A European Commission research project has published A Proposal for Voluntary Degrowth by Redesigning Money for Sustainability, Justice, and Resilience. The report proposes a local Citizen’s Basic Income that can only be spent on local produce:
The ecological and societal destructiveness of what is conventionally referred to as capitalism is inherent in the inertia of general-purpose money (GPM): the imperative of minimizing costs and maximizing profits. Given GPM, the most rational thing for market actors to do is to purchase the least expensive commodities, which generally means the commodities embodying the lowest paid labour, significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transports, and the least concern for the natural environment. The use of GPM thus inexorably generates increasing inequalities, transports, GHG emissions, climate change, and other forms of environmental degradation. As these processes are inherent consequences of GPM, any attempt to curb them while continuing to comply with the rationality defined by GPM will produce legislation raising the protests of economists and enterprise, such as protectionism and taxation aiming to inhibit economic activity.
A policy for purposive de-growth requires a currency system with a different logic, providing market actors with a special-purpose money (SPM) which incites them to purchase commodities embodying local labour, a minimum of transports and GHG emissions, and concern for the local environment. A voluntary transition to de-growth, if at all possible, would require a democratic transformation of both the structural conditions for market rationality and the actual operation of that rationality. Given the new rationality introduced by the option of using CC as outlined here, the notion of “consumer power” would finally approximate the benevolent aspirations of market doctrine professed since the eighteenth century, generating more equitable and sustainable practices as a logical consequence of how the currency system is designed. (p.10)
Views on the desirability and feasibility of the scheme would be welcome.