for all of the economic values. A commodity in markets obtains a certain price by the invisible hands depending on the corresponding supply and demand. Money is means and tools. Value disappears but money does not. Money may sometimes grow. Money creates new value in forms of capital which is much bigger than the original money. It is astonishing logics and theory. Capital may disappear but money remains. Survived money may try to make another capital.
Labor was a starting point of all values. We do not probably sense the fact any longer or forget it. However, the agreement still exists in all of our minds regarding the belief upon human labor being a standard; even with profits seemingly caused from capitals, we believe some portions of the profits should be allocated to the laborers because they contribute and the standard of produced values should be based on human labor. Meanwhile, capitalists believe capitals greatly contribute to produce values besides human labors and may think portions of values produced by capitals are higher than ones by human labor. But, capitalists still believe standards behind all the profits lie in human labor as there is no other option in the modern economy.
Human being invented the concepts of money and labor. We, human being, also made and have been strengthening the belief that human labor is the starting point of all the economic values. The belief that human labor is valuable and divine, is different from the belief that human labor should be the starting point of the values. Capitalists understand this and have been understanding that their shares are greater than ones for laborers. Here I would emphasize that all these believes and understanding accompany the notion that both laborer and capitalist have common thought the economic value has its standard on human labor. It is irony to find that inequity on the distribution of profits produced by labors and capitals is inevitably connected to our belief that human labor should be the starting point of the values. Someone thought we could solve the inequity of wealth distribution of the economic values created by both labor and capital, based on systems of government. We call them as socialist. This is also one of what we, human being, invented. This means that we could have selected ones that are different from what we have now. Different selection gives us different meanings; human labor might not be the starting point, we might invent other signifiers rather than money, capital or capital itself could be differently formed, and many others. What if we choose human itself instead of human labor as a standard of the economic value, and we may want to make a system with money which disappears naturally like a thing in the nature.
Human labor is surely valuable and may be divine. No doubt about it. However, what if human may be alienated because of the standard with human labor? If so, do we still have to place economic value on human labor more than human itself? We know human labor is inevitably connected to capital. We are probably living in the society where even non-wage laborers do not accept importance and agree with values of non-wage labor. Let alone who can not work with labor. How about labors done by robots with artificial intelligence? Do you still believe human labor be primary standard of all of the profits and economic values in a future society where robots substitute human? I would remind you labors by robot and artificial intelligence are not done by human but by capital. This means that all the profits and economic values resulted from the labors are supposed to go to corresponding capitals.
We are not suspicious that money can play a role to create capital (or as new vlaue) even though we are aware that money is only medium for exchange. Values may come out of desire and fear. Desire towards necessity, utility, pleasure, and having the scare makes various values (the Order of things (1994), by Michel Foucault). Fear against uncertain future also makes values. Money may be a perfect tool to meet the desires and minimize fear as money does not decay to disappear differently from apple and fish unless money holder spend money. Money is not only medium of economic exchaing markets but a value itself as we have desire and uncertain future. Money has become a full of charm through the desires and vague fear. As the charm and fear are too enormous, so we probably lose our reasons of inventing the concept of money why and with which we have been trying to satisfy our desires and to overcome our fear. Now, the desires are too boundless to meet and fear is too high to overcome. Hallucination emerges from the desires and fear to give great credit to money, which creates capitals which both governments and banks support and guarantee.
The solutions are of course difficult but may be easy to make if we do not have fear against uncertain future and we believe we are OK in the future. Not always but we can at least lessen our desires once we can control our fear towards unpredictable future. What if we have confidence we can have foods, house to live, activity/culture/leisure, and contribution for our community? Governments work to give the confidences to the citizens using welfare systems supported generally by tax. Capitalists may argue we can solve the above problems effectively only if we do not restrict the corresponding capitals with controls, such as regulation and tax. It is about ideology. Please understand and do not misunderstand that I prepropose desires for money or capital are simply bad. I am talking about potential solutions with a new vision.
When coming back to where we started our discussion, we all are supposed to get paid with basic income fSM every morning if we are in the fSM system. Suppose that we are confident we are going to be paid continuously after 10 years and even later. And, we all know the fSM is from our network but not from governments or central banks. That is why we already discussed on gift and sharing economies as well as environmental economy intiated a system with toilet and bioenergy. Thus, it is an alternative basic income. With the basic income fSM, we are supposed to lower (but to greater basics) the standard of money, with a new philosophy of money, from human labor to human itself. With a negative interest of money (i.e., the basic income fSM money), it is nonsense to store it for the future and not necessary because we get paid newly in coming days. We can use the basic income fSM to design various systems of local societies. We can easily expand the systems into the global world as we share the same codes of designed subsystems and media (i.e., signifiers). It is both alternative and complementary currencies. We do not deny the existing present order but try to make a new order come to us.
fSM to relate under-utilized resources with needs
When taking a walk in the park, I am informed of a chance to buy coffee using fSM at 9 Ggool until one hour later from now, by an adjacent cafe. I go to the cafe to enjoy Yirgacheffe coffee by paying 9 Ggool. There are some people in the cafe who are also drinking coffee with their fSM, including mother and her daughter. The mother is curious about how her daughter can buy two cups of coffee without any money or credit card. The daughter explained the fSM. After a while, the fSM coffee sale is over. One gentleman enter the cafe and realize to have missed coffee. He buy the coffee using credit card. When I ask the clerk why the cafe provides coffee with fSM, she tell me the cafe can not sell tomorrow the Yirgacheffe coffee using the present beans they have according to the cafe rule. The Yirgacheffe beans remain more than enough, and the quality is still fine with good aroma and taste. She also mentioned that the cafe can buy the Yirgacheffee coffee beans from internet, using fSM, under contingent conditions.
“Incidents are the best helper” by Agnes Varda, in her movie ‘Faces Places (2017)’
At a heavy snowy day, one old man is shoveling the snow in front of my apartment. He does his favor for his neighbors. I express my gratitude to him with my fSM which is kind of good comment in the internet; he has the right not to receive the fSM. We do not know each other in person and he does not know who gives him the fSM. In the afternoon of the same day, the person who shovel the snow for his neighbors may enjoy coffee or pizza with the fSM. Some day he might have get a message from an airline that he gets an off-season seat to Spain, in exchange of his fSM, which he has been waiting for.
Airlines assign a small portions of seats, especially in off-season, to fSM seats which we can reserve with fSM currency. An old man who has never travelled abroad can finally reserve both round tickets and hotels using his fSM. Children of economically vulnerable class families are able to watch movies at theaters using their own fSM as multiplex cinema corporations have allocated some portions of tickets for them. The airlines and mutiplex cinema corporations allocate vacant seats to customers who want to buy using fSM. The corporations either give the earned fSM to their employees as special bonus or can purchase bio-energy to be utilized for their restaurants. The airlines and cinema corporations expect to publicize with fSM currency system for a marketing strategy as the fSM system is well known throughout the world.
Mother and two daughters who are travelling in Seville, Spain, are informed of that they can enjoy a few tapas in exchange of fSM. They enjoy tapas at the tapas bar which sent the message to people within 1 km from the bar, and drink beers (cerevezas) paid in Euros. The tapas restaurant may purchase olives from a few olives farmers who are willing to receive fSM; the young workers of the olive farms are enjoying to listen to Korean K-pop song which can be bought on internet sites by fSM.
A child who has been forcibly separated from her mother at the border between USA and Mexico, is now receiving lots of fSM throughout the world. One famous university in USA offer her that she can pay all the tuitions if she enter into the university using her fSM currencies which are more than enough to afford. One toy shop and one icecream store near the house in which she temporarily lives propose her to buy toys and icream by fSM. One airline offers tickets to Mexico if she can visit Mexio to meet her mother, which can be purchased by fSM.
Villagers in a small town, Guatemala, who lost all their living bases, can buy foods and water using fSM sent from all over the world. They can even purchase some products through international parcel delivery service usign their fSM. They may have some plans to move to other places with fSM.
Free lenser artists have plans of exhibition this fall with their works. They open web sites where they can sell their art works in exchange of fSM, and may purchase materials with which they work for the exhibitions. Independent musicians play busting at a beach to earn fSM. With fSM, they may buy an used but good quality of musical intruments, such as guitar, for their concerts. Young job applicants can buy sandwitch with cofee in the morning at the plaza using fSM. Retired person, from one of big energy company, is now working for a local company which deals with bio-gas plant related to fSM system, and gets paid with fSM.
We are facing problems from two of our great inventions: money and flushing the toilet. We all use money, but we can be isolated from money at the same time. Without a doubt, money is one of the greatest human inventions, but it may also be one among the worst ever created. In the present social, economic system, gold is the standard of money. Although gold is precious, and, as a standard, brings both universality and anonymity to money, it has nothing to do with anything that comes from human beings. While we can do many things with gold standard money in our modern societies, there are no significant connections between the money and ourselves. Thus, it can be hypothesized that whenever we use money, we are isolating ourselves from the world.
Flushing the toilet—a second great invention—also has both positive and negative aspects. While it deals effectively with issues of hygiene, when we flush the toilet we are flushing our excretion into the natural environment and this leads to severe problems. Here’s an idea which could lead us to a new kind of artistic and scientific world: Can you think of a horizon in which we can both mitigate the problems while keeping the advantages of our current money system? Imagine a scientific method of making odorless powders from our feces, and replacing money with that powder as an alternative to our current system—i.e., “feces standard money (fSM).”
Every morning we can put our powder into reactors located in our village to supply food for the microorganisms that can produce various energies such as methane and biodiesel. We can receive a certain amount of fSM in exchange for the powdered feces, and use the fSM to obtain any equivalent value within a system. Feces, like gold, is limited and precious; nobody can make more than a certain limit, and it can be converted to energy. Furthermore, everyone can make feces every day. Whenever we produce and use fSM, it will remind us of our being and existence from the bottom line connection between the fSM and the human being. Thus, fSM has meanings from perspectives of economy and minds of the human being. fSM can automatically become “basic income,” as long as we put feces into the reactors on a daily basis instead of continuing to flush the toilet. We don’t have to argue the feasibility of the concept of basic income with the gold standard of money. We can use both money systems without conflicts.
fSM has similar characters to the local exchange trading system (LETS) but is different in various aspects, from the origin of value (i.e., from us) and the system with it. The fSM is different from other types of credit such as mileage, coupons, and online coins, because it is directly connected to our existence, free will, and intentions as a meaningful act, of not using the flushable toilet. The dollar has been allocated to a certain quantity of gold. Similarly, fSM can be made out of a certain amount of feces powder. Everyone can earn money from their selection of the ecological toilet, and have meaningful moments as they use the fSM by being connected to both their free will with the selection and their subsequent purchases.
Suggestions: A system with fSM can be designed with an App or other similar ways. fSM can be used along with the present currency to buy something such as gas, coffee, foods, and to pay for other enjoyable activities. For example, take the case of street performers. We can enjoy their work and don't have to pay anything. Instead, the street performer can be offered some fSM with a designed IT system. Payment may not come directly from the audience. Neither the performers nor the audience have to be subject to the present payment system whenever fSM is available. Values depending on the production of energy or other equivalent products from the feces at a designated time or date can be distributed to the participants of the system. Of course, since this system with fSM can't provide everything that we need, conventional money also has to be used.
The proposed money system requires various technologies such as biological processes for energy production—and new industries as well such as “golden electronics” (compared to white electronics) for toilets to ecologically convert feces into powder.