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Alternative Economies: public dialogue

5.30 pm - 7.00 pm, Monday 22nd October, Ormston House, Limerick

The first of a series of round-table discussions on this topic co-produced with Ciaran Nash. The question for discussion was: could an alternative currency operate during the 12 day centenary of the Limerick soviet, and if so how would it work?

The purpose of the discussion was to function as a kind of brainstorming and as a reflection on alternative economies more broadly. 12 people attended the dialogue, 7 of whom were artists, one an architecture student, a member of the Limerick Soviet centenary committee, an activist and a small business owner.

Ciaran and I had made an A2 sheet containing various examples of alternative economies that have or do operate in the world. The conversation was centred on a question of whether an alternative currency could operate during the soviet. The responses were wide ranging; with one or two people proving to be particularly knowledgeable on the subject. We got stuck on the topic of money; it becomes clear very quickly how abstract it is when you try to figure out how it works.

A number of outcomes arose; it is clear that some kind of need must be present for a currency to work. The situation of asylum seekers in direct provision was considered as they have little access to money making opportunities. The second conclusion was that a follow on conversation could benefit from the presence of an economist. The left-wing economist Conor McCabe was suggested, as he has recently published a book on Money as a form of social relation.

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