Sustaining Society with Renewable Energy Dollars and Ecological Property Rights

23 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2007

See all articles by Shann Turnbull

Shann Turnbull

International Institute for Self-Governance; Sustainable Money Working Group; New Garden City Alliance

Date Written: April 15, 2007


Renewable energy can become a fraction of the cost of burning carbon to generate electricity in communities that use money that has a usage charge described as "demurrage". As with Islamic banking, demurrage money eliminates discounting future values from the ability of earning interest today. Investments to sustain humanity on the planet are not disadvantaged. A demurrage charge limits the life of money not used to terminate its existence like all living things to acquire an ecological characteristic. As interest charges typically double the cost of urban infrastructure, ecological money could half the cost of water, housing, education, health and transport facilities. Ecological money facilitates the ability of towns and city precincts to become self-financing self-governing political units. Electricity generated from sun, wind, waves, tide, geothermal; bacteria produced hydrogen provide ways for urban precincts to create a global unit of value but whose value is defined in terms of the local cost of renewable energy. As over 80% of the costs of sustainable energy are interests charges compared with around 20% for carbon fueled generators, ecological energy dollars make renewable energy around four times more competitive. The paper describes how ecological property rights to money, land, buildings and firms maximises the ability of urban precincts to become self-financing on a sustainable basis. Ecological capitalism increases the efficiency, equity, and the richness of democracy in market economies. It also improves the ability of the environment to govern society to assist in making both sustainable.

Keywords: capitalism, community banking, ecology, energy dollars, demurrage, governance, property rights, renewable energy, self-financing, urban precincts

JEL Classification: E42, E51, O18, P13, Q24, Q42, R51

Suggested Citation

Turnbull, Shann, Sustaining Society with Renewable Energy Dollars and Ecological Property Rights (April 15, 2007). Available at SSRN: or

Shann Turnbull (Contact Author)

International Institute for Self-Governance ( email )

PO Box 266 Woollahra
Cell: +61418222378
Sydney, New South Wales 1350
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SKYPE: shann.turnbull

Sustainable Money Working Group ( email )

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Hanover Street
Manchester, M60 0AS
United Kingdom

New Garden City Alliance ( email )

113 Guinness Court
London, UK, SE1 3TA
United Kingdom
+44 207 378 1902 (Phone)


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