Bernard Lietaer

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Person.png Bernard Lietaer   Amazon Facebook Sourcewatch Twitter WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(money reformer, activist, author, banker, Statecraft/Analyst)
Bernard Lietaer - PopTech 2011 - Camden Maine USA.jpg
Born7 February 1942
Died4 February 2019 (Age 76)
Alma materCatholic University of Leuven
proponent of local or complementary currency, which circulate parallel with national currencies.

Bernard Lietaer was a civil engineer, economist, author and professor[1]. He studied monetary systems and promoted the idea that communities can benefit from creating their own local or complementary currency, which circulate parallel with national currencies.

Early life

Bernard Lietaer was born 7 February 1942 in Lauwe, Belgium, attended College of St Paul, Godinne from 1955–1961.[2] He studied engineering at the Catholic University of Leuven, in Belgium, where he later held an assistant professorship of international finance. During his engineering studies he was a member of the debating union Olivaint Conference of Belgium.[3] He left with a M.S. in 1967 to continue studies at MIT, United States until 1969.[2]


Lietaer's post-graduate thesis published in 1971 included a description of "floating exchanges".[4] The Nixon Shock of that same year eradicated the Bretton Woods system by unhinging the US dollar value from its gold standard and inaugurated an era of "universal floating exchanges" (prior to that time the only "floating exchanges" involved some Latin American currencies) Litaer's thesis attracted the financial world's attention.[citation needed] The techniques which he had developed for marginal Latin American currencies were for a time the only systematic research which could be used to deal with the major currencies of the world. A major US bank negotiated exclusive rights to his approach which required that he begin another career.[5]

In 1987, he co-founded a large and successful currency management firm called GaiaCorp, and managed an offshore currency fund (Gaia Hedge II) which during the 1987-91 period was the world's top performing managed currency fund.[6] His biography cites the Micropal survey of 1,800 off-shore funds.[6]

In the preface to his book The Future of Money: Beyond Greed and Scarcity Lietaer wrote: "We almost tripled the money in three years".[7]

Business Week named him "the world’s top currency trader" in 1992.[8]

From 2003–2006, he was a visiting scholar at Naropa University, USA where he designed and implemented the University's Marpa Center for Business and Economics.[6] Litaer was also a research fellow at the Center for Sustainable Resources of the University of California, Berkeley.

While at the Central Bank in Belgium (National Bank of Belgium) he implemented the convergence mechanism (ECU) to the single European currency system. During that period, he also was President of Belgium's Electronic Payment System.

In an 2007 interview, Lietaer claimed that diversified, internationally valid currencies can help "address specific needs and enable certain exchanges – whether to fight global warming, promote employment or facilitate education and health care."[9]

In 2012, he was the lead author with Christian Arnsperger, Sally Goerner and Stefan Brunnhuber of Money & Sustainability: the missing link,[10] a publication of The Club of Rome, in which he predicted that "the period 2007-2020 [would be] one of financial turmoil and gradual monetary breakdown."[11]

Personal Life and Death

At the time of his death, Lietaer lived in Brussels, Belgium.[1]


A Document by Bernard Lietaer

TitleDocument typeSubject(s)Description
The Future of MoneyBookComplementary currency
A basic explanation of how different types of complementary currencies work and why the current monetary system is insufficient and/or outdated
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