Thomas H. Greco, Jr.
Life and work
Greco graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Villanova University, acquired a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Rochester and did additional course work pursuant to a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at Syracuse University. For fourteen years he taught economics, finance, statistics, entrepreneurship, and forecasting as a faculty member in the college of business at Rochester Institute of Technology.
In 1979 Thomas Greco became a private consultant and community activist, working with local Rochester, New York peace and justice groups. From 1981 to 1990 he served as trustee and then president of the School of Living which promotes “decentralized, ecologically-sound, self-governed and humane communities.” A frequent contributor to the decentralist publication Fourth World Review, Greco organized of the Fourth World Assembly and New Economics Symposium held in San Francisco in 1987.
Greco writes and consults on monetary exchange alternatives, including private credit clearing systems, complementary currencies and local currencies. Greco’s views have been influenced by the theories of E.C. Riegel and the German School of Money and Banking including economists Heinrich Rittershausen and Ulrich von Beckerath and attorney and author Walter Zander.
After moving to Arizona, Greco assisted in the development of LETSonora (a Local Exchange Trading System) and helped organize Tucson Traders, both now defunct. He has advised groups like Current Innovations, Alliance for Human Empowerment and Macrocosm USA. He has traveled widely promoting and assisting currency projects in the United States, Mexico and South America, Europe, India, Indonesia, China and New Zealand.
Greco was the keynote speaker at the 1998 conference on “Sustainability: From Vision to Practice,” held at Sirius Community and was a forum leader for the 2001 Radical Consultation Forum on Globalization, Money & Trade held in Swindon, England. In 2006, he was a presenter at the conference on Knowledge, Business and Consciousness held at the international community of Auroville, India; the keynote speaker at the annual convention of the International Reciprocal Trade Association (IRTA), the trade association for the commercial "barter" industry; and a speaker at the E.F. Schumacher Society "Money in Local Living Economies" forum in Burlington, Vermont. As reported at the Barter News Blog, in 2007 Greco was the featured speaker at forums in Beijing and Hang Zhou, China and one of the main speakers at The International Conference On the Dinar Economy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Thomas Greco has authored four books on monetary theory and how monetary alternatives can empower communities. He has published articles in many publications, including the Whole Earth Review, World Business Academy Perspectives, Earth Island Journal, Yes! Magazine, Green Revolution, The Permaculture Activist.
Approach to Alternative Currencies
One writer described Greco's goal as "junking the dominant monetary system," a centralized banking and investment system that concentrates wealth, causing misery for average families. Rather than reform, Greco advocates "an entirely new system of money and exchange" which "democratizes credit and emphasizes local control."
Greco writes on ReinventingMoney.Com:
The mission of this site is to demystify money by presenting the best leading-edge ideas on monetary and non-monetary exchange. It is a resource devoted to the advancement of economic democracy, self-determination, and global harmony.
He holds that:
The primary lever of power in today's world is the overly centralized, monopolistic control over money, banking, and finance. Money constitutes the greatest and most acute current problem, while being at once the structural domain that is most ready for a transformational shift. It is clear that the best and most promising approaches to liberating economic exchange are in the realm of private, voluntary, free-market initiatives...
In a review of Greco’s Money: Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender, Brian Leslie writes:
Greco is more concerned with the details of current and potential alternative currencies, devoting much of his book to descriptions of current examples and a selection of past ones, their strengths and weaknesses, and theoretical possibilities and recommendations for future systems, several of which are his own proposals. He notes that alternative currencies start and are most successful at times (and in places) when the failings of official money are having the greatest impact, and mostly discontinue when conditions improve.
Professor Brian Martin writes in his review of Greco's New Money for Healthy Communities that the book's purpose is to describe guidelines for establishing a local currency. He concludes that even if one does not agree with all of Greco views, the book "is a good place to begin thinking through this important issue."
Greco’s 2009 book The End of Money and the Future of Civilization has been reviewed in Ecologist magazine and BuzzFlash.com. The Ecologist reviewer described Greco's analysis of the problem and his alternatives which range from "a complete web-based trading system to creating local, community- based exchange systems which can be linked to regional, national and international networks." He noted "The book leaves you thinking that given the political will and empowerment of grassroots and community -based systems, the environment and civilisation as we know it is not doomed after all."
- The End of Money and the Future of Civilization, Chelsea Green (June 4, 2009). Also at Books.Google ISBN 1-60358-078-6
- Money: Understanding and Creating Alternatives to Legal Tender, PDF, Chelsea Green (November 1, 2001). Also at Books.Google ISBN 1-890132-37-3
- New Money for Healthy Communities, self-published, 1994.
- Money and Debt: A Solution to the Global Crisis, self-published, 1990.
- Chapter 7, "New Mechanisms for Monetary Exchange," in Willis W. Harman, Maya Porter, The New Business of Business: Sharing Responsibility for a Positive Global Future, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1997, ISBN 1-57675-018-3
- Credit money
- Commodity money
- Digital cash
- Electronic money
- Economic Democracy
- Local currency
- Private bank
- Private currency
- Beyond Money
- Local and Interest-Free or Alternative Currencies, Social Credit, Social Lending and Microcredit.
- David Boyle speech at the Local Currencies for the 21st Century conference, E. F. Schumacher Society Bard College, New York, June 27, 2004
- A few examples of references to Thomas H. Greco, Jr. include: Bryn Meyer, Democratic Money: The Case for a Decentralized Monetary System, Chapter Five: The Case for Multiple Currencies; Lakewood Dollars site; Economic Crisis of the Commons, the Sonoma County Self-reliance Project: Community Support Dollars (CSD); Community Currency’s report on 1998 global economy gathering in Davos, Switzerland. A Books.Google.com search shows that several dozen books mention Greco's ideas or books.
- Paul Glover, Monica Hargraves, [http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-53885034.html In Each Other We Trust: local currency brings communities together, Whole Earth, March 22, 1998.
- ReinventingMoney.Com biography (PDF)
- German School of Money and Banking at InventingMoney.Com.
- Walter Zander home page
- John Rutter, Learning to live sustainably, Lancaster Sunday News, September 13, 2009.
- ReinventingMoney.Com background information
- Brian Leslie, Participatory democracy is good for you, review of Thomas H. Greco, Jr. and Bernard Lietaer books on money].
- Brian Martin, Review of New Money for Healthy Communities at his University web site.
- Jaswinder Kaur, review of The End of Money and the Future of Civilization, Ecologist magazine, September 29, 2009.
- BuzzFlash Review of The End of Money and the Future of Civilization
- Audio presentation by Thomas H. Greco, Jr. on reinventing money, GlobalPublicMedia,Com, May 29, 2007.
- Beyond Money, Thomas H. Greco, Jr.’s alternative currency blog.
- Thomas H. Greco, Jr., Improving Local Currencies, or How To Make a Good Thing Better, Global Development Research Center.