Saturday, March 14, 2009

Fluxus Bucks the Next Currency?

In the last two days there has been a recurrent theme in conversations with friends “the value of money”. First of all, money does not have intrinsic worth. Up until the 1933, the dollar was backed by the price of gold. For instance, with gold at the price of $100 an ounce, one dollar would be worth 1/100 of an ounce of gold. For most of humanity money was tied to some kind of barter item: gold, silver, grains…

Today the Federal Reserve controls the supply of money by raising and lowering interest rates and printing money or contracting the supply of money. Using this process the Federal Reserve has pumped in a trillion dollars? (at this point I have stopped counting) to shore up the economy. This is a very simplified account of economic policy, which is way beyond my capabilities to completely understand.

Many countries use the printing of money, without intrinsic worth, to prop up their countries. For instance, my friend was talking about her parents in Greece, during WWII, using a wheelbarrow of money to buy a loaf of bread. In Germany, in the 1920’s, money was used as wallpaper. If you are a Gone With the Wind fan, you might remember Scarlet O’Hara trying to sell her mothers jewelry to eat because the Confederate dollar had no value.

What happens when money returns to its ancient purpose? Bartering You get Flux Bucks. The “art” of money. Fluxus Bucks come from a movement called “mail art”. Mail art is “art” which uses the postal system as a medium. The term mail art can refer to an individual message, the medium through which it is sent, or an artistic genre. Mail artists typically exchange ephemera in the form of illustrated letters, zines, rubberstamped, decorated or illustrated envelopes, artist trading cards, postcards, artistampes, faux postage, mail-interview, naked mail, friendship books, docs, and three-dimensional objects.

In the 90’s Julie Paquette “ex posto facto” started the fluxus buck movement. Fluxus Bucks are amazing, unique creations using stamps of “dollar bills” as a background for art. Fluxus Bucks are traded around the world. In two interviews with Ruud Janssen, Julie talks about the Fluxus Buck movement. See below for the links. Fluxus bucks are shared in the mail and traded on the street. Fluxus Bucks can never be printed in vast quantities like dollars so they never lose their value.

If only I could be paid in Fluxus Bucks!

Ruud Janssen Interviewing Julie Paquette

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