♥Complimentary Yin/Yang Currencies: "A world in balance?" by Bernard Lietaer

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Paper published in Reflections,
the journal of the Society for Organizational Learning (SOL) Summer 2003
Special issue on “The feminine approach to leadership”

A World in Balance?
Bernard Lietaer
November 2002

The theme of this issue of Reflections - “the feminine approach to leadership” – will be
addressed in this paper through the question: what would be different in a society in
which the feminine was really honored? Honoring the feminine encompasses not only
equal rights to women, but also runs a lot broader and deeper. Indeed, it translates into an
entirely different worldview, one where an equal balance is achieved between the
masculine and the feminine.

Imagine a world safe from pollution, a world in which the long term interests of mankind
and our planet temper the short term interests of business and industry; where conscious
cooperation coexists symbiotically alongside healthy competition; where the proper
raising and teaching of our children and the caring for our elders is valued and
compensated for in equal measure to other forms of employment so vital to our society.
Imagine a world in which there is meaningful work for every human being, together with
adequate time for our families, communities and personal pursuits; a world that
encourages individual growth as it does economic growth; community as it does
productivity; conservation as it does consumption. A world that nurtures our spirits and
our souls in equal measure to our material needs; a world that fully honors the diversity
of all life and the life-affirming aspects of what it is to be fully human in its many myriad
shapes and forms. In essence, imagine a world in balance.

Such a world, far from being fanciful conjecture, will be offered here as a realistic
attainment. But it will take money! It is not a matter of how much money but rather the kind
of money that is important. In order to manifest a world in balance, we must bring balance to
our money – for it will be shown that it is our monetary system that fuels and exerts the most
profound influence upon all other human systems within our world today. Such balanced
money systems have actually existed during specific periods in human history. They will be
shown to still exist today in some unexpected pockets of our globalizing world, with dramatic
and most encouraging effects.

Rather than argue from theory, this paper will focus on one specific real-life case study. It
will start with a look at how different societies deal with unexpected crises. Some shocks
can indeed starkly expose the underlying value system of an individual or a society, as a
tectonic plate shift can suddenly lay bare the underlying geological strata. The tragic
events of September 11, 2001 and their aftermath can be seen as a watershed of this

This paper will be organized in the following seven headings:
- Another Way?
- Value coherences
- A Hidden Persuader?
- A Systems Approach to Money and Values
- Some Implications
- So What?
- Conclusions

Another Way?
Was another reaction possible than the one of violent retaliation after the September 11
attack? Let us look at how one particular society has dealt with its own major terrorist
attack - exactly one year, one month, and one day after the attack on the Twin Towers.
Bali has become world news since the terrorist bomb attack in Kuta that killed more than
190 people on the night of October 12, 2002. However, the global media has not been
covering how the Balinese themselves have been reacting to this horror. The two reports
quoted next demonstrate another way for dealing with terrorism than what we have
witnessed so far.

The first is a report by the police on the days immediately after the bombing.
“Lt Col I Made Murda of the Bali police told us that, although hundreds of shops and
restaurants had their windows blown out in the blast, not one single looting has been
reported. Down in Legian there are all these shops without windows and doors, all their
wares there for the taking, but nobody has.

There were also fears that there could be an instant reaction against the Muslim
population in Bali, but no such thing has happened. What HAS happened is that there
have been peace vigils and prayer meetings all over the island, and Christians, Muslims,
locals & foreigners working hand in hand in the relief effort.”

In contrast, the FBI reports that “hate crimes against Muslims soared after September 11
by more than 1,600 percent: a jump from 28 in 2000 to 481 in 2001… The overall
number of hate crimes against all minorities in the US increased over the last year by
21% to a total of 1,828.”

In terms of property damage, do we need to be reminded that a simple electric power
failure in New York a few years ago was sufficient to trigger a systematic looting of
shops and supermarkets, even as their doors and windows were intact?

The second report from Bali is from the Parum Samigita, representing the main local
civic authorities of the Kuta, Legian and Seminyak, the “ground zero” area where the
blast occurred.

Asana Viebeke L delivered the following speech in English on Friday,

October 25th, one month after the attack.
“Now We Move Forward!
We Balinese have an essential concept of balance. It's the Tri Hita Karana: the concept
of triple harmonious balance. The balance between god and humanity; humanity with
itself; and humanity with the environment. This places us all in a universe of common

It is not only nuclear bombs that have fallout. It is our job to minimize this fallout for our
people and our guests from around the world. Who did this? This is not such an important
question for us to discuss. Why this happened - maybe this is more worthy of thought.
What can we do to create beauty from this tragedy and come to an understanding where
nobody feels the need to make such a statement again? That is important. That is the
basis from which we can embrace everyone as a brother, everyone as a sister.

The past is not significant. It is the future that is important. This is the time to bring our
values, our empathy, to society and the world at large. To care. To love.

We want to return to our lives. Please help us realize this wish.

Why seek retribution from people who are acting as they see fit? These people are
misguided from our point of view. Obviously, from theirs, they feel justified and angry
enough to make such a brutal statement.

We would like to send a message to the world - Embrace this misunderstanding between
our brothers and lets seek a peaceful answer to the problems that bring us to such
tragedy. Words of hate will not rebuild our shops and houses. They will not heal damaged
skin. They will not bring back our dead. Help us to create beauty out of this tragedy.
Our community is bruised and hurting. Our spirit can never be broken. Everybody in the
world is of one principle brotherhood. Tat Wam Asi - You are me, and I am you.
These are the concepts by which we, as Balinese, live our lives. Please, we beg you, talk
only of the good that can come of this. Talk of how we can reconcile our 'apparent'
differences. Talk of how we can bring empathy and love into everybody's lives.
The overwhelming scenes of love and compassion at Sanglah Hospital show us the way
forward into the future. If we hate our brothers and sisters we are lost in Kali Yuga (the
“Iron” or “Dark Age”). If we can love all of our brothers and sisters, we have already
begun to move into Kertha Yuga. We have already won 'The War Against Terrorism'.
Thank you for all your compassion and love.” ~ Asana Viebeke L, Kuta Desa Adat

Please compare this statement with those in the latest Michael Moore documentary
“Bowling in Colombine”, or with the “developed” world’s official policy.

The contrast between such reactions begs the following questions:
- What explains that the same horror spontaneously elicits exactly opposite
emotional reactions in a society?
- What explains the Balinese exception?
- How can we learn from it?

By coincidence, I was in Bali on that fateful night. I had just completed four months of
primary field research focusing on these last two questions: what explains the “Balinese
exception”, and how can we learn from it?

In a nutshell, the key findings were that the Balinese society maintains a balance between
what the Taoists call the Yin-Yang worldviews, while the so-called “developed
countries” - including the US - is strongly dominated by the Yang coherence.
Furthermore, the remarkable collective programming power of money systems turns out
to be a key engine that continually maintains and encourages each one of these
worldviews. Specifically, in Bali a dual Yin-Yang currency system is in operation, while
in Western societies a monopoly of a Yang currency is considered self-evident.
The balance of this paper synthesizes some of the evidence for the above claims.

Values and Emotional Coherences
The analytical framework that will be used here to describe collective emotions and
behavior patterns goes back to Taoism and its central concept of Yin-Yang. It enables us
to speak about gender-related issues in a broader sense, and with a less loaded language.
C.G. Jung was one of the first to express regret that our culture is not more familiar with
this concept: “Unfortunately, our Western mind, lacking all refinement in this respect,
has never yet devised a concept, nor even a name, for the ‘union of opposites through the
middle path’, that most fundamental item of inward experience, which could respectably
be set against the Chinese concept of Tao.”3 Therefore, the words Yin-Yang will be used
in this paper at the risk of appearing exotic - simply because we don’t have precise equivalent words in our Western languages.

Having, Doing
Peak Experience
Logic, Linear
Technology dominates
Bigger is better, Expansion
Hierarchy works best
Central Authority
Transcendent God

Paradoxical, Non-linear
Interpersonal Skills Dominate
Small is Beautiful, Conservation
Egalitarian Works Best
Mutual Trust
Immanent Divinity

Taoism conceived all forces in complementary pairs like earthheaven,water-fire, inhalingexhaling,
pulling-pushing, feminine-masculine, etc. Although obviously distinct forces, Taoists see them as
matching components of a single ultimate unity. A balance between them is therefore at
the core of such a worldview, because they are necessary to each other. A bit like a
magnet or an electric battery of necessity must have both a positive and a negative pole –
neither can exist separately. Figure 1 provides a summary of some of these
complementary aspects. It includes some metaphysical aspects, because one of the most
effective ways to understand what a particular society is up to here on earth, is to look at
its image of the divine. For instance, to a Balinese, the Divine is not necessarily male and
transcendent, but also androgynous and immanent - present everywhere in everything and
everybody - not just in the temple compound or invisible in the heavens.

Figure 1 can be read from the bottom up to focus on the internal coherence of each
worldview; or horizontally to appreciate the polarity between them. This figure also
highlights the differences with our Modern Western culture, where it has long been
considered self-evident to have a predominant focus on the Yang coherence.
It is important to realize that from a Balinese perspective both views are equally valid.
Even more intriguing: they have spontaneously developed a dual currency system that
actively supports each one of these worldviews, as will be shown next.

Money Systems as Hidden Persuaders
There is a widespread and tacit assumption that there is only one kind of money
possible in the Modern world - a monopoly of familiar national currencies in the form of
bills and coins. Furthermore, conventional economic theory assumes that all currencies
are implicitly value-neutral: they are supposed not to affect the transactions or the
relationships among the people using it.

In reality, different kinds of money have co-existed in many societies the past, and still
do so in some places today. Furthermore, the evidence points out that the type of money
used in a society, the way money is created and administered, deeply molds values and
relationships within that society by encouraging, or discouraging, specific collective
emotions and behavior patterns. All money systems facilitate exchanges among people.
But given the remarkable motivating power of money, it turns out that some currencies
tend to foster either Yin or Yang values and attitudes. And our conventional money is
definitely an extreme Yang construct. It is created by a global hierarchy where developing
countries don’t have a chance at influencing the rules; it is enforced at the national level
through a hierarchy under the authority of a Central Bank; a money whose interest feature
encourages accumulation and concentration of wealth in the form money; and whose
necessary scarcity promotes competition among their users. Each one of these characteristics
link such a currency to the Yang coherence of Figure 1.

It is important to realize that money is not a thing. While economic textbooks invariably
money in terms of what it does4, they never define it in terms of what it is. I’ll define money as an agreement within a community to use something as a medium of exchange.

Our money and monetary systems are therefore not God-given realities, like air or water, but rather
choices, like social contracts, marriages or business arrangements, and, as such, are subject to
review and amendment.

Bali’s agreements around money will be described next.

Bali’s Dual Currency System
Bali has been using for many centuries two types of currencies in parallel. The first of these two currencies is now called the Rupiah, the conventional Indonesian national currency. It is a Yang currency, managed as in all countries today by a Central Bank; and the Balinese have no more influence over it than the residents of Iowa have on Alan Greenspan. The second one is called “ Nayahan Banjar” roughly translatable as “work for the common good of the community”. It is a time services currency, as the typical unit of account of Nayahan is a block of time of approximately 3 hours of work in the morning, afternoon or evening; and the kulkul (a special wooden gong) gives a summoning for people to gather when collective work is called for.

Each Banjar, the main local civil organization in Bali, manages its own second currency.
The Banjar is a decentralized, democratic, cooperative institution at the local level. It is
an ancient organization structure, as the first written reference to it goes back to 914 AD.6
It has also proven a very adaptable organization structure: “Even today, among families
who have spent several generations in an urban setting away from the rice fields, the
Banjar still plays an important role.”7 The Banjar structure having been amply described
in the anthropological literature, we can be brief here.

There are more than 3,000 banjars operational in Bali today, each regrouping between
fifty and five hundred families. One could describe them as “hyper-democratic”
organization structures in the sense that their leaders, the klian banjar, are elected by a
majority vote, but can also be dismissed at a members’ meeting by majority vote. Each
member is equal and has one vote: there is no special status granted to wealthier or higher
class members of the Banjar. All community decisions are made - once a month on the
average - at the Bale Banjar, the community’s open meeting pavilion. Special meetings
can also be convened whenever necessary.

At such meetings, both new activities are proposed and on-going projects are reported on.
At the same time, the contributions of time and money are decided upon for each project.
However, if a majority of members becomes opposed to any particular project for
whatever reason, it is revisited at the next monthly meeting to decide whether or not to
continue with it.

On the average, each Banjar starts between seven and ten different projects every month,
big and small. And for each project, the expected contributions of each family unit – in
Rupiah and in time – are taken into account. In the poorer Banjars, the Rupiah constraint
is typically the more binding, while in the richer ones the opposite may happen.
In short, the Banjar functions as a community-based planning and implementation unit
that budgets its activities using always two currencies: both Time as well as Rupiah.
Those who cannot contribute their share of Time are supposed to send a substitute
person. In case neither one is really possible, then they must pay a fine in Rupiah.
However, such substitutability is only partial and conditional, similar to the phenomenon
studied by Foa between money and love in Western culture. One can to some extent “buy love” with a nice gift, jewel or dinner, or other expensive gestures. But when the relationship is entirely based on money it becomes prostitution and ceases to be love.

According to the local Balinese leaders themselves, it is not something special about the
Balinese or Hindu religion itself, but the strong system of mutual cooperation within the
Banjar, which has maintained Balinese the balance in values characteristic to their
Some quotes:
- “Banjar is stronger than religion in keeping our communities and values strong.”
Pak Agung Putra, Klian Banjar Tengah.
- “Banjar is what holds the community, each other, together.” Pak Ketut Suartana,
Klian Banjar Sambahan.
- “Banjar is the most fundamental organization that keeps the Balinese character
intact.” Pak Wayan Suwecha, Klian Banjar Kelod.

But what holds the Banjar together?
Our interviewees are quite clear that: “Time is a form of money.” The majority even
makes the point that “Time is more important than Rupiah for keeping the community
cooperation strong in the Banjar.”

The importance of these time exchanges within a Banjar can also be expressed on the
negative side: the main form of punishment meted out by the Banjar is not a Rupiah fine,
but ostracism - the exclusion from the Banjar of someone who refuses three times in a
row to respect the community decisions. And the reason given why such ostracism is so
serious is “when they have an important family ceremony, like a cremation, marriages, or
coming of age rituals, then nobody will give Time for helping them in the preparations.”
In short, depriving someone of Time from the community is considered the ultimate

But why is such a dual currency system so important to keep community spirit and the
traditional values strong?

How a Dual Currency Supports Yin-Yang Balance
A more philosophically inclined Banjar leader, although obviously a Hindu, used
explicitly the Taoist vocabulary of complementarity to describe the dual currency system
as being in “Yin-Yang relationship”.

He saw the normal Indonesian national currency as of Yang nature, because it cannot be
created within the community but has to be earned by competing in the outside world.
The other - Time that everybody in principle has as the same birthright - is Yin because it
is generated within the community, on an egalitarian basis, and generates cooperation. It
is also something that you can’t accumulate and store like conventional money: use it or
lose it. In short, in Figure 1, the national currency fits in and supports the Yang
coherence, while the Time currency, the Narayan banjar, explicitly nurtures the Yin

An interesting difference in attitude can also be observed towards the two currencies:
specifically a very flexible Yin attitude prevails towards the Yin currency. If, for
example, someone has a sick child that interferes with providing time, nobody will object
to him or her not contributing an equal share in time commitments. What matters is the
goodwill underlying one’s actions.

One can see why such a dual currency system within a democratic structure like the
Banjar provides a lot more flexibility than when one has to operate within only one
currency system as is the case in most other parts of the world, including the “developed”
ones. People who have a lot of conventional money tend to have little time, and people
with little money tend to have more time. So the dual currency mechanism enables some
automatic leveling among the social classes.

Furthermore, this dual currency system provides more flexibility in the choice of projects
that get approved by the council. The Banjar in poorer communities automatically favors
projects that require a lot of time; and in rich ones the more expensive Rupiah projects
tend to get approved. In short, in both cases, a lot of resources local can get mobilized for
whatever the community chooses to focus on. And in all cases, a mixture of Rupiah
money and Time money are always involved, just the proportional mix tends to vary.
This explains why, in Bali, religious or cultural events actively involve practically
everybody, and are not limited to a small social group as tends to be the case elsewhere.
Note that this system goes also beyond religious or cultural events. We found Banjars
that support their primary schools or even build their own roads when the central
government isn’t responsive to their demands.

To be able to identify whether anything of the above Balinese case study is relevant for
application in an environment other than Bali, we need to identify the general mechanism
of how dual currency systems supports a more balanced worldview. This is why a
systems framework for the above process will be presented next.

A Systems Approach to Money and Values
The first step is to classify the four well-known forms of capital:
• Physical capital such as plant, equipment, real-estate;
• Financial capital such as cash, stocks, bonds, or “intellectual property” such as
patents and trademarks;
• Social capital such as family or group solidarity, peace, community, quality of
life, etc.;
• and finally, Natural capital such as clean water or air, biodiversity, and other
“gifts of Mother Nature”.

These four main forms of capital fall into a straightforward pattern within the Yin-Yang
framework as show in the following matrix.

Non-material Level ~ Financial capital
Material Level ~ Physical capital

Non-material Level ~ Social capital
Material Level ~ Natural capital

The next step is to bring into evidence the linkages between the dual currency system and
these four forms of capital. As noticed earlier, conventional national currencies have
Yang characteristics: they are centralizing in nature as they are created through a highly
centralized and hierarchical process, they foster competition, and they bear interest (a
mechanism that encourages accumulation of money and its concentration).
Yin currencies, such as the Balinese Time currency, exhibit exactly the polar
characteristics: they are created through an un-centralized and democratic process, they
foster cooperation, they are interest-free and aren’t accumulated. Figure 3 illustrates the
dynamics of the two complementary currencies in their respective economies.

The Integral Economy as a Yin-Yang Complementary System

Yang Cycle
National Currency
Competitive Economy
(generating Financial Capital)
Centralizing, Competitive
Commercial Transactions

Yin Cycle
Complementary Currency
Cooperative Economy
(generating Social Capital)
Un-centralizing, Cooperative
Physical Capital Natural Capital
Community Exchanges

The conventional national currency operates within the competitive economy where it
facilitates quite efficiently the various types of commercial transactions, and it creates
financial capital in the process. This is what could be described as the “Yang economic
cycle”. The Yin currency in contrast activates the Yin economic cycle in a cooperative
economy, facilitating community exchanges that help generate Social Capital. Both
economies require as underpinning a foundation of Physical and Natural Capital.
Conventional economic theory focuses only the Yang cycle and formally acknowledges
the existence of the two Yang forms of capital: physical capital and financial capital.
Unsurprisingly, these forms of capital are measured and exchanged in the national
currency, i.e. the Yang currency. Conventional theory therefore tends to ignore the role of
the two forms of Yin capital - natural capital and social capital - and considers them as

Nevertheless, all economies need to have both a Yin and a Yang cycle – otherwise vitally
important Yin functions such as raising and educating children, caring for the elderly, or
community and volunteer activities would not exist. A society completely lacking a Yin
cycle would therefore soon collapse. But whenever a monopoly of Yang currency
prevails, the Yin functions tend to be less acknowledged and honored, and systematically
starved of resources. Such functions also used to be relegated to women. So the public
invisibility of women, the disregard of the feminine functions of the Yin cycle, and the
gradual deterioration of the Yin forms of capital are hereby explicitly linked.
One result of a monopoly of Yang currency: community decay, and less solidarity and
group creative activities than is the case in societies with a dual Yin-Yang
complementary currency system. Another result: it is often said that in Bali “everybody is
an artist of some kind”, as indeed almost everybody tends to contribute to group cultural
events as musician, dancer, mask maker, decorator of musical instruments or temple
ornaments, or at the very least arranger of the elaborate daily offerings. In contrast, in the
“developed societies” where exchanges are monetized exclusively via a Yang currency,
the arts tend to become a highly specialized and comparatively rarefied function, and
their output becomes a commodity consumed by an elite.

The Integral Economy framework of Figure 3 formally recognizes both a Yin and a Yang
cycle, where each cycle mutually supports and complements the other. Within such a
framework, the Balinese exception and many of its unusual characteristics become more
easily understandable, even predictable. They may also contribute to explaining the polar
differences of the reaction to a terrorist attack in Bali and in the US.

The model of an Integral Economy and the unusual socio-economic dynamics of dual
Yin-Yang currencies have been verified in contemporary cases other than Bali. In addition, historical precedents of the use and effects of dual currency systems by Matrifocal societies in Dynastic Egypt and the Central Middle Ages in Western Europe have been documented extensively in The Mystery of Money.

Some Implications?
What would a society that honors the feminine values - the Yin coherence of Figure 1 -
look like? On the basis of the various real-life case studies completed so far, it would not
be a society where masculine values are repressed. Instead, it would be a society moving
towards the “world in balance” described at the beginning of this paper.

If it is true that a dual Yin-Yang currency approach combined with hyper-democratic
grass root organizations can significantly shape a society’s value system, interesting new
initiatives become available for introducing change. And such initiatives can best be
started at the grass-root level, without the need for a central governmental involvement.
By making use of a Yin complementary currency, Yin-type activities are more
continually nurtured whether they are of a social, cultural or artistic nature; even while
the people pursue in parallel market-oriented activities.

In a large-scale survey of the American public, no less than 83% considered that the top
priority in the US should be to “rebuild community”13. This suggests that the automatic
assumption that the dollar is the only monetary tool relevant to solve all problems -
especially those of a community nature - may usefully be questioned, even in the US.
It is intriguing that there are now many places in the world where either one of these
concepts separately is currently operational – either decentralized democratic
organizations, or complementary currencies. It is only their combination that remains
comparatively rare.

On the complementary currency side, there are many community exchange systems
functioning throughout the Third World. More surprisingly in the last two decades we
have seen similar non-conventional currencies develop exponentially throughout the First
World. Specifically, there was only one such Modern system in 1984, less than a hundred
in 1990, while today there are well over 4,000. For instance, Local Exchange Trading
Systems (LETS), Time Dollars14 and Time Banks all use different forms of Yin
complementary currencies.

Those 4,000 local currency experiments currently under way can be considered as
research prototypes of what will actually emerge over the next decade. They are a bit like
the Wright Brothers planes – it is a miracle that they fly in the first place. But they have
unquestionably proven that it is possible to fly- they have already shown that they can
contribute to solving a wide range of social problems without involving government
bureaucrats or taxpayers money. Pragmatic results amply justify more systematic
experimentation. That is what is being done today most systematically in Japan. Regional
and local governments have started supporting pilot projects throughout Japan to
facilitate the rebuilding of community and social capital in a more effective way than the
conventional approaches, and at a fraction of their Yen cost. Several of these new
exchange systems even make use of smart cards to process the Yin-type complementary

A complete conceptual framework as well as an investigative report on the advantages
and disadvantages of each type of complementary currencies is provided in The Future of

Complementary currencies may indeed be a very old idea whose time is coming even for
developed countries. The Prime Minister of the UK, Tony Blair, pointed out in a speech
during the year 2000: “As a nation we’re rich in many things, but perhaps our greatest
wealth lies in the talent, the character and the idealism of the millions of people who
make their communities work. Everyone – however rich or poor – has time to give … Let
us give generously, in the two currencies of time and money.” Similarly, President
George W. Bush on his 2002 Thanksgiving message was appealing to the Americans to
volunteer more frequently.

Could we not learn something from the people who have accumulated centuries of
experience using tools that support such activities?

Requests for volunteering and exhortations towards a “gentler society” still remain in
total denial of the collective programming due to a monopoly of a scarce, centralizing,
Yang currency imposed on all exchanges. And the importance of truly democratic
decision making on what people want their resources (both time and money) used for is
similarly overlooked, even in most non-profit organizations. The resilience of the
Balinese approach derives clearly from genuine grass-root support for every activity that
the community itself has decided upon, and the possibility to stop any project whenever a
majority in the community questions it. When this approach is abused through a topdown
imposition of projects, the mechanism quickly deteriorates and breaks down.

So what?
“If one wants to feed someone, give him a fish. But if you want to truly help him, teach
him how to fish.” Well-designed complementary currencies actually play the role of such
proverbial fishing lessons. Once in operation, they facilitate a continuous flow of
transactions that otherwise wouldn’t happen, thereby enabling more work, creating
additional wealth and particularly more social capital than would happen without them.
By now it should be considered naïve to expect a lot of help from central governments to
address many of our local issues. Millions of people are now involved in initiatives of all
scales to attend to an impressive range of social, educational or environmental problems.

But only a minority of such local activists has become aware of the potential of local
complementary currencies to increase the effectiveness of their actions. It may indeed be
appropriate to look seriously into the social multiplier effects that complementary
currencies make possible. If you are in an area where a local complementary currency is
already operational, you may want to consider joining into the experiment yourself. If
there is no local system available, but you belong to a community of dedicated activists,
you may want to consider starting your own system.

From an academic perspective, just as was the case with Wright Brothers aeronautics,
theory is way behind practice. Most economic theory assumes only one currency per
geographical area. And practically none of it deals with the effects of complementary
Yin-Yang currencies that respectively stimulate different behavior patterns. Therefore,
the field of Integral Economics as sketched in Figure 3 is wide open for both theoretical
and practical field research.

The implicit theoretical assumption that money is value neutral should be questioned. As
the English put it: “A fact is a fact, and is more respectable than the Lord Mayor of
London.” It is a fact that in Bali many exchanges and transactions occur that otherwise
would not happen, because of the availability of the locally created Yin currency.
Furthermore, it is a fact that the users themselves claim that their vibrant community
spirit and more gentle worldview can be only be sustained because of the existence and
widespread use of this Yin currency. Finally, it is a fact that Bali is different, and has
proven so most recently under the extreme pressures of a brutal terrorist attack.
Nobody is claiming that the Yin-type community currencies all by themselves are magic
wands that would automatically solve Third World poverty and cultural degradation, or
for violence-prone policies and behavior in the First World. Neither should one deduce
from our case study that Bali is the Pollyanna Paradise proclaimed by the travel
brochures. There are fights in Bali, crimes are being committed, pollution is increasing
there as elsewhere.16 But their frequency and scale is definitely more manageable than in
most other places on this planet.

Human societies are an extraordinary complex web of interrelated but independent
factors, and it would be naïve to assume that change in any one variable would be
sufficient to shift the whole. It is simply hoped that this paper will draw the attention to
one important variable that seems generally overlooked: the role of money systems in
shaping collective emotions and values.

Last but not least, this study may explain why – to be successful in business – many
women feel a systematic pressure to repress their feminine side. This becomes quite
understandable if one realizes that business is ultimately about controlling the flow of
money; and that our money - instead of being value neutral - is one of our most powerful
enforcers of the Yang coherence in our society. Any Yin priority is therefore by
definition going to have the swim upstream against the Yang undertow built into our
conventional money system.

It is interesting that - even if we have seen many women Presidents of major countries,
universities, or corporations - women Governors of Central Banks are about as frequent
as women Popes. More generally, as Yang money shapes behavior patterns and emotions
independently of the gender of the participant, it doesn’t leave much leeway for the
feminine side to be expressed - particularly in our business or financial worlds - whether
by men or by women.

The fundamental purpose of Taoism - as most spiritual practices - is the transcendence of
duality. Therefore the Yin-Yang model is only a mental tool helpful to map the way to
get there. That is why even the dual currency model of the Integral Economy should be
considered only as an evolutionary tool particularly relevant for the next ten or twenty
years, the socio-economic transition period in which our global society is engaged.
Ecological pressures, community breakdowns or the spreading of violence in the world
can all be successfully dealt with only from this broader perspective, the one that fully
reintegrates the legitimacy of the feminine perspective into our worldview.



Thank you hotspring,

I discovered Bernard Lietaer about a month ago, as I have been researching alternative currencies/complementary currencies, with the plan to create my own currency system. I require myself to spend an hour at least online (if I am going to be online that long or longer) working on currency related stuff everyday. I feel these yin currencies he speaks of augur the imminence of a feminine age, culturally, as well as what some people call an Aquarian age.

Government money,

also called political money, is what Lietaer calls yang currency: centralized, imposed, forced and scarce- there is inherently too little money to go around in the present paradigm, guaranteeing that there will be "losers", people who go bankrupt, etc. Contrast that to personally/privately issued money, yin currency, the emerging paradigm, free of centralized government control: when you see how this works a whole new world opens up, and it's immediately obvious this is the path to healing of the old scarcity belief, replace by direct knowing of abundance; this is the divine feminine. The prophet of this new economy is E.C Riegel, who died essentially in obscurity in 1954. Tom Greco has promoted his ideas more than anyone else: http://reinventingmoney.com/library.html.

P.S. In a similar

P.S. In a similar vein:

"Since this is a male god, we're missing half the equation again. Why is it that in many of these civilizations, we only have half of the code? That would be because, if you were an advanced civilization trying to imbed a code in a not so advanced planetary system, you wouldn't want these people to be able to uncode or decode that code prior to being ready for that type of power. So you could code the code or you could make the code, only one polarity of it - like the male polarity of the code. And it wouldn't be until that civilization understood the balance between the male and female, understood the equility of the male and female, that they would be able to decode the code. And then, that would mean that they were ready.

So basically, here you have to add the female goddess to the tetrahedron."
~Nassim Haramein at the Rogue Valley Metaphysical Library. 2003.

Great stuff....

Would it were so....

Basically, none of this can happen without a revolution. I will follow a woman to hell and back if I know she's fighting for a sustainable future without exploitation, planetary degradation and severe economic inequality.

The revolution is happening.

The revolution is happening. It's not a one-time event, but a process we are in. How we make love is part of it! There is a lot of reclaiming of feminine ways of being to be done. Even us women are having to relearn these ways.

So interesting~~

I'm really enjoying this thread~~thank you for starting it, Hotspring.

I am currently reading a book called "The Tao of Equus" by Linda Kohanov and in it, she quotes another book and author, "Body: Recovering Our Sensual Wisdom," by Don Hanlon Johnson. She quotes from the book, "Somatic psychotherapist Don Hanlon Johnson analyzes the intricate web of social conditioning leading to this widespread state of disconnection. A number of concepts developed in Western culture over the last two thousand years work together to disengage and isolate us from our own sources of power, sensuality, and creativity. These concepts include the body as "slave" or "machine" to the mind, the mind as "king," "boss," or "master computer" of the body, the invalidation of the senses, the denial of emotions, the subjugation of the feminine, and the overemphasis on stability, outside authority, and established methods.

The mind-body fracture that prompts us to discredit our sensual wisdom is reflected in the ancient divisions between men and women. We have constructed a mythical world in which men in gray flannel suits who sit at computers or in board rooms planning mass slaughter are considered prototypes of reasonable behavior, capable of directing the destiny of our plant, while women who take care of their homes and children or who work as secretaries, or nurses, often alone in their old age, are thought to be irrational sources of error or even sin, unfit to make any major decisions about public affairs."

So interesting that I just read these words minutes before reading this thread. It's all coming together for me and making sense.


~A heart that is open to appreciate every blessing should always be bigger than the eyes that see what is missing. ~Rumi

Maybe it's what we think of when we say "revolution"

I'm thinking a revolt, whether non-violent or the other kind. Wherein women take a leadership role. I don't really subscribe to the idea that we can just abolish whatever we want without some kind of struggle. There is something feminine about taking action when something is clearly going wrong, the way a mother protects a child. It's also something that is shared.

Some of the article is missing this key point (but I think is right in other places): in order to have progress there must be a fight....and our side has to win at least a few battles in order for change to come about. Is this part of "yin currency?"

I guess I percieve the issue to be...

I disagree with the fundamental propositions in the article to achieve any sort of real change.

Besides, it's not inherently female, what the author calls "yin currency" to want to share resources on an equal basis and build community. That's in all humans. Under capitalism that is ridiculed, suppressed and through control of wealth, churches, education and the state socialist or Taoist or whatever experiments that contradict the primacy of private property - are simply not allowed to proliferate.

I don't at all think there

I don't at all think there has to be a fight for there to be progress (whatever that is). That sounds like a very yang approach. You simply reorient to that which makes sense, now. I used to think, for example, that I had to "fight" any internal problems in my psyche. I realized this was just another way my ego was distracting and hijacking the option of peace and sanity.

The revolution is a simple switch in what we pay attention to, what we value, how well we treat ourselves and those we live with, what we buy, etc.

Each "battle" is won moment by moment, as we choose with grace and without too much effort, the way of the middle path, the way of gentleness and the quietude. I really do think that this switch and choice is quite simple. It is the idea that it requires enormous strength, energy, effort, etc that is very yang. The strength is in the quality of attention that allows the mind to notice what the dominant program is and to switch to a broader perspective that is more inclusive. Being inclusive doesn't take a fight, because inclusivity is just more aligned with a coherent reality that already exists.

If there's anything I took from this article, it is that multiple value systems already exist. The yin currency, being natural, isn't something that has to be strived for. It just has to be recognized, seen clearly, and legitimized. There are so many levels of this struggle. The yin currency needs a community to be utilized. All we have to do is care at all about ourselves and where we live and who we live amongst.

As you know...

We probably won't reach complete accord on this but I'm going by this definition of revolution I found in Merriam Webster:

a : a sudden, radical, or complete change
b : a fundamental change in political organization; especially : the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed
c : activity or movement designed to effect fundamental changes in the socioeconomic situation
d : a fundamental change in the way of thinking about or visualizing something : a change of paradigm
e : a changeover in use or preference especially in technology

I suppose letter "d" applies to what you are describing while I emphasize the first three types of "revolution." I'm not talking about male supremacy really what I gather to mean from "a very yang approach." Many, many women would benefit from a "sudden, radical or complete change" in our society. I see the "yin/yang" thing as a way to take an ancient Chinese concept and try to infuse it with some sort of modern political meaning that wasn't really there to begin with. Why not just use the valuable tools modern feminists have developed to accurately critique capitalism and sexual power relations?

There is also the problem that we have a basic philosophical difference in how we see reality. I don't believe in ghosts, invisible energy flows, or other superstitious beliefs that have no basis in objective reality and cannot be measured or defined unless they are divorced from the observable physical world. So if being "yang" as you say means to hold onto rational thought (such as a scientist) than I guess that's yang, and that must be a good thing because that will eventually tell us how things actually are, instead of making things up.

I also question the the qualifications of the author to speak with any authority on Balinese society because he was basically using statements made after a terrorist attack, which tends to draw people together, and generalize (even romanticize) their culture as fundamentally more democratic and equitable than the one we live in. I think he overstates this point, for while it's not hard for me to believe that they have maintained much more of their pre-Western social mores, it's a stretch to use them as a model for a utopian future, which even while he says he isn't doing that...he is. Is he an anthropologist who spent years among the Balinese? Has he learned their language? What does he really know about their culture?

Also, I don't see how this thread has anything to do with karezza, maybe it's in there somewhere, I just don't see it.

Even though we have our fundamental differences I still have great respect for you, just that I felt compelled to register my 2 cents about this particular piece.

I can't get a clear read on

I can't get a clear read on his motivations. For example, while loyalty programs such as airline miles are an alternate currency, I see that as a hyper-yang development. I agree that you can't simply drop into another culture and call that yin without at least yin/yang spectrum baseline of that culture. Currency of any form might be viewed as yang, although I wonder if historically it came from yin because women seem more ranking oriented than men. Women have a greater interest in protecting children. Perhaps that requires ranking some above others.

A ♥

just means it's a non-recovery thread that has elements that might be of interest to karezza visitors. Obviously, the delineation is somewhat arbitrary. And sometimes recovery elements are present in threads I assign a ♥. *shrug*

Do you two watch Ted talks

Do you two watch Ted talks all day? You know there's no Ted-rezza.

Time to use my mouse with the left hand. I've been meaning to try this for a while, but now I have only mice that are shaped for the right hand or trackballs.

The birdies bonded.

Any lefties have particular thoughts on this?

Hi Dano - Thank you for your

Hi Dano -

Thank you for your passionate contribution to the discussion - I can feel the heat and amplitude of your convictions! So forgive me for being so long in replying. And I am wondering if we are having a dialogue yet? It's horrible, I think I want to get to dialogue but I realize I really do love a good debate. My yang qualities coming out I guess.

A definition is a good starting point for your points about revolution. What I am noticing in this exchange is that there seems to be some sense that there is a right or a wrong answer here, that in posting the article I did, I somehow gave the impression that I think that yin ways of being are superior. I have certainly thought that at certain times in my life (just look around and there is quite a bit of evidence). But I am learning to abandon that anger and try to start to look at things from the perspective of the dynamic itself. So I assure you the point here is not to start more gender wars, or imply that feminine ways of doing things are superior (tho they certainly are absolutely crucial for our survival), but to actually look at how important collaborative and complimentary energies play in creating a more balanced world for all.

The Lietaer article is simply an example of how one man was able to reflect on a value system that is more self-aware in terms of utilizing the different but important contributions that both external, yang currencies and intrinsic, yin currencies make towards a productive society. I agree that men can also want social cohesion and so the natural and social aspects attributed to the yin value system as belonging to the domain of womankind is not accurate in a strict sense, and that's not the point either since the yin yang symbol is a cohesion of two energies. This is a perfectly legitimate thing to point out whether or not the author is very knowledgeable of Balinese society, especially as applied to our monetary system, which is in need of major revision. Even if it were a hypothetical culture Laiter were describing, his points would be relevant in my opinion.

As far as our little revolution goes, different players have a different part to play in it, whether that be the form of a physical protest, a lack of cooperation with the powers that be, or how you choose to make love to your lovely lady. It seems to me that any form of action that would be effective in a revolution would have to first stem from (d), the fundamental way someone thinks about or visualizes something. If your mind has not already had a revolution, there would be no physical risks worth taking in a fight, because you would not have conviction. It seems to me that the point in a revolution in which an actual system is overthrown in its physical form (, the sudden, radical, or complete change you prefer) is actually the end point and result of a revolution that has already happened in the mind and which has deemed current circumstances intolerable (ie, has reached a certain threshhold).

My sense is that when a system does shift suddenly and completely, it turns out that it was actually gradual, subtle, and incomplete in the time period leading up to that threshold. And the gradual subtleties, the everyday work of changing consciousness, is just as important in accomplishing a revolution. It probably won't happen otherwise. Sequentially, it seems that people shift their thoughts and behaviors first and then they shift their environment to better reflect what they consider to be a life in line with what they find to be meaningful and therefore fulfilling. So it takes an evolutionary process, no? And if it did not, would it be a worthwhile revolution? Sudden change can actually be quite disasterous, because the system can't integrate the changes. And in some revolutions that may be the point, to make sure that the prior system cannot adapt, and must die. Only problem is, in an interdependent world, when the system you depend on dies, so do you potentially.

But in the case of the war between the sexes, and the value of all contributions that men and women as separate energies make to society, it is quite important that we not kill one another either abruptly or slowly, but learn to value one another and create a peaceful, coherent, embodied revolution from within that preserves the parts of the system that do work, and transforms the distortions through love. For example, it cannot be avoided much longer the realization that social capital and natural capital must both exist in order for the yang currency to have any basis of value, since it draws directly upon the yin resources. So rather than having an operating system in which the natural value is valued through the taking, taxing, and robbing of natural capital, ideally and in a conscious society, the yang value would choose to replenish itself by having as its purpose the immediate feedback of that monetary value back into the social and natural system from which it came. A form of mutual nourishment and recognition of interdependence. If there is anything the article points out, it is that this mutual interdependence is fundamental to life. There is no avoiding it. So the question is not which is superior, but how to be more in line with the reality of interdependent systems, which all systems are (more later on that).

I think this has a lot to do with how we make love and therefore with Karezza. There has been a revolution in the bedroom for quite a long time now, and it directly reflects our outward circumstances and environment and value systems. If it didn't, sex would not be the powerful thing that it is, able to transform and renew us. If your life's purpose is to accumulate money and power, and to do so through highly advanced and risky technologies that allow the natural balance of cooperation to be skewed to your advantage, you will find a society of people having sex with their computers (maybe even while at work) and getting off on the imagined power trip and charge of arousal felt when playing out one's visions of violence and lack of cooperation between the sexes - a sign of frustration that one's purpose either has not been fulfilled or has turned out not to be fulfilling - hence the need to simulate it on a screen or pay someone to pretend for you that this is all really fun. And these are probably all really rational, objective men too. The drug can be effective in preventing people from realizing meaning and purpose. New opiate of the masses, I hope we can agree and then overthrow.

As I see it, the bedroom is the primary location and most basic reflection for how layers of operating systems are embedded, and because of that, potentially the most ripe place for the total and sudden transformation we all seek - if we are able to let ourselves be loved by a real person, if we are able to let our beloved be real, if we are able to discover our purpose of loving-kindness.

As far as ghosts and energy flows and our fundamental difference in seeing reality and my tendency towards "other superstitious beliefs that have no basis in objective reality and cannot be measured or defined unless they are divorced from the observable physical world" let me share a few perspectives with you that I think are relevant to this discussion.

Firstly, I don't have a philosophy of reality. I try to live life and determine what I think about it through my body. For me that is the closest that I can get to observing the world objectively, from the only place that I experience it. I care not a whit for all the brouhaha and parading around that science does in the name of so-called objectivity. When human beings lose their own bodies as their frame of reference, they lose their navigating system, and that is to great advantage to science and the ends of those who wield the powerful baton of scientific legitimacy, which ironicly, only those who are wealthy have been historically able to afford.

This has never stopped people from employing their own sense of observation and doing their own private experiments, because people are by nature curious, but the issue of the legitimacy of results is only one that people who align with the scientific paradigm even care about. If you have direct experience, you need nothing else. Human beings have been observing nature through direct experience long before the scientific method was realized, and made highly advanced discoveries thousands of years ago that our modern physics is only barely catching up to. So this is not about superstition. I don't have any superstitions. I have ways that I interpret experience that are meaningful to me personally, and that's totally appropriate, because the point of my life is not to be objective, but to be filled with meaningful experience. The only tool I need is self-honesty. Because its unwise to fool yourself with the real data of what you body is saying to you and override it with disembodied scientific dogma. The result is that one eventually gets physically sick.

But its true that what I have experienced has been very different from what you have experienced, and what I have been able to experience has been a result of what I was willing to open myself up to as being conceivably real. I personally doubt that the reason anyone doesn't believe in ghosts or energies isn't because science says it isn't real but because they have no firsthand experience of it. And this is a sensible approach.

But please spare me the explanation that it is superstitious or made up, because we aren't living in the middle ages. This is not a witch trial, is it? We have surely grown since then and do not find our worldviews so lacking in experience that they constantly have to undermine all the "ghosts." Now that is a BIG, BIG job. Those who profess not to believe in ghosts seem to be spooked by something. Spooked that there is more going on than we have an explanation for or ever will. That life is far more Magikal than we can conceive of. Why not start enjoying this fact, perhaps the only fact that we can really rely on?

So "reality" for me has been an experience, and that experience has included examining and testing whether what the dominant scientific operating system says about reality is really true or not. I consider myself very scientific and rational, maybe even too much for my own good. Just because my observable, rational mind cannot fully explain some of the things I have experienced, doesn't mean there is not an explanation, it just means that my scientific method is infantile compared to the vivid intelligence of the universe, the scope and genius of which is incomprehensible and yet open to all.

I firmly believe that the fundamental flaw in scientific systems is precisely that they are not lined up with the interdependence of reality, and rely on isolated systems to make their conclusions. It has been well documented that isolated systems do not actually exist. So really, basing a worldview on findings only verified by the modern scientific method is the ultimate form of hallucination.

Nassim Haramein explains it well"

"The first axiom of quantum physics is, 'We don't care about causation. We don't care what's making this thing spin.' And if we are asked about it, we're going to say 'Go and see your priest' or whatever.

"Newton's law, which our science is based on, says 'If a system does not interact with its environment in any way then certain mechanical properties of the system cannot change. They are sometimes called constants of motion. These quantities are said to be conserved, and the conservation laws which result can be considered to be the most fundamental principles of mechanics [Natural Laws]. These conservation laws are exact for an isolated system.'

"All of our current physics is based on this. Nobody took the time to ask, what the heck is an isolated system?

"Textbook definition of an Isolated System: 'An isolated system implies a collection of matter that does not interact with the rest of the universe at all, and as far as we know, there are really no such systems.'

"All our natural laws are based on something that is not found in nature. That is a BIIIG problem. And that is the reason why we haven't understood the electron and the atom. Because the electron and the atom and everything else in the universe all inter-relate. No such thing as an isolated system.

"The textbook continues to point out that, 'In order to focus on basic principles, it is useful to postulate such a system to clarify the nature of physical laws. In particular, the conservation laws can be postulated to be exact when referring to an isolated system', which was just said, not to exist!

"That is circular thinking. And that's where fractals come to the rescue.

"Nobody seems to notice, but good evidence for the fractal nature of reality is that we all come out of other people. That is good evidence for fractals being the foundation of creation. We all came out of our mothers."

- from a lecture by Nassim Haramein

Do Women See Things That Men Don’t?

Yes Rachel, its all part of a big story of imbalance, one that is becoming so explicit to ourselves and to humanity at once. Hope we can pull it together and get it together to come back into balance. A huge but crucial undertaking.

Found this podcast interesting:
Do Women See Things That Men Don’t? An Interview with Wendy Lobwein
August 2, 2011



What would a society that contains too much yin, and not enough yang, look like? And has there even been a historical example of such a society?

Just wondering.

I've thought about this, too

I think an excess-yin situation would be obsessed with making babies to the exclusion of intellectual development, increased self-awareness and perhaps, spiritual awakening.

My thought is that humanity lived that way for eons...and at some point collectively decided to break with the status quo in an effort to awaken. Loosening the yang energy has been a necessary step. It's messy, but for those of us who think stagnation isn't all it's cracked up to be, it's a risk worth taking in our collective adventure.

The trick is now to reunite these yin and yang forces at a new level, for giving birth to something new. It fascinates me that various, quite disparate, traditions speak of the potential of men and women to give birth to a sort of androgynous entity that is equated with enlightenment. Can't say I've experienced it yet though. Wink

Perhaps it is a natural

Perhaps it is a natural cycle. Baby making was more important when there were less humans as parents needed the labor and there was an increased risk of extinction. Now that we have a glut of labor and we're hardly endangered, we're going the other way. Are countries in which population growth is negative turning more yin than those where it is positive?

Should we look for an Al Gore produced sequel?

For me,

a society that procreates to the point of starvation is not in tune with the Divine. Can we blame such developments entirely on patriarchy?

I've never read of any

I've never read of any matriarchal societies procreating to the point of starvation (doesn't mean it hasn't happened, but I've never come across this as being a dominant characteristic of matriarchal societies.) If anything, it would seem that in cultures where women are honored more, their natural tendency to want to limit pregnancies is made possible, whereas in patriarchal cultures that are dominated by a distorted yang principle, the first thing to go is women's access to birth control (more babies to feed the war machine).

Without real access to effective and healthy forms of birth control, I don't think we can blame an abundance of children on women's drive to procreate. There's ample evidence throughout history that women have felt very burdened with their fertility.

My sense is that a dominantly yin culture would not be a culture of crazed baby-making. Its is true that there are women who identify more with the mother instinct than others, but these women do not represent the epitome of the sacred feminine. Demeter, the Great Mother, is not the archetype that all women resonate the most with, even if they are mothers. I certainly don't. There's also Hera, Hecate, Artemis, Persephone, and Aphrodite. To stereotype the many qualities of what it means to be a woman down to this urge to procreate is a two-dimensional persepective in my opinion.

Anyway, we've strayed far from the main point in the article, which is to ask what a balanced system of value looks like - not what the opposite extreme of imbalance would look like.

If it has occured at all, it

If it has occured at all, it was so long ago that many of us don't remember what that would look like. Obviously there are many examples of matrilocal societies, which you can look up. There may not be any example of an overly yin society. From the little I have read, Matriarchal societies were not characterized by repression of masculine traits, and were quite egalitarian.

I don't think there's any reason why we couldn't have a healthy form of patriarchal society that was not distorted, ie, in which the masculine polarity was properly directed in its healthy human manifestation as love.

Regardless of gender differences, I think that the actual basis for human evolution, and that which we are supposed to learn as human beings, is not that different, even if we have different roles in actualizing it: to embody love on earth through free will. Find a society that is aware of that purpose, and matriarchal, patriarchal, are both moot.