We’re all in Debt, Broke, and Angry. Here’s One Idea that Could Fix the Economy

The Big Idea

Decentralized Debt Free Money (DDFM)


Garth Wells is a builder. He had an epiphany 20 years ago that humanity’s relationship to the natural environment has come to resemble a cancer killing its host.

Garth doesn’t want to live in that world.

He wants to live in a world where humanity is more like a tree, adding to its host and making it possible for that host to not just survive, but thrive.

After years of research, he realized that the biggest contributing factor to environmental destruction is our money system.

People need money to survive.

And people will do whatever it takes to survive.

But that doesn’t mean people are bad. People get paid to do constructive and destructive things.

So why can’t we find the money to build a benign infrastructure that delivers a safe and high quality of life to everyone?

The Big Idea

Garth wants to design an economy that is better than the one we have. He argues that the system we have is pretty good, but it has a big flaw: it requires constant growth and overconsumption.

The reason for that constant need for growth and overconsumption is the fact that money comes into a capitalistic centralized monetary system as debt.

In other words, every dollar that comes into the United States economy is lent into existence.

Though there is some debate among economists regarding this point, Garth (along with others) argues that banks essentially create money out of thin air when they use relatively minimal deposits to create a large amount of loans.

The bank then lends that money to you, and you leave the car lot crushed under the weight of a 7-year loan on what turned out to be a lemon of a Ford Truck.

(Sorry, that was a little personal bitterness.)

All joking aside, we are suffocating under an economy built on the idea that we need to borrow money from the rich and the powerful just to get by.

That concept of debt is so baked into our economic thinking that it forms the moral fabric of an often immoral system.

Garth’s big idea is that there is a better way.

Garth believes money could be “earned,” rather than “lent,” into existence.

He calls his idea Decentralized Debt-Free Money (DDFM).

DDFM is an evolution of capitalism.

We would still use money, and competition, freedom, and innovation would still form the foundation of the economy.

But instead of being injected into the economy as debt, money would be injected into the economy to fund projects that are good for the people and planet.

Money could originate at the community level, rather than from a bank. For example, using blockchain technology, a community can pay local organizations that help prevent gun violence.

Garth and a few collaborators are currently working on a technology platform that could make this vision a reality.

But the specific technology of money matters way less than its origination point.

And, what starts in local communities could then spread.

Under DDFM, money wouldn’t start out in bondage.

And neither would you.

Why I Believe in This Idea

Open up whatever news site you prefer. It could be CNN, Fox News, or BBC.

It doesn’t really matter.

Just look at it.

And try and take in the full scope of tragedy happening all over the world – without any bias or choosing a side – and you’ll see a foundational truth best stated in the song “Rich Man’s War” by one of my favorite artists, Steve Earle:

Bobby had an eagle and a flag tattooed on his arm

Red white and blue to the bone when he landed in Kandahar

Left behind a pretty young wife and a baby girl

A stack of overdue bills and went off to save the world

Been a year now and he’s still there

Chasin’ ghosts in the thin dry air

Meanwhile back at home the finance company took his car

Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man’s war

When will we ever learn

When will we ever see

We stand up and take our turn

And keep tellin’ ourselves we’re free

Ali was the second son of a second son

Grew up in Gaza throwing bottles and rocks when the tanks would come

Ain’t nothin’ else to do around here just a game children play

Somethin’ ’bout livin’ in fear all your life makes you hard that way

He answered when he got the call

Wrapped himself in death and praised Allah

A fat man in a new Mercedes drove him to the door

Just another poor boy off to fight a rich man’s war

Reinventing the economy is a Big Idea.

Basing our monetary system on creativity, sustainability, value, and community – rather than debt – is an even more disruptive idea, and one that powerful interests in the world economy would immediately dismiss as impossible.

But the most disruptive idea humanity may ever face is to watch what’s happening in the world right now and do nothing – or even worse, more of the same.

That isn’t a Big Idea.

That’s a Bad Idea.

Who’s Behind the Idea

Garth Wells

Garth doesn’t have a fancy bio and is one of the humblest individuals I’ve ever met. He isn’t an economist, a monetary expert, or a banker.

But he is a builder.

And that is exactly what we need.

How You Can Get Involved

For more information on DDFM contact Garth, or me!