Alternative Economies: Decentralisation & People Power | Brett Scott, Duncan McCann, Jaya Klara Brekke

1-3-5 Flitcroft Street, London, WC2H 8DH | Thursday 31st MAY, 7pm-10.30pm

Artwork by Lea Marcaccini,

Artwork by Lea Marcaccini,

We all know that our current economic system isn't working. It is an economy based on ravaging the Earth's finite resources and on immense social injustice. To ensure a more democratic, sustainable and prosperous future we need to look to radical, ethical solutions that go beyond the debt-growth trap. We need to find an economic system where ecological sustainability, social justice, and financial stability go hand in hand: an economy that meets the needs of all, not just the privileged few, and allows us to thrive. 

Three leaders in the field discuss our current reality, what got us to this point and where we are headed through through talks, a panel discussion and Q&A.

Learn more about the role we can play as individuals in turning the tide, the role of the community, localism, and the de-growth approach as we take back control.  



(Talk descriptions & bios below)

19.00 - Doors open

19.30 - 3 20 minute presentations

20.30 - break

20.45 - panel discussion & audience q&a

21.30 - drinks & food

22.30 - End



Brett Scott: Atoms, Molecules and the Two Meanings of Decentralisation. 

Many original alternative economy movements rest upon a vision of decentralisation in which large-scale centrally-controlled infrastructures are replaced by small-scale locally-controlled infrastructures. Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology communities, on the other hand, present decentralisation as the act of building large-scale infrastructures that are controlled by nobody. How do these two visions of decentralisation relate to each other, and is it possible to hybridise them?

Duncan McCann: Local is Beautiful: Taking Back Control of our Local Economy.

Small can be beautiful and powerful. People everywhere are taking back the power and co-creating their local economies, through money, energy and more. This talk will explore some of these examples and how we can all play a role in the transition. 

Jaya Klara Brekke: Designing and Configuring Decentralisms
Cryptocurrencies and "blockchain" promise to decentralise money, law, governance and much more. But what happens when concepts like decentralisation travel across political, technical and organisational fields? Which exact modes of decentralisation are encoded in blockchain protocols? What do they mean in terms of power and control, autonomy and risk and the ability to connect and disconnect? Do decentralised systems “give us back control” or put us at the mercy of uncontrollable and very complex systems? The distinction between “centralised” and “decentralised" might very well not be sufficient to understand what matters in terms of our ability to determine our conditions. 


Brett Scott

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Brett Scott is an economic explorer and financial hacker traversing the intersections between money systems, finance, digital technology and cities. He is the author of The Heretic’s Guide to Global Finance: Hacking the Future of Money (2013), and collaborates with a wide range on groups on diverse topics, including banking systems, financial activism, digital finance, blockchain technology, hacker culture, technology politics and the dynamics of cashless society.

Brett has worked with a variety of groups on issues related to the financial sector. This includes working on tax justice with Action Aid UK, considering the impact of offshore financial centres, and working on food markets with the World Development Movement, considering the impact of financial players in commodity derivatives markets. He was on the original team of the UK ethical banking reform campaign MoveYourMoney, which advocates for greater banking diversity, transparency and responsible investment. He's collaborating with groups like Berlin-based Open Oil on building open data models for oil sector transparency, whilst working with student campaigners on the ethical policies of university investment. He also writes on financial campaigns, alternative finance and open source hacker culture for publications like The Guardian, New Scientist, Wired Magazine, Aeon and, and provides commentary on financial reform and cryptocurrencies on media channels such as BBC and Arte. He is a Fellow of the ICAEW/WWF Finance Innovation Lab, which brings together practitioners interested in sustainable finance, monetary reform, and peer-to-peer finance. He is very interested in popular education around financial markets, and frequently runs workshops at festivals and other events, as well as helping to facilitate a course on power and design at the Camberwell College of Arts London.  //  @suitpossum.

Duncan McCann

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Duncan works as a Researcher for the New Economics Foundation (NEF) and is a Fellow at City University. Duncan's current work focuses on a number of different areas notably rethinking money, looking for solutions to our land and housing crisis, the future of work and the need for Social Wealth funds.

On money, Duncan works on creating a better understanding of national money systems and how they could be reformed, as well as building the knowledge around community and local currencies and working with communities to develop them. Prior to working at NEF Duncan worked for 2 years with Positive Money, a campaign group seeking to reform money.

Duncan is the co-author of the book People Powered Money and last year he published the proposal for a national complementary currency for Scotland called ScotPound. Duncan is also an expert on E-waste and sits on the steering committee of the UN lead Solving the E-waste problem.  //  @DuncanEMcCann

Jaya Klara Brekke


Jaya Klara Brekke writes, does research and speaks on the political economy of blockchain and consensus protocols, focusing on questions of politics and power in distributed systems. She is the author of the B9Lab ethical training module for blockchain developers, and has been working as a researcher, designer and curator on projects related to the political economies of infrastructures for the past ten years, including D-CENT a Europe-wide project creating privacy-aware tools and applications for direct democracy and economic empowerment. She is based between Durham University, UK, where she is writing a PhD titled 'Distributing Chains, Three Strategies for Thinking Blockchain Politically', London where she spends much of her time with the InfoSec research group at UCL Computer sciences department and Vienna as collaborator of RIAT, Institute for Future Crypto-economics.  //  @jayapapaya