Henry Ford and Thomas Edison proposed to create a social currency in 1921
In August 1918, Henry Ford bought the entire northern half of Green Island, New York. His friend, Thomas Edison, had introduced Ford to the area he knew well since he founded GE in nearby Schenectady.
Ford’s idea was to build a hydroelectric power plant, in a visionary plan for production decentralization (very much like the blockchain today)
“Manufacturing, instead of being concentrated in a few centers, should be and can be widely distributed. (…) What I am going to do is to establish plants for manufacturing parts where they will be within easy reach of farming districts, and provide employment for farmers and their families in winter. And these plants will be operated by water power.
There is enough water power running to waste to turn every wheel in the world and provide all the light and heat the whole world needs. (…) we shall build water power plants in several places in the United States.”
When Edison and Ford visited the plant in December 1921, they used the opportunity to articulate their alternative money theories. Objecting to the Government plan to, as usual, raise the money by issuing bonds they proposed instead that the Government simply create the currency it required and spend it into society through this public project. This “social currency” at the time, in their mind, would contribute to increase the wealth of the community instead of having to create a debt first and repay your debt to build the plant. A famous quote by Edison when answering the press was “It is absurd to say that our country can issue $30,000,000 in bonds and not $30,000,000 in currency. Both are promises to pay: but one promise fattens the usurer, and the other helps the people”
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