As the monetary house of cards is about to collapse, some Dutch artists come up with a remarkable initiative. In the heart of Amsterdam’s financial district they are building a new bank: the Art Reserve Bank.
The Art Reserve Bank has been established as an monetary experiment. The main goal of this experiment is to involve the public in the discussion about the sustainability of the financial system. Some famous artists and economists are taking part.
The core of this experiment is a new reserve currency. The value of this currency isn’t based on the obsolete promise of endless economic growth, but on the value of art. A currency the bank itself will be minting.
Read here how the Art Reserve Bank will operate.
The Art Reserve Bank issues coins – that is, the bank exchanges euro’s for works of art in the shape of exclusive coins. Every month a different artist designs a series of four coins: every week a new coin.
The total circulation of the coins is restricted and is registered in advance. After five years the bank will cease to exist. By then a total of 25.000 coins will be issued: 250 unique emissions — each in a circulation of 100 — designed by 60 different artists.
The Art Reserve Bank sells the coins with a ‘money-back’ guarantee. What is more: they who return the coin gets surplus money. How much depends on the time between issue and refund. To make it easier they keep to a (not compound) interest of 10% a year. Obviously the guarantee period is restricted to the five years of the bank’s existence.
Read more about how it works here.
The experiment has an unmistakably playful and artistic character. The point they want to make, is however extremely serious. Even though by now a whole range of causes for the 2008 credit crisis has been identified, the real reason for the underlying crisis of the system is seldom addressed. The core of the problem is surely the amount of virtual value that has been pumped into the worldwide monetary system by the fractional banking system.
The main goal of the Art Reserve Bank is to get the general public involved in the discussion about making the financial system more sustainable. At the moment it are only economists, bankers and politicians who are discussing the various solutions. While in the end it is all about our money and our future.
By translating some abstract monetary principles to things you can actually see, touch and experience, the public is invited to reflect upon the very foundations of our financial system. Thus hopefully more people will start to think of new ideas and possibly even new solutions to the immense problems we are now faced with.
Bank is to open its doors by April.