The Sustainability Demonstration Center and the Social Solidarity Network are collaborating in Costa Rica to improve the quality of life of all sentient beings through trading.  We have our own unit of exchange called the Guacimo and a trade route called RuTaCom that we are actively expanding to the entire territory and which includes people who produce food and items and people who provide services of all types including dentistry and medicine.

The SDC is also partnering with the Mutual Aid Network our of Madison, Wisconsin.  "Mutual Aid Networks (MANs) are a new type of networked cooperative creating means for everyone to discover and succeed in work they want to do, with the support of their community. Through the HUMANs (Humans United in Mutual Aid Networks, formerly the Main MAN), a global umbrella cooperative, all pilot sites and members share their tools, experiences and resources. Together we demonstrate that the economy is what we make it."  You can read more on their website:


 WE CAN still choose a different reality:

Scarcity/Competition/Fear    vs.  Flow/Collaboration/Love 

I had a conversation with my good friend Gwendolyn Hallsmith.  She is an economist living in what she calls the Independent Republic of Vermont.  As I recounted the labyrinth through which we have been putting in place a seed of a healthy and just economic system and nurturing it long enough for it to stand on its own, she reminded me of something VERY fundamental.

She quoted her good  friend the late Bernard Lietaer who used to say that you can’t ask a fish submerged in water to explain to you anything about water.  This she said in answer to my anxieties about the mutual credit system/the trade route we have been rudimentary using since 2014, but that now, due to the pandemic, is taking on its full colors.

She pointed out that even me, one who has been fostering community-based trading for years, has also inevitably been immersed in the idea of an economy where there is never enough, and that very deep without our psyche, naturally we will have anxieties associated with the free flow of all the necessary things in life.  To illustrate her point she described a “game” that clearly plays out that the current economy is debt-based; therefore, there is always scarcity  and the associated losers and winners and competition for the artificially  “limited” amounts of money. 

But while at some point in its history, money stood for gold in a bank, for the most part money now is just an instrument, an agreement to make trading of goods and services easier.  And these goods and services, these resources do not depend on the stock market, they depend on each of us.  WE ARE THE SOURCE OF WEALTH, a healthy environment is a source of wealth, our hands, minds, hearts, relationships, and the very earth beneath our feet, are what sustain us.  Going back to the ancient trading and mutual credit system return the trust and faith where it belongs; in the true wealth.  And this system brings out the best of human nature, and moves to the forefront the reality of Nature itself, its abundance, its constant flow to supply all that is needed for EVERYONE on the planet.

Related, but necessary to this artificial economic system that we all currently “swim” in is the belief that to get ahead, one must be better than the rest; i.e. enter into a competition vs. a collaboration with others.  Just the word competition itself makes my entire body tense up. While when I think of cooperation or collaboration, I relax, breathe more easily and prepare to give and receive in a free and joyful spirit.  This idea of competing to get our needs met, has been “imprinted” in us by a long-standing position of the educational system and by the debt-based, scarcity-driven current economic system.   Volumes have been written on this topic, and there is a wonderful documentary that details the history of education and its original purpose tracing back its origins in Europe.  But I will tell you a quick account of a young business major who visited our Center and said “how else would you motivate people to be the best they can be if not through competition?”  I said, what about compassion, wanting to make the life of all other sentient beings a little less painful, a little less difficult, a little healthier, more joyful, easier?”  We humans thrive when we give and receive love.

There is a third element in these three “horses of the apocalypse”: Fear.  We either trust and relax and flow or we fear and contract and freeze/flee.  For me, it has been helpful to examine a whole range of belief systems.  All the way from what is God/Universal Intelligence- Is it a life-giving, life-supporting, benevolent force or being? or is it a being/entity that is ready to judge and punish us and that more than unite us, tend to divide us? Is there a Unity of Life? Do each of us stand alone disconnected from the rest of the Universe, or is there an interconnectedness and all we think and do affects the rest? I have found it useful to examine the role of my own belief systems, as I am part of the human collective, and as such, I believe my individual self has played and will continue to play a role in the current state of affairs.  The Whole is the sum of its parts and their interactions. It seems to me that what we each believes plays a big role in how we experience what happens, the meaning we assign to it and therefore, our capacity for co-creating a new humanity, and our resiliency during these times.

So we can choose between two sets of beliefs: Scarcity/Competition/Fear or Flow/Collaboration/Love.  If we can comprehend that the first set has brought us where we are, a state of world hunger, environmental destruction, and overall crisis; and if we can also understand that it was artificially induced, under a gross misunderstanding of the Nature of things, we can choose differently.  It is not pre-determined and it is not too late to choose

P.S.  I highly recommend watching a documentary named the Money Fix (there is a version with Spanish subtitles on Youtube) and another one in Spanish with English subtitles called La Educacion Prohibida.

Gwen’s books can be downloaded for free on her campaign web site:  For example,  Creating Wealth: Growing Local Economies with Local Currencies.