The dual nature of money: why monetary systems matter for equitable bioeconomy

Ansel Renner*, Herman Daly, Kozo Mayumi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Money can be understood from an individual perspective as an abstract form of wealth. From a communal perspective, however, money is better regarded as a debt, a biophysical liability, a lien on future real income of the community. Proper recognition of this dual nature raises concerns over modern, aggressive practices of money creation. It provokes a general reassessment of current institutional agreements surrounding money. In this contribution, said agreements are shown to endow money with an unnatural power to preserve its function despite structural decay. The origin of money interest derives from such institutionally given, unnatural power, where it should be noted that interest itself leads to a strong temptation among entities with money issuance rights to issue more and more. Ultimately, considered together, the dual nature of money and the biophysical origin of money interest provoke the need for a societal reappraisal of which entities should properly be given the right to create money, and which are functioning as “legal counterfeiters”. If a transition towards a more sustainable, more equitable bioeconomy is to be realized one day, discussion over who those entities are and what their rightful role is must be reopened.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-760
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Economics and Policy Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Dual nature of money
  • Interest
  • Soddy
  • Sovereignty
  • Sustainability


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