The Tierra Solutionby Frans C. Verhagen
-Hazel Henderson, President of Ethical Markets Media,
"A visionary and immensely practical approach to reforming today's bubble finance and taming its global casino. Verhagen [...] illuminates the win-win solutions possible when we combine monetary transformation with low-carbon, renewable resource strategies and equitable approaches to sustainable development."
-Hazel Henderson, President of Ethical Markets Media, author and creator of The Green Transition Scoreboard ®
As climate change continues to threaten the earth and as the global financial crisis lingers, governments and communities need to take charge of their own and global monetary systems. Sustainability sociologist Frans Verhagen proposes a solution-the Tierra Solution-to repair the present global monetary, financial, and economic systems that enrich the few, impoverish the many, and imperil the planet. Verhagen calls for transformational changes in order to advance climate-resilient economic development. The Tierra Solution proposes:
- A credit-based financial system governed by a Global Central Bank,
- A banking system without the privilege of money creation, and most importantly,
- A carbon standard for the international monetary system with the Tierra as the unit of account.
The Tierra Solution is an in-depth and thought-provoking read that shows an innovative path for global citizens who want to combat climate change, the economic crisis and poverty, and for public officials, economists, international development experts, and climate scientists who want to be part of an integrated solution to the dual challenges of climate change and financial crises.
"Whether you agree or disagree, The Tierra Solution challenges us with an innovative proposal. No tinkering here. Verhagen is out to lay a new foundation for environmental and climate justice, with an overhaul of the international monetary system that builds the cost of environmental degradation into economic calculations."
-Rev. Arthur Simon, President Emeritus and founder of Bread for the World
"This plan for a carbon-based international monetary standard that addresses both climate change and global economic inequities is bold, visionary, and truly transformative. It is a must-read for everyone who cares about the fate of the earth."
-Sheila D. Collins, Professor of Political Science Emerita, William Paterson University
FRANS C. VERHAGEN is a sustainability sociologist with a Ph.D. in the sociology of international development from Columbia University. He founded the Queens Green Party, the Riverside Church Ecology Task Force, and the Ecolinguistics Commission. He has worked around the world and online teaching environmental policies and sustainability.
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Frans C. Verhagen, author of The Tierra Solution, has presented an extraordinarily innovative plan for modifying the world’s future. Verhagen’s inspiring vision has tied global financial management to climate change by using the Tierra as the unit of account in a carbon-standard global economy. His plan is so novel that it will veritably change the future from a world of greed and poverty to a world of success and sustainability. The plan is not so complicated, after all, but it requires a paradigm shift to be seen as a possibility. Verhagen himself says “It is recognized that the introduction of the TFD (Tierra Fee & Dividend global governance system) global governance system on both the conceptual and strategic levels is a gargantuan undertaking. It basically strives not to reform but to transform the present world (dis)order in order to respond to the century’s greatest challenges in its monetary, financial, economic, and commercial systems.” I couldn’t have said it better myself, so I didn’t try. What the Tierra Solution needs is a body of brave world leaders who have the political courage and the visionary boldness to challenge the established world monetary systems in order to make this transformation. In this excellent book, Verhagen beautifully explains the reasoning behind his plan and maps out the strategy for its success. Just add the leaders and shake! The Tierra Solution is very well written, and has something I really appreciate in non-fiction - a section on how the book is organized. Together with its bibliography, its copious endnotes, and its excellent index, this book is quite complete. It is obviously well researched and well thought out. It has great potential as both a teaching instrument, and as a high level implementation plan for achieving our future sustainable economy.
The world as we know it is facing a number of serious crises, and the decisions of global policymakers can make all the difference between our preservation or impending doom. In his book "The Tierra Solution: Resolving Climate Change Through Monetary Transformation," Frans C. Verhagen takes on two of these issues -- the world economy and climate change -- and gives us a comprehensive solution that aims to address the weaknesses of each. It is clearly an ambitious endeavor, perhaps too ambitious for the powers-that-be to take his work seriously, but is nonetheless necessary and, just maybe, viable enough to be just the solution we need, should it actually be implemented. Verhagen starts out by discussing the climate crisis. Aside from helping the reader understand the gravity of the problem, he also outlines some methods of carbon reduction and discusses their strengths and weaknesses. He then goes on to talk about the problems of the global monetary system, and uses historical events as foundation for his claims. By highlighting the weaknesses of the current monetary and financial framework, Verhagen implicitly asserts the urgent need to find viable alternatives. This then brings us to the meat of the proposal: a system that overhauls the monetary system we know and replaces the more familiar gold standard with a carbon monetary standard. This takes into account the amount of carbon produced by different countries, strengthening the currencies of lower carbon producers, and introducing a system, not only of monetary justice, but more importantly, a framework of environmental justice that will ultimately result in stopping further global warming and in turn, saving mankind from what will surely be an environmental disaster of unpredictable proportions. "The Tierra Solution" does not qualify as easy reading, despite the accessible language that Verhagen uses. After all, it tackles two of the most difficult problems of our time. However, Verhagen explains his proposal both methodically and rationally, making it easy for the reader to keep going. While reading the book, I found myself nodding at many parts, as the author does make a very strong case. Verhagen clearly understands the need to operationalize the process, and he does an impressive job for such a short book. Furthermore, he has anticipated many of the popular paradigms that can serve as obstacles to the acceptance of this proposal. In fact, he enumerates them and provides responses to each one. Of course, as we live in the real world, we know that getting corporations and governments to accept an overhaul of such monumental scale is next to impossible, and it is in this that I find the book's Achilles heel. I felt that it did not really take into account the level of resistance that those running and benefiting from the current system would exert in order to prevent a shakeup of the status quo, especially in light of current realities. The implementation of an international framework such as this requires nothing less than a revolution. On the other hand, though, I concede that this is not the primary objective of this particular piece of work. In any case, I appreciated Verhagen's attempt to democratize the entire process that he proposes. He obviously understands the need for the involvement of all sectors of society and has thus constructed his book in such a way that it can be understood even by those who do not have the expertise on the subject. His phrasing is clear and unpretentious, and he has actively taken steps to guide readers of different backgrounds through his work. This book, if anything, is thought-provoking. I sincerely believe that while the adoption of a policy such as the Tierra Solution may seem like the stuff of pipe dreams, this does not change the fact that we need to start talking about these things and opening our minds to the idea that big changes need to be made. This is a great book for both policymakers and regular citizens to read, because the time is ripe for an active dialogue that leads to actual changes. Who knows, in the future, an "impossible" solution such as this may be made possible by virtue of sheer necessity and urgency.