Money & Society free online course starts again in February 2016 (University of Cumbria)

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Following the success of its first and second run, the University of Cumbria will re-run its Money & Society MOOC (Massive Online Open Course), starting on February 21st 2016.

In 2014 the university made headlines as the first public university in the world to accept bitcoin for payment of tuition fees.

The course draws upon a combined decade of cross-disciplinary involvement in the currency innovation field by the two authors and co-tutors. The first two runs saw a healthy mix of 600 monetary reformers, cryptocurrency fanatics, community activists, and students from different disciplines and political persuasions, around a quarter of whom completed the course.

Co-author of the MOOC, Matthew Slater said “The classical monetary reform movements rarely depart from the assumption that money is a ‘creature of the state’ and they seek to harness the law in service of the Good. In our MOOC we try to get to the bottom of what money is for, how it serves power, its role as a propaganda weapon, and why so few alternative currencies seem to be working. Of course we must seek to change the law, but we must also build better alternatives.” Slater has been creating free open source software for community currencies and connecting local mutual credit systems since 2008.

The other author, Professor Jem Bendell has worked for two decades with major NGOs, the UN, and academia, before announcing a new focus on monetary reform and currency innovation, when he delivered a TEDx in 2011, called The Money Myth, (now up to 120K views).

Bendell explained “We looked at a money MOOC from the University of Nicosia, which was really for Bitcoin developers. It had some misleading errors on the nature and history of money. For example, it suggested money evolved out of barter, an idea widely debunked in both anthropology and economic history, and ignored credit money, which is over 97% of today’s money. Students were left with the dangerous assumption, prevalent in the Bitcoin community, that money is best understood as an asset with a value in itself. Monetary history shows that such currencies can barely be governed and are controlled by the rich through market manipulation. Once we understand that a currency is a process, not a thing, we can explore and design the innovations that use currencies as tools in service of a productive community. We hope our MOOC will create the momentum for our participants to generate a more informed dialogue about currency innovation for the common good.”

The MOOC is the required pre course work for the University of Cumbria’s certified residential course on “Sustainable Exchange”, which involves a 5-day in-person course in London in April 2016.

The free four-week-long MOOC involves a minimum of 14 hours study, including four narrated slide presentations of 2 hours each, a short assignment each week, interaction through an online forum, and two webinars with monetary experts.

More information here.

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  • Crash

    Sounds interesting, I signed up. I just hope Prof Bendell has further developed his understanding of our monetary system since his TED talk where he makes the classic mistake of confusing stocks and flows. What drives growing debts is not the interest not being created together with the principal (as interest is a flow and not a stock) but excessive procyclical bank lending for unproductive asset market speculation purposes.

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