by Bernd Zikulnig, a 33 year old pilot, a former professional soldier, the founder of peacebucks – free money.
War is highly intertwined with the economy and many wars are primarily conducted, or not conducted, because of financial interests of multi-billion dollar corporations. According to SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute), total world spending on military expenses in 2014 was $1,776 billion US dollars. In direct contrast to that, the individual human life is worth nothing anymore. For example, during War in Iraq and Afghanistan, the US Department of Defense (DOD) provides condolence payments to families who lost relatives as a result of collateral damages caused by U.S. or coalition forces. The amount paid out seemed to average about $2,500. Total payments for wrongful deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as for injury and collateral property damage can be estimated at about $20 million per year. On the other hand, the annual U.S. armaments expenditure runs into billions. In short, war is business. War secures economic and geopolitical interests; war secures jobs and diverts attention away from domestic problems. War industries are a well-oiled machine – war is profitable.
Peace movements are always a non-financial rebellion against war. It is the noble approach of a political resistance. It works, but only if the political pressure is high enough that the political leaders dread losing their powerful positions, as well as their reputations. Political resistance is a good tool to stop ongoing wars, like the War in Vietnam (1955-1975). However, peace movements are more reactive, so it’s unlikely that they will be powerful enough to force change before a war is initiated by a government. With high probability, the triangle between industry, media and politics is too strong and fast to be stopped in its early stages. Even if the internet and social media is able to build up resistance networks very fast these days, by the way this is the reason why dictatorships censor social media platforms; the war network is faster because it already exists. War business is a professional multi-billion dollar industry working 24/7, 365 days a year.
“If money is the reason for war, it is the solution for peace.”
Money is the weapon of war; therefore, money should be the weapon of peace too.
Even when I can understand the approach of “unarmed” political resistance, I personally think that a proactive financial approach would be much more suitable. Peace has to be seen as financial power that can create an enormous political and economic pressure. If the financial power of, let’s name it peace industries, is exceeding the financial power of war industries, political leaders will avoid military conflicts; in order to not jeopardize national economic growth. The more that people and companies are linked together, from a financial point of view, the more improbable that war will be. Would you attack or kill your neighbor if he is the best customer in your bar? An actual example is the conflict in the Ukraine. All parties involved act very carefully, very strategically, trying not to escalate it. In my opinion, the reason for it is purely a financial one. It’s because the geopolitical interest and the financial dependency of all parties involved is equalizing each other. Broadly speaking, Europe needs the gas supply from Russia, while Russia needs the corresponding finances. The economic relations of the U.S. and Europe are very close, making up together 40% of the world trade responsible for 60% of world GDP. It’s likely that the Ukrainian conflict would have been able to trigger the third world war easily, but only if it happened 30 years ago. However, globalization was able to connect the financial interests of entire nations, so that political leaders have to act very cunningly, so as not to affect their national financial economy in a negative way.
“One world, one currency, one peace!”
This brings me to my final point. As we now know, the more that people and companies are financially connected worldwide, the better it is for peace. It would be even better if the network used its own currency, a digital peace currency. It would be the common denominator of world peace. If millions of people and thousands of companies used a unique online currency, it would be more than a political and economic sign. It would be become the most powerful financial peace movement in the 21st century. It would be possible to connect peace interests worldwide with a capital that runs into billions and is able to counteract war industries. By the way, that’s the idea behind peacebucks. It’s about developing a new online currency (PBS) which uses an independent payment system for money transfer through the internet worldwide. Think about PayPal, but with its own currency. Even more than that, it’s a vision of free money, basic income and peace. It’s a unique game changer which makes peace ambitions even more effective – peace is profitable.