Shifting Paradigms

Colour Economy  is a system that can take the place of money in today’s society. Primary values in capitalism are all turned upside-down. The main goal is balance and stability, not growth or profit. Honesty and transparency are essential for success. Participants are responsible for their behaviour and their property. This responsibility takes the place of possession as a central idea. Also, this principle of personal responsibility does not longer support a power pyramid. A relatively small change is that interest can not exist. This is because a number of natural laws are built into the core of the colour economy. In order to come closer to the core, we first have to understand ecology, because Colour Economy is an economic-ecological system.

Violation of laws of nature in capitalism

The capitalist model does not account for the recycling of matter that takes place in ecosystems. It is not essential for participants to recycle everything. Discharge into water or air is the most normal thing in the world for industry and motorists. Although valuable nutrients are lost,  they have no value in money anyway. Not a single motorist is feeling responsible for the exhaust he has emitted 100 miles back on the motorway, even though he did possess that gasoline. The combustion process uses oxygen molecules from the atmosphere in order to exhaust the result immediately. The only purpose of this is the energy that is released from the hydrocarbons. . Only few users of capitalism are aware of this. And that unawareness is basically the problem. Or actually: it is not a problem because there is no financial penalty for this behaviour. Here the rise of the greenhouse effect. Capitalism does not have a clue of the essence of life cycles. The awareness is just recently arising within business concepts like permaculture, the circle economy and cradle to cradle, which incorporate nature’s strategies in their practises.

Natural Laws in color economy

Only two laws of nature are at the core of colour economy:

  •  It is intended that everything is being recycled. This applies to products that can degrade like organic  waste and  technical products which have to be taken apart in a technical process. Both products and processes should be designed so that products can be easily taken apart.
  • Throughout this cycle try to minimize energy use. Food and fuel products store solar energy. We should try to retain this energy as long as possible in all kinds of forms, life in particular.  Energy  usage should not exceed this solar income.

Help users to comply with the laws

Of course there really are users of capitalism who really try to recycle and save energy, but this attitude is not actively supported by the money system itself. Colour economy changes that because the value (price) of a product will directly indicate the extent the product is recycled and how much energy is needed for each cycle. You always get money back for your waste, but if you offer the waste for recycling instead of the incinerator, you receive a different quality of money. Therefore,  economy colour three colours of money.

The price has three colours

  •  In the first place, there is the energy. We do not mean direct fuel products or foods, but the energy itself that is contained in these products. The energy-dimension is indicated by the colour Red.
  • In addition to energy, the world is built from matter. The principle of recycling gives rise to a division of the matter into two groups: those who matter is recycled and which matter has fallen from its (natural) life cycle. We give these dimensions with the colours Green and Blue.

So in Colour Economy, we use the colours Red Green and Blue to indicate both ecological and environmental value of products and services. This is also called the RGB value.

Why split the value?

Essential to this division is that a participant can not compensate an “error” with extra profits in another place. Here is an extreme example, that is not quite right with the actual practice.

Suppose you have a tomato growery in The Netherlands and you sell the tomatoes in the German Ruhr area. To give the tomatoes a boost, you give an NPK mixture, a chemical fertilizer. The production of this substance requires quite a lot of energy, as does finding the materials required. Also, a large part of the “fertilizer” just washes away into drains. How does this practice reveal itself in colour economy?

To buy the fertilizer you have to pay a lot of Red, and Blue as well. The water you buy in at Green but you have to discharge for Blue, because it has become unusable. Also the gas that you need to heat the greenhouse costs a considerable amount of Red and Blue. The tomatoes bring himself just a little bit of red. You’ll also receive Green there, but of course no more than their own weight. At the end of the year you hold quite a shortage of about Red and Blue. This is the imbalance in your method also become a reality in the economic data. You may come to the conclusion that you can come by now to grow tomatoes this way.

Instead of chemical fertilizer, natural gas and tomatoes you change to other species in the cold season, tomatoes in the summer and use micro-organisms to make the plants stronger. Through this method you can balance the colors. Recycle your own water and do not use more electricity then your PV-panels produce.

This example shows that unnatural behaviour is discouraged by splitting value into natural dimensions.

Capitalism has a number of design flaws.  Colour economy tries to tackle them all in one new design. With the introduction of the three colors we can effectively eliminate the “adding apples and oranges” which occurs using regular money. As a result, these natural values – energy, life cycle –  ​​also sit in our consciousness and they will become part of our daily routine

Definition of the unit

Another design flaw in capitalism is the lack of a base of the unit. What is the value of  “one” ? One hundred years ago fought two U.S. presidential candidates like a challenge based on the dollar: the dollar had to be based on the value of gold or the value of silver?

Currently, the value of  currencies unit are “volatile” : the unit of measurement is not fixed, but is constantly growing and shrinking. Imagine a world where Watts, Joules, Amperes, Seconds and all other units – have not been defined perfectly by the 18th and 19th century engineers  in the Systeme Internationale, but “are subject to free market forces”. Not a single radio would work, would it?

The colors of the color economy are defined as follows. 1 Red is the energy in the 100 grams of sunflower oil. This is 3400 kJ or 810 kcal. Note: 36oo kJ is 1 kWh. 1 Green is 100g recyclable material. There is a participant in the market who will buy the product for green.  1 Blue is 100g non-recyclable material. There is no buyer who gives green in the market.

What is the consequence?

When using a system such as colour economy, the following happens local, small-scale production is suddenly much cheaper than large-scale industrial power. Cheaper, because always more energy efficient. More balanced in the long run. Way to go.

Further Reading

Check the book, Colourcash (2010). Free PDF and online versions.