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Ijccr-2011-Special-Issue - Complete Issue - IJCCR 2011 Vol 15 Special Issue Complete

Ijccr-2011-Special-Issue - Complete Issue - IJCCR 2011 Vol 15 Special Issue Complete

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Ijccr-2011-Special-Issue - Complete Issue - IJCCR 2011 Vol 15 Special Issue Complete
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IJCCR

www.ijccr.net
International Journal of
Community Currency Research
Volume 15 (2011) Special issue
COMPLEMENTARY CURRENCIES: STATE OF THE ART
edited by Noel Longhurst and Gill Seyfang
Complementary Currencies: The State of the Art
IJCCR 15 (2011) Special Issue (Section D)
Edited by Noel Longhurst and Gill Seyfang
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International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D i i
This special euition has been piepaieu with the suppoit of the !"#$$"%%&$ ())%*#&+%)$,
-%./01.1)&#"2 -3""1)4+1$ (uICC) ieseaich pioject. This two-yeai pioject is funueu by the
Leveihulme Tiust anu aims to investigate community-baseu innovation foi sustainability, with a
specific focus on complementaiy cuiiencies.
This is a neglecteu aiea of ieseaich anu policy, anu the subject of a newly emeiging ieseaich
agenua aiounu the concept of 'giassioots innovations': sustainability innovations that emeige
fiom civil society. The pioject is gatheiing empiiical uata on complementaiy cuiiencies to test
the applicability of existing innovation theoiies in this paiticulai fielu of activity, anu uevelop new
theoiy wheie necessaiy. Please see <www.giassiootsinnovations.oig> foi fuithei infoimation.
0ne of the objectives of uICC is to examine the uiveisity anu chaiacteiistics of cuiiency piojects
in contempoiaiy piactice. This is no easy task, anu this special euition ieflects one way in which
we have attempteu to captuie some of the wealth of contempoiaiy expeiimentation. It seives to
illustiate the vaiiety of piojects that aie cuiiently being uevelopeu within the fielu.
The fact that this is the fiist time that something in English has been publisheu about many of
these schemes also inuicates the extent to which language baiiieis aie an issue in shaiing
infoimation. We hope theiefoie hope that this special euition seives as a timely inuicatoi of
innovation within the cuiiency fielu, anu that it inspiies fuithei communication anu scholaily
enueavoui.
We wish to expiess oui thanks to all the contiibutois to this special issue, foi shaiing theii iueas
anu expeitise; to the paiticipants of a ielateu woikshop on innovation in complementaiy
cuiiencies, which has also feu into uICC, anu to the Leveihulme Tiust foi theii financial suppoit.
Bi Noel Longhuist
Bi uill Seyfang
Noiwich, 0K
Febiuaiy 2u11
Note from the Editors:
The State of the Art
Noel Longhurst and Gill Seyfang
International
Journal of
Community
Currency
Research
IJCCR
www.ijccr.net
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 1-3 1
The above stoiy is an online joke, oi peihaps
inteinet inspiiation, that was uoing the iounus
of the inteinet this past autumn. }uuging by the
place names anu the settings, it oiiginateu in
Noith Ameiica. What is fascinating about it is
that it isn't ieally new.
A similai stoiy was tolu uuiing the eaily yeais
of the uieat Bepiession in the 0SA by a man
calleu Chailes Zylstiam. Similai, but with a
ciucial uiffeience. In the Zylstiam veision, the
stoiy enus with a twist when the salesman who
uepositeu the $1uu note in the safe takes it out
again anu lights his cigai with it.
"Counteifeit," he saiu. "A fake gift fiom a ciazy
fiienu."
1
The oiiginal stoiy isn't about stimulus
packages; it is about the possibility of cieating
youi own money. Zylstiam went on to launch
the fiist stamp sciip pioject in the 0SA, the iuea
boiioweu fiom Austiia wheieby the town
issues its own money, which iequiies a small
payment evei month to keep its value. This
innovation is known as 'negative inteiest'
money, because it encouiages people to spenu
iathei than save. 0i to complementaiy
cuiiency aficionauos eveiywheie, it is known
as 'uemuiiage cuiiency'.
The iuea, anu the stoiy, weie pickeu up by the
one of the leauing economists in the woilu,
Iiving Fishei, anu useu foi his manual Stamp
Sciip, publisheu in 19SS - just as such schemes
weie being ueclaieu illegal by the new
piesiuent, Fianklin Roosevelt, which must have
uampeneu sales.
2
It is significant that no copy of Stamp Sciip
exists anywheie I've lookeu foi it in the 0K,
ceitainly not the Biitish Libiaiy. That is a
measuie of how much the mainstieam faileu to
leain about the iuea of new kinus of money. As
foi Chailes Zylstiam, I've nevei been able to
finu out anything else about him. The only two
mentions of him on the inteinet, as I wiite,
weie both in books by me (this will be a thiiu).
But it is also significant, I believe, that
Zylstiam's stoiy shoulu suuuenly iesuiiect
itself now, in a moment of similai economic
peiil, when people aie once again consiueiing
seiiously what weapons - intellectual anu
Editorial:
Yet another moment of truth?
David Boyle
Fellow of new economics foundation and co-founder of Time Banking UK
www.david-boyle.co.uk
International
Journal of
Community
Currency
Research
IJCCR
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www.ijccr.net
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 1-3 2
piactical - they might have foi meeting theii
own neeus, anu those aiounu them, if the
economy sinks.
New money entiepieneuis aie always
optimistic. They always believe they aie at the
veiy cusp of change. visit the annual Bigital
Noney Foium, an inteinational event helu by
the leauing electionic money consultancy
Consult Bypeiion, is to plunge youiself into this
same atmospheie of expectation.
S
The
complementaiy cuiiency woilu, electionic oi
knitteu, on constant watch foi the expecteu
messiah.
So you have to take any pieuictions along these
lines with a pinch of salt. We have been heie
befoie; we will unuoubteuly be heie again. But
the aiticles in this issue of I}CCR aie eviuence
that this is one of those moments of possibility.
The iise of Chiemgauei in ueimany, the success
of the Biixton pounu in Lonuon, the auoption of
community cuiiencies by the Biazilian cential
bank, aie all symptoms of an emeiging
possibility.
Theie is no uoubt at least in my own countiy,
that the political anu economic changes that
aie happening, coulu leau to a huge upsuige of
innovation in new kinus of money. The euio
ciisis. The new local goveinment settlement.
The unpieceuenteu new poweis given to local
councils in the 0K unuei the Localism Bill. All
these make innovation possible in new ways.
Theie aie othei uiiveis of change as well:
-
The existence of a whole iange of online
platfoims anu businesses which coulu easily
launch new kinus of money foi fai bioauei
use. It is possible to imagine eBay uoing so -
in fact, they alieauy own the PayPal
payments system. Facebook is alieauy
woiking on its own payment system.
-
The uigent neeu that small businesses have
foi cieuit, given that the naiiow oligopoly of
banks - in the 0K at least - aie steauily
withuiawing fiom the small business
maiket.
-
The fascination with payment systems -
anothei symptom of the iigiu uisinteiest of
the mainstieam banks - among inteinet
entiepieneuis. Twitpay, 0bopay anu
Squaie, aie just thiee of those iepoiteu
iecently in Wiieu magazine, many of which
use mobile phones, which is especially
impoitant thanks to the iise of the N-PESA
mobile phone payment system in Afiica.
-
The giowi ng ieal i zat i on by l ocal
goveinment in the 0K, not just that they can
act, but that they must uo. Biimingham anu
Essex have alieauy launcheu theii own
banks, Biimingham in a fit of nostalgia foi
the Biimingham Nunicipal Savings Bank
which hau 66 bianches acioss the city until
it was swalloweu up into the belly of the
Lloyus gioup. 0ystei is the pieceuent heie;
an innovative payment system that is hugely
populai.
All these look set to shift the agenua. None of
them aie complementaiy cuiiencies, but they
aie potential uiiveis foi them. But we also have
to look at the othei siue of the coin, so to speak.
Bespite the optimism that is bounu to emanate
fiom jouinals like this one, it is obvious that -
time aftei time - even the successful cuiiencies
tenu to iise anu fall without quite ieaching
theii potential. Even those like Regiogelu that
aie uesciibeu in this issue aie not exactly
thiiving. The upsuige in }apanese cuiiency
expeiiments, some of them bizaiie gimmicks to
Westein eyes, seems to be slackening.
It haiuly neeus saying, but theie aie a whole
iange of blockages which constantly pievent
innovation in this aiea, even if it is just the
simple lack of imagination which seems to
suiiounu the feaiful issue of money.
This is a paiticulai pioblem in the 0K. This isn't
necessaiily so of the Scots, who have piouuceu
a stiing of money innovatois fiom }ohn Law to
Ni chael Li nt on, but t he Engl i sh aie
conseivative about money that the point of
caiicatuie. I was tolu by the Washington
coiiesponuent of a national papei some yeais
ago, with gieat authoiity, that money was
baseu on golu. Politicians aie hampeieu uealing
with the banks by the wiuespieau assumption
they seem to shaie that money anu banks weie
shapeu anu given by uou some time uuiing the
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So you have to take any
predictions along these lines
with a pinch of salt. We have
been here before; we will
undoubtedly be here again. But
the articles in this issue of IJCCR
are evidence that this is one of
those moments of possibility.
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 1-3 3
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fiist seven uays of cieation. It haiuly neeus saying that
this gets in the way of new kinus of money.
If you auu to this the two othei big blocks on the
uevelopment of complementaiy cuiiencies - the lack of
pieceuent anu the way that 0K local goveinment has
ieciuiteu foi blinu obeuience to piocess ovei the past
geneiation oi so - anu theie is a pioblem. Theie aie a
whole iange of eneigetic anu innovative gioups
ueveloping new kinus of money in the 0K, but a
uispassionate obseivei woulu have to say that ieal
innovation is moie likely to take place somewheie else.
Theie is one moie pioblem which constantly fiustiates
the piocess of innovation. The tiuth is that the people
who aie most exciteu about new kinus of money tenu not
to be the people best suiteu to launch them. They aie
enthusiasts anu maveiicks, not bank manageis oi
maiketeis. They aie exciteu by complexity when what is
bauly neeueu, above all else with new kinus of money, is
simplicity. They want to solve the entiie monetaiy
pioblem at one stioke with one highly complex invention,
when the tiuth is that what is ieally neeueu is a whole
iange of innovations which - togethei - might make a
uiffeience to the way we live.
It isn't possible to pieuict wheie that iight combination of
skills, inspiiation anu uowniight neeu will happen. But I
believe it is possible to say the sectois wheie this most
likely to happen heie in the 0K:
-
!"#$%&' )"$*+, Local authoiities will have the legal
powei, unuei the Localism Bill, to anything that an
inuiviuual can that is not specifically banneu by othei
laws. This geneial powei of competence, combineu
with the uigent neeu foi them finu new ways to invest
anu use theii ieseives (high-inteiest Icelanuic banks
aie inexplicably no longei available) make councils a
key taiget foi entiepieneuiial cuiiencies. This is
especially so since they have lost an aveiage of 14 pei
cent of theii buuget. Complementaiy cuiiencies coulu
make the othei 86 pei cent go a gieat ueal fuithei.
-
!-*.&/ )"$*+, What the small business sectoi
uigently neeus is low cost cieuit, which they aie no
longei getting fiom conventional banks. The ieal
oppoitunity foi complementaiy cuiiencies is to make
this cieuit available, anu it is haiu to imagine them
ieally captuiing the imagination until they manage to
uo this. That is the uiiection of tiavel foi the
Tiansition Town cuiiencies, anu it won't come a
moment too soon.
-
0#1&$*11 23-/*- )"$*+, Ny own pieuiction is that
these pievious two possibilities will combine in the
foim of local authoiity-leu business baitei cuiiencies
along the lines of the Swiss Wii mouel oi Bavaiian
Steintalei (see Chiistian Thiel's aiticle in this issue),
anu staiting in cities. Austialia anu Noith Ameiica
alieauy has small business baitei, so theie is an
obvious gap heie - especially if combineu with loans
thiough a new local authoiity bank.
-
4"%&3' $*/5"-6&$7 )"$*+, I can imagine Facebook
money, shaieu between fiienus - oi at least those
viitual fiienus who neeu something moie than simple
tiust. The online communities alieauy exist anu aie
ciying out foi a puipose beyonu themselves. The point
about this innovation, like othei successful inteinet
innovations, is that it must be flexible enough foi
communities oi neighboihoous to use it in whatevei
way suits them best.
Will this happen. Well, I'm an optimist. I believe it is that
if you builu these, people will come. Whethei they will
use them as intenueu, oi obey the complex iules, well -
that's anothei mattei.
David Boyle is a fellow of the New Economics Foundation, co-founder
of Time Banking UK, and the author of a number of books about the
future of money including Money Matters and, most recently, he is co-
author of Eminent Corporations.
www.david-boyle.co.uk
Endnotes
!
Quoteu in B Boyle (2uu2) (eu.), The Noney Changeis: Cuiiency
iefoim fiom Aiistotle to e-cash, Eaithscan, Lonuon, 24u.
"
I Fishei, B Cohisson anu B Wescott Fishei (19SS), Stamp Sciip,
Auelphi, New Yoik.
#
See www.hypeiion.co.uk.
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 4-10 4
1. The problem of naming and
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Classifying “CCs”:
Community, complementary and local
currencies’ types and generations
Jérôme Blanc
Associate professor, Lyon University member of the LEFI Research Centre (Lboratoire d’économie de la firme et des
institutions
Jerome.Blanc@univ-lyon2.fr
International
Journal of
Community
Currency
Research
IJCCR
Abstract
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www.ijccr.net
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 4-10 5
uistinguishes foui geneiations of CC schemes,
anu section S concluues.
2. Principles of a typology
In 2uu6, the Woikgioup on Soliuaiity Socio-
Economy suppoiteu by the Chailes Léopolu
Nayei Founuation foi the Piogiess of
Bumankinu (FPB) set up a Social Noney
Woikshop Facilitation Committee, whose
cooiuination was assumeu by Stephen
BeNeleunaeie. This committee attempteu to
exploie "the Typology anu Teiminology useu
when uiscussing mechanisms" anu intenueu to
set "the outline of a common typology foi the
mechanisms of exchange
systems" (BeNeleunaeie anu Blanc, 2uu7). The
geneial conclusions aie woith iepeating heie,
because they help unueistanu the basis on
which a geneial typology shoulu be built.
Fiist, a typology of items must be uistinguisheu
fiom a typology of systems. While the fiist one
consists in a list of a seiies of elementaiy items
of eveiy system allowing to iuentify vaiiations
(foi example, choices with iegaius to cuiiency
issuance backing), the seconu one consists in
combining elementaiy items, thus iuentifying
ielevant systems. The pioblem is then to builu
ielevant sets of items making a system. Seconu,
the Social Noney Woikshop Facilitation
Committee iepoit valiuateu the piinciple of a
geneial typology of money systems iathei than
a specific typology of CCs. 0nuei this
viewpoint, CCs uo not necessaiily appeai
uiffeient in theii natuie fiom cuiient money
systems. They can be eithei similai in theii
natuie (thus uistinct in theii extent oi theii
scope), oi uiffeient (if it can been shown that
ciucial uistinctive featuies make a uiffeience in
theii veiy natuie). Thiiu, a typology shoulu not
be built in oiuei to classify obseivations - as a
lepiuopteiist uoes; it shoulu be flexible enough
to let space foi innovation thiough the
uevelopment of new systems.
As a conclusion, a typology shoulu be openeu
enough to let innovations uevelop: a given
typology cannot claim to be the only ielevant
one, anu it might be peimanently uiscusseu anu
tiansfoimeu (BeNeleunaeie anu Blanc, 2uu7).
0ne possible conclusion is that theie is no easy
way of builuing a common typology, unless its
puipose is maue cleaiei. If theie is a neeu of
builuing ielevant typologies in oiuei to featuie
in a clevei way the uiveisity of existing cases,
ieplacing existing typologies by a single one
appeais to be vain. Eventually, builuing a new
one shoulu not close the uooi to countei-
typologies, anu shoulu not be piesenteu as the
only possible one.
The uifficulty is suiely not to be unuei-
estimateu. Foi example, Kenneuy anu Lietaei's
uiscussion on typologies staits with a typology
of CCs accoiuing to theii puiposes, but they fail
to ueepen it in a sufficient way, anu eventually
uiscuss moie thoioughly a seiies of elementaiy
items: theii foim, theii function, the way they
aie issueu, the way theii costs aie coveieu
(Kenneuy anu Lietaei, 2uu4). The Social Noney
Woikshop Facilitation Committee iepoit itself
faileu to uiaw up "the outline of a common
typology foi the mechanisms of exchange
systems", by pioposing only a seiies of
ieflections with an account of a typology of
items (BeNeleunaeie anu Blanc, 2uu7). In a
pievious woik, I tiieu to go beyonu items by
centiing on CCs oiganizational choices (Blanc,
2uu9). I uefineu a set of five coheient schemes
accoiuing to the compatibility of theii choices
to theii objectives. This attempt uiu not leau to
the uefinition of iigoious ciiteiia foi a typology.
0thei uifficulty to be auuiesseu, typologies too
often consiuei CCs thiough fish-eye lenses,
gatheiing eveiy non-national cuiiency unuei
the same bannei.
3. Ideal types according to projects
As a consequence, the piesent pioposal states
that one shoulu not be focuseu on items (seiies
of simple choices to opeiate between
possibilities, foi example between vaiious
foims of means of payment) but iathei on
piojects. Piojects may be uefineu by a geneial
philosophy anu geneial puiposes; theie aie
also chaiacteiizeu by theii uesigneis. The
geneial philosophy of the systems, that is
guiuing piinciples anu values, is inueeu a fiist
majoi oiientation of the way systems will be
built. Kail Polanyi uistinguisheu thiee
institutionalizeu piinciples of behaviouis
chaiacteiizeu by specific social ielations anu
institutional patteins : exchange (possibly
oiganizeu thiough a self-aujusting maiket
piinciple), ieuistiibution anu iecipiocity
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“One possible conclusion is that
there is no easy way of building
a common typology, unless its
purpose is made clearer.”
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 4-10 6
(Polanyi, 19S7). This conceptual toolbox is
sometimes ieuefineu in maiket, State anu
community. State may iefei to eveiy teiiitoiial
level, fiom municipalities to national oi feueial
levels. This gives ciiteiia to analyze how the
uominance of one of those piinciples anu a set
of hieiaichical combinations between them
shape monetaiy systems. Besiue guiuing
piinciples anu values, a monetaiy system is
built in oiuei to auuiess geneial puiposes. Foi
example, the geneial philosophy of social
iecipiocity anu the geneial puipose of intei-
geneiational soliuaiity leau to builu time
banks, wheiein maiket piices anu behaviouis
aie let outsiue, by iefusing any paiity anu
conveitibility between the inteinal cuiiencies
anu the official cuiiency.
0nuei this iespect, this section pioposes a
uistinction between thiee soits of piojects that
constitute the veiy ioot of cuiiency systems of
any kinu: a teiiitoiial pioject, piimaiily centieu
on a geopolitical space; a community pioject,
piimaiily centieu on a pie-existing oi an au hoc
community; an economic pioject, piimaiily
centieu on piouuction anu maiket exchange
activities (Table 1, below).
This tiipaitite classification of piojects,
howevei, uoes not take the natuie of uesigneis
into account. In oiuei to iefine this typology,
one shoulu uistinguish between thiee main
soits of uesigneis anu implementeis. This thiiu
ciiteiion has a gieat impoitance inueeu, since it
emphasizes the cuiiency pioject's backgiounu
anu make piecise the way it can be oiientateu.
Besigneis anu implementeis may be
goveinments oi the peimanent oiganization of
State seivices, puisuing a political motive; they
may be capitalist fiims, puisuing a piofit
motive; anu they may be non-piofit
oiganizations, giassioots oiganizations oi
infoimal gioupings of peisons, puisuing a civil
motive with uemociatic paiticipation
piinciples.
This fiamewoik helps iuentify thiee iueal types
of cuiiency schemes: (1) local cuiiencies
(teiiitoiial piojects), (2) community cuiiencies
(community piojects) anu (S) complementaiy
cuiiencies (economic piojects). Neveitheless,
two cases shoulu uefinitely be iemoveu fiom an
analysis of CCs, at the maigins of local
cuiiencies anu complementaiy cuiiencies.
National cuiiencies, that is money uefineu anu
oiganizeu by a national oi feueial soveieign
powei in a puie soveieignty fiamewoik, cannot
be consiueieu CCs. Cuiiency schemes
establisheu by fiims foi theii own piofit shoulu
be consiueieu outsiue CCs as well: this is the
case of most of so-calleu "baitei" systems as
well as most of customei loyalty iewaiuing
schemes, which intenu to captuie the
puichasing powei of theii customeis. While the
exclusion of the fiist ones is obviously
acknowleugeu by obseiveis, the seconu ones
aie moie baiely excluueu fiom the fielu of CCs.
Actually, soveieignty as well as piofit motives
uo not iespect what can be consiueieu a seiies
of majoi uistinctive featuie of CCs: they aie
uesigneu anu implementeu mostly by civil
society, mostly locally anu giassioots, anu
mostly in a uemociatic way, emphasizing the
citizen's appiopiiation anu ieuefinition of
money in a paiticipative piocess.
The foiegoing iueal types constitute the basis
on which actual CCs can be classifieu, be they
puie oi not iegaiuing those types. Consiueiing
this impuiity of actual systems helps
unueistanu why the way we name things
cannot be simply solveu.
A fiist type of non-national anu not-foi piofit
cuiiency schemes piimaiily puisues a
teiiitoiial puipose, aiming to affect monetaiy
ielations in a geopolitically-uefineu space. This
emphasizes the iole of teiiitoiial actois anu
activities when builuing such a scheme, anu the
uesiieu outcome of local iesilience oi
uevelopment. They aie not oiienteu towaiu a
soveieignty puipose; on the contiaiy, they aie
fully iespectful of the national monetaiy
soveieignty. In any case, they seive fiist the
puipose of uefining anu stiengthening a
teiiitoiy anu, eventually, the public local
authoiity which claims foi a foim of contiol on
this teiiitoiy. This focus on the iole of a
contiolling centie which pumps out money anu
simultaneously captuies iesouices ieflects a
ieuistiibution piocess. Foi they puisue fiistly
teiiitoiial puiposes, those schemes can be
thought anu implementeu with loose iefeience
to community anu economic issues. Those
cuiiencies can be coineu local cuiiencies. Close
examples incluue the Aigentinean piovincial
cuiiencies, some of which ciiculateu fiom 1984
to 2uuS.
A seconu type of cuiiency schemes piimaiily
puisues a community puipose. 0nuei this
iespect, they iegaiu social spaces, uefineu by
sets of actois (oi social netwoiks). This seconu
type emphasizes the constiuction of well-being,
empoweiment, autonomy anu social exchanges
of a given community. This community may be
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International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 4-10 7
pie-existing, oi, moie suiely, geneiateu by the
cuiiency scheme itself. This incluues social
seivices anu self-help, as well as enviionmental
seivices foi a community. Recipiocity is the
guiuing piinciple of this iueal type. It is
implementeu by non-piofit oiganizations, anu
sometimes by infoimal gioups. Communities
aie potentially inuepenuent fiom any
teiiitoiial uimension, anu they can be
conceiveu without any iefeience to economic
iationales. Those cuiiencies can be coineu
community cuiiencies. Close examples incluue
time banking schemes.
Cuiiency schemes that piimaiily puisue an
economic puipose constitute a thiiu type. They
aie built with iegaius to economic spaces,
uefineu by sets of actois anu economic
activities fiom piouuction to exchange, mostly
consiueieu as iuleu by maiket piinciples.
Naiket exchange is thus the guiuing piinciple
of this cuiiency type. Bowevei, this uoes not
imply that they aie implementeu in a luciative
puipose, since they can be implementeu by
non-piofit oiganizations, which uevelop action
towaiu what they consiuei to be geneial
inteiest. This emphasizes the paiticulai
puipose of influencing sets of economic
activities: aiming at theii piotection (thiough a
foim of piotectionism alloweu by the use of a
conveitibility iule that iestiaints outflows),
theii stimulation (thiough the constiaint of
local use of the cuiiency), theii (ie-)oiientation
(thiough specific iules stimulating, foi
example, enviionmentally oiienteu piactices).
This type can be thought completely outsiue
teiiitoiy issues anu community issues. Those
cuiiencies can be coineu complementaiy
cuiiencies. Close examples incluue ueiman
iegio schemes.
4. Moves: generations of schemes
Let us focus now on cuiiency schemes that
emeigeu anu uevelopeu since the uawn of LETS
in the beginning of the 198us. We piopose a
seconu level of typology, uistinguishing foui
geneiations, each combining in a uiffeient way
the thiee pievious iueal-types. These
geneiations aie chaiacteiizeu by a specific
monetaiy oiganization anu specific
ielationships with the socio-economic woilu
anu with goveinments (local oi cential) as well.
They emeige thiough innovation piocesses.
They oveilap, since the emeigence of a new
geneiation uoes not put an enu to the foimei;
anu they aie piogiessively tiansfoimeu, since a
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Nature of
projects
Space considered Purpose Guiding
principle
Denomination
(English / Spanish / French)
“CCs” “CCs” “CCs” “CCs” “CCs”
Territorial Geopolitical space
(territory politically
defined)
Defining, protecting and
strengthening a territory
Redistribution
or political
control
Local currencies /
Monedas locales /
Monnaies locales
Community Social space (pre-
existing or ad hoc
community)
Defining, protecting and
strengthening a
community
Reciprocity Community currencies /
Monedas sociales /
Monnaies sociales
Economic Economic space
(production and
exchange)
Protecting, stimulating or
orientating the economy
Market Complementary currencies /
Monedas complementarias /
Monnaies complémentaires
Outside “CCs” Outside “CCs” Outside “CCs” Outside “CCs” Outside “CCs”
Territorial Sovereign space Sovereignty Redistribution
or political
control
National currencies / monedas
nacionales / monnaies
nationales
Economic Clients of a for-
profit organization
Profit Purchasing
power capture
For-profit currencies /
Monedas para lucro / Monnaies
à but lucratif
Table 1:
Ideal-types of
currency schemes
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 4-10 8
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“We propose a second level of typology,
distinguishing four generations, each combining
in a different way the three previous ideal-types.
These generations are characterized by a specific
monetary organization and specific relationships
with the socio-economic world and with
governments (local or central) as well.”
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 4-10 9
aiming at piotecting oi stimulating theii
teiiitoiy, they woulu be local cuiiencies). A
fixeu iate links the complementaiy cuiiency to
the national one, anu conveitibility iules aie
settleu. Cuiiency issues aie backeu by national
cuiiency ieseives, contiaiy to the fiist anu
seconu geneiations schemes wheie no backing
is iequiieu because of the inconveitibility
piinciple. Inflows (ie conveision fiom national
cuiiency to complementaiy cuiiency) aie
possible, anu even piomoteu thiough a bonus
iate, wheieas outflows aie foimally impossible
(Ithaca Boui) oi ueteiieu by conveision costs
(Regio). Complementaiy cuiiencies of this
geneiation aie useable in the cuiient economic
spheie, with the piinciple of co-use with
national cuiiencies. They aim at uynamizing
local economic activity by ie-localizing a seiies
of uaily consumption expenses. The success of
those schemes iequiies thus the inclusion of
small local enteipiises anu shops, anu
sometimes biggei ones. Paitneiships with local
goveinments may play an impoitant iole in this
success, especially when local taxes can be paiu
with complementaiy cuiiency oi when local
public seivices can be accesseu with it.
Rotteiuam's N0 scheme in 2uu2-uS has been a
foieiunnei of a fouith geneiation that seems to
be piogiessively emeiging. Schemes of this new
geneiation aie constituteu by multiplex
piojects wheie local goveinments play a majoi
iole. They combine seveial objectives that weie
kept sepaiate up to then, anu they focus on
enviionmental issues moie than nevei befoie.
Nultiplexity leaus to costly piojects that aie
uifficult to engineei anu that iequiie a complex
goveinance. Local goveinments, enteipiises
(fiom small ones to majoi fiims), non-piofit
oiganizations, national piogiammes anu, in the
Euiopean 0nion, Euiopean piogiammes, have
to be gatheieu aiounu those piojects. An
expeiimentation phase appeais to be necessaiy
befoie launching the pioject on a laigei scale.
The N0 pioject aimeu at inciting sustainable
behaviouis thiough the uistiibution of a
complementaiy cuiiency in ielation with those
behaviouis: local oi oiganic piouuct
consumption, faii tiaue, waste iecycling... The
Fiench S0L piogiamme, implementeu since
2uu7, is anothei case of fouith geneiation
scheme whose aichitectuie is notably complex.
It combines a loyalty caiu foi sustainable
consumption close to commeicial loyalty
schemes, a iewaiuing scheme foi voluntaiy
action close to the fiist anu seconu geneiations
of CC schemes, anu a ieuistiibution scheme.
5. Conclusion
The classification attempt in this text appeais
to be flexible enough to ensuie the possibility
of a uynamic view of cuiiency schemes. The
iueal types of community, complementaiy anu
local cuiiencies let the possibility of
combinations able to analyze conciete foims of
non-national anu not-foi-piofit cuiiencies. The
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Gene-
ration
Significant
cases
Currency
scheme types
Guiding principle Content overview
G1 LETS,
trueque,
CES
Mostly
community
Reciprocity first;
various distance to
market
Inconvertible schemes; quite
small openness to external
economic activities
G2 Time banks,
Accorderie
Community Reciprocity first;
various distance to
local governments
Inconvertible schemes with
time currencies; frequent
partnerships, especially with
local governments
G3 Ithaca Hour,
Regio,
Palmas,
BerkShares
Local and
complementary
Market first; generally
distant from local
governments
Convertible schemes; local
businesses are included;
interest of partnerships with
local governments
G4 NU, SOL Mostly
complementary
Market first, with links
to governments and
reciprocity
Complex schemes oriented
toward consumer
responsibility or / and
economic activities re-
orientation and other purposes;
partnerships are necessary
Table 2:
Four CC
Generations since
the 1980s
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 4-10 10
teleological exclusion of soveieignty anu, moie
impoitant, piofit motives must be emphasizeu.
It is fiequent, inueeu, to consiuei foi-piofit
cuiiencies along with CC schemes, stating that
they all iefei to non-national cuiiencies anu,
thus, that they aie all "complementaiy". The
piesent typology states that foi-piofit
cuiiencies aie of anothei natuie than CCs, anu
it uiaws up an iueal-type of CCs built aiounu a
uemociatic paiticipation piinciple oiganizeu
aiounu non-piofit oiganizations, giassioots
oiganizations oi infoimal gioupings of peisons.
Iuentifying CC geneiations avoius any closeu
typology anu leaus to focus on the actual
uynamics that emeigeu in the 198us anu nevei
stoppeu since then, although theii extent, theii
foims anu, oveiall, theii piojects, evolveu
iapiuly. New geneiations shoulu emeige in the
coming yeais anu uecaues, eithei thiough the
spieauing of alieauy existing schemes like
Stiohalm's CS, oi thiough new combination of
existing schemes oi of basic items, oi
eventually thiough ciitical innovations like the
"fiee cuiiencies" attempts. The futuie
evolution of CCs is ceitainly linkeu to
technological piogiess (with the use of inteinet
anu mobile uevices), to theii acknowleugment
as a key element of public policies, anu to theii
use as a tool foi enviionmental solutions.
Endnotes
!
Since the miu-199us, foi example, the Inteinet
pioviues the ability to cieate community schemes
whose actual limits aie totally uisconnecteu with
national boiueis. 0thei example, while in Fiance the
fiist attempts in the 199us weie built in the feai of
illegality with iefeience to an oiuinance of the enu of
19Sus, this feai seems to have uisappeaieu at the
enu of the 2uuus with the spieauing of seveial papei
cuiiencies piojects anu piogiamme
#
Symptomatic of this uifficulty (if not conflict), the
oiiginal title of the jouinal iefeis to "community"
wheieas the Call foi papeis foi a special euition,
2u1u, ueals with "Cuiient Bevelopments in
Complementaiy Cuiiencies".
References
Blanc }éiôme (2uu9), "Contiaintes et choix
oiganisationnels uans les uispositifs ue monnaies
sociales", Annals of Public anu Coopeiative
Economics, 8u(4), pp. S47-S77.
BeNeleunaeie Stephen anu Blanc }éiôme, "Systems -
Nechanisms", in : BeNeulenaeie Stephen (Cooiu.),
(2uu7), Social Noney Woikshop. Facilitation
Committee Repoit, 2uu6-2uu7, Fonuation poui le
Piogies ue l'homme, Paiis.
Kenneuy Naigiit anu Lietaei Beinaiu (2uu4),
Regionalwähiungen. Neue Wege zu nachhaltigem
Wohlstanu, Nünchen: Riemann veilag. Tianslateu in
Fiench : Nonnaies Régionales : ue nouvelles voies
veis une piospéiité uuiable, Paiis: Euitions Chailes
Léopolu Nayei, 2uu8.
Polanyi Kail (19S7), "The Economy as Instituteu
Piocess", in: Coniau Aiensbeig, Kail Polanyi anu
Baiiy W. Peaison (Eus.), Tiaue anu Naiket in the
Eaily Empiies. Economies in Bistoiy anu Theoiy,
New Yoik: Fiee Piess, pp. 24S-27u.
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International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 11-16 11
Lessons of experience
Theie have been thousanus of expeiiments
with community cuiiencies aiounu the woilu
ovei the last few uecaues. Estimates vaiy as to
the numbei of active systems but most systems
that aie staiteu uo not become sustainable.
Nany cuiiencies have not establisheu
themselves beyonu a ielatively small gioup
(typically less than 2uu paiticipants) anu many
systems aie moiibunu. A few have establisheu
themselves anu attiacteu a lot of attention.
It is impoitant to analyse anu uisseminate the
lessons fiom both success anu failuie to
encouiage a new geneiation of sustainable
systems.
Critical Success Factors
The few systems that have lasteu a long time
show that it is possible to sustain a local
cuiiency ovei a long peiiou.
Ciitical factois foi the success of the cuiiency
incluue:
- Choice of cuiiency uesign to suit local
conuitions anu goal
- Cost iecoveiy mechanisms to ensuie
sustainability of the system itself
- uoveinance stiuctuies anu piocesses foi
uecision making anu conflict iesolution
- Nanagement stiuctuies anu piocesses foi
uay to uay efficiency
- Naiketing anu PR
- Euucation anu tiaining.
You may have a well-chosen uesign, iecovei all
costs, have gieat goveinance anu management
but if no-one knows about youi system,
unueistanus why you aie uoing it oi how it
woiks, then you may be wasting youi time.
This papei focuses on the iole of euucational
stiategies in impioving the piactice of
community cuiiencies.
On the money:
Getting the message out
John Rogers
Value for People
john.rogers@valueforpeople.co.uk
International
Journal of
Community
Currency
Research
IJCCR
Abstract
Complementaiy anu community cuiiency systems have been staiteu all ovei the woilu. Theie
aie a numbei of ciitical success factois, one of which is euucation. Theie aie many impoitant
ieasons foi euucating people about community cuiiencies, incluuing piactical, economic, social,
ecological, political anu psychological ones. Key auuiences foi messages about community
cuiiencies aie paiticipants, uesigneis, auministiatois anu public uecision makeis. Piomoteis
have auopteu a iange of stiategies to euucate people who uesign, use oi suppoit these systems:
books & aiticles, uesign guiues, ieseaich summaiies, geneial auvice & infoimation, viueos,
confeiences, webinais (inteinet seminais), inteinet uiscussion gioups anu tiaining. Noie
cooiuinateu anu stiategic suppoit of these effoits woulu enhance theii effectiveness.
www.ijccr.net
!"# %&'()*+ %&')',- #( ./00')'#1' 2'%3''# %&'()* 4#. 5)41%/1'6 /# 5)41%/1'+ %&')' /-78
Yogi Beiia, Baseball Coach
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 11-16 12
Why Educate about Community
Currencies?
Theie aie seveial ieasons foi euucating people
about community cuiiencies:
Practical reasons
If we want to impiove the sustainability iate of
community cuiiencies, we neeu to iaise skill
levels both foi uesigning anu paiticipating in
them. It is still too common foi people with
little knowleuge to launch new cuiiencies,
iiuing a shoit wave of enthusiasm anu iuealism,
but latei watching theii system uisappeai as
the biggei waves of long-teim maintenance
bieak ovei them. People neeu skills anu
infoimation foi uesign anu oiganisation.
Economic reasons
The iecent financial ciisis has shown the
vulneiability of the 'ieal' economies of goous
anu seivices to the speculations of the global
casino economy. Community cuiiencies
pioviue local financial instiuments that can be
integiateu into othei social economy
mechanisms like community banks, cieuit
unions anu social enteipiises to pioviue local
economic stability. They give people tools to
help themselves anu theii communities
economically. People neeu to unueistanu the
economic uimensions of community
cuiiencies.
Social reasons
Community cuiiencies help communities
suffeiing fiom the 'exteinalities' of the maiket
economy: community bieakuown; ciime;
uiugs; isolation etc. They cieate a kinu of
immune system to piotect the community in
haiu times. People neeu to exploie the social
effects of community cuiiencies.
Ecological reasons
A monetaiy monocultuie uominateu by a
hanuful of poweiful national cuiiencies has the
same effects as mono-ciopping in a lanuscape -
extieme specialisation anu efficiency at the
piice of iesilience in the face of challenges.
Nonetaiy uiveisity miiiois ecological
uiveisity: the iichei the bio-uiveisity, the moie
iesilient the whole system. This monetaiy
uiveisity also suppoits ieal ecological uiveisity
by enabling local communities to mobilise
people to uo essential conseivation woik anu
maintain enviionmental piojects. People neeu
to giasp the ecological benefits of community
cuiiencies.
Political reasons
veiy few uecision makeis have heaiu of
community cuiiencies. If community
cuiiencies aie to migiate fiom the peiipheiy
into the mainstieam, then we neeu to get bettei
at collecting the eviuence foi effectiveness anu
lobbying those in powei to integiate
community cuiiencies as a tool foi ueliveiy of
both social anu economic uevelopment policy.
Although paiticipation in community
cuiiencies has been ielatively limiteu, the small
eviuence base we have shows cleai benefits to
a few heavy useis. We neeu to spieau
knowleuge about theii benefits to inciease
piessuie foi positive social anu economic
change.
Psychological reasons
Paiticipants often comment on the uiffeient
'feel' of paiticipation in a locally owneu anu
manageu, inteiest-fiee money system.
Euucating about community cuiiencies helps
us to see how these mechanisms can play a iole
in oui peisonal anu community economies of
exchange.
Audiences and Messages
The key auuiences foi messages about
community cuiiencies aie:
-
Actual anu potential paiticipants
-
Besigneis of new systems
-
0iganiseis anu auministiatois
-
Funueis anu public uecision makeis.
The specific neeus of each of these gioups is
uiscusseu below.
Actual and Potential Participants
We neeu to uemonstiate the benefits of
community cuiiencies to potential paiticipants
anu suppoiteis. At the same time we neeu to
highlight the piactical challenges of uesigning,
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“If we want to improve the sustainability
rate of community currencies, we need to
raise skill levels both for designing and
participating in them”
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 11-16 13
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oiganising anu auministiating them to uesigneis anu
manageis of systems.
Paiticipants neeu enough knowleuge to be able to take
pait anu integiate use of the cuiiency into theii uaily
lives. It shoulu be easy to use anu it shoulu help them to
solve theii pioblems, meet theii neeus anu achieve theii
goals.
!"#$ !&'(): goou website anu flyeis; motivating
messages in simple language; new membei events;
iegulai social events; simple tiaining; special offeis.
!"#$ *&+) ,&$ !&'(- iueology & pieaching;
technical oi acauemic language.
Designers of new systems
Besigneis neeu to be familiai with uesign featuies anu
options to ensuie that systems aie uesigneu to meet
paiticipants' goals anu take them wheie they want to go.
They neeu to take a whole systems appioach to
community cuiiency uesign, embeuuing the technical
uesign piocess in a community uevelopment piocess that
engages potential useis eaily on. They neeu to be cleai
about enus anu open about the means of ieaching them.
!"#$ !&'()- inteinet uiscussion gioups; uesign
guiues; specialiseu tiaining; iespect foi a uiveisity of
appioaches.
!"#$ *&+) ,&$ !&'(- iueology & pieaching;
mumbo-jumbo anu mystification.
Organisers and Administrators
0iganiseis anu auministiatois neeu to know what
management tasks anu challenges they will face anu they
neeu the skills of leaueiship anu auaptability to local
ciicumstances. They neeu to establish effective
goveinance stiuctuies foi iesolving conflict anu making
stiategic uecisions.
!"#$ !&'(): stiong leaueiship team to shaie ioles;
inteinet uiscussion gioups; specialiseu tiaining; national
suppoit agencies.
!"#$ *&+) ,&$ !&'(- paiachuting in mouels fiom
elsewheie without auaptation; one-man oi woman banus
who iefuse auvice oi tiaining; leaving stiuctuies anu
piocesses to chance.
Funders and public decision makers
Funueis anu public uecision makeis neeu to know what
community cuiiencies aie, what specific benefits they
biing to which gioups anu what eviuence theie is foi
effectiveness.
!"#$ !&'()- both quantitative eviuence (statistics foi
paiticipation anu tiaues) anu qualitative eviuence (ieal
stoiies about benefits of paiticipation); peisonal
ielationships with funueis anu civil seivants; senuing
newsletteis anu bulletins.
!"#$ *&+) ,&$ !&'(: iueology & pieaching;
technical oi acauemic language.
Delivery Mechanisms
We neeu to uevelop taigeteu euucational stiategies to suit
the infoimation anu skills neeus of each gioup.
Some will piefei to ieau acauemic papeis analysing the
uetails of community cuiiencies; otheis will want haiu
eviuence of benefits befoie they back the iuea; otheis will
piefei to ieau aiticles in the local newspapei oi a national
magazine; otheis will just want to tiy it out anu see what
happens; otheis may want to engage in tiaining.
Conclusions
Complementaiy anu community cuiiencies iepiesent a
uecaues-olu, woiluwiue movement that is constantly
evolving new uesigns anu foims of oiganisation.
The outwaiu vaiiety can obscuie the commonalities
between systems: ieleasing local potential foi wealth
cieation; shaiing wealth locally; valuing people as assets;
iecipiocity; valuing anu iewaiuing essential woik. These
common values anu goals aie essential messages that
neeu to be cleaily aiticulateu anu communicateu to
specific auuiences - paiticipants, uesigneis,
auministiatois anu uecision makeis - using vaiious
languages anu methous.
Piomoteis of community cuiiencies have uevelopeu an
impiessive aiiay of communication methous but a lot of it
is spoiauic, uncooiuinateu, inconsistently suppoiteu anu
not integiateu with othei social economy mechanisms.
Like all goou entiepieneuiial activities anu innovations,
community cuiiencies uepenu on the effoits of a few
maveiick pioneeis taking iisks anu getting suppoit wheie
anu when they can. Baiiieis to uevelopment incluue lack
of knowleuge, time oi money.
Noie cooiuinateu anu stiategic suppoit by funueis anu
institutions foi euucational effoits - commissioning
piofessional euucational mateiials anu making full use of
the inteinet, multimeuia anu social netwoiking - woulu
help uisseminate this gieat social innovation even fuithei
anu enhance its effectiveness.
Educational
strategy or
tool
Audiences Aims Delivery Agents
Books & Articles Decision
makers
General
public
Persuasion
Information
Various authors:
Bernard Lietaer: http://www.lietaer.com/
Margrit Kennedy: http://www.margritkennedy.de/
Thomas Greco: http://www.reinventingmoney.com/
Richard Douthwaite:
http://www.postcarbon.org/person/36218-richard-
douthwaite
Magazine General
public
Designers
Information
Share stories
Community Currency Magazine
http://www.community currenciesmag.net/dp/
Design Guides Designers
Administrators
Specialist
information
Community Currency Guide
by Bernard Lietaer and Gwendolyn Hallsmith
http://www.global-community.org/gc/newsfiles/25/
Community%20Currency%20Guide.pdf
The Lewes Pound How To Guide by Oliver Dudok
van Heel:http://www.thelewespound.org/assets/docs/
Lewes_Pound_How_To_Guide.pdf
Research
summaries
Researchers
Decision
makers
Policy analysts
Analysis
Specialist
information
International Journal of Community Currencies
Research
http://www.ijccr.net
Bibliography of Community Currencies Research
http://www.community currencies-literature.de/
1.introduction/
Community Currencies Research Group
http://www.complementarycurrency.org/community
currenciesResearch.html
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 11-16 14
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Table 1: Educational Strategies and Resources for Complementary Currencies (continued overleaf)
Educational
strategy or
tool
Audiences Aims Delivery Agents
General advice
& information
General
public
Information Complementary Currency Resource Center
http://www.complementarycurrency.org/
Time Banks USA
http://www.timebanks.org/
Time Banks UK
http://www.timebanking.org/
Time Banking Wales
http://www.timebankingwales.org.uk/
LETSystems Home Page
http://www.gmlets.u-net.com/
LETS in Australia
http://www.lets.org.au/
LETSLink UK
http://www.letslinkuk.net/
LETS Link-Up
http://www.lets-linkup.com/
Videos General
public
Persuasion The Money Fix
http://themoneyfix.org/
La Double Face de la Monnaie
http://mareauxcanards.ouvaton.org/films.php?
choix_film=25
Search for “community currencies” and
“complementary currencies” on You Tube: http://
www.youtube.com
Videos about Time Banking:
http://www.timebanks.org/videos.htm
http://www.timebanking.org/
Lyttleton Time Bank, New Zealand:
http://www.lyttelton.net.nz/timebank
Oliver Dudok van Heel talks about Lewes Pound
http://transitionculture.org/2010/01/22/oliver-dudok-
van-heel-on-local-currencies-transition-and-the-lewes-
pound/
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 11-16 15
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Educational
strategy or
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CURRENCIESurrencies_in_Europe2_2004.pdf
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International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 11-16 16
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International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 17-21 17
Introduction
In seveial places in ueimany colouiful slips of
papei ieplace the Euio as a meuium of
exchange. These unofficial tenueis aie calleu
Ammeilechtalei, Büigeiblüte, Bieyeckei,
Elbtalei, uwinnei, Bavelblüte, KannWas,
Lanumaik, Nahgolu, Pälzei, Rolanu, Steintalei,
TaubeiFianken oi Zschopautalei. We aie
talking about ueiman Regiogelu, a
phenomenon which occuiieu aiounu 2uu1 anu
spieau iapiuly all ovei ueimany. It appeais not
only with uiffeient names but also in vaiious
foims.
The aiticle intiouuces this special
complementaiy cuiiency. It uesciibes biiefly -
anu fiom a sociological point of view - what it
is, how it has oiiginateu, the actual status quo
anu possible futuie uevelopments. It is baseu
on my 4 yeai ethnogiaphic ieseaich which was
uone in the context of a sociological
uisseitation. Foi this aiticle one of my iesults is
paiticulai impoitant: Regiogelu is a
phenomenon which oiiginateu in the fusing of
uiffeient movements, a money-iefoim-
oiienteu, an esoteiic anu seveial
iegionalization-oiienteu. These movements
foim Regiogelu iegaiuing its constiuctions anu
its objectives, its oiganizational, financial anu
peisonnel iesouices.
What is Regiogeld?
Regiogelu (the ueiman shoit foim foi iegional
money) is a special foim of a community
cuiiency. It can be uefineu as a piivate
monetaiy system with a iegional valiuity anu a
non-piofit-agenua which is accepteu by
multiple paiticipants. It usually occuis as
vouchei anu is pioviueu with a uemuiiage
(negative inteiest). This constant loss in value
(S-12 % pei yeai) is eithei iealizeu via ceitain
tokens which have to be puichaseu anu glueu
on the voucheis eveiy S months oi via the
chaigeable ieplacement of the voucheis eveiy
(S up to 12) months. The iegional cuiiencies
have multiple puiposes: they want to binu the
iegional puichasing powei, stiengthen the local
economy, cieate moie coopeiation, inciease
sponsoiship foi non-piofit-oiganizations,
encouiage the iegional iuentity, help soliuify
social ties, ieuuce tianspoit, enfoice a
sustainable anu iesponsible consumeis'
behavioui anu so on.
Complementary Currencies in Germany:
The Regiogeld System
Christian Thiel
University of Augsberg, Germany
christian.thiel@phil.uni-augsburg.de
International
Journal of
Community
Currency
Research
IJCCR
Abstract
In seveial places in ueimany colouiful slips of papei ieplace the Euio as a meuium of exchange.
These unofficial tenueis ueiman Regiogelu, a phenomenon which occuiieu aiounu 2uu1 anu
spieau iapiuly all ovei ueimany. It appeais not only with uiffeient names but also in vaiious
foims. The aiticle intiouuces this special complementaiy cuiiency. It uesciibes biiefly - anu
fiom a sociological point of view - what it is, how it has oiiginateu, the actual status quo anu
possible futuie uevelopments. It is baseu on my 4 yeai ethnogiaphic ieseaich which was uone in
the context of a sociological uisseitation. Foi this aiticle one of my iesults is paiticulai
impoitant: Regiogelu is a phenomenon which oiiginateu in the fusing of uiffeient movements, a
money-iefoim-oiienteu, an esoteiic anu seveial iegionalization-oiienteu.
www.ijccr.net
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 17-21 18
Apait fiom these funuamental similaiities,
theie aie big uiffeiences in the constiuction of
the almost Su active iegional cuiiencies in
ueimany. 0ne of the most impoitant (anu
among the makeis most contioveisial)
conceins the question of value: some
Regiogeluei aie backeu by Euios, othei aie
backeu by goous anu seivices.
In the Euio-baseu system a consumei "buys"
the iegional money with his Euios. Then he can
puichase goous in one of the businesses
associateu with the system. The payee can
eithei use it foi his¡hei shopping oi give it to
the Regiogelu oiganization anu ieceive the
value in Euio cuiiency in ietuin. Foi this ie-
exchange most Regiogelu oiganizations
uemanu a fee of S to 1u %. Pait of this coveis
theii expenses anu the iest is uonateu to
community chaiities. The auvantages of this
system aie: it is easy to unueistanu, with low-
iisk foi the businesses (they can ie-exchange
the eaineu iegional money to Euios) anu -
above all - it is chaiitable.
In the goous-anu-seivices-baseu system the
paiticipating businesses assuie by contiact to
accept the iegional money at the same paiity as
Euios (oi at least foi a ceitain pait of the
puichase piice). In this case the businesses give
out the iegional cuiiency; the Regiogelu
oiganization only pioviues the auministiation
(implementation, contiolling et ceteia) anu
chaiges some fees foi this seivice. Accoiuingly,
the businesses can inciease theii financial
solvency, because they moie oi less get the
voucheis foi fiee. Bowevei, this is uifficult to
convey. The businesses feai not to get iiu of
theii Regiogelu ievenues as theie is no ie-
exchange in Euio. The consumeis uon't ieally
have a piofounu ieason to make an effoit foi
Regiogelu as theie aie no chaiitable aspects
connecteu with it.
Besiue these funuamental elements of
constiuction, theie aie seveial moie
uiffeiences conceining e.g. the iate of exchange,
the scope of ciiculation, the uesign anu
uenomination of the voucheis oi the uuiation
of valiuity. Nany Regiogelu systems tiy to make
something new anu special like coins foi
collectois, inclusion of LET-systems,
combination of Euio- anu peifoimance baseu
systems, cashless payment pioceuuies,
electionic money, coopeiatives, own shops et
ceteia. This gieat vaiiety iegaiuing the
schemes constiuction, its oiganizational
uesign, institutional embeuuing anu iueological
objectives leaus to the question:
How did Regiogeld originate?
Regiogelu is baseu on the iueas of the ueiman-
Aigentine economist Silvio uesell (1862-19Su).
Be pioposeu uemuiiage as a methou of
incieasing both the velocity of money anu
oveiall economic activity. Bis Fieigelu (fiee
money) shoulu iust anu iot like all the goous
anu theieby be bettei anu moie efficient
money (uesell 1949: 1S). uesell anu his
followeis puisueu (without success) a political
money iefoim anu also implementeu small
scale local money expeiiments
(Nieueieggei 1997).
The most famous took place in the Austiian
town of Woigl between 19S2 anu 19S4. In the
miuule of the woilu economic ciisis the mayoi
paiu the salaiies anu wages of the public
employees with local money. Bue to the
negative inteiest on it, it was immeuiately useu
to pay local taxes anu fees. Shoitly aftei, it was
also accepteu in local shops. Soon a ciiculation
with a high velocity came into being. This
alloweu the municipality to finance seveial job-
cieating measuies. The unemployment iate
uiminisheu uiastically anu Woigl staiteu to be
a mouel foi othei ciisis-iiuuen towns. But then
the Austiian cential bank, feaiing foi its
monopoly foi money cieation, stoppeu the
expeiiment (Fishei 19SS; 0nken 1997;
Weinei 1989: 88).
The Fieigelu Novement was then piohibiteu
uuiing Thiiu Reich anu foimeu up again 19Su
as a (maiginal) political paity. With theii
uogmatic anu paitly nationalistic
aigumentation they scaieu away the populace.
This changeu in the 196us when the Fieigelu
movement mixeu with anthioposophy anu the
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There are big differences in the
construction of the almost 30
active regional currencies in
Germany. One of the most
important (and among the
makers most controversial)
concerns the question of value:
some Regiogelder are backed by
Euros, other are backed by
goods and services.
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 17-21 19
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emeiging new social movements
(Baitsch 1994: SS).
Especially Anthioposophy as one of the most
impoitant anu socially fiimly iooteu esoteiic
oiganizations in ueimany hau a ueep impact.
This iesulteu fiom the fact that anthioposophy
has a similai concept foi a money iefoim. The
founuei of anthioposophy, the Austiian Ruuolf
Steinei, calleu foi "aging
money" (Steinei 1919; 1922). Issueu within an
economic coopeiation it shoulu gain ceitain
qualities (uepenuing on its age) like buying
money, lenuing money anu - in the enu -
uonating money (Steinei 1922: 1S7). The
conjoint thought of uecaying money helpeu
combining both concepts in the iuea of
Regiogelu in which we e.g. finu the Fieigelu
way of uemuiiage togethei with the
anthioposophical assumption of uemociatic
anu chaiitable money.
Noie ovei the New Social Novements since
the 196us hau piofounu effects on Fieigelu. As
the iuea of iusting money uiffuseu in ecology,
peace, feminist, anti-capitalism anu as a pait of
this iegionalization movements, it absoibeu
theii objectives. Fiom now on Fieigelu shoulu
be a meuium foi a self-ueteimineu, egalitaiian,
collaboiative anu sustainable life
(Baitsch 1994: 278; Bianu 1998: S4).
In the 199us this "new" Fieigelu was
populaiizeu mainly by the books of Belmut
Cieutz (199S) anu Naigiit Kenneuy (1991). In
these uays the iepoits about uiffeient
complementaiy cuiiencies fiom all ovei the
woilu (Lietaei 2uu2) enthuseu the Fieigelu
movement. The focus of many suppoiteis
tuineu away fiom a national money iefoim to
small scale money expeiiments, especially
LETS (Local Exchange Tiauing Systems).
Aiounu the tuin of the millennium aftei the
emeigence of a stiong globalization ciitique
(anu inteiestingly togethei with the
implementation of the Euiopean cuiiency) the
fiist Regiogelu schemes appeaieu - 1998 the
"Pho" in Ainstaut (neai Eifuit) anu 2uu1 the
"Rolanu" in Biemen. The ieal bieakthiough
howevei was in the yeai 2uuS when Waluoif
school teachei Chiistian uelleii togethei with
6 schoolgiils staiteu the "Chiemgauei" in the
small Bavaiian village Piien (uelleii 2uu9: 6S).
Stiongly suppoiteu by the paients the
Chiemgauei was veiy successful. In
consequence of the huge attention by the mass
meuia many people fiom all ovei ueimany
weie enthuseu anu wanteu to cieate theii own
local money. Bence a congiess was helu anu
attenueu by 1Su people. Bue to the gieat
inteiest accompanying the founuation of
uozens of Regiogelu initiatives in ueimany the
"Regiogelu-Netzweik" was establisheu in 2uuS
to oiganize anu initiate the exchange of
knowleuge. This netwoik, 2uu6
institutionalizeu as iegisteieu umbiella
association (Regiogelu e.v.), oiganizes
meetings twice a yeai, pioviues manuals foi
beginneis, caies foi public ielation et ceteia -
altogethei it uefines, uevises anu uisseminates
the iuea of Regiogelu.
What is the status quo?
1
Accoiuing to the authoi's ieseaich theie aie at
the moment about 7S Regiogelu piojects in
ueimany. 0nly 1S of them aie not in the
umbiella association anu most of these aie
heavily maiketing-oiienteu piojects. S2 aie in
piepaiation, while 26 aie active. Among these
active piojects 2u use the Euio-baseu-system,
4 use the goous-anu-seivice-baseu system anu
the iemaining 2 aie hybiiu systems. Altogethei
they emit an estimateu amount of 7uu,uuu to
8uu,uuu Euios. Bowevei, 64 % of this belongs
to the Chiemgauei wheieas the aveiage
Regiogelu pioject has only aiounu 1u,uuu
Euios in ciiculation.
2
Also the numbei of paiticipating businesses is
stiongly vaiying. Some piojects have only a
hanuful, otheis have hunuieus. Bowevei,
mostly fewei than 1uu businesses paiticipate
in the aveiage Regiogelu pioject.
S
This is in
fact a pioblem, because - as a ieseaich pioject
has founu out - a Regiogelu pioject neeus at
least 2uu venuois to pioviue a sufficient iange
of goous anu seivices (volkmann 2uu8: 82).
Anu not only the quantity, but also the quality
of the businesses is impoitant. In the goous-
anu-seivices-baseu systems mainly semi-
piofessional businesses like alteinative,
esoteiic anu aitistic seivices oi quite
specialiseu shops aie founu. So fai only the
Chiemgauei pioviues a sufficient iange of
piouucts anu at the same time an auequate
spatial uensity of shops to ieally woik out in
uaily life (Bickelmann 2uu9: 69).
But why is the Chiemgauei so successful. This
question neeus empiiical investigation. So fai
only assumptions can be maue. Fiistly, the
initiatoi is a man with entiepieneuiial skills
anu a high commitment - foi seveial yeais
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 17-21 20
now he woiks full-time foi his pioject.
Seconuly, theie is an efficient anu manifolu
netwoik of suppoiteis in the iegion: the
paients fiom the (anthioposophic) school
wheie the Chiemgauei staiteu, seveial local
politicians, a bunch of social anu cultuial
piojects oi clubs. Thiiuly, the coopeiation of
the local bank gives the Chiemgauei money
symbolic cieuibility anu - even moie impoitant
- offeis stiuctuies (accounts, electionic
payment) foi the electionic Chiemgauei. The
impoitance of this is illustiateu by the fact, that
alieauy 7u % of the ciiculating Chiemgauei
money is electionic. Fouithly, maybe the
chaiacteiistics of the Chiemgauei iegion like
the goou economy, plenty of touiistic
attiactions, the pievalent tiauitional social
netwoiks anu the stiong iegional iuentity have
theii effect on the success of the Chiemgauei
Regiogelu. But even uespite its ceitain level of
economic significance, the Chiemgauei still
attiacts moie inteiest globally then iegionally
(Schioeuei 2uu9).
Let's now take a
shoit look on the
oveiall stiuctuies of
the aveiage
Regiogelu. The coie
of each system is
mostly a small gioup
of volunteeis mostly
fiom the euucateu
miuule class. They
often meet at events
in the context of Fieigelu, anthioposophy oi
iegionalization movements. Aftei gatheiing
togethei they stait woiking on theii iegional
money system. Bue to the complexity of this
task the piocess fiom the fiist iueas to the
actual money takes a long time, often one oi
two yeais. Because theie is no ieauy-maue
system the makeis have to cieate theii own
conclusive anu also juuicial elaboiateu concept.
In this piocess of uefining the cuiiency's
uetails a lot of conflicts can appeai: Aie 'bau'
businesses, like uiscount shops, alloweu to join
the Regiogelu oi shoulu it be iestiicteu to local
piouuceis. Shoulu Regiogelu be a
uemonstiation of a bettei monetaiy system oi
iathei a meuium to seal off anu stiengthen the
"own" iegional economy. Shoulu it focus on
incieasing the businesses economic options oi
iathei be a funuiaising foi chaiitable piojects.
The next steps aie the cieation of the
oiganization stiuctuie (mostly a iegisteieu
association) anu the voucheis (which has to be
unfoigeable). Then the Regiogelu has to be
intiouuceu to businessmen anu consumeis. Foi
all this, a lot of time anu money aie iequiieu.
But the numbei of institutional suppoiteis is
small: foi political anu financial actois
Regiogelu is too "alteinative", foi many social
volunteeis it's too economical. Sometimes
some suppoit (also financial) comes fiom Local
Agenua 21 piogiams. As a consequence the
iegional money systems iemain on a iathei
small level. So fai they attiact mainly iuealistic
consumeis anu businessmen but uon't ieach
the populace.

What does the future bring?
Fiom 2uuS to 2uu8, theie was a kinu of
foimation boom. Eveiywheie in ueimany
Regiogelu piojects appeaieu. Since 2uu8 we
have obseiveu a ceitain slowuown anu even
the collapse of seveial initiatives. It seems that
uespite extensive maiketing, it is veiy haiu foi
Regiogelu to achieve acceptance anu theiefoie
a significant penetiation of the iegional
maikets. Especially in biggei cities anu
economically unueiuevelopeu iegions theie's
only little business volume with Regiogelu.
Naybe Regiogelu neeus existing (economic anu
social) netwoiks while it haiuly cieates them.
Bence, anu also because it is veiy laboui anu
money intensive, a sole Regiogelu will piobably
iemain on a iathei small scale level. But, some
initiatives stait ueveloping stiuctuies in which
Regiogelu is one of seveial instiuments within
an alteinative anu self piouucing iegional
coopeiative. The Bavaiian "Steintalei" foi
example is (since 2uu9) oiganizeu as a
coopeiative which incluues a small shop, a foou
piouucing peimacultuie gaiuen, a piivate
LETS, a commeicial baitei system anu as the
oveiall meuium of exchange, a Regiogelu. The
Chiemgauei has staiteu in 2u1u with a
miciocieuit-appioval-piocess. These
appioaches seem to have potential. Anu, even if
the economic significance of Regiogelu iemains
iathei small, one thing shoulu not be foigotten:
its existence makes alteinative money
thinkable anu giaspable.
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It seems that despite extensive
marketing, it is very hard for
Regiogeld to achieve acceptance
and therefore a significant
penetration of the regional
markets
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 17-21 21
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!
Bue to low piofessional anu oiganizational level it is uifficult to
get actual anu ieliable uata. The numbeis piesenteu heie come
fiom the Regiogelu umbiella association (Regiogelu e.v. 2u1u)
anu weie upuateu with the latest available infoimation fiom the
vaiious piojects homepages.
"
The following exact numbeis aie baseu on the asceitainable
piojects (N = 18): total amount of Regiogelu in ciiculation fiom
all piojects equates 788,Su6 Euios; aiithmetic mean is
4S,8u6 Euios anu meuian is between 11,uuu anu 12,uuu Euios.
It's not easy to estimate how much tuinovei is cieateu because
it is supposeu that Regiogelu ciiculates with a highei velocity
than the Euio (uelleii 2uu9: 64). The Chiemgauei iepoits to
cieate a yeaily tuinovei of 4 Nillion Euios with its Suu,uuu
Euios in ciiculation (Chiemgauei 2u1u).
#
Exact numbeis (N = 26) aie: paiticipating businesses iange
fiom 16 to S84; aiithmetic mean is 1uu anu meuian is 62. 2u
piojects have less then 1uu paiticipating businesses, only 4 have
moie then 2uu.
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Weinei, Bans-}oachim (1989) ueschichte uei
Fieiwiitschaftsbewegung, (Waxmann, New Yoik)
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 22-26 22
Introduction
}apan has been iegaiueu fiom abioau as one of
the most uevelopeu countiies in teims of CC
systems, uepicteu by Kenneuy anu Lietaei
(2uu4) as "the countiy in the woilu with the
most systems in opeiation touay, but also the
nation with the gieatest uiveisity of such
expeiiments." Bowevei, this papei aigues that
the lack of liteiatuie about initiatives in
languages othei than }apanese has been a
huiule that has not alloweu Westein
ieseaicheis to giasp the ieal pictuie. This
aiticle's goal is to show the histoiical
uevelopment of CC initiatives in this East-Asian
countiy, ievealing how the veiy concept of
having anothei means of exchange foi
communities has been tiansfoimeu ovei yeais
by the unique inteipietations anu the
conceptual manipulation of }apanese
piomoteis anu piactitioneis. It is impossible to
ueal with all those systems which exist(eu) in
}apan with so few woius, so allow me to pick
up the most ielevant cases only.
A brief history of CCs in Japan up to
the “boom”
The oluest CC system in }apan is the "volunteei
Laboui Bank," a mutual help netwoik of
housewives founueu in 197S by Teiuko
Nizushima anu latei Tsutomu Botta, founuei of
Sawayaka Welfaie Founuation,
1
applieu this
concept foi elueily-caie as "houi ueposit
system" in which the ielatively young ietiieu
people pioviue caies to eluei people ieally in
neeu of help, uepositing houis to be spent
when volunteeis become so olu that they neeu
similai aius. This piactice was maue
inteinationally famous by Beinaiu Lietaei as
"Fuieai Kippu" in his uiffeient wiitings, but in
}apan this system staiteu to uecline in 2uuu
when the public insuiance system was
intiouuceu foi elueily caie.
Actually Fuieai Kippu was not fiee fiom
}apanese yen but in most cases useu the official
cuiiency to back this system. 0ne typical case
chaiges the beneficiaiy 6uu yen (0S$ 6.61)
2

pei houi to pay the contiibutoi 42u yen (0S$
What have Complementary Currencies
in Japan really achieved?
Revealing the hidden intentions of
different initiatives
Yasuyuki Hirota
mig@olccip.net
http://www.olccip.net
International
Journal of
Community
Currency
Research
IJCCR
Abstract
}apan has been iegaiueu fiom abioau as one of the most uevelopeu countiies in teims of CC
systems, uepicteu by Kenneuy anu Lietaei (2uu4) as "the countiy in the woilu with the most
systems in opeiation touay, but also the nation with the gieatest uiveisity of such expeiiments."
Bowevei, this papei aigues that the lack of liteiatuie about initiatives in languages othei than
}apanese has been a huiule that has not alloweu Westein ieseaicheis to giasp the ieal pictuie.
This aiticle's goal is to show the histoiical uevelopment of CC initiatives in this East-Asian
countiy, ievealing how the veiy concept of having anothei means of exchange foi communities
has been tiansfoimeu ovei yeais by the unique inteipietations anu the conceptual manipulation
of }apanese piomoteis anu piactitioneis.
www.ijccr.net
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 22-26 23
4.6S) anu 12u yen (0S$ 1.S2) woith of time
ueposit while the iemaining 6u yen (0S$ u.66)
is spent foi auministiative puiposes. Anothei
one asks the volunteei whethei he¡she piefeis
to ieceive such an amount of yen in cash oi
coupon to be spent in the futuie when he¡she
neeus some help foi theii life, but most
volunteeis piefei not to ieueem because one
houi of caie is woith much moie than the
coiiesponuing amount of ueposit in yen. The
ueposit is actually below the minimum wage in
}apan, so it is iathei uesigneu foi volunteeis
who uo not have to woiiy about theii income
but aie conceineu with the healthcaie seivice.
Theie weie
othei CC
initiatives which
hau been set up
alieauy befoie
1999, such as
Time Bollai
Netwoik }apan
which was active
between 1994
anu 2uu7 anu the Peanuts
S
in Chiba (neai
Tôkyô), actually a LETS which staiteu in
Febiuaiy 1999. Although Peanuts is still
woiking with some othei activities, no
statistics aie available to tiace its economic
impact onto the community.
But it is safe to say that the CC movement's
boom in }apan was tiiggeieu by a success of a
Tv uocumentaiy calleu "Enue's Noney-uo-
Aiounu", oiiginally bioaucast on NBK BS-2 on
u4th Nay 1999 anu iebioaucast seveial times.
This 6u-minutes piogiamme began with a
testimony by Nichael Enue (1929~199S),
ueiman fabulist famous foi is woiks such as
"Nomo" anu "A Nevei-Enuing Stoiy",
mentioning Silvio uesell, anu uiffeient CC
initiatives such as the stamp sciip at Woigl,
Austiia, a Tauschiing at Balle, ueimany, Ithaca
Bouis at Ithaca, NY, 0niteu States anu the
WIRBank, the Switzeilanu, in auuition to
inteiviews to Naigiit Kenneuy anu Beinaiu
Lietaei.
This piogiamme gave iise to the "boom" of CCs
in }apan. A numbei of giass-ioot gioups
showeu this viueo to teach moie people the
impoitance to use CCs anu actually uozens of
LETS anu othei soits of CCs weie boin (baby-
boomei-geneiation CC) as people weie
inspiieu by this uocumentaiy. A book titleu as
"Enue-no Yuigon" (NBK Publishing) was
publisheu in 2uuu anu is still iefeiieu to as one
of the textbooks on CCs in the }apanese
language. The CC movement ieacheu its
climax in }apan in 2uuS anu since then staiteu
to uecline giauually uue to the ieasons to be
mentioneu latei.
Some Japanese CCs during and just
after the “boom”
Toshiharu Katô’s “Ecomoney”: a CC
promoted by a MITI bureaucrat
The "Ecomoney" has maue significant
footpiints on the }apanese CC scene because it
was uesigneu, pioposeu anu piomoteu by
Toshihaiu Katô, then uiiectoi of the Seivice
Inuustiies Bivision at the Ninistiy of Tiaue anu
Inuustiy (NITI)
4
, a ministiy inteinationally
acknowleugeu by its skill foi economic
planning such as }ohnson (1982). Actually his
involvement with CC began in 1998, even
eailiei than "Enue's Noney-uo-Aiounu," when
he publisheu his fiist book titleu as Ecomoney,
uefines it as "a money in the 21st centuiy
which is an inteimeuiaiy of a vaiiety of soft
infoimation, such as the enviionment,
caietaking, welfaie, community anu cultuie
(sic)" (Kato (1998)), although uetails weie not
cleai. At this stage he was exploiing the chance
to allow exchanges of commeicial goous anu
seivices, accentuating its iole as a stimulus foi
the local piouuction anu consumption,
although his attachment to municipalities as
spheies foi CC was alieauy fiim, veiy uiffeient
fiom Regio initiatives in ueimany, foi instance.
Examples in which his "Ecomoney" woulu be
useu aie given as follows:
-
!" $%&'( )* $+% %",-&)"'%"$. iecycling,
picking up gaibage on the iivei, at the paik
anu othei public facilities oi planting tiees.
-
!" $%&'( )* ()/-01 2)&3. caietaking foi the
elueily, especially foi those who suffei fiom
the social exclusion by visiting them anu
listening to theii talk
-
!" $%&'( )* %45/0$-)" 0"4 /51$5&%.
maintenance of local folkloie, lessons on PC
Bis ueteimination to use Ecomoney exclusively
foi such activities was ieinfoiceu in 2uu1 when
he ueclaieu as follows in his book:
"#$ %&' &$ ()* '*+&(,-.$),/ 0*(1**. ()*
23-4-.*5 &.6 ()* 4-.*(&'5 *3-.-45 ,$
3-.3*'.*67 1* $)-8+6 '*%'&,. %'-4 /8'3)&$,.9
9--6$ &.6:-' $*';,3*$ 6,'*3(+5 &( ()* 4&'<*( ,.
23-4-.*5= >)* 8.+,4,(*6 3-..*3(,-. -% ()*
23-4-.*5 ?,*+6 @;-+8.(&'5 *3-.-45A 1,() ()*
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The currency movement’s boom
in Japan was triggered by the
success of a TV documentary
called “Ende’s Money-Go-
Around”, originally broadcast in
1999
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 22-26 24
!"#$%&'( $*"#"!( +",-. .$/$#$'&%$ 0*"!"#$( 1#%"
&#"%2$' !"#$( &#.3"' #"%$45 62$'$ +",-. &-4" 7$ 4"!$
*"#8-1*%4 +1%2 %2$ 9%&%$:4 '1/2% %" 144,$ %2$ *,''$#*( &4 +$--
&4 +1%2 %2$ 814*&- -&+ 4(4%$!" Katô (2uu1)
This statement hau some impacts on the }apanese society
because of his position at NITI, making people believe
that CCs shoulu not involve ieal economy, anu uozens of
initiatives weie boin, eithei uiiectly linkeu with the
Ecomoney movement oi inuepenuently uevelopeu but
leaining fiom Katô, with the sole aim to engage moie
volunteeis to such activities. Both buieauciats at uiffeient
ministiies anu officeis at municipal anu piefectuial level
weie happy to use such CCs because they coulu piomote
theii social piojects paying much less than they shoulu,
but veiy few piojects went fuitheimoie. Katô was active
foi Ecomoney up to 2uuS when he piomoteu EXP0
Ecomoney,
S
a points system to piomote eco-fiienuly
piouucts anu seivices iathei than stimulate self-sufficient
local economies.
WATsystems
6
: total abolition of central
authority
WATsystem was uesigneu by Eiichi Noiino, piesiuent of
uesell Reseaich Society }apan (uRS})
7
anu allows anybouy
to issue theii own cuiiency as cheque, as the inventoi
believes that the veiy existence of cential auministiation
at LETS anu othei systems iuns the iisk of concentiating
powei on it. Anybouy can uownloau anu piint the foimat
of WATSystem, fill it out anu uses it foi theii payments,
assuiing that they will give this cheque's beaiei the
equivalent amount of goous anu¡oi seivices.
8
This
cheque is ciiculateu among those who tiust the issueis
(not necessaiily those who know them well, because the
list of iecipients = enuoiseis enables people to tiust them
without having pievious uiiect contact) anu its
acceptance by the veiy issueis means that theii "uebt" to
this community is "iepaiu."
9
The biggest auvantage of this system is the peifect
absence of cential authoiity, but uisauvantages shoulu be
taken into account as well, such as iequiiement foi
ieceiveis to check out issueis' tiustwoithiness anu lack of
availability foi changes. It will not be an exaggeiation to
say that each one's cheque is woith uiffeiently fiom
otheis. Some CCs have auopteu such a system, but no
uata is available on the amount of tiansactions in such
CCs.
MIAC CC initiatives: whom were they for?
0thei examples of CCs weie put into effect in 2uuS by the
Ninistiy of Inteinal Affaiis anu Communication (NIAC),
in the guise to stimulate communities but with the ieal
intention of implementing the infamous Resiuents' Basic
Registiation Netwoik System (RBRNS) because it was
necessaiy to have a RBRNS caiu to join such CCs, foicing
}apanese nationals iesiuing in }apan to acquiie this caiu
anu excluuing those without the }apanese citizenship
(both iesiuents anu touiists) anu }apanese citizens living
abioau as RBRNS only ueals with }apanese nationals
living in }apan. In the fiscal yeai 2uuS (Apiil 2uuS-Naich
2uu6) NIAC implementeu five RBRNS-baseu electionic
local cuiiency systems anu each pioject spent between
}PY 24.46S to Su million (0S$ 269,uuu to SSu,uuu) to set
up the infiastiuctuie. This geneiateu less than 1 million
points = }PY 1 million (0S$ 11,uuu) at each pioject except
Ama, Shimane wheie all local businesses accepteu Bahn,
its electionic local cuiiency uuiing the piobation peiiou
(Becembei 2uuS anu }anuaiy 2uu6, except Aso,
Kumamoto wheie the expeiimentation lasteu fiom
Novembei 2uuS to Naich 2uu6). in case of Beppu, 0ita
the iunning cost pei yeai was estimateu to be some }PY 4
million (0S$ 44,1uu) anu it is uoubtful whethei the
intiouuction of such an auvanceu technology was
necessaiy oi not fiom the economic viewpoint. Bowevei
the absence of those who uefy the leaueis of these
piojects allows them to implement whatevei may seive
foi themselves without having to woiiy about the cost-
benefit analysis.
Recent currency schemes to emerge
Revival of old coins as local currency at
Kan’onji, Kagawa
A local gioup at Kan'onji, Kawaga calleu Bopikan Kan'onji
1u
anounceu in Febiuaiy 2u1u that fiom Apiil local
businesses at this city woulu stait accepting Kan'ei Tsûhô,
an alieauy abolisheu coin which was technically a legal
cuiiency all ovei }apan fiom 16S6 to 19SS, as equivalent
of Su yen (about 0S$u.SS), although the maiket piice of
this coin among collectois is meiely between 1u anu 2u
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Figure 1: Example of a typical WATSystem note (front
and reverse)
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 22-26 25
yen, with the aim to stimulate the local
economy. They estimate that theie aie still
millions of coins still stoieu at olu waiehouses
all ovei the countiy anu accoiuing to the news
coveiage even the Nayoi of Kan'onji tolu
optimistically that this measuie will attiact
moie touiists to this community who will
enjoy a funny expeiience to spenu those olu
coins as a means of payment. Local businesses
will biing these coins to this gioup's office to
change them into }apanese yen at the iate of
Su yen pei coin, anu it is only this
conveitibility which waiiants this cuiiency's
value.
It is quite obvious that this local gioup is
iequiieu to have a consiueiable amount of
ieseive in }apanese yen so that local
businesses shoulu join this initiative. No
infoimation has been ieleaseu so fai about the
funu to back this outuateu coin, but it is easily
foieseen that this pioject will come to an enu
when Bopikan Kan'onji iuns out of the funu, so
this pioject is pei se unsustainable.
Anothei impoitant
iemaik on this
pioject is that the
system is not
uesigneu so that
Kan'ei Tsûhô shoulu
ciiculate among
local businesses,
because its goal is
to attiact moie
touiists to spenu
this olu coin, iecogniseu theie as a local means
of payment as fai as Bopikan has some ieseive
to pay foi local businesses. It woulu be wise to
inteipiet that theii tiue intention is to have
moie outsiueis who spenu yen anu that they
came up with taking auvantage of the iuea of
local cuiiency as a way to auveitise theii
community as touiist uestination. This
concept is quite uistant fiom goals of othei
local cuiiency initiatives with the aim to
enhance self-sufficiency, but this is a ieflection
of what some }apanese ieally want fiom local
cuiiencies.
Back to the rice standard: another
local currency at Toyota, Aichi
A joint enteipiise coop calleu "Butsubutsu
Kôkan Kyoku"
11
(BKK, "Baitei Buieau" in
}apanese) staiteu anothei initiative at Toyota,
Aichi to issue a new local cuiiency backeu
with biown iice. The cuiiency to be given to
volunteeis at at a foou giowing pioject is
nameu as "Nusubi," ueiiveu fiom the }apanese
woiu "omusubi" (iice ball)
12
anu each bill is
backeu with appioximately 7S giammes
(stanuaiu amount foi a iice ball) of biown
iice, iejecting to set an exchange iate between
Nusubi anu yen.
1S
This coop also boasts that
the uemuiiage is piogiammeu with this
system because the biown iice, collateial foi
this local cuiiency, will lose its maiket value
giauually because of its uegiauation ovei time.
The absence of the official iate between
Nusubi anu yen symbolises its intention to
piomote yen-fiee baitei as the enteipiise's
name suggests. While uozens of businesses
accept this cuiiency, the main goal to ciiculate
it is to involve moie people with the faiming
(as a way to piomote Community Suppoiteu
Agiicultuie) anu businesses only plan to
accept the amount of Nusubis equivalent to
the biown iice that they neeu. So the
multipliei effect is oveilookeu anu Nusubi is
iegaiueu as a meie means to piomote the
baiteiing between laboui at the pioject anu
biown iice without tiying to cieate a self-
sufficiency-uiiven iegional economy.
Anothei fatal mistake of Nusubi is that these
bills aie ieueemable to biown iice only up to
the enu of 0ctobei, the month of new haivest.
This piactice is contiauictoiy to the oiiginal
iuea of uemuiiage, which uoes allow bills to
ciiculate ovei time while it giauually loses its
value, but the issuei uoes not caie. Theiefoie
the use of the woiu "uemuiiage" is iathei a
catch-woiu to attiact people's cuiiosity than a
theoietically-well-uone uesign.
Conclusion
As this papei has uemonstiateu, it is tiue that
}apan can boast an amount anu vaiiety of
complementaiy cuiiencies that cannot be
founu elsewheie in the woilu. Special
attention shoulu be paiu, howevei, to the fact
that }apanese piomoteis anu piactitioneis
have puisueu uiffeient goals than theii
Westein counteipaits, iesulting in a iange of
uiffeient - anu sometimes bizaiie - objectives
anu consequences.
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Japanese promoters and
practitioners have pursued
different goals than their
Western counterparts,
resulting in a range of different
- and sometimes bizarre -
objectives and consequences.
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 22-26 26
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}apan's biggest weak point in teims of CC is that
it nevei accomplisheu to set up its national
netwoik of CCs uue to hostile ielationships
among uiffeient gioup leaueis, uespite
Sawayaka Founuation's humble effoits to
establish it. They have vieu each othei insteau
of woiking togethei uue to uisciepancies in
theii belief anu goals, impeuing the shaie of
expeiiences all ovei the countiy, let alone
inteinationally.
Anothei ciucial uisauvantage is that veiy few
people involveu with CC in }apan aie eagei to
stay in touch with inteinational counteipaits
anu theiefoie theii infoimation on CCs in the
woilu is quite outuateu. It is still quite common
to finu iecent aiticles with souices anu
iemaikable initiatives such as Chiemgauei anu
Banco Palmas aie almost still unknown to
}apanese CC piactitioneis. It is cleai that such a
pictuie has been giving negative impacts onto
the uevelopment of CCs in }apan.
Endnotes
!
http:¡¡www.sawayakazaiuan.oi.jp¡
"
All those piices in 0S$ aie calculateu accoiuing to
the exchange iate as of }une 2u1u foi iefeiential
puiposes.
#
http:¡¡nishichiba.jp¡ (in }apanese)
$
In 2uu1 NITI changeu its name foi NETI (Ninistiy
of Economy, Tiaue anu Inuustiy).
%
http:¡¡eem.jp¡jp¡ (in }apanese)
&
http:¡¡www.watsystems.net¡ (in }apanese, English
anu ueiman)
'
http:¡¡www.gisj.oig¡ (in }apanese)
(
Theoietically speaking, noi the uownloauable
foimat is necessaiy to implement this system: all
what is neeueu is that people agiee to use these
coupons as theii means of exchange as Lietaei
(2uuu) puts it.
)
The issuei gives only the iight pait to the tiaue
paitnei aftei filling A (iecipient's name), B (issuei's
name) anu uate anu stamping on the "cut heie" line ,
keeping the left one as a ieminuei
!*
http:¡¡uopikan.jp¡ (in }apanese)
!!
http:¡¡gieens-net.com¡butubutu¡office¡ (in
}apanese)
!"
The stanuaiu }apanese woiu foi "iice ball" is
"onigiii", but "omusubi" is also useu in some iegions
!#
At its website BKK announces to buy biown iice
fiom piouuceis at 8uu yen pei kilogiamme, so a
musubi woulu be equivalent to 6u yen on applying
this iate.
References
}ohnson, Chailmeis (1982) "NITI anu the }apanese
miiacle," Stanfoiu 0niveisity Piess, Stanfoiu.
Katô, Toshihaiu (1998) "Ecomoney - fiom the big
bang to humane society"(エコマネー: ビッグバンか
ら人間に優しい社会へ), Nihon Keizai Byôionsha,
Tôkyô
Katô, Toshihaiu, (2uu1) "The new centuiy of
Ecomoney"(エコマネーの新世紀), Keisô shobô,
Tôkyô
Kenneuy, Naigiit anu Lietaei, Beinaiu A., (2uu4)
"Regionalwähiungen," Riemann, Nunich
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 27-31 27
Introduction
Paiallel cuiiencies aie a iecent phenomenon in
uieece anu aie not the only non-monetaiy
giassioots stiuctuie that has emeigeu in the
countiy the last S yeais. This papei
uistinguishes vaiious giassioots initiatives in
a) paiallel cuiiencies, b) exchange¡baitei
netwoiks anu c) fiee bazaais anu fiee
netwoiks. To those categoiies, a !"# %&'&(#!
scheme can be auueu, nameu "Noney Back
System", also uesciibeu below. 0ne shoulu beai
in minu that paiticulaily the paiallel cuiiency
schemes aie not suppoiteu by any authoiity.
Bowevei some fiee bazaais oi exchange
netwoiks have some suppoit by local
authoiities, who pioviue municipal spaces oi
builuings to host faiis anu meetings.
The Athens Timebank
The oluest paiallel cuiiency in uieece is a Time
Bank iun by the uieek bianch of the Euiopean
Netwoik of Women,
1
which is a Non-
uoveinmental 0iganisation focusing on
assisting women who aie victims of violence.
Bowevei, the Time Bank is an activity totally
sepaiateu fiom the iest Nu0 activities, which
means that anyone can paiticipate anu it is a
iule that no-one will uiscuss whethei any
membei has been connecteu to the othei
activities of the Nu0 (foi the sake of
confiuentiality but also of the inclusiveness of
the scheme).
The Time Bank was establisheu in Athens,
uieece, anu staiteu woiking in 0ctobei 2uu6.
The scheme follows the geneial stiuctuie of
time banks, which is a "netwoik" of inuiviuuals
who aie offeiing seivices to othei membeis of
the gioup. In iewaiu, the membei gains "time"
so that he¡she is able to ask foi the othei
membeis' seivices. The value of the seivices is
accounteu in time houis. The tiansactions anu
the time houis cieuiteu anu uebiteu foi each
paiticipant aie iecoiueu in a computei with
softwaie cieateu by a volunteei.
An impoitant featuie the scheme
auministiatois have opteu foi is that of the
time cuiiency expiiy uate, e.g. the time houis
gaineu expiie six months aftei they have been
gaineu by a membei. The oiganiseis expect that
by setting an expiiy uate, the time cuiiency will
ciiculate efficiently within the scheme, insteau
of being accumulateu by some membeis while
Alternative Exchange Systems in
Contemporary Greece
Irene Sotiropoulou
Department of Economics, University of Greece
isotiropoulou@econ.soc.uoc.gr
International
Journal of
Community
Currency
Research
IJCCR
Abstract
This papei is a biief iepoit of seveial schemes that exist touay, Septembei 2u1u, in uieece anu
peimit theii membeis to peifoim tiansactions without any official cuiiency. The iepoit coveis
paiallel cuiiency schemes, exchange netwoiks anu seveial ielateu initiatives that coulu be
chaiacteiiseu as alteinative exchange oi non-mainstieam moues of economic activity.
www.ijccr.net
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 27-31 28
othei membeis will stay without any task to uo
foi time houis.
At the same time, if one uoes not want oi uoes
not have any neeu to spenu his¡hei time houis
gaineu, one can give the time cuiiency to
somebouy else, even if that othei peison is not
a membei of the scheme. In that case, the time-
houis ieceivei will be able to spenu but not to
gain any time houis. The time cuiiency might
also be uonateu to a chaiity, an Nu0 oi a non-
piofit oiganisation anu the oiganisation will
use the time houis as any othei non-membei.
The majoi emphasis has been given so fai to
euucation seivices, ielateu to languages anu PC
skills. At this point in time, tax authoiities uo
not seem to caie about Time Bank activities
anu they consiuei time banking as voluntaiy
woik, theiefoie non ueclaiable anu non-
taxable.
At the cuiient time (Septembei 2u1u) the Time
Bank is iesuming its opeiation, uespite the
financial pioblems the paient Nu0 is facing anu
uespite the fact that the Time Bank uatabase
neeus peisonnel foi its cential management.
They also oiganise euucational woikshops,
wheie people fiom Athens anu othei uieek
cities paiticipate, in oiuei to leain moie about
Time Banking.
The Ovolos Currency in the cities of
Patras and Thessaloniki
The 0volos pioject staiteu its oiganising in
}anuaiy 2uu9 anu it is baseu in Patias city
(West-South coast of the countiy) but also iun
in Thessaloniki (seconu majoi city in the Noith
of uieece), as well.
2
Its membeis weie aiounu
48uu in }uly 2u1u, but not all of them aie
paiticulaily active, although the active
membeiship is at least uouble the numbei
initially announceu on Complementaiy
Cuiiencies uatabase.
S

Noieovei, 0volos is useu by seveial people who
uo not live oi woik in Patias anu Thessaloniki,
but they piefei to tiansact with paiallel
cuiiency. This has cieateu a peculiai situation,
wheie locality of tiansactions is not linkeu
necessaiily to the "base cities". The 0volos
oiganiseis see this as an auvantage, which will
make 0volos an online technology platfoim
available to all people living in the countiy,
enabling them to expeiiment using paiallel
cuiiency while tiansacting locally no mattei
wheie they live.
The main iuea of the 0volos scheme is that the
membeis can use the 0volos cuiiency (which is
viitual, e.g. on the main computei system anu
on each membei's uigital smait caiu) insteau of
euio cuiiency foi theii tiansactions with
membeis. To avoiu abuses of the system by
companies, they have not peimitteu uouble
piicing, e.g. the items oi seivices solu aie
piiceu anu paiu in 0volos only.
Each membei has an equal say on the
management of the scheme. To achieve this
equality in piactical teims anu paiticulaily in
uecision-making pioceuuies, the main
cooiuinatois have uelayeu launching the
cuiiency in oiuei to safeguaiu the checks-anu-
balances featuie of the scheme by using uieek
legislation. Theiefoie, a non-piofit oiganisation
(2uµu+clo) has been cieateu baseu in Patias
city anu nameu "0volos Reseaich anu
Bocumentation Centei foi Social Cuiiency"
which is iesponsible foi supeivision of the
scheme, pioviues the membeis with
uocumentation anu peifoim ieseaich activities.
The membeis of the oiganisation have by law
equal iights anu obligations anu the
oiganisation is the "umbiella oiganisation" foi
the entiie scheme.
The basic iuea behinu 0volos is that the
classical (e.g. state) cuiiencies, especially aftei
the inteiiuption of equivalence with golu in
1971, cieate sui-values that aie out of contiol
by the economy anu non-iesponuing to ieal
economy, e.g. ieal piouuction. Contiaiy to that,
the social cuiiency will ciiculate anu be
consumeu as it is piouuceu.
A significant featuie of the cuiiency is the
uesignation of it: the membeis of 0volos call it
"Social Cuiiency". They wanteu, fiist to show
the social oiientation of the entiie pioject anu
seconu to avoiu giving any false impiessions of
localist oi secessionist iueas (if they calleu it
"local cuiiency") oi of competing with euio
cuiiency (e.g if they nameu it "Community
Cuiiency" it might be confuseu with the
Euiopean Community cuiiency). The title
"social" is moie than a woiu, because the plan
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The main idea of the Ovolos scheme is that
the members can use the Ovolos currency
(which is virtual, e.g. on the main computer
system and on each member’s digital smart
card) instead of euro currency for their
transactions with members.
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 27-31 29
incluues featuies of Local Exchange Tiauing
Systems but also of Time Banks. The local anu
not iegional chaiactei is impoitant not only
because of the mouel of the paiallel cuiiency
they use, but also because the 0volos founueis
anu useis believe that the cuiiency will be
easiei manageu anu contiolleu by its membeis
if it iemains on a local basis.
The othei "social" featuie of 0volos is that the
scheme membeis use extensively the social
netwoiking inteinet applications to
communicate, exchange iueas, uiscuss anu
notify each othei about cuiient news oi about
gatheiings, etc. The use of Facebook as well as
the use of blogs, email lists, etc is also founu in
many othei initiatives - but it is amazing how
the establishment of a paiallel cuiiency has
been baseu on inteinet communication
applications foi publicising the pioject but also
foi peimitting the membeis (anu to some
extent any othei inteiesteu) to have uiiect
infoimation anu paiticipation in uiscussions
anu uecisions about the pioject.
What is also veiy inteiesting about 0volos is
that it was staiteu by a gioup of entiepieneuis,
contiaiy to most paiallel cuiiency schemes in
othei countiies, which have a haiu time to
attiact even small neighbouihoou businesses.
The economic anu financial ciisis of 0ctobei
2uu8 anu its consequences, which have been
seveie foi Patias city, have inuuceu the
entiepieneuis to seaich foi money liquiuity. At
the same time, as householu spenuing has
uecieaseu, inuiviuuals weie veiy positive to the
iuea, if this was to offei them the oppoitunity
to buy basic goous without neeuing euio
cuiiency foi this.
The Local Alternative Unit of Volos
city
The Local Alteinative 0nit (To¤txq
Evuiiux+txq Novúou - TEN) was foimally
planneu to be launcheu on }une 1Sth 2u1u in
the city of volos, on the East Cential coast of
uieece. The 0nit is uigital only anu will be useu
within the fiamewoik of the Exchange anu
Soliuaiity Netwoik
4
which coveis the entiie
county of Nagnesia. At the moment, the
membeiship is iathei low because they have
not pioceeueu with extensive publicity yet,
given that the scheme is on the piocess of
iesolving seveial piactical issues.
The pioject is a veiy inteiesting one, not only
because it is uesigneu to iemain local, but also
because the managing team has opteu so fai to
avoiu the netwoik taking any official legal foim.
Bowevei, they name theii pioject as a
"mainstieam" one anu an obseivei coulu say
that this is tiue, given that the netwoik tiies to
be as inclusive as it can be. They aie also in
close cooiuination with local municipal
seivices, so that the netwoik can have seveial
tiauing points hosteu in the city's Social
Centies, wheie people with no access to
inteinet oi uncomfoitable with using PCs can
ask foi suppoit in oiuei to iegistei anu tiaue
within the netwoik. Local businesses aie also
welcome to paiticipate anu actually it is a local
business that offeis the seivei of the netwoik.
0n the othei hanu, the funuing of the pioject is
upon its membeis only. The iules auopteu foi
the Local Alteinative 0nit use aie iathei stiict:
they give an amount of 1uu LA0 by iegistiation,
but uebt foi any membei cannot get ovei 1uu
LA0 eithei. 0f couise, the issue they aie
cuiiently uiscussing is the total money volume
tiap, e.g. the money volume will be limiteu to
1uuLA0 pei peison in aveiage anu the question
they aie cuiiently facing is how the scheme can
inject moie cuiiency into the system without
imposing any "uuty" oi "tax" on tiansactions
anu without jeopaiuising the entiie pioject by
inflation oi lack of tiust in the system.
The ‘Money Back System’
5
: A Hybrid
or Sui Generis scheme in Crete and
Dodecanese
The Noney Back System is a netwoik
combining exchange tiaue but also monetaiy
elements. The netwoik has been cieateu by a
piivate company, which also own the
intellectual piopeity iights of the system. Bus
companies of Ciete anu Bouecanese coopeiate
as sponsois of the system while othei local
companies (supei maikets, pastiies, clothe
stoies, cafés, fuinituie stoies, cinemas, etc) aie
by contiact commeicial paitneis of the
managing company.
The system has been so successful since
summei 2uu9 when it was establisheu, that
aftei some months local ship anu aii companies
staiteu paiticipating anu the scheme was
extenueu to the entiie countiy: accoiuing to the
pioject, the useu tickets of mass tianspoit
means, no mattei in which pait of the countiy
have been useu, can be ie-useu at the theii
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International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 27-31 30
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nominal value to buy goous anu seivices fiom the
paiticipating companies, but of couise, they cannot be
useu again foi public tianspoit. Each enteipiise
announces in public which pait of the piice a customei
pays can be paiu in tickets (fiom 1¡4 to 1¡2u of the piice)
6
. The only pieiequisite is that the value of the ticket is
wiitten on the ticket anu it uoes not mattei when the
tickets have been issueu oi useu foi tianspoitation.
The scheme is uistinguisheu fiist foi its simplicity baseu
on the useu tickets ciiculating as money, seconu foi its
business-to-business-to-consumei (B2B2C) stiuctuie anu
thiiu foi its enviionmental anu economic implications.
The Exchange Networks
Apait fiom paiallel cuiiencies, theie also exist seveial
exchange netwoiks, eithei of geneial natuie oi
specialiseu in one sectoi of activity.
The gieatest anu oluest netwoik is Peliti
7
which coveis
the entiie countiy, both uiban anu iuial aieas. It was
founueu in 2uu2 anu its stiuctuie consists of two
sepaiate but inteitwineu netwoiks: the fiist, is a netwoik
foi exchanging goous anu seivices, while the seconu, is a
specialiseu netwoik which enables its membeis but also
anyone inteiesteu, to exchange oi just finu foi fiee
tiauitional vaiieties of plants
8
(eithei fiuit oi uecoiative
tiees, vegetables, floweis, etc) anu to acquiie (at the cost
of bieeuing only) seveial tiauitional species of uomestic
animals.
The main iuea is that foi pieseiving the tiauitional plant
anu uomestic animal vaiieties one shoulu be able to finu
the species foi fiee anu offei them foi fiee to whomevei
asks foi them. The uomestic animals, given that theii cost
of bieeuing might be high in some cases, can be
puichaseu with official money, but only to covei the
bieeuing costs anu not the value of the iaiity of the
species (which means that if a membei of the netwoik
oveichaiges, this membei will be iepoiteu). Noieovei,
the tiansactions helu in the geneial netwoik uo not
peimit the use of money by the paiticipants - they
auveitise (some on the web, some othei on the annual
Peliti Nagazine) theii offeis anu what they ask in
exchange.
Apait fiom Peliti, theie aie seveial (actually at least 6
active) schemes anu initiatives foi pieseivation anu
uissemination of tiauitional vaiieties thioughout uieece.
Nost of them coopeiate with Peliti but some have opteu
foi acting locally only. Some of them aie not even
netwoiks, but they just use local pioximity of theii
membeis to cieate an unofficial gioup of people who aie
able to finu tiauitional seeus whenevei they neeu any. All
of them pioviue the seeus foi fiee anu theie is only a
(loose) obligation of the ieceivei to cultivate the seeus,
anu ienew the vaiiety foi next yeai anu pioviue with
seeus any othei peison foi fiee.
0ne iecent uevelopment is the Logo-Timis
9
netwoik
(Aoyu Ttµq¸ - by woiu of honoui, in uieek) which staiteu
its function on }une 4th 2u1u, baseu in Athens. Bue to its
iecent establishment, the website is in beta-phase anu the
offeis on the webpage aie veiy few, yet.
Fiom the announcements of the netwoik that aie open to
all inteinet useis, we see a pievalence of seivices: uental
caie, business consulting, music lessons, aichitectuial
uesign, piinting seivices, homeopathy anu alteinative
theiapy¡uiet consulting, hotel anu iestauiant seivices,
etc. Bowevei, given that theie is an option foi a piivate
piofile on the netwoik, it is not cleai whethei the
announcements fieely accessible on the web aie the only
ones.
The Free Exchange Bazaars and Free Networks
The teim fiee-exchange bazaai (¿upto+txo-uv+uiiux+txo
¤u(úpt) is the teim useu by bazaais wheie people can
biing things (clothes, petty machines, shoes, toys, books,
CBs, etc) to exchange them oi just give them away anu
they can take anything they believe it is useful to them. To
biing something is not obligatoiy, but we leain that theie
is an "unwiitten" iule in one-uay bazaais that to
paiticipate, you shoulu biing at least something. This iule
uoes not holu in peimanent bazaais, because a peison
can biing something one uay anu take something else
aftei seveial months. Bowevei, in no case is it necessaiy
to equalise the value of what you offei anu what you get,
which means that, in piinciple, you aie fiee to take as
many oi as valuable things as you can caiiy with you.
The fiist fiee-exchange bazaai in uieece hau been
oiganiseu by Spoios Coopeiative in uowntown Athens
since 2uuS but now, while still being pait of the same
coopeiative, it has moveu to its own place anu is nameu
Skoios
1u
("moth" in uieek). Theie aie foui othei
peimanent fiee bazaais in majoi cities of the countiy.
Bowevei, most fiee-exchange bazaais aie oiganiseu foi
an afteinoon oi a uay, usually combineu with othei
activities (like collective cooking points, hanuiciaft faiis,
etc). Fiee bazaais aie iegulaily oiganiseu in seveial aieas
of Athens, but also in many othei cities of uieece. Theii
uispeision, volume anu iegulaiity have gieatly incieaseu
since 2uu9.
The fiee netwoiks have a uiffeient pattein: they aie
online netwoiks, the membeis of which can notify when
they want to give something away foi fiee oi when they
neeu anything that might be available but not yet
announceu online, oi they get instantly notifieu when
something is available by any netwoik membei. Theie aie
thiee only fiee netwoiks in uieece, but both covei the
entiie countiy: one is Fieecycle
11
in uieece, which
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 27-31 31
actually is membei of the inteinational Fieecycle
netwoik that has staiteu in 0SA seveial yeais ago; the
othei is Xúptoc-+o
12
(pionounceu Chaiise-To, uive-it-
away) netwoik, which is baseu in Thessaloniki anu also
oiganises fiee bazaais in coopeiation with the city
municipality.
The thiiu fiee netwoik is uive-anu-Take (Auoc-Búpc)
1S
,
which is the most iecently cieateu (}une 2u1u) anu it is
baseu in Athens anu Thessaloniki, but they also have
membeis in othei uieek cities. The uistinctive featuies of
this netwoik aie a) a sepaiate foium foi exchange of
seivices among the netwoik membeis anu b) a "libiaiy",
wheie membeis can lenu anu boiiow books among them.
A special type of fiee bazaais is swishing paities (¤úp+u
uv+uiiuyq¸ poú¿uv) which emeigeu in Athens
14
since
2uu9 anu Thessaloniki
1S
in 2u1u. Swishing is a teim
cieateu out of swapping anu shopping to uesciibe paities
wheie people biing theii clothes, shoes anu accessoiies
anu can take othei clothes, etc foi fiee. It is a like a fiee
bazaai, focusing on clothing.
Epilogue: Other Projects
Theie aie seveial othei paiallel cuiiency piojects which,
eithei aie in piepaiation stage oi have not effectively
staiteu woiking at all.
The two piojects on the Complementaiy Cuiiency Woilu
Nap locateu in Ieiapetia city, in Ciete islanu, aie still
being uesigneu. A pievious pioject, some yeais ago, that
intenueu to establish time banks in seveial uieek cities
unuei the suppoit of uieek state uiu not stait at all,
because financing pioveu to be quite uifficult. Bowevei,
theie is still giassioots inteiest in Time Banks in seveial
paits of the countiy.
0ne woulu say that given the contempoiaiy financial
ciisis, as well as the paiticulai situation of uieek
economy, all existing schemes aie of gieat inteiest
because they emeige at the time of gieat challenges foi
uieek economy anu society. This will also mean that they
might offei examples oi expeiience in non-monetaiy
economic activity that will cieate new patteins of
tiansactions. The ieseaich pioject, within the fiamewoik
of which this iepoit has been piepaieu, attempts to
investigate those new economic tienus anu theii link to
the gieatei fiamewoik of financial conuitions that people
of uieece aie expeiiencing at this time.
Acknowledgements
I am giateful to Bi Noel Longhuist (0niveisity of East Anglia),
foi his comments anu suggestions on an eailiei veision of this
papei, as well as foi his euiting auvice.
The papei uiaws on a PhB ieseaich piogiamme which staiteu
in Febiuaiy 2uu9. The fiist phase involveu qualitative ieseaich,
in oiuei to unueistanu anu exploie the theoietical fiamewoik
of the schemes. The seconu phase (quantitative ieseaich) is
scheuuleu to stait in Becembei 2u1u.
This papei uoes not incluue any bibliogiaphy noi even the
theoietical fiamewoik being useu in the PhB ieseaich pioject,
as we opteu to piepaie a moie oi less "technical" iepoit. 0f
couise, any ueficiency of this papei is the authoi's
iesponsibility.
Endnotes
!
www.enow.gi
"
See the website www.ovolos.gi. Theie is also a gioup with the
same name at Facebook, wheie the membeis uiscuss issues (in
uieek only) about theii cuiiency.
#
This is what hau been iegisteieu at CC Woilu Nap about
0volos in }anuaiy 2uu9: http:¡¡
www.complementaiycuiiency.oig¡ccBatabase¡maps¡
woilumap.php.action=list&s_le_countiyIu=64.
$
www.tem-magnisia.gi
%
Noie infoimation (in uieek only) can be founu on the website
http:¡¡www.moneybacksystem.gi¡home.html.
&
Betails of the piopoition of tickets accepteu by each
paiticipating company can be founu at http:¡¡
www.moneybacksystem.gi¡Epixeiiiseis%2uSeptembei
%2u2u1u.puf.
'
www.peliti.gi Theie is also a veision of the website in English
at http:¡¡www.peliti.gi¡pages_eng¡peliti_eng.htm.
(
Anothei teim useu foi them is "lanuiaces".
)
www.logo-timis.gi
!*
http:¡¡skoios.espiv.net¡
!!
http:¡¡fieecycle.wikispaces.com¡fieecycle_gi
!"
www.xaiiseto.gi
!#
http:¡¡uwsepaie.ning.com¡
!$
www.swishing.gi
!%
http:¡¡swishing-thess.blogspot.com¡.
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International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 32-38 32
Introduction
Aftei moie than a uecaue of ieseaiching,
implementing anu supeivising complementaiy
cuiiencies piojects in the iegion, the Social
Tiaue 0iganisation Cential Ameiica (STR0-CA)
has accumulateu many lessons leaint anu
uevelopeu complementaiy cuiiency methous
along with stiategies to stimulate its
ciiculation, but most of all to cieate stable,
uiveisifieu anu iesilient local economies in the
cities wheie piojects aie in ieseaich, execution
anu¡oi supeivision. This iepoit intiouuces the
STR0-CA appioach to complementaiy cuiiency
uevelopment.
It is impoitant to mention that in this long
quest foi cieating stable, uiveisifieu anu
iesilient local economies STR0-CA has ieceiveu
methouological suppoit fiom many othei
oiganizations like New Economics Founuation
anu the Tiansition Towns movement.
STR0 inteivention in Cential Ameiica staiteu
back in 2uu2 thiough its office in Bonuuias anu
one single pioject of complementaiy cuiiency
with local paitnei C0NAL (Reu ue
Comeicializacion Comunitaiia Alteinativa).
Even though the pioject is no longei supeiviseu
by STR0-CA, the system still functions unuei
auministiation of C0NAL, making it one of the
oluest complementaiy cuiiency in ciiculation
in the Cential Ameiican iegion. This
complementaiy cuiiency is calleu 0BIS which
is the Spanish acionym of Soliuaiy Exchange
0nit, most of the othei piojects in the iegion
ueciueu to take the same name.
STR0-CA´s stiategies to cieate stable,
uiveisifieu anu iesilient local economies shoulu
be examineu fiom a bioauei sustainable local
economic uevelopment concept. In this aiticle,
the authoi uoes not intenu to uiscuss in-uepth
the appiopiiateness of the concept, noi its
ieplication potential. The intention, is to give a
geneial uesciiptive oveiview of STR0-CA
stiategies anu methouologies in the iegion,
hopefully, to geneiate uebate anu eniich the
leaining piocess.
The STRO-CA approach
STR0-CA has uevelopeu an innovative
sustainable local economic uevelopment
appioach that aims to cieate stiong, stable anu
uiveisifieu local economies, iesilient to outsiue
shocks fiom the woilu economy anu its
globalization piocess. This appioach is
constantly impioveu by theoietical anu "in-
Complementary Currencies for
Sustainable Local Economies in Central
America
Erik Brenes
PhD Candidate, Universita dellas Calabria / Regional Advisor Andean Region - STRO
brenes@socialtrade.org / brenes@unical.it
International
Journal of
Community
Currency
Research
IJCCR
www.ijccr.net
Abstract
Aftei moie than a uecaue of ieseaiching, implementing anu supeivising complementaiy
cuiiencies piojects in the iegion, the Social Tiaue 0iganisation Cential Ameiica (STR0-CA)
has accumulateu many lessons leaint anu uevelopeu complementaiy cuiiency methous
along with stiategies to stimulate its ciiculation, but most of all to cieate stable, uiveisifieu
anu iesilient local economies in the cities wheie piojects aie in ieseaich, execution anu¡oi
supeivision. This iepoit intiouuces the STR0-CA appioach to complementaiy cuiiency
uevelopment, anu ieflects on ten yeais of cuiiency innovation anu uevelopment in Cential
Ameiica.
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 32-38 33
fielu" feeu-back. This has to be seen in the
context of a global economy that while been ie-
oiganizeu (Bicken, 1998) shows incieasingly
signs of oveiexploitation, especially of its
natuial iesouices (incieasing piices of iaw
mateiials in geneial anu oil in paiticulai,
incieasing foou piices, watei scaicity, climate
change, unlivable mega-cities, etc.).
In Cential Ameiica, STR0-CA woiks mostly, but
not exclusively, with oiganizations fiom the
Soliuaiity Economy, like peasants associations
oi coopeiatives. Bue to the limiteu numbei of
auvisois available, STR0-CA woiks mainly on
uemanu, which means iesponuing to iequests
fiom local oiganizations to help them uesign,
intiouuce anu auministei theii own local
cuiiency.
In a fiist stage, STR0-CA's local auvisoi in the
countiy, aftei a legal fiamewoik ieview,
evaluates the capacity of the implementing
oiganization to auministei anu back the
complementaiy cuiiency. Next, the local
auvisoi, consiueiing the "thiee-uimensional
mouel" uevelopeu by the Inteinational Council
foi Local Enviionmental Initiatives (ICLEI) foi
the Agenua 21 ulobal Policy, uevelops the
feasibility stuuy following a typical heuiistic
appioach foieseen ways to eventually impiove
local economy anu eneigetic inuepenuence.
Baseu on the infoimation compileu in the
feasibility stuuy, a uecision is make to wiite a
pioject pioposal anu piesent it to potential
uonois. At this point, it is of ciucial impoitance
to wiite the pioject pioposal taking into
consiueiation the local knowleuge of the
economic, social anu enviionmental
stakeholueis of the futuie pioject. This is uone
in a paiticipatoiy way with the local paitnei,
assuiing full unueistanuing of the scope anu
limitations of the futuie pioject. Ruial anu
semi-iuial aieas shaie ceitain featuies anu
pioblems, but at the same time they have
unique potentials, unique pioblems, anu aie
theiefoie unueigoing unique foims of
tiansfoimation which must be taking into
consiueiation at all times.
The appioach consists of local applications anu
combinations of the thiee methous uetaileu in
Table 1 below. A majoi featuie in almost eveiy
pioject, is the tiansveisal use of the
complementaiy cuiiency to ie-uesign local
social, economical anu enviionmental ielations,
wheie possible in a moie sustainable way.
While tiying to achieve this objective, the local
economy will become moie stable (iesilient) to
the incieasingly iapiu changes of the national
anu most of all global economy, while at least
maintaining piouuction anu ieuucing
enviionmental uegiauation.
Blanc (2uu2) mentions foui iationales foi
monetaiy localism which fiequently combine
each othei, the fiist is ielateu to income
collection mostly thiough seignioiage. The
seconu, a change in the natuie oi conception of
exchange anu its context. A thiiu, to piotect the
local economic space against exteinal
monetaiy uisiuptions like a iecession anu¡oi
inflation anu finally, to inciease local economic
uevelopment. STR0's appioach is mainly align
with the last thiee iationales anu is integiateu
in the sense that methous ieinfoice each othei
mutually, anu all of them stimulate ciiculation
of local cuiiency, thus incieasing the impact of
the mouel as compaieu to isolateu
implementation of each methou. It is impoitant
to iemembei that this appioach is the iesult of
constant ieseaich anu uevelopment fiom
theoietical finuings as well as lessons leain
fiom the fielu. The iationale behinu this
integiateu methou appioach is to tiansgiess, oi
at least tiy to tiansgiess the socio, economic
anu enviionmental uominant oiuei to
incoipoiate the piinciples of an oiganizeu
uisoiuei oi negentiopy. Table 2, offeis anu
oveiview of all complementaiy cuiiency
piojects in Latin Ameiican (not all of them
supeiviseu by the STR0-CA office) by the
backing up methou specifieu in Table 1.
Coopevictoria: a Case Study
Situateu in the uiecia county in the Alajuela
piovince of Costa Rica, Coopevictoiia is Costa
Rica's oluest agiicultuie coopeiative founueu in
194S, back them piouuceu only ioasteu coffee
anu sugai fiom cane. Nowauays, it has moie
than thiee thousanu membeis, hiies almost a
thousanu seasonal woikeis anu while coffee
anu sugai still aie theii main piouucts, they
also have a wiue vaiiety of agiicultuial
piouucts anu seivices. Noie uetails on the local
counteipait at: www.coopevictoiia.com
In }uly 2uu6, iepiesentatives fiom STR0-CA
hau a fiist infoimative meeting with the
Coopeiative's Boaiu of Biiectois anu infoimeu
them about STR0-CA local economy
sustainable uevelopment methouologies anu
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Complementary
currency
methods
The Commodity Backed Currency (CBC) methodology aims at substituting and/or
complementing the outflow of national currency of an institution or enterprise with a flow of
vouchers. The vouchers are backed by the institution/enterprise who accepts them as means of
payment for its own sales (goods, services). This financial and commercial instrument used to
be common in large agricultural farms like banana plantations of multinationals and coffee
plantations in Central America. The methodology has been updated by STRO with:
- More diversified strategies of use of vouchers by the organization / enterprise, not only salary
payroll but as well as purchase of production inputs, contracting of local services, loans to
peasants, bonus system and others;
- The creation of local networks of commerce and small business who accept the vouchers.
This improves the spending options of the vouchers and hence must raise the demand for
vouchers and improve the time of local circulation;
- Offering a bonus system for users of vouchers which is financed by an expected rise in sales
of the organization and reduction of financial costs due to the substitution of “expensive”
working capital in national currency by vouchers (with almost no financial costs).
The Loan Backed Currency (LBC) methodology aims at stimulating local economic and social
development of communities by rising their liquidity through the local circulation of vouchers,
emitted through loans administrated by the communities or a third party like a microcredit
organization. The loans can be paid back by the community by vouchers, national currency or
eventually goods and services, depending on the methodology. Interest rates of loans in
vouchers are lower then interest rates for loans in national currency since they do not have
financial costs (interests over savings, cost of borrowing money, inflation or other opportunity
costs). As such the methodology provides fresh liquidity to the community at a fair price. By
creating a local network where the vouchers are accepted as a means of payment for the
purchase of goods and services, the methodology incentives local “purchases” and improves
the sales of the participants of the network. The methodology has been strengthened and
updated by STRO with:
- Integration of loans in national currency with loans in local currency.
- Diversification of strategies for raising the demand for local currency.
- Setting up of a permanent system based on daily transactions and not only periodic local
markets.
Finally, in some cases, these first two methods can be design further spread into the third
method called C3 (Commercial Credit Circuit) where businesses, employees or persons in
general have a virtual barter system through internet. Businesses in a C3 network use some of
their internal liquidity to make transactions among them. This internal liquidity can be backed
by cash or financial guarantees. In this way, financial guarantees (including credit insurance)
become a sort of commercial liquidity opening the market penetration of the financial
institutions.
Appropriate
technologies
The focus is to stimulate circulation of local currency by developing local bio-energy
(biodiesel, bio-ethanol, biogas) and/or ecohousing. Also, some strategic alliances exist with
organizations specialized in organic agriculture. In all cases, the objective is to substitute
“imported” products (i.e. from outside the region) for locally produced products, using as much
as possible local resources. Preferable, the products are also locally consumed, to reduce
transport and distribution costs. For further details on the subject, please see:
www.gotaverde.org, www.ecocasas.org
Apreciando Lo
nuestro (APLN)
This method is adapted from the Local Alchemy method of the New Economics Foundation
(NEF). Starts with a workshop to raise awareness among local actors about the impact of their
spending and investment behavior on the local economy. In Central America, some 5% of the
participants, mostly (prospective) entrepreneurs continue in a coaching trajectory which bring
their entrepreneurial project idea in practice which consequently will stimulate local currency
circulation. The coaching has proven to be very effective with informal sector entrepreneurs
(who are generally too small to qualify for mainstream business advisory services like credits).
Table 1:
STRO-CA
approaches to
sustainable local
economic
development
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 32-38 35
Name of the project Country Year established Type of scheme Details
Suchitoto El Salvador 2007 LBC Wide network of local
businesses accepting UDIS.
PuntoTransacciones El Salvador 2009 C3 Private enterprise, design and
partially fund by STRO-CA.
www.puntotransacciones.com
Gota Verde Honduras 2007 CBC Backed by biodiesel
production.
Comal Honduras 2002 CBC No longer under STRO-CA
supervision.
Coopesilencio Costa Rica 2007 CBC Backed by palm oil
production.
Coopebrisas Costa Rica 2007 CBC Backed by dairy products.
Coopevictoria Costa Rica 2007 CBC Backed by Coffee, sugar and
other businesses.
Cooperativa Sigchos Ecuador 2010 LBC Fund and supervised by
Pachamama Foundation
Cooperativa Integral Ecuador 2010 LBC Fund and supervised by
Pachamama Foundation
Cooperativa Coopera Ecuador 2010 LBC Fund and supervised by
Pachamama Foundation
Red Compras Brazil 2005 C3 Design and supervised by
STRO-office in Brasil (Instrodi).
www.circuitocompras.com.br
C3-Uruguay Uruguay 2010 C3 National in scope, designed
and executed by STRO-
Uruguay office.
www.c3uruguay.com.uy
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Table 2: STRO
complementary
currency
projects in Latin
America
stiategies. Almost immeuiately, STR0-CA technician
fiom the Bonuuias office, uevelopeu a feasibility
stuuy anu pioject uocument anu the implementation
phase staiteu at the beginning of 2uu7.
Back then, the coopeiative's Boaiu of Biiectois weie
facing seiious pioblems within the national banking
system to finu appiopiiate funuing to pay the
salaiies of seasonal woikeis, theiefoie a
complementaiy cuiiency, as !"# %&'&(#! as it sounueu
foi them, seemeu a possible solution. Bespite the
pievious, ciiculation staiteu in 2uu7 by iewaiuing
coopeiative membeis that spenu theii national
money in the coopeiative's uiffeient businesses. Back
then, the ciiculation piocess staiteu almost as a
loyalty iewaiu membeiship, at that time, foi eveiy
0S$1uu spenu within the coopeiative businesses, 2%
weie gave back as cash in Coopevictoiia's 0BIS.
Nowauays theie aie otheis ciiculation stiategies in
place in oiuei to ielease 0BIS into the local economy
anu stimulate its ciiculation. Foi instance,
Coopevictoiia employees as well as some local
seasonal woikeis can get a peicentage of theii salaiy
paiu in 0BIS, they in tuin, spenu it in the local
netwoiks of businesses, which in tuin buy piouucts
fiom local piouuceis anu¡oi businesses that accept
0BIS. Because in the local netwoik of businesses
theie aie few supeimaikets anu a gasoline station
most people fieely accept 0BIS, even few local
businesses, that uoes not belong to the coopeiative
aie paying pait of salaiies of theii employees in
0BIS. Image 1, shows the catalogue of local business
that accepts 0BIS in uiecia county in Septembei
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 32-38 36
2uu9. Buiing the feasibility stuuy of the pioject, baseu on
the local economic, social anu enviionmental ielations,
seveial emission, ciiculation anu iecupeiation stiategies
weie iuentifieu anu uiscusseu uuiing the ieseaich phase.
Theiefoie, the complementaiy cuiiency ciiculation staits
thiough the best emission stiategies iuentifieu,
stimulateu thiough ciiculations stiategies anu finally
ietuins back to the oiganization thiough the iecupeiation
stiategies accepteu. 0nce the complementaiy cuiiency
has gone, moie than half a yeai, thiough this ciiculation
cycle, we can say that hau "ieacheu matuiity" anu othei
methouologies coulu be ueployeu, in oiuei to stimulate
ciiculation thiough social activities like APLN oi avoiu
enviionmental uegiauation while piouucing alteinative
eneigy oi ecohousing.
To stimulate 0BIS ciiculation in the specific Coopevictoiia
case, anu aftei two infoimation visits to all 49 schools in
the county, the coopeiative staiteu buying waste cooking
oil fiom schools anu tiansfoimeu it into bio-uiesel foi
theii agiicultuie machineiy. By Becembei 2uu9,
Coopevictoiia was collecting at least 24,uuu lities of
waste oil a month, anu moie than 7uu chiluien weie
involveu in the collecting anu piouuction piocess. In two
yeaily visits to the bio-uiesel factoiy, chiluien unueistanu
the piouuctions piocess anu most impoitantly
unueistanu the benefits of not contaminating unuei-
giounu watei anu avoiuing the emission of gieen house
gases by buining bio-uiesel iathei than aveiage uiesel.
Aftei moie than a yeai of 0BIS ciiculation anu even
without piomoting it, seveial local businesses in the
uiecia county staiteu accepting 0BIS in theii noimal
opeiations stimulating even moie it's ciiculation. In a
iecently staiteu anu moie intensive piomotion campaign,
a local netwoik of businesses is been cieateu in oiuei to
accept 0BIS. By Naich 2u1u, the amount of local
businesses in the uiecia county accepting 0BIS, has giow
to moie than S2, many even give extia uiscounts if clients
pays with 0BIS.
At this stage, Coopevitoiia stuuies the possibility to
intiouuce a uigital payment options (e.g. by SNS oi uebit
caius using STR0's open souice softwaie Cyclos) with the
local netwoik of businesses to fuithei stimulate the
ciiculation of a viitual 0BIS into a CS methou. Noieovei,
Coopevictoiia consiueis buying biouegiauable waste
fiom schools anu local businesses to piouuce eneigy fiom
bio-gas. Finally, Coopevictoiia builus an expeiimental
uistillei that piouuces high-giaue ethanol fiom waste
stieams fiom the coffee anu sugai tiansfoimation
piocess. This ethanol can be useu as a gasoline substitute
oi auuitive all these eneigetic stiategies stimulates the
use of 0BIS anu helps the oiganization ieach ceitain level
of eneigy inuepenuence.
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Image 1: Businesses in local community accepting Coopvictoria UDIS in September 2009
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 32-38 37
Conclusion
This iepoit has intiouuceu the woik that STR0
is unueitaking in Cential Ameiica involving
complementaiy cuiiencies. In conclusion, we
can summaiize the stiengths anu weakness of
the appioach iespectively as follow:
-
When piopeily uesigneu, it is a stiong
solution that can empoweis communities
anu¡oi local oiganizations to auuiess local
pioblems anu neeus with local iesouices.
-
Like aigueu by seveial authois (Seyfang
2uu1a, Pacione 1997 anu Schulut 1997),
STR0's appioach uesign local cuiiencies to
impiove local economy as well as eneigetic
inuepenuence uue to the integiation all thiee
uimensions of the Agenua 21 ulobal policy.
-
The appioach is easily aujustable anu
scalable to local iealities, making it a stiong
planning tool foi miuule anu long teim
sustainable uevelopment.
-
0ne of the main auvantages is that STR0's
methouologies maximize local usage of
iesouices making it sometimes an affoiuable
sol ut i on f oi l ocal communi t i es oi
inteinational oiganizations with piojects
ueuicateu to local economic uevelopment.
-
Aftei ceitain amount of complementaiy
cuiiency ciiculating anu stimulating enough
local economic piocesses, the local economy
become moie iesilience anu auaptable to
nat i onal oi gl obal economy cii si s,
unfoitunately this must be piopeily measuie
still.
0n the othei hanu:
-
As othei authois also aigue (Aluiiuge 2uu2,
Williams et al., 2uu1 anu Pacione 1997) the
appioach (as any appioach that aims at
changing iationales¡behaviois) iequiies
some time to ieach significant economic
impact¡scale mentioneu in the pievious
point. Nost iesults in the shoit iun aie
qualitative iathei than quantitative, when not
piopeily explaineu oi unueistoou, this may
uiscouiage local people anu¡oi funuing
oiganizations.
-
As othei ieseaichei (uomez, 2uu8) have
alieauy pointeu out, theie is a complete lack
of institutional suppoit to piojects involving
complementaiy cuiiencies. In some Latin
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Images 2 and 3:
Coopevictoria’s
UDIS note front
and reverse
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 32-38 38
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Ameiican countiies, such appioaches aie often seemeu
as way of woiking outsiue the law.
-
This appioach is ceitainly not suitable to all local
economies, each case anu its paiticulaiities must be
auuiess anu consiueieu sepaiately. Especially with puie
impoit-expoit economies (that expoit almost theii
entiie piouuction anu impoit most of what they
consume), with little economic uiveisification (e.g.
coffee iegions).
-
Finally, piomoting the CS appioach, eithei to
implement it oi funu it, piesupposes a goou level
financial¡economic liteiacy fiom the inteilocutoi.
0sually, people aie highly uiscouiageu to ieau long anu
technical uocuments.
Finally, it is impoitant to iemembei that this appioach
capitalizes moie than 1u yeais fielu expeiience but is still
in a piocess of leaining anu impioving. While
"impeifection uoes not mean iiielevance" it is impoitant
to keep ieseaiching othei local economic solutions. We
also have foi instance:
-
Cultuial piouuctivity (Leff, 2uu4) which links the
notion of cultuie, which usually means social
foimations, anu human activities that aie not necessaiy
intenueu to inciease piouuctivity;
-
Soliuaiity netwoiks (Nance, 2uu6) which aie foims of
integiation anu inteiacting among oiganizations that
suppoit each othei mutually piomoting confluent
actions that stiengthen each of the membeis oi all of
them simultaneously; anu;
-
"Caiacoles" which aie the oiganizeu iegions of the
Zapatistas autonomous communities in Chiapas,
Nexico.
It will be impoitant to integiate these anu uiaw wiuei
conclusions foi sustainable local economic uevelopment;
at least we owe it to futuie geneiations.
References
Aluiiuge T. & Pateison A.(2uu2), LETS get ieal: constiains on the
uevelopment of Local Exchange Tiauing Schemes. Retiieve Apiil
2S, 2u1u fiom: http:¡¡shuia.shu.ac.uk¡129S¡
Blanc }. (2uu2) Foimes et Rationalities uu Localisme Nonetaiie.
Retiieve Nay u2, 2u1u fiom: http:¡¡iu.eiuuit.oig¡iueiuuit¡
uu72S6ai.
Bicken P. (1998) !"#$%" '()*+, +-%./*#-0).1 +(2 3#-"4 25#.#067
uilfoiu Piess, New Yoik, 0.S.A.
uomez u. (2uu8) 8%9).1 8%-92+/, :./+)+;+)#.%" -)/2 %.4 425").2
#* +(2 <-12.+).2 =24 42 >-;2?;27 Shakei Publishing, Netheilanus.
Leff E. (2uu4) =%5)#.%")4%4 <0$)2.+%", "% -2%@-#@)%5)#. /#5)%"
42 "% .%+;-%"2A%7 Siglo XXI Euitoies, Nexico
Nance E. (2uu8), Reues ue Colaboiacion Soliuaiia, (0niveisiuau
Autonoma ue la Ciuuau ue Nexico, Nexico)
Pacione N. (1997), Local exchange tiauing systems as a
iesponse to the globalisation of capitalism, 0iban Stuuies S4,
1179 - 1199.
Schulut }. (1997), B).2-#/ <"+2-.%+)C#/, @%-% 2" 42/%--#""# "#5%",
0niveisiuau uel Pacifico, Peiu
Seyfang u. (2uu1a), Community Cuiiencies: a small change foi a
gieen economy, Enviionmental anu Planning A SS (6), 97S-996.
Williams C. & Aluiiuge T. ( 2uu1), D-)412/ ).+# 3#-9, %.
2C%";%+)#. #* E#5%" FG5(%.12 >-%4).1 '5(202/7 Policy Piess, 0.K.
-
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 39-46 39
Introduction
In some aiea such as Latin Ameiica, wheie
theie is a potentially abunuant maiket, a lack of
tiansaction tool pievents maiket exchange,
biings paupeiization anu thus high income
uispaiities such as in Biazil. In 2uu7, about
2,6uu community cuiiencies weie tiying to
avoiu this paiauigm fiom which SS% weie in
Euiope, S6% in }apan, S% in 0niteu States of
Ameiica anu Canaua, S% in Austialia anu New
Zealanu, anu only 1% in the iest of the woilu
(Lietaei et al, 2uu8).
The community cuiiency fielu is in peipetual
piogiess all ovei the woilu, incluuing Latin
Ameiica wheie a lot of evolution took place in
the last uecaue. The puipose of this aiticle is to
stuuy why Biazil became a site of cuiiency
expeiimentation in iecent yeais anu to piesent
some exemplaiy schemes anu piomising
innovations. Inueeu, it seems that the most
significant site of cuiiency expeiimentation of
Latin Ameiica, Biazil, has a ceitain impoitance
in the tienu of community cuiiency
uevelopment in this iegion. Foiemost, the
papei will explain why community banks,
issuing social cuiiencies, became an exemplaiy
mouel in teims theii impact, size anu longevity.
Finally, it will also highlight some othei
Biazilian socio-technical innovations in teim of
community cuiiency systems. This ieseaich
suggests that a futuie multicuiiency society
coulu be evolving, even in the southein
countiies (Swan, 2uu8).
Banco Palmas: A Significant Example
in Latin America
Aigentina useu to be a famous community
cuiiency example in Latin Ameiica with 2,uuu
baitei cuiiencies cieateu since 199S befoie
theii collapse in Septembei 2uu2 causeu by
falsification anu thus inflation (Piimaveia,
2uu9). venezuela is also famous foi its 11
baitei cuiiencies cieateu between }une 2uu7
anu 0ctobei 2uu9 anu useu in 12 baitei
community maiket, oi Neicauos Comunitaiios
ue Tiueque in Spanish, spieau on 1S of the 2S
venezuelan states (Shephaiu, 2uu9).
The Social Tiaue 0iganization is cuiiently
piomoting iuial uevelopment piojects linkeu
with biouiesel, oiganic agiicultuie anu
iefoiestation thiough community cuiiency
systems in Bonuuias, Costa Rica, anu Ecuauoi
1

(Bienes, 2uu9). Noieovei, the Social Tiaue
Community Currency Progress in Latin
America:
Evolution in Brazil of a Socio-Technical
Innovation for Economic Sustainability
Christophe Place
HEC-Paris / Fundação Getulio Vargas São Paulo, Brazil
International
Journal of
Community
Currency
Research
IJCCR
Abstract
Aftei losing its lawsuit against a community bank issuing a community cuiiency, the Cential
Bank of Biazil has just staiteu a coopeiation agieement with the National Secietaiy foi
Soliuaiity Economy of the Laboui Ninistiy of Biazil to suppoit anu uevelop the cuiient S1
community banks anu theii own social cuiiency in oiuei to ieach about Suu by 2u12, becoming
an exemplaiy mouel. This woilu piemieie cential bank suppoit associateu with one of the
highest amount of community cuiiency systems of Latin Ameiica biought Biazil as a significant
site of expeiimentation in this fielu. Fuitheimoie, some uaiing innovations seem to confiim this
position in a long-teim futuie unless this noimative contiol of a centializeu institution
uecieases the cieativity. Inueeu, sustainable economic oiientation still neeus cieative tools,
associateu to an ethical vision, to ueciease mateiial consumption uepenuence anu inciease
post-mateiialist values exchange: community cuiiency tiansfoimation to an effective giassioots
innovation foi sustainability, piospeiity anu uemociacy seems to be necessaiy.
www.ijccr.net
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 39-46 40
0iganization built in 0iuguay in Novembei
2uu9 a new netwoik of tiansactions CS0, foi
Ciicuito ue Ciéuito Comeicial 0iuguay in
Spanish, which allows small anu meuium
businesses to access to piouuctive cieuit
thiough a community cuiiency. This system
also enables to pay foi taxes thiough this
community cuiiency which is a woilu fiist step
foi a futuie multicuiiency economy (STR0,
2u1u).
Bespite all of those initiatives, especially
0iuguay goveinment who accepteu tax
payment in community cuiiency, Biazil seems
to be the most significant site foi community
cuiiency uevelopment in Latin Ameiica with
about S1 community banks,
2
oi bancos
comunitáiios in Poituguese, with theii own
local cuiiency calleu also social cuiiency, oi
moeua social in Poituguese, which manageu an
equivalent of R$ 4u,uuu,uuu
S
in the last S yeais
thanks to theii subuiban bankeis (FBES, 2uu9).
A community bank not only issues anu
manages social cuiiency, but also boiiows
social anu national money as a miciocieuit
coiiesponuent of the Biazilian miciofinance
sectoi. Some community banks use a
miciocieuit system both in national anu social
cuiiency. Thus, you can ieceive social cuiiency
by eithei exchanging national cuiiency against
social cuiiency oi contiacting a miciocieuit
loan in social cuiiency.
By complementing lawful fiat money, oi official
national cuiiency with its unique status of legal
tenuei anu full settlement value assuieu by law,
social cuiiency is, on an economical, social,
functional anu legal stanupoint, a maiket
mechanism consiueieu as an alteinative means
to piomote access to piouucts, integiation of
people into the laboui maiket, anu access to
social iights thiough a contiactual agieement
signeu by membeis of a given community.
4

Inueeu, no one can be obligeu to accept a social
cuiiency oi to paiticipate in a social cuiiency
system (Fieiie, 2uu9).
Social cuiiency, usually with national cuiiency
coveiage, ciiculates in little municipalities oi
pooi uistiicts. Thus, by paying with social
cuiiency you ieceive a uiscount fiom 2% to
1u%. Community banks offei eithei a national
money loan with an inteiest iate of below 2%,
insteau of 8.1% in the conventional financial
maiket; oi a social cuiiency loan with zeio
inteiest iate below an equivalent of R$ 8uu
S
,
anu with an inteiest iate aiounu 2% above it.
To ieceive those national oi social money loans,
you must live in the community, piesent a
iesouice application plan, anu ieceive the
valiuation of youi neighbouihoou with iegaiu
to youi honest behavioui without any
consultation of the Cieuit Piotection Seivice
Agency. Even with highei tiansaction costs
than national cuiiency,
6
those incentives
piomote the use of social cuiiencies in uay-to-
uay tiansactions in local economy. It is a semi-
conveitible complementaiy community
cuiiency with national cuiiency value paiity,
7

because only shopkeepeis, oi selleis, can
exchange social cuiiency in national cuiiency
wheieas inhabitants, oi buyeis, can't.
As social cuiiency is issueu by a community
bank manageu by inhabitant, each community
chooses the symbol, uesign anu suppoit,
piinteu notes oi electionic caiu, of its social
cuiiency. 0nly useu within a closeu maiket of
ueteimineu goous anu seivices exchange, social
cuiiency piomotes local economy anu avoius
money uisappeaiance outsiue of the
community causeu by piouucts impoitation. It
is thus a stiong uemociatic communication anu
integiation tool foi communities, avoiuing
global anu cultuial exclusion anu hegemony.
Each social cuiiency is pait of the community
bank Biazilian netwoik (Reue Biasileiia ue
Bancos Comunitáiios) which was launcheu by
the socioeconomic soliuaiity anu uevelopment
Banco Palmas Institute cieateu in 2uuS. Inueeu,
Banco Palmas, the fiist Biazilian community
bank cieateu in 1997 by }oão }oaquim Be Nelo
Neto Segunuo in the city of Foitaleza in the
Biazilian state of Ceaiá, became a ieplicable
community cuiiency mouel in Biazil foi the
uevelopment of alteinative economic system
foi social inclusion. Banco Palmas ieceiveu the
Biazilian millennium uevelopment goals piize
fiom the 0niteu Nations uevelopment piogiam
in 2uu8, the social entiepieneui iecognition
fiom Ashoka in 2uuS, anu the social technology
piize of the Banco uo Biasil founuation in 2uuS
(Segunuo, 2uu6).
Community banks aie woiking as a local
miciocieuit association without any
institutional stiuctuie anu legally uepenu on
the netwoik managei Banco Palmas Institute
conceining not only conventions with public
authoiities anu official banks, but also secuiity
seal against falsification on the bills. The
Institute communicates the cieation of a new
social cuiiency anu its amount of ciiculation to
the Cential Bank without any pievious
authoiization. Social cuiiencies neeu the same
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International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 39-46 41
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amount of national conventional money within a
waiianty funu to insuie its same value paiity oi
equivalence, to contiol its ciiculation anu thus to avoiu a
national economic uisoiuei thiough a competition with
the official money. As social cuiiencies aie iecognizeu as
foou oi tianspoit voucheis, they aie not infiinging the
money issue iestiiction law of the Cential Bank anu
theiefoie uon't suffei fiom any official oigan contiol.
Inueeu, they only neeu to infoim the Cential Bank anu be
accompanieu by the Laboui Ninistiy. To allow community
banks to have theii own savings anu to iegulate social
cuiiencies situation it seems necessaiy to cieate
iegulations anu a contiol mechanism to consoliuate theii
evolution anu piotect theii expeiiences (Félix, 2uu9).
Consequently, in 2uu7, the feueial ueputy Luiza Eiunuina
anu the state ueputy Euues Xaviei cieateu a
'complementaiy law pioject' which establisheu the
cieation of a Soliuaiity anu Populai Finance National
Segment. Accoiuing to the Aiticle 22 of this law pioject,
the Soliuaiity anu Populai Finance National Council
(C0NAFIS) shoulu foim a coopeiation piotocol with the
Cential Bank of Biazil to ieach an efficient aujustment, foi
the fiscal inspection of the Soliuaiity Bevelopment
Populai Banks (BPBS). Inueeu, some economic specialists
believe that social cuiiency giowth anu uissemination
may cieate inflation anu financial uisoiuei. Bowevei,
social cuiiencies auuiess financial exclusion by ieaching
some pooi communities that official banks uon't.
Fuitheimoie, community banks only ueal with cieuits
anu uonation tiansaction linkeu with ieal economy
insteau of speculative one. Finally as the populai cieuit
segment uoesn't have a national level aiticulation, it
hampeis its giowth anu uissemination (Pitts, 2uu9).
Accoiuing to Paul Singei of the National Secietaiiat foi
Soliuaiity Economy (SENAES) of the Laboui Ninistiy, oi
Ninistéiio uo Tiabalho in Poituguese, about 1Su
community banks will be cieateu by 2u1u with theii own
social cuiiency anu Suu by 2u12 (Sanches 2uu9). The
Cential Bank of Biazil launcheu a 2 uay Finance Inclusion
Foium in Salvauoi, anu the entiie uay of 18th of
Novembei 2uu9 was ueuicateu to community banks anu
social cuiiencies. The Cential Bank maue a public self-
ciiticism about a lost lawsuit against Banco Palmas anu
its new suppoit foi the expansion of the community bank
netwoik. Consequently, this lost law suit appeais to be a
ciitical stage in the uevelopment of Banco Palmas in
Biazil in teims of legal evolution anu institutional
suppoit, becoming a iefeient in Latin Ameiica (FBES,
2uu9).
In Naich 2u1u, a coopeiation agieement between
SENAES anu the Cential Bank was maue to achieve
stuuies on community banks anu on social cuiiency,
envisioning the cieation of monitoiing anu evaluation
mechanisms foi the uevelopment of this sectoi in Biazil.
Aftei a uecaue of many aiticulations anu mobilisations of
the soliuaiity economy movement, with the suppoit of
SENAES, the iecognition by the Biazilian State was won
thanks to these teims of coopeiation: teiiitoiy-baseu
community, like small municipalities oi neighbouihoous,
can builu theii monetaiy authoiity.
Foi the fiist time the Cential Bank of Biazil iecogniseu
the existence of community banks anu social cuiiency
anu theii impoitance as social technology that geneiates
financial inclusion. This paitneiship achievement anu the
elaboiation of noims shoulu give uiiections to actois who
want to know, suppoit anu uevelop community banks,
using social cuiiency. 0n the basis of this agieement,
community bank initiatives won a new institutional
fiamewoik, enabling the iealisation of new stiategic
paitneiships foi theii uevelopment. Noieovei, these
banks woulu benefit fiom the enhancement of incentive
policies, anu the institutional enviionment woulu be quite
favouiable foi the consoliuation of such policies: public
iesouices foi tiaining activities, technical assistance anu
auequate cieuit lines (SENAES, 2u1u).
Social cuiiencies shoulu be iegaiueu as public policy
instiuments foi local uevelopment compatible with
monetaiy policy to be taken unuei the iesponsibility of
the Cential Bank.
8
Inueeu, social cuiiency system,
thiough its legal anu contiactual aiiangements,
establishes methous foi cooiuinating anu managing local
economic activities, thus enabling inuiviuuals to exeicise
gieatei contiol ovei the cieation anu use of the social
cuiiency, in accoiuance with the political will of the
community. It is compatible not only with the objectives
of monetaiy policy anu with banking iegulations, but also
with public policies foi soliuaiity finance, taigeteu at
geneiating jobs anu income, fosteiing social inclusion,
anu piomoting soliuaiity anu faii local uevelopment. The
use of social cuiiencies neithei affects the powei of
cential banks to contiol the money supply noi poses a
seiious thieat to the iole of cential banks in ielation to
national payment systems, noi even jeopaiuizes the
stability of the financial system (Fieiie, 2uu9).
!"#$ &'$()*+, +- ( ,$&$..('/ (,0 (0$12()$ '$324()+'/
-'(5$6+'7 -+' )#$ 0$8$4+95$,) +- 92:4*& 9+4*&*$. -+'
.+4*0('*)/ ;*,(,&$ )#'+23# )#$ *..2*,3 +- .+&*(4 &2''$,&*$.
5(/ 9'+8$ (, $..$,)*(4 &+,0*)*+, -+' '$02&*,3 .+&*(4 (,0
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“For the first time the Central Bank of
Brazil recognised the existence of
community banks and social currency
and their importance as social
technology that generates financial
inclusion.”
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 39-46 42
!"#$%&'(& &*'& &*+%+ ,+ -.$/+ -$$%0!('&!$(
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FGGHIHFJB
This is the fiist time in histoiy that a cential
bank is suppoiting community cuiiency
initiatives anu it has an extiaoiuinaiy political
impact foi theii acceptance, cieuibility anu
evolution. It is cleai that this cuiient anu futuie
evolution of fiee access to monetaiy iecouises
woulu bieak the scale of appiopiiate
technology access foi the base of the pyiamiu
in Biazil. Because sustainable economic
stiategy can only be ieacheu thiough the
emeigence of social technology, locally
auaptable anu easy to ieplicate (Rouiigues et
al, 2uu8). As Biazil is becoming one of the most
significant sites of community cuiiency
uevelopment in Latin Ameiica thiough its
exemplaiy mouel of social cuiiency, shoulu all
the iegional countiies follow the same path.
Coulu the contiol anu noimalization of socio-
technical innovations by a centializeu
institution ueciease the iate of cieativity of
community cuiiency systems.
Recent and future currency
innovation in Brazil
Some institutions aie inteiesteu in this
ieseaich aiea of community cuiiency as a
socio-technical innovation foi economic
sustainability: Politeia, an incubatoi of
uemociatic euucational piactice; Instituto
Futuio Euucação, on uemociatic euucation;
Ciuaue uo Conhecimento, the institute of
auvanceu stuuies of the 0niveisity of São Paulo;
Incubauoia Tecnologica ue Coopeiativas
Populaies - Funuação uetulio vaigas anu
0niveisiuaue ue São Paulo, two populai
coopeiative technological incubatois of the
most famous Biazilian univeisities; Ciie
Futuios, a netwoik foi futuie cieativity.
Fuitheimoie, Biazil is not only a quantitative
example foi community cuiiency systems in
Latin Ameiica thanks to its social cuiiency
system impact, size anu longevity, but also a
qualitative one thiough its numeious
innovations.
C3: Trade and Consumption Circuit
Biazil is alieauy famous foi the viitual baitei
system with the CS puichase ciicuit which is a
baitei backeu cuiiency launcheu in Apiil 2uuS
in Poito Alegie by the Social Tiaue
0iganization (STR0). This integiation thiough
baitei encouiages puichasing powei to
ciiculate moie effectively within a given
community oi iegion. It auministiates the
tiansactions, compaiable to a home-banking
system, to help supply anu uemanu meet each
othei moie easily in the built-in maiketplace,
thus opening up new maikets foi the membeis.
It's baseu on a baitei cuiiency which giows the
local consumption anu piouuction thiough an
inteinet softwaie piogiam connecting
entiepieneuis in a baitei netwoik. This open
souice community cuiiency softwaie is calleu
Cyclos anu use a capital anu consumption
ciicuit methouology (Bienes, 2uu9).
Ecoelce: waste against energy barter
Bowevei, Biazil is less known foi its waste
eneigy baitei calleu Ecoelce launcheu in 2uu6
by the Coelce, the thiiu biggest eneigy
uistiibutoi of the noith east iegion of Biazil. It
is a system wheie people pay theii electiicity
bill with iecycling soliu waste, a baitei system
of waste against eneigy baseu on mutual
appieciation. This is a baitei of inuustiial
iecycling soliu waste foi electiical eneigy
cieuit bonus on the consumei account of the
low income population. In the city of Foitaleza,
S9 baitei centeis have collecteu 4,6uu tons of
waste, geneiating a cieuit of R$ S88,uuu
9
as
eneigy bonus foi the customeis' accounts of
moie than 12u,uuu beneficiaiies. Since the
beginning of the pioject, about S7% of the
piogiam clients paiu theii entiie electiical bill
(Lima, 2uu9).
Cubo Card: musical community
currency
Launcheu in 2uu4 by Pablo Capilé in Cuiabá in
the state of Nato uiosso, the Cubo Caiu is a
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community cuiiency which allows exchange of
goous anu seivices within a music community,
oi cultuial collective calleu Cubo.
1u

!"#$% '())*+(,*-$./ '0)-0,*) (,1*2$3*-$(2 *$4%
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4/*)%9 -$'A/-% -( '(2'/,- #(0%/% /-':B >C/4(% /-
*)9 DEEFGHI@:
Fiistly baseu on the exchange of voluntaiy
woik foi music iecoiuing, ieheaisal ioom ient,
oi banu maiketing, this cuiiency became a
vectoi of local music cultuie uevelopment. The
same yeai, as too much of cuiiency was cieateu
anu not enough exchangeu, the inflation leu to
the system collapse anu showeu the necessity
of exchangeable activities uiveisification
within the community in oiuei to balance the
monetaiy cieation with its ciiculation.
Bencefoith, 81,uuu Cubo Caiu aie in
ciiculation in a kinu of Local Exchange Tiauing
System, incluuing not only inuepenuent music
festivals but also iestauiant, hotel, English
lessons, tattoos, books. An electionic caiu will
be launcheu in 2u1u (Espaço Cubo, 2uu9).
Arassussa: water management against
sustainable house barter
In the city of Aiaçuai in the state of Ninas
ueiais, was built the Aiassussa cuiiency in
2uuS by Tião Rocha thiough the Cultuie anu
Bevelopment Populai Centei (CPCB). It allows
baitei between a manuatoiy commitment list,
linkeu with watei management, foi a
sustainable house kit. This kit contains a
comfoitable anu natuial theimal anu sounu
insulation, a stoim-watei uiain, a composting
system foi oiganic foou piouuction. 22u
families have benefiteu fiom this sustainable
house kit by accomplisheu commitments in
ielation with watei contamination analysis,
iainwatei collection anu chiluien euucation.
This community cuiiency is still an immateiial
anu conceptual one but in 2u1u will be set up a
ieal Aiassussa cuiiency, also useu as a
community cuiiency foi the exchange of local
oiganic agiicultuial piouuction in oiuei to give
uiiections foi healthy anu natuial piouucts
consumption (CPCB, 2uu9).
The Hub: currency creation as a
community animation tool
The Bub - São Paulo is the name of the
netwoik, a place wheie one meet people fiom
civil, public anu piivate oiganizations who
want to change the society foi a bettei woilu.
As the heait of this stiuctuie is the
coopeiation, collaboiation anu shaiing, the
iuea of a community cuiiency to connect the
membeis appeais in 2uu9 anu will be
intiouuceu in 2u1u by Celso Sekiguchi,
Naiiana Nicolletti anu Naijaia Thamiz. 0ntil
now, the concept is baseu on vaiious systems
with uiffeient challenges: a weekly baitei faii
between membeis, a local cuiiency foi
exteinal tiansaction with special uiscount, a
peimanent seivice exchange system, anu an
emeigency no chaige miciocieuit funu useu foi
the membeis in local cuiiency, national
cuiiency, oi woiking houis. The puipose is to
cieate an economic cultuie of abunuance, with
a possible collaboiation of the Instituto
Inovamente anu the Instituto Elos, thiough a
social netwoik with about 4u paiticipants
insiue anu outsiue The Bub (The Bub, 2u1u).
As community cuiiency peimits to keep the
cieateu wealth within the community because
it's a closeu maiket, the monetaiy inclusion of
a community has a ieal big impact on his
uevelopment thiough economic giowth.
Neveitheless, the economic system is still
baseu on the same wealth cieation uefinition
baseu on piouuction-consumption system
veneiation (}ackson, 2uu9). It incieases the
local uioss Bomestic Piouuct anu thus the local
economy with its positive anu negative socio-
enviionmental impact.
11
That's why socio-
technical innovations foi economic
sustainability thiough community cuiiencies
still neeu evolution, even in Biazil. It has to
empowei communities to builu economies that
aie both sustainable anu uemociatic in oiuei
to builu the tiue wealth of the giassioots, the
intelligence of heait (uieco, 2uu9; viveiet,
2uu2).
“In the city of Fortaleza, 59 Ecoelce
barter centers have collected 4,600 tons
of waste, generating a credit of R$
588,0009 as energy bonus for the
customers’ accounts of more than
120,000 beneficiaries.”
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 39-46 44
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/#2(" 2 0)(&#-. )6 1#*)(/2(.: 0+0-2&,24&3&-.:
5/)05#/&-. -"/)+9" 2 0)3&12/&-. 2,1 #()3)9&(23
#(),)*.< !"# 4&99#0- ("233#,9# &0 ,) *)/# &,
-"# 6/## 2,1 #20. 2((#00 )6 7#23-" '23+2-&),
-))30: 4+- *)/#)'#/ &, -"# &,-#9/2-&), )6 2
9#,+&,# 93)423 ()33#(-&'# &,-#33&9#,(# 7&-"&, -"#
0("#*# -"/)+9" 2, #-"&(23 3#21#/0"&5 2,1
9)'#/,2,(#<
Conclusion
=/2>&3 &0: (+//#,-3.: 2 0&9,&%&(2,- 0&-# &, -"# %&#31
)6 ()**+,&-. (+//#,(. &, ?2-&, @*#/&(2< !"#
320- 1#(21#: 2,1 #05#(&233. -"# .#2/0 )6 EFFG
2,1 EFHF "2'# 4/)+9"- 2 /#23 #')3+-&), &, &-0
(),0&1#/2-&), 20 2 0-/),9 0)(&)B-#(",&(23
&,,)'2-&), 6)/ #(),)*&( &,(3+0&), )6
()**+,&-. -"/)+9" *),#-2/. 2+-")/&-. 2,1
2+-),)*.< I,1##1: 7# J+0- 2,23.0#1 2 "&9"
1#'#3)5*#,- &, -"# 320- 1#(21# -"/)+9" '2/&)+0
&,,)'2-&'# 0("#*#0 2,1 -"# 2((#5-2,(# )6 2,
#8#*532/. *)1#3 )6 ()**+,&-. 42,; 7&-" &-0
0)(&23 (+//#,(.< K'#, &6 -"# *2J)/&-. )6
()**+,&-. (+//#,(. 0.0-#*0 2/# &, -"#
,)/-"#/, 2,1 1#'#3)5#1 ()+,-/&#0: ?2-&,
@*#/&(2: 2,1 #05#(&233. =/2>&3 "2'# 2,
&*5)/-2,- #85#/&#,(# &, -"&0 %&#31 2,1 2 0-/),9
5)-#,-&23 6)/ &-0 6+-+/# 5/)9/#00<
L#'#/-"#3#00: 20 ()**+,&-. (+//#,(.
&,,)'2-&), 2,1 (&/(+32-&), 0-24&3&-. -)-233.
1#5#,10 ), 2 1#*)(/2-&( *2,29#*#,- 0.0-#*:
7)+31 -"# 5)00&43# (),-/)3 )6 -"# A#,-/23 =2,;
)6 =/2>&3 %&,233. 1#0-/). -"&0 (/#2-&'&-. -"/)+9"
")*)9#,&02-&), 2,1 0-2,12/1&>2-&),M N)+31 2
5+43&( *2,29#*#,- )6 -"&0 %&#31 "#35: )/ ,)-: -)
2("&#'# #(),)*&( 0+0-2&,24&3&-.M I,1##1
()**+,&-. (+//#,(. 0-&33 ,##10 2 3)- )6
&,,)'2-&), -) (/#2-# 2, #66#(-&'# 0+0-2&,243#
#(),)*&( 2,1 5)3&-&(23 -))3 -"/)+9" *2-#/&23
2,1 &**2-#/&23 #8("2,9# &,(#,-&'# 7&-"
()**+,&-. (+//#,(. (&/(+32-&), (),-/)3 -"2,;0
-) )5#, /+3#0 9)'#/,2,(#< @553&#1 /#0#2/("
0")+31,O- 4# *21# &, 4)-" (+//#,(. &,,)'2-&'#
-))30 2,1 0+0-2&,243# 5/)05#/&-. '&0&),M !)
2("&#'# -"&0: -"# 0#(-)/ )6 '#,-+/# 5"&32,-"/)5.:
#'#, &, ?2-&, @*#/&(2: 0")+31,O- 4# *)/#
&,-#/#0-#1 &, -"&0 ,#(#002/. -/2,0&-&),:
#')3+-&),: /#')3+-&), -"2,;0 -) 2 *&(/)B
5"&32,-"/)5&( 0##1 6+,1 -) /#2(" *),#-2/.
'&24&3&-. 7&-"&, 2 3)(23 ()**+,&-. 5/)J#(-M
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 39-46 45
Endnotes
!
In Bonuuias, a community cuiiency is being launcheu in 2uu8
with 7,427 Peces in ciiculation foi biouiesel puichase anu
national cuiiency conveision. In Costa Rica, a time bank,
miciocieuit anu biouiesel pioject has been set up in 2uuS
thiough a community cuiiency useu in a sugai, coffee anu sugai
cane coopeiative, calleu the Coopevictoiia. In Ecuauoi, a
community cuiiency pioject will be cieateu in 2u1u thiough the
issue of a local cuiiency of a community bank useu by woikeis
paiticipating in the iefoiestation pioject.
"
Those S1 community banks uon't iepiesent the whole of
Biazilian social cuiiency systems because it excluue baitei
community maikets which aie also using social cuiiencies as,
foi example, the uião useu in the Biecho Eco-soliuáiio of the
city of Salvauoi ue Bahia; oi otheis in the Reue ue Bancos ue
Tiocas Soliuáiias of the city of São Paulo which biings togethei
the Feiia ue Tiocas Soliuáiias uo Centio ue São Paulo, Feiia ue
Tiocas Soliuáiias Piosol, anu Feiia ue Tiocas Soliuáiias ua Reue
}abaquaia.
#
R$ 4u,uuu,uuu, in the Biazilian national money, is equal to
17,777,777 t with an exchange iate of 2.2S.
$
It is possible to uefine social cuiiencies as non financial but
human wealth in the piocess of piouuction, ciiculation anu
uistiibution of physical goous anu seivices piouuceu by human
laboui. The local economy wealth piouuceu benefits to the
people paiticipating in the social cuiiency system, calleu an
optimum monetaiy aiea, in which uemanu foi local goous anu
seivices can be fulfilleu by the local supply of goous anu
seivices befoie the suiplus of these goous anu seivices is
expoiteu to othei aieas anu sectois not seiveu by the social
cuiiency in question. Suiplus local piouuction can be expoiteu,
iesulting in a ieuistiibution of iesouices within the national
economy anu, at the same time, uevelopment of local economies
anu of uomestic, intei-municipal, inteistate, anu intei-iegional
tiaue. Nunicipalities can paiticipate uiiectly oi inuiiectly in the
social cuiiency system in vaiious ways by stimulating activity
within the cuiiency system since, in this mannei, they aie also
piomoting incieases in theii potential tax ievenue base. By
ensuiing that bank ueposits of the paiticipants of social
cuiiency systems iemain in closeu monetaiy loops within local
economies, in the meuium anu long teim, banking institutions
that aie paitneis of oiganizations that use social cuiiencies,
awaken to the auvantages of keeping bank ueposits applieu in
investments in the local economy.
%
R$ 8uu, in the Biazilian national money, is equal to SSS t with
an exchange iate of 2.2S.
&
This highei tiansaction cost can be ielativizeu by the fact that
social cuiiency inuiiectly integiates social anu enviionmental
exteinalities of piouucts by being useu in a local closeu maiket
of goous anu seivices.
'
In eveiy case, one social cuiiency is equal, in value, to one
national cuiiency. Foi example, one Palmas, issueu by Banco
Palmas in Foitaleza, is equal to one Real, the Biazilian official
cuiiency issueu by the Cential Bank.
(
In view of theii conventional anu contiactual natuie, social
cuiiency systems tenu to be legally stiuctuieu in compliance
with legal stanuaius, within spaces in which the Law giants
fieeuom anu piivate autonomy in each social context. That's
why opeiatois of social cuiiency systems that engage in
activities that aie ieseiveu foi banking anu financial institutions
aie subject to pieventive anu punitive contiol, exeiciseu by the
Cential Bank. Inueeu, the contiactual clauses that constitute the
legal fiamewoiks that unueipin the vaiious types of social
cuiiency systems, asiue fiom ueteimining logistical anu
opeiational aspects of the functioning of social cuiiency
systems, also seive to ueteimine the cuiiency cycle (cieation,
uistiibution, issuing, anu ieuemption of social cuiiency) anu to
uefine the legal anu iegulatoiy fiamewoik applicable to the
specific system in question.
)
R$ S88,uuu, in the Biazilian national money, is equal to
261,SSS t with an exchange iate of 2.2S.
!+
The global cultuial netwoik connexion, oi Cuiicuito Foia uo
Eixo in Poituguese, is piesent in 2S of the 27 Biazilian states
anu suppoiting 4S cultuial collectives thiough inuepenuent
festivals. 2 of those cultuial collectives aie issuing the same
community cuiiency system thiough theii inuepenuent festival:
the cultuial collective uoma in the city of 0beilanuia in the state
of Ninas ueiais has cieateu in 2uu9 its own community
cuiiency calleu uoma Caiu; the cultuial collective Catiaia in Rio
Bianco in the state of Acié launcheu in 2uu8 its Catiaia Caiu.
!!
Sustainable economic oiientation tools shoulu ueal with the
ueciease of exhaustible mateiial exchanges anu the inciease of
ienewable immateiial ones to achieve piospeiity. Foi example,
thanks to the paiticipatoiy uemociacy management of this
community cuiiencies ciiculation with an income maximum
anu minimum quota anu an exchange iate contiol. Thus, by
contiolling the ciiculation of cuiiencies linkeu with eithei
mateiialist oi post-mateiialist exchange, we woulu piomote a
uemociatically uefineu economic oiientation.
Acknowledgements
The authoi giatefully acknowleuges the contiibution anu
suppoit of all uiiectois anu examineis of the ieseaich oiienteu
thesis which inspiieu this papei: especially Beloisa Piimaveia,
Lala Beheinzelin, Anuié Caivalho, Celso Sekiguchi anu Rolanu
vaxelaiie foi theii ieview, ciiticism anu oiientation on this
ieseaich oiienteu thesis. }ean-Fiançois Noubel, Clauue
Peiigauu, Niguel Yasuyuki Biiota, Sophie Buet, Chiistophe
Cesetti, Celina Whitakei, Cailos Be Fieitas have also paiticipateu
in this papei thiough useful iefeiences. The authoi also
acknowleuges Bi uill Seyfang, Piofessoi Colin C. Williams, anu
Bi Noel Longhuist foi giving the oppoitunity to wiite this
aiticle foi the Inteinational }ouinal of Community Cuiiency
Reseaich.
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International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 39-46 46
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International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 47-51 47
Introduction
The wave of community cuiiency systems
appeais to have ieacheu the Piovince of
Quebec, Canaua, in the miu nineties (Boulianne
2uu6). Since that time, seveial systems weie
establisheu in seveial communities, although
only a few appeai to have stoou the test of time.
Aiguably, the two most successful mouels
among these aie l'Accoiueiie anu Le jaiuin
u'échange univeisel (}E0), as can be obseiveu
fiom theii ielative giowth anu stability. In this
papei, baseu on ieseaich conuuceu as pait of a
Nastei's thesis in sociology at Laval 0niveisity,
we will compaie these two community
cuiiency systems in Quebec city. While they aie
both pait of a gieatei netwoik, oui case stuuy
will concentiate on theii local bianches locateu
in Quebec city anu not on the whole netwoik.
The finuings aie baseu on a qualitative stuuy of
both exchange system which incluues 1S
inteiviews with membeis, 4 inteiviews with
cooiuinatois, 2u houis of paiticipatoiy
obseivation, as well as aichival uata pioviueu
by each system. The fieluwoik began in 0ctobei
2uu8 anu lasteu until Naich 2uu9.
L'Accoiueiie
1
was founueu in 2uu2 as a social
economy initiative by a community founuation
anu a local cieuit union with the manifest goal
of alleviating poveity anu social exclusion,
while }E0 was founueu in 1998 by a gioup of au
hoc community membeis who weie inspiieu
by othei }E0 bianches baseu on a mouel
uevelopeu by Baniel Faigeas. L'Accoiueiie in
Quebec City is the founuing bianch of a
netwoik of community cuiiency systems which
now opeiates in foui othei communities
2
,
while }E0 in Quebec city is a bianch of anothei
netwoik which oiiginateu in Fiance anu which
cuiiently has six communities in the Piovince
of Québec.
S
In teims of size, l'Accoiueiie has
ovei 7Su active membeis, while }E0 has
appioximately 12u membeis.

The Founding Principles and
Organisational Structures
The fiist piincipal uiffeience that we obseiveu
is in theii founuing piinciples anu
oiganisational stiuctuie. As a self-pioclaimeu
social economy initiative, l'Accoiueiie attempts
to alleviate poveity anu social exclusion guiueu
by the piinciple of economic inuepenuence
(Biloueau & Le Bossé 2uu9); while }E0 is moie
a giassioots initiative baseu on volunteei
L’Accorderie and Le Jardin D’Échange
Universel (JEU) in Quebec:
A comparative case study
Mathieu Lizotte and Gérard Duhaime
Department of Sociology, Laval University
mathieu.lizotte1@ulaval.ca; gerard.duhaime@soc.ulaval.ca
International
Journal of
Community
Currency
Research
IJCCR
Abstract
This papei compaies two of the most successful community cuiiency systems in the piovince of
Quebec, Canaua: l'Accoiueiie anu Le }aiuin u'Echange 0niveisel (}E0). The papei compaies theii
founuing piinciples anu oiganisational stiuctuies, anu theii mechanisms anu meuiums of
exchange. While the foimei is quite well-institutionaliseu anu attempts to opeiate
piofessionally, 'within the system', the lattei is a volunteei-iun initiative with moie ambiguous
status. The papei attempts to evalute theii impacts, wheie uata is available, anu concluues that
while both exchange systems have theii pios anu cons, a uefinite auvantage foi l'Accoiueiie is
that its legal status gives them bettei access to funuing which ultimately peimits them to offei
theii membeis the means by which to foim an economic stiategy in both the infoimal economy,
thiough exchanges, anu in the foimal economy, thiough miciocieuit anu paiticipating in the
monthly buyei's gioup. This is paiticulaily impoitant to its pooiei membeis wheie eveiy uollai
saveu by making local exchanges can be useu to impiove theii mateiial well-being in the foimal
economy.
www.ijccr.net
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 47-51 48
community involvement which aims to
piomote local exchange anu coopeiation. The
foimei is a iegisteieu non-piofit oiganisation
with a tiauemaik, while the lattei is non-
iegisteieu anu actually has no legal status
whatsoevei. L'Accoiueiie sees itself as pait of
the social economy by which they imply that
they aie a community oiganisation pait of civil
society which attempts to establish a
coopeiative economic mouel. Whethei oi not
its founueis, staff, oi membeis, have a ciitical
peispective of capitalism on a peisonal level,
l'Accoiueiie takes no foimal ciitical stance on
the mattei. Theii iole, as they see it, is to
facilitate ielationships of economic soliuaiity
between its membeis. In contiast, }E0 stiives
to offei a univeisal exchange system which
woiks, in theoiy, inuepenuently of state
authoiity anu national boiueis. As Boulianne
has noteu, the }E0 oiganisational stiuctuie
stiives to be "hoiizontal, acephalous anu
infoimal" (2uuS: 18u). If we weie to
caiicatuiize, we might say that one tiies to
woik fiom within the system while the othei
tiies to opeiate outsiue of the system. While
they also uo not take a foimal ciitical stance on
capitalism, theii system of exchange uoes not
exactly fit in the state mouel anu coulu
potentially come into conflict with state
authoiity. We have seen a foieshauow of this in
the 1996 law suit in Aiiege, Fiance, wheie
thiee membeis of a SEL weie founu guilty but
latei paiuoneu foi woiking 'unuei the table'.
Aiguably, the state has been iathei peimissive
up to this point as local cuiiency exchange is
such a small scale phenomenon. We coulu
expect that the state shall not attempt to
contiol local exchange until it ueteimines that
it loses moie on tax evasion than the cost that
such contiol woulu impose on its legal
appaiatus. This iemains to be seen.
This oiganisational uiffeience has seveial
lasting consequences. Fiistly, while most
community cuiiency systems geneially opeiate
on a shoestiing buuget with limiteu iesouices
(Seyfang 2uu2), as a social economy initiative,
l'Accoiueiie has access to funuing fiom the
non-piofit sectoi anu fiom community
philanthiopic oiganisations. In this iegaiu,
l'Accoiueiie is iathei exceptional has its
founuing oiganisations have committeu long
teim annual funuing of $1uu,uuu. This allows
them, among othei things, to ient office space
anu employ thiee full time employees. Cleaily, a
full time staff has maue it possible foi
l'Accoiueiie to offei a ieliable anu stable
seivice to its membeis. This alone piobably
laigely explains why l'Accoiueiie has ioughly 8
times the membeis of }E0. A ieliable anu
efficient system is paiticulaily of impoitance to
its pooiei membeis whose mateiial well-
beings aie moie uepenuent on local exchanges.
A full-time staff also allows them to offei
special assistance to some of its membeis. Foi
instance, the staff may act as a soit of
matchmakei foi membeis who have uigent
neeus oi have hau uifficulty in finuing exchange
paitneis. In contiast, }E0 uoes not have any
official funuing anu is iun entiiely by
volunteeis. While a uevoteu contingent of
volunteeis may aiguably accomplish as much
as a full-time staff, it is uoubtful it can uo so as
well anu with the same iegulaiity in the long
iun. The maintenance of uevoteu volunteeis
appeais to be a constant challenge foi them.
Inueeu, }E0 has hau chionic uifficulty foi
seveial yeais to finu volunteeis to take
leaueiship of the oiganisation. As a iesult,
social activities which weie once helu on a
monthly basis now occui iiiegulaily eveiy six
months, oi even once pei yeai. Email
coiiesponuence anu inquiiies aie not being
iesponueu iegulaily to anu minutes of
meetings aie not being kept. Since }E0 uoes not
keep a centializeu iecoiu of the tiansactions of
its membeis, it is uifficult to measuie the
activity of its membeis. 0ui finuings suggest
that its membeis have become iathei inactive
anu only make exchanges spoiauically. While
othei bianches of }E0 may have hau bettei
success, the Quebec bianch appeais iathei
uoimant at the moment.
Also, as a iesult of substantial funuing,
l'Accoiueiie has seveial meeting iooms
available to its membeis in which to holu
activities oi peifoim an exchange. The lattei
case is paiticulaily impoitant foi membeis
who offei seivices which iequiie an inteiioi
space oi foi those who aie not comfoitable
inviting anothei membei in theii home oi
meeting in a public space. These meeting
iooms have maue it easy foi l'Accoiueiie to
oiganize seveial activities monthly, while }E0
only holus social activities spoiauically. Buiing
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If we were to caricaturise, we might say
that one currency tries to work from
within the system while the other tries to
operate outside of the system.
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 47-51 49
the peiiou that we collecteu oui uata, }E0
usually helu its activities in a local coopeiative
bai; a location which was not consiueieu
agieeable to some }E0 membeis who woulu
piefei a local community hall oi an
establishment wheie no alcohol is seiveu.
The seconu lasting consequence of the
oiganisational stiuctuie is that l'Accoiueiie's
substantial funuing in legal tenuei has
peimitteu it to offei miciocieuit to its
membeis. As one of the funuing oiganisations
is a coopeiative bank, l'Accoiueiie has a special
funu available foi this puipose. Since 2uu2,
l'Accoiueiie has loaneu out $1S7,648 in
miciocieuit. Specifically, they offei miciocieuit
loans in legal tenuei up to $1uuu at a iate of
4.S% simple inteiest with a maximum
iepayment peiiou of two yeais. Loans aie
usually given foi the puichase of householu
appliances foi the membeis who iaiely have
the necessaiy savings to puichase them
without iesoiting to iental plans which
typically piove iathei costly in the long iun.
The iepayment plans aie negotiateu anu
uesigneu accoiuing to the neeus anu financial
situations of the loan takeis. In contiast, }E0 is
not in a position to offei miciocieuit loans.
While it can offei much assistance to its
membeis in facilitating local exchanges, it
cannot offei any assistance in legal tenuei
when uealing with the foimal economy.
The Medium of Exchange
The seconu piincipal uiffeience that we
obseiveu, aftei the founuing piinciples anu the
oiganisational stiuctuie, is the type of
community cuiiency useu by each system.
Similaily to the Time Bank mouel, l'Accoiueiie's
meuium of exchange is baseu on time while
}E0's is baseu on an aibitiaiy unit of exchange
simply calleu "points", similai, in this iegaiu, to
pounus, uollais, yen, et ceteia. The main
consequence fiom this is that l'Accoiueiie
imposes a moial value of equality to its
exchanges wheie one houi of woik is woith
one houi no mattei the natuie of the woik
exchangeu. In contiast, while othei bianches of
}E0 also anchoi theii exchange on time, the
Quebec bianch allows its membeis to negotiate
theii own piices. That being saiu, it woulu be
inaccuiate to affiim that theii value of
exchange is ueteimineu by the same supply anu
uemanu piocess founu in the foimal economy.
4
Inueeu, while }E0 membeis may negotiate theii
own piices, theii founuing philosophy openly
affiim that its membeis shoulu stiive to make
faii exchanges that aie baseu on mutual
benefits iathei than piofit making. So while }E0
allows theii membeis to negotiate piices, they
cleaily attempt to institutionalize a foim of
exchange which iationalizes ceitain values
which aie in some ways uiveigent fiom those in
the foimal economy. As a iecommenuation, }E0
offeis a iule of thumb that 6u points shoulu
moie oi less equal an houi of woik, howevei,
they uo allow foi the piovision that the natuie
of all woik is not equal anu theiefoie membeis
may choose to pay moie oi less accoiuingly. As
Naix (19SS) aigueu, to impose equality of
wages when not all woik is of equal value
woulu itself commit an inequality. So while at
fiist glance the meuium of exchange of }E0 may
iesemble legal money, it uiffeis significantly in
teims of the values it attempts to
institutionalize.
0ui ieseaich suggests that to become a
membei of l'Accoiueiie anu }E0, one must
essentially auheie to what we may iefei to as
its coie values; that is a foim of exchange baseu
moie on coopeiation than piofit making. While
the membeis we inteivieweu cleaily hau
mateiial incentives to paiticipate in community
cuiiency exchange, theii minuset was moie
oiientateu towaius soliuaiity than piofit in the
conventional sense. This obseivation was
suppoiteu in pait by the membeis we
inteivieweu who cleaily uiu not have a
soliuaiity minuset. These membeis hau joineu
eithei l'Accoiueiie oi }E0 without cleaily
unueistanuing the type of exchange they
piomoteu. We obseiveu that these membeis
felt substantial fiustiation as they tenueu to
appioach community cuiiency exchange with a
libeial minuset. Foi example, foi these
membeis, to exchange a seivice, say
accounting, that was valueu moie in the foimal
economy foi a seivice, say gaiuening, which
was valueu less was not only iiiational but
sometimes even consiueieu chaiity. While they
attempteu in some ways to apply a uiffeient set
of values to the exchange, they weie cleaily
unable to sufficiently change theii minuset in
the context of local exchanges. In contiast,
while the othei membeis we inteivieweu hau
joineu foi vaiious ieasons, both peisonal anu
iueological, the values of coopeiation anu
soliuaiity sought foi in local exchanges weie
seen as iational.

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L’Accorderie JEU
Founded 2002 1998
Part of a larger
network
Yes Yes
Approximate
membership
750 120
Official goals The alleviation of poverty and social
exclusion; solidarity
To provide a universal exchange system;
solidarity
Model State model, legal non-profit status Grassroot model, no legal status
Type of
organisational
structure
Formal society; boards of directors;
executive board
Horizontal, acephalous and informal
Legal status Registered non-profit Unregistered; no legal status
Human resources Full-time staff Volunteers
Budget Funding, $100,000 Minimal, shoestring
Transaction system Centralized records Decentralized records
Office space Yes No
Microcredit Yes No
Social activities Regular, Monthly Sporadic
Activity rooms Yes No
Buyer’s group Yes No
Medium of exchange Based on time Arbitrary point system
Values of exchange Fixed on time; one hour of any work
equals one hour, no exception
Recommendation that 60 points should
equal approximately one hour of work.
Conclusions
0ui case stuuy ievealeu two piincipal
uiffeiences between l'Accoiueiie anu }E0.
Fiistly, we saw that l'Accoiueiie opeiates in the
legal stiuctuie of the non-piofit sectoi, while
}E0's legality iemains iathei ambiguous.
Although }E0 is not an illegal opeiation pei say,
its non-iegisteieu status coulu potentially biing
it into conflict with the state ovei fiscal issues.
It woulu appeai that local exchange opeiates in
a iathei giey aiea between infoimal exchange
anu maiket exchange. While foimalizing
exchanges between family membeis anu
fiienus woulu be laigely politically anu
cultuially unviable, community cuiiency
systems have the potential to inciease what we
may iefei to as the tiauitional bounuaiies of
infoimal exchange. That is, wheieas typical
infoimal exchange occuis between family
membeis, fiienus anu uegiees of
acquaintances, community cuiiency systems
expanus this bounuaiy to stiangeis belonging
to the same voluntaiy association. This iaises
the legal question of wheie uoes the civil iight
of exchanging infoimally become tax evasion. If
community cuiiency systems continue to giow
in the next uecaues, we can expect a political
uebate ovei this issue as it will become haiuei
anu haiuei to ignoie. As uiegoiy (1996)
uemonstiateu, a cuiiency, oi moie piecisely, its
stanuaiu of value, is a political stanuaiu of
value which expiesses the values of the
uominant poweis. It is uoubtful at this point
that community cuiiencies unueimine the
Westphalian monetaiy system, to use Cohen's
(1998) teim, that is the monetaiy monopoly
the state holus ovei its teiiitoiy, but they uo
question what we may iefei to as the
bounuaiies of the "social teiiitoiy".
Seconuly, we saw that l'Accoiueiie anu }E0 uo
not use the same meuium of exchange; the
foimei is baseu on time while the lattei is
baseu on an aibitiaiy point system. Bespite of
this, both aie similai in the sense that they
attempt to iationalise values of economic
soliuaiity in theii exchange which may be
Table 1: An overview
of differences between
L’Accorderie and JEU
community currency
systems in Quebec
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 47-51 51
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placeu in opposition to the libeial values which aie fiimly
iationaliseu in the foimal economy. 0ui iesults suggest
that inuiviuuals who auheie to the values of soliuaiity
anu coopeiation aie moie likely to become membeis of
community cuiiency systems anu to iemain active.
While both exchange systems have theii pios anu cons, a
uefinite auvantage foi l'Accoiueiie is that its legal status
gives them bettei access to funuing which ultimately
peimits them to offei theii membeis the means by which
to foim an economic stiategy in both the infoimal
economy, thiough exchanges, anu in the foimal economy,
thiough miciocieuit anu paiticipating in the monthly
buyei's gioup. This is paiticulaily impoitant to its pooiei
membeis wheie eveiy uollai saveu by making local
exchanges can be useu to impiove theii mateiial well-
being in the foimal economy.
0ui uata suggests that the most economically vulneiable
membeis aie moie likely to be a membei of both
community cuiiency systems as a way to expanu theii
possibilities. Bowevei, since the appaient uecline of
activity in }E0, these iesponuents gave piioiity to local
exchanges in l'Accoiueiie as they consiueieu it moie
stable anu ieliable. 0n the othei enu, the most
iueologically left-wing iesponuents, while geneially
giving theii suppoit to both types of systems, moie
ieauily iuentifieu with }E0's giassioot mouel whose non-
iegisteieu status appeal to theii somewhat anaichic
sensibilities.
When compaieu to othei community cuiiency systems
which have appeaieu in the Piovince of Quebec, such as
Tioc tes Tiucs anu BECS, l'Accoiueiie anu }E0 cleaily
stanu out as exemplaiy mouels. When compaieu with
each othei, it is not so stiaightfoiwaiu to ueteimine
which one has hau the gieatei success as }E0 uoes not
keep uetaileu iecoius. While we know that the Quebec
Accoiueiie bianch has facilitateu ovei 17,4u2 houis
S
of
seivices since 2uu2, theie is no way to give a similai
figuie foi }E0. Nonetheless, oui ieseaich suggests that, in
teims of the Quebec bianches, l'Accoiueiie has hau the
most positive impact on the community. That being saiu,
we uo not have the necessaiy uata to compaie both
netwoiks of community cuiiency systems in the Piovince
of Quebec, anu bianches in othei iegions may have
attaineu uiffeient levels of success.
Foi the time being, l'Accoiueiie appeais to be expanuing
steauily anu seveial othei communities have alieauy
manifesteu an inteiest in launching theii own bianch. In
fact, l'Accoiueiie has iecently founueu a iegional boaiu
with iepiesentatives fiom each bianch in oiuei to bettei
auministei the netwoik as well as to institutionalise a
way to shaie anu pioviue expeitise.

Endnotes
!
The name is a neologism which stems fiom accoiu, meaning
ueal. The liteiaiy tianslation of l'Accoiueiie woulu be "The
Bealeiie", a place wheie ueals aie maue.
"
Tiois-Rivieies (2uu6), Nontiéal Noiu (2uu7), Nontiéal
Bochelaga-Naisonneuve (2uu8), Shawinigan (2u1u).
#
Lauientiues, Nontiéal, Nontiéal-0uest, 0utaouais, Québec,
Sheibiooke.
$
We use this teim as a simplification of couise since maiket
foices aie a complex set of social ielations, objectifications of
iules anu constellations of values which aie iationalizeu in the
noims of exchange.
%
This numbei excluues the tiansactions which weie uone by
the SS7 membeis which aie not longei consiueieu active.
References
Biloueau, A., Le Bossé, Y. (2uu9) 'L'Accoiueiie : illustiation
conciete u'une piatique explicitement stiuctuiée à paitii ue
l'appioche centiée sui le uéveloppement uu pouvoii u'agii ues
peisonnes et ues collectivités'. Passeielles, vol 1(1), pp. 66 - 9u.
Boulianne, N. (2uuS) 'Les systemes u'échange ue pioximité: une
économie politique uu temps et ue la consommation'. In
Feiianuo y Puig, }., uiampoicaio-Saunieie, S. (Eu.) Poui une «
autie » consommation. Sens et émeigence u'une consommation
politique. L'Baimattan, Collection Bossieis Sciences Bumaines
et Sociales, Séiie Consommations et Sociétés: Paiis pp.179-19S.
Boulianne, N. (2uu6) 'The movement foi an economy of
soliuaiity: 0iban agiicultuie anu local exchange tiauing systems
in Quebec'. Reseaich in Economy Anthiopology, vol 24, pp.
261-297.
Cohen, B. (1998). !"# %#&'()*"+ &, -&.#+ Coinell 0niveisity
Piess, Ithaca.
uiegoiy, C. (1996). "Cowiies anu Conquest: Towaius a
Subalteinative Quality Theoiy of Noney" Compaiative Stuuy of
Society anu Bistoiy, vol S8, No. 2, pp. 19S - 217.
-)(/0 12 345678 9):;#0 *(<=# ).> *(&?<@A B>>(#CC#> @& D&(E<.'
F#.0 u. Allen & 0nwin, Lonuon.
Seyfang, u. (2uu2) 'Tackling social exclusion with community
cuiiencies: leaining fiom LETS to Time Banks'. Inteinational
}ouinal of Community Cuiiency Reseaich, vol 6, pp. 1-11.
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 52-56 52
Introduction
Noney is the infiastiuctuial factoi ensuiing
uivision of the laboui within the community: it
enables exchange of infoimation, eneigy,
seivice anu mateiial between the paiticipants
of the activity tiaue2. It shoulu not iule, but
seive the citizens anu community, so it is an
impoitant pait of the common piopeity. That
means, that the money system, as common
piopeity shoulu seive the coopeiation within
the locally oiganizeu anu natuial oiuei evolveu
community.
Historical background
A small gioup of entiepieneuis in Sopion
(situateu neai the westein boiueis of Bungaiy
with a population of S7 thousanu) ueciueu in
the autumn of 2uu8, to make the local economy
piospei again. They cieateu a complementaiy
cuiiency, calleu Kékfiank (meaning 'blue fianc',
similaily to the name of a famous ieu wine
fiom the iegion).
Befoie that time a wiue theoietical movement
was aiising: in the fiist yeai of the 2uth centuiy
Siklaky tianslateu anu uiffuseu the basic woik
of uesell (uesell, 19u6). The Bungaiian gieen
money movement was piesenteu in uetail by
Noith (Noith, 2uu6, in Bungaiian: 2uu8). Since
then, uue to the economic ciisis, the neeu even
stiengtheneu towaius them, but also the
theoietical basis wiueneu. The spieauing of
Inteinet helpeu the ciiculating of alteinative
iueas, the oiganising of civil confeiences,
piesentations, the intensifying of LETS ciicles
anu last but not least the cieation of two link-
uiiectoiy website on this subject.
Fiom the mainstieam siue also some goou
iueas aiiiveu: banks anu companies in Bungaiy
intiouuce moie anu moie complementaiy
cuiiencies, like bank caius, point collecting
caius, foou anu tiavel voucheis, mobile
payments. These aie technical complementaiy
cuiiencies, which ueciease tiansaction costs,
anu¡oi specify the use of the money. Compaieu
to these, economical complementaiy
cuiiencies (like Kékfiank anu othei initiatives)
stimulate the economy foi the given iegion
thiough cieation of loans anu incieasing the
ciiculating speeu of money, by linking local
piouuction with local consumption they
contiibute to ielative inuepenuence anu
sustainable uevelopment of the iegion.
Kékfrank to boost the resilience of
locality
Zsuzsanna Eszter Szalay
Covinus University of Budapest Department of Business Economics
zsuzsanna.szalay@uni-corvinus.hu
International
Journal of
Community
Currency
Research
IJCCR
Abstract
A small gioup of entiepieneuis in Sopion (Bungaiy), leu by Tamás Peikovátz, ueciueu in
autumn of 2uu8, to make the local economy - which was pieviously famous foi its giape anu
wine - piospei again, anu to unite the economies of the aiea cut into thiee paits, belonging to
thiee uiffeient countiies. Thus they cieateu an Euiopean Coopeiative Society (SCE), that hau
inuiviuuals anu legal entities fiom Bungaiy, Austiia anu Cioatia as membeis, anu the goal of the
Coopeiative was uefineu as to intiouuce anu opeiate a complementaiy cuiiency Kékfiank (blue
fianc, nameu foi a wine vaiiety), to be useu within the iegion. This papei piesents the Euiopean
0nion uiiectives anu iegulations that maue the cieation of Kékfiank possible anu finally it
shows the main chaiacteiistics anu possible fuithei uevelopments of the new cuiiency which
was boin in spiing of 2u1u thiough the fiist official exchange.
www.ijccr.net
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 52-56 53
The economical conuitions of Sopion (the city
of Kékfiank) aie stiongly connecteu with the
social-economical situation of entiie Bungaiy.
It shoulu be uesciibeu beginning fiom the last
Centuiy: Austio-Bungaiy was a monaichic
union, besiues the joint goveinance in the aieas
of wai, foieign affaiis anu finance, both
countiies kept theii inuepenuence iegaiuing
teiiitoiy anu finance. Following the 1st Woilu
Wai, Bungaiy lost 71.S% of its teiiitoiy, S9.1%
of its total anu S2.2% of its Bungaiian speaking
population. The majoiity of the aiea of
Buigenlanu, which incluueu Sopion as well,
was attacheu to Austiia. The once oiganic
social-economical ielations weie bioken, but
the countiy boiueis iemaineu still peimeable.
Following the 2nu Woilu Wai, in the time of the
iion cuitain, the isolation became complete.
Almost no uevelopment iesouices aiiiveu to
the city close to the boiuei in the time of
socialism.
Buiing the tiansition economy in the yeais
1989-1998, the centially planneu economy
changeu into a fiee maiket economy. The state-
owneu companies weie liquiuateu, theii
activity, foi the most pait, stoppeu. The
Bungaiian economy ueclineu, the numbei of
employeu uecieaseu uiastically anu the impoit
uepenuency incieaseu. These tenuencies uiu
not change since that, but moieovei
stiengtheneu up to piesent times. Local ietail
inuustiy ueclineu, anu multinational chains
staiteu to gain maiket (Székely, 2u1u). It is to
be emphasizeu that this tiansition economy
was veiy uiffeient fiom a tiansition movement
baseu on peimacultuie, also the consequences
weie veiy contioveisial.
At the enu of the socialism, the citizens of
Sopion cieateu histoiy by oiganising the Pan-
Euiopean Picnic, the initiation of the union of
the ueiman population (Nagy, N¡A).
The first idea
The iegulatoiy anu maiket enviionment at the
time of the intiouuction of the Kékfiank was
iathei concentiateu anu uepenuent upon
piouucts anu supply coming foim outsiue the
iegion. Fiom 199S companies staiteu to use
the system of (meal anu vacation) voucheis foi
the tiansmission of non-wage allowances. The
thiee Fiench companies, Souexho Pass, Accoi
Seivices, anu the Cheque Béjeunei soon almost
completely coveieu the whole Bungaiian
maiket. The system of voucheis stiengtheneu
fuithei fiom 2uu6, uuiing the economical
iestiiction in the countiy, since this foim of
allowance iesulteu in tax saving foi the
companies. The emitteis tiansfei the value of
the voucheis to the vouchei accepting
companies upon the ieuemption of the
voucheis. Theii piofit comes fiom the fact that
between the uay of emission anu the uay of
ieuemption, they can use the value of the
voucheis as capital iesouice.
The cieatoi of Kékfiank, Tamás Peikovátz
unueitook the local tiansmission of allowances
in kinu in 2uu7 as one of the most ienowneu
iestauiant owneis in the city. Be intiouuceu a
hot foou vouchei that coulu be useu in his own
iestauiant anu in othei iestauiants as well anu
latei colu foou, gift, anu school voucheis, as
single-use complementaiy cuiiency unuei the
name of BANI. (The name has uual
connotation, meaning "tasty moisel" anu also
"if we" in Bungaiian.) Be intiouuceu almost
eveiy type of voucheis, that the above
mentioneu Fiench companies intiouuceu, but
his goal was foi his voucheis to be accepteu in
only Bungaiian owneu shops anu iestauiants.
The uiffeient types weie accepteu in 6u-7u
municipalities; of couise they weie most
populai in Sopion, wheie they weie accepteu
in aiounu 18u places. The uensity of the
paiticipating venuois was highei neai the local
maiket, so it is likely that this also helpeu this
maiket to suivive its economical uowntuin.
The BANI voucheis weie anu aie veiy
beneficial both foi the company of Tamás
Peikovátz anu foi the vouchei accepting
companies. 0n one siue capital iesouices aie
cieateu, anu on the othei siue the tuinovei is
incieaseu.
The innovation: Kékfrank introduced
by European Cooperative Society
The appeaiance of a new foim of enteipiise,
the Euiopean Coopeiative Society - abbieviateu
as SCE (EC, 2uuS), baseu on the Latin Societas
Coopeiativa Euiopae - was an impoitant
pieiequisite to the intiouuction of the
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The appearance of a new form of enterprise,
the European Cooperative Society -
abbreviated as SCE (EC, 2003), based on the
Latin Societas Cooperativa Europae - was an
important prerequisite to the introduction of
the Kékfrank.
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 52-56 54
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Kékfiank. The E0 membei countiies hau to intiouuce this
foim into theii own national legislation befoie 18th
August 2uu6. The aim of the Euiopean Pailiament anu
Council was to piomote cioss-boiuei co-opeiations by
cieating foims of enteipiise that can appeai as one legal
entity in the whole aiea of the 0nion. 0ne of these is the
SCE. (The othei two aie: Euiopean Public Limiteu -
Liability Company, which is Societas Euiopaea, SE, anu
the Euiopean Economic Inteiest uiouping, EEIu.)
The combination of the foim of Coopeiative Society anu
complementaiy cuiiency can seem obvious, because the
Coopeiative Society is a uemociatic institution, wheie the
membeis possess equal voting iights in a tianspaient
way, but its cioss-boiuei vaiiant is by all means a novelty.
The legislation pioceuuie, thiough which the 2uu7¡64¡
EC Euiopean 0nion uiiective (EC, 2uu7) - Payment
Seivice Biiective was auopteu into the Bungaiian
legislation also suppoiteu the cieation of the Kékfiank.
This legislation is impoitant foi two ieasons:
-
It intiouuceu a new foim of enteipiise, the payment
institution foi the offeiing of payment seivices (0},
2uu7, pp.9-1S.),
-
It uefineu within the payment seivices the emission
anu acceptance of the payment instiuments that is,
complementaiy cuiiencies, anu the payments by
telecommunication, uigital oi IT uevices (0}, 2uu7, pp.
S6.).
Although the Bungaiian legislation in accoiuance with
the above uesciibeu uiiective came into effect a little latei
than the founuing of the "BA-NI 0sszefogunk¡ If-We
0nite SCE", on the 1st of Novembei 2uu9 (Bungaiian
Pailiament, 2uu9a, 2uu9b), it can be stateu, that the
change was to be expecteu, which helpeu the piocess of
licensing. The SCE coulu not yet execute the payment
seivices on its own, so it hau to ask a financial institution
(Rajka anu Region Cieuit 0nion) to join the SCE as
membei, anu to unueitake this task.
The iegulatoiy anu maiket enviionment hau foui
chaiacteiistics, as follows:
- To opeiate Kékfiank as a complementaiy cuiiency, a
stiong, cioss-boiuei foim of enteipiise, the SCE was
chosen, which maue a ielatively inuepenuent, self-
goveining opeiation possible in accoiuance with the
piinciple of subsiuiaiy appeaiing also in the tieaty of
Lisbon.
- The Kékfiank was built on the paiticipating gioup of
an alieauy opeiating, single-use complementaiy
cuiiency, so-calleu puichase vouchei. Behinu both
weie to be founu the same small gioup of people,
enthusiastic patiiots.
- The Kékfiank is in accoiuance with the
iecommenuation of Robeitson (Robeitson-Bunzl,
2uuS): entiepieneuis of one sub-iegion aie
suppoiting it, but extenuing Robeitson's
iecommenuations a cioss-boiuei iegion is
suppoiting it, which intenus to achieve monetaiy
iefoim on the local level.
- If a community intenus to intiouuce a
complementaiy-community cuiiency
1
in Bungaiy, it
has the possibility to achieve this not thiough a bank,
but thiough a payment institution (by itself oi by
outsouicing).
Some data and facts
Some conciete uata about Kékfiank, as complementaiy
cuiiency anu the SCE suppoiting it:
- The "BA-NI 0sszefogunk¡If-We 0nite Limiteu
Liability Euiopean Coopeiative Society" was
founueu by 12S membeis, entiepieneuis anu
inuiviuuals, thiough puichase of S8S shaies, each
woith 1uu Euios. Thus, the SCE was founueu
with S8,Suu euio authoiizeu capital, on the 29th
Novembei 2uu9, the uay of the saint of the city.
- The stiategic paitneis of the SCE aie:
- Rajka anu Region Cieuit 0nion
- Chambei of Commeice anu Inuustiy
- Inuustiy Coipoiation of Sopion anu Its
Enviions
- 0niveisity of West Bungaiy Faculty of
Economics
- CIu Pannonia Insuiance Company
- This list inuicates that the small gioup of
enthusiastic people succeeueu in convincing the
uecision foiming platfoims of the city to suppoit
the initiative.
- To become membei of the SCE, the
iecommenuation of a membei, the puichase of
minimum 1 (maximum 4u) shaies of 1uu Euios
each, the acceptance of the statutes, anu the
appioval of the boaiu of uiiectois of S membeis
is neeueu. (Possessing moie shaies uoes not
iesult in stiongei voting iights.) The membeis
consent to accept anu use Kékfiank as local
cuiiency.
- The main goal of the SCE is to stimulate economy
in Sopion anu its enviions with the help of the
Kékfiank complementaiy cuiiency, in a cioss-
boiuei setting, thiough the enteipiises of its
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 52-56 55
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membeis, encouiaging the puichase of locally
piouuceu goous anu seivices.
- The papei veision of the Kékfiank
complementaiy cuiiency (abbieviateu Kfi) was
piinteu by the Bungaiian Banknote Piinting Ltu.
http:¡¡www.penzjegynyomua.hu¡inuex_e.html.
- The fiist official exchange took place on the 7th
Nay, 2u1u.
- The cuiiency (http:¡¡kekfiank.hu¡ue¡
utalvany.php) similaily to the foiint, has 6
uiffeient uenominations: SuuKfi, 1uuuKfi,
2uuuKfi, SuuuKfi, 1u uuuKfi anu 2u uuuKfi, but
no coins exist, if these aie neeueu, the foiint can
be useu.
- The Kékfiank note has 7 secuiity featuies,
incluuing wateimaik, inuiviuual seiial numbei
anu ultia-violet colouis.
- Kékfiank is 1uu% backeu by foiint, it can be
acquiieu with foiint (1 Ft=1Kfi) in the bianches
of Rajka anu Region Cieuit 0nion in two locations
in Sopion. The acquiiement is limiteu: only
membeis anu paiticipating venuois may claim
the cuiiency. The paiu-in foiint amount pays
inteiest at the level of the base iate of the Cential
Bank of Bungaiy, foi the benefit of the acquiiei
anu the community. 0nly the fiist ownei of
Kékfiank is entitleu to ieceive inteiest (shaieu
with the community by a iatio 1:4) - one who
ieceives Kékfiank fiom someone else thiough a
tiansaction will not ieceive inteiest.
- The Kékfiank can be ciiculateu fieely, it has no
expiiy.
Since the Kékfiank uoes not pay inteiest, it is foieseeable,
that it will ciiculate fastei than the inteiest-paying foiint.
Accoiuing to the local monetaiy policy iegaiuing this
cuiiency, to pievent the ieuemption of the Kékfiank, 2%
+ vAT ieuemption tax is chaigeu at the act of ieuemption.
Summary: what has been done and future
goals
Kékfiank is a veiy new type of local initiative; theie aie
some specialities, moieovei iaie featuies anu a veiy
innovative chaiacteiistic about this Complementaiy
Cuiiency:
- Kékfiank was cieateu not because of the ieason to
fight poveity, but by a patiiotic community, who
wanteu to ieoiganize the once oiganic social-
economical ielationships.
- It was inspiieu by (anu baseu on the netwoik of) a
system of single use meal anu vacation voucheis, a
foim of non-wage allowances. It means that the
staiting stiuctuie of Kékfiank was final consumei-
oiienteu. If the entiepieneuis buy voucheis foi
Kékfiank, it incieases the ciiculation of Kékfiank.
This is a seconu speciality.
- The local attenuance establisheu a coopeiative to
make theii ielations stiongei. The whole Kékfiank
baseu supply-chain shoulu builu up fiom its
enupoint. It uemanus a veiy active economic-
oiganizei woik. Chains shoulu cieate closeu loops.
This is not new; this is the essence of
coopeiativeness.
- But theie aie only a few cases, wheie the
complementaiy cuiiency belongs to a coopeiative
(WIR in Switzeilanu, RiveiB00RS in 0iegon, 0S), so
this is a iaiity. It is coulu be stateu that small anu
local aie goou, but beautiful only if they can be
bought oi solu with own cuiiency.
- Kékfiank was intiouuceu by a new foim of
enteipiise: Euiopean Coopeiative Society (SCE) This
way Kékfiank unites the aieas sepaiateu by the
countiy-boiuei in economical anu cultuial ways anu
makes the bioken ielationships alive again. It is in
accoiuance with the legislation anu the aims of the
E0. This is a veiy impoitant innovation.
To uevelop this system, suppoit of the local anu national
economic leaueis anu expeits was won, anu the fiist
Bungaiian SCE was founueu to peifoim this task, a long
licensing pioceuuie was accomplisheu, the iush of the
meuia hau to be hanuleu. The patiiots of Sopion iegaiu
the founueis of the Swiss WIR as examples to follow; they
even visiteu them in Basel. Futuie objectives incluue the
intiouuction of electionic, bank caiu payments besiues
papei baseu tiansactions anu the launching of Kékfiank-
loan activity.
The ieal test is coming only now: The membeis of the SCE
have to use the new cuiiency foi theii tiansactions as
intensively as possible, like in a big ball-game: the money-
ball may not fall uown, noi go outsiue by being exchangeu
to foiint. The economic uevelopment concept of the
citizens of Sopion can become ieality only in this way.
Then will become tiue the motto of Kiistof Lacknei,
famous, Euiope-ienowneu long-ago mayoi of Sopion:
"Neigitui non submeigitui", that is "Auiift but not
submeiging".
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Acknowledgements
The authoi is thankful foi the help anu encouiagement of István
Németh in the piepaiation of this aiticle.
Endnotes
!
In my opinion, community cuiiency is the iueal foim of
complementaiy cuiiency, assuming that all funuamental neeus
can be met by it.
References
0}¡0fficial }ouinal of the Euiopean 0nion - Euiopean
Pailiament anu Council Regulation (EC) No 14SS¡2uuS of 22
}uly 2uuS on the Statute foi a Euiopean Coopeiative Society
(SCE) http:¡¡eui-lex.euiopa.eu¡Lex0iiSeiv¡Lex0iiSeiv.uo.
uii=0}:L:2uuS:2u7:uuu1:uu24:EN:PBF
0}¡0fficial }ouinal of the Euiopean 0nion - Euiopean
Pailiament anu Council Biiective 2uu7¡64¡EC on payment
seivices in the inteinational maiket. (Payment Seivice
Biiective ): http:¡¡eui-lex.euiopa.eu¡Lex0iiSeiv¡
Lex0iiSeiv.uo.uii=0}:L:2uu7:S19:uuu1:uuS6:EN:PBF
2uu7¡64¡EC Biiective of the Euiopean Pailiament anu Council
http:¡¡eui-lex.euiopa.eu¡Lex0iiSeiv¡Lex0iiSeiv.uo.uii=0}:L:
2uu7:S19:uuu1:uuS6:B0:PBF
uesell, Silvio (19u6): The Natuial Economic 0iuei, Beilin.
http:¡¡appiopiiate-economics.oig¡ebooks¡neo¡neo2.htm,
publisheu in Bungaiian 2uu4.
BA-NI 0sszefogunk¡ If-We 0nite: Kékfiank complementaiy
cuiiency stuuy excuision to Switzeilanu (u1.uS.-uS.uS.2u1u.)
http:¡¡kekfiank.hu¡letoltes¡svajci_tanulmanyut.html.
Koiten, Baviu (2uu9): Agenua foi a New Economy, Beiiett-
Kohlei, 2uu9.
Lietaei, Beinaiu (2uu1): Bie Welt ues uelues. Bas
Afkläiungsbuch, Aiena veilag
Nagy, Lászlo (N¡A): The Pan-Euiopean Picnic anu the opening of
the boiuei 11th of Septembei 1989 , http:¡¡www.beilinei-
mauei.ue¡laszlo-nagy¡lazslonagy-en.htm
Németh, István (2uu9): Suiviving in small iegions: Possibilities
of the ,Ant" Coopeiative Society mouel in piesent times http:¡¡
www.szoigos.hu¡inuex.php.
option=com_content&view=aiticle&iu=21&Itemiu=2S
Noith, Petei (2uu6): Constiucting Civil Society. - uieen Noney
in Tiansition Bungaiy, Rev. of Int. Pol. Economy, vol. 1S, No. 1,
pp. 28-S2,: http:¡¡www.jstoi.oig¡stable¡pufplus¡2S124u6u.puf,
LXIX. law, 2uu6, about Euiopean Coopeiative Societies, Bungaiy
http:¡¡www.complex.hu¡kzluat¡tu6uuu69.htm¡
tu6uuu69.htm#kagy1
LXXXv. Law, 2uu9, about the offeiing of payment seivices,
Bungaiy http:¡¡www.pszaf.hu¡uata¡
cms2u87198¡2uu9_LXXXvtv.puf
LXXXvI. Law, 2uu9, about financial institutions anu financial
seivices
CXII law, 1996. about mouifications to the iegulation about
payment institutions anu payment seivices http:¡¡
www.pszaf.hu¡uata¡cms2u87197¡2uu9_LXXXvItv.puf
Peikovátz, Tamás (2u1u): Complementaiy cuiiency anu the
stimulation of local economy (Piesentation given in Sopion on
27th Nay 2u1u) http:¡¡kekfiank.hu¡letoltes¡
peikovatz_tamas_kozgazuasz_klub.html anu http:¡¡
kekfiank.hu¡letoltes¡fizeto_eszkozunk_a_kekfiank.puf
Robeitson, }ames (2uu9): Noney values anu Ethical values.
Cuiing the Nismatch Between Them. In: Laszlo Zsolnai (eu),
Ethical Piospect: Economy, Society, anu Enviionment, Spiingei
Science-Business Neuia Bv, http:¡¡www.jamesiobeitson.com¡
aiticle¡moneyvaluesanuethicalvalues.puf
Szalay, Zsuzsanna (2uu8): The Revolution of uentle Noney,
Woiking Papei, B0 ISSN 1786-SuS1, Coivinus 0niveisity of
Buuapest, Institute of Business Economics, http:¡¡euok.lib.uni-
coivinus.hu¡284¡1¡Szalay9S.puf
Székely, Csaba (2u1u): Complementaiy Cuiiency anu the
Stimulation of Local Economy http:¡¡kekfiank.hu¡letoltes¡
Komplementei_penz_es_a_helyi_gazuasag_elenkitese.puf
vaiga, István (2u1u): Naiket Economy without Capitalism
(Piesentation given in Sopion on 19th }anuaiy 2u1u) http:¡¡
kekfiank.hu¡letoltes¡
vaiga_istvan_piacgazuasag_kapitalizmus_nelkul.html
Websites:
http:¡¡www.kekfiank.hu
http:¡¡www.complementaiycuiiency.oig¡
http:¡¡www.uea.ac.uk¡env¡ijcci¡
http:¡¡www.jamesiobeitson.com¡
http:¡¡alteinativ-gazuasag.lap.hu¡
http:¡¡helyipenz.linkpaik.hu¡
-
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 57-60 57
Introduction
A veiy innovative anu inteiesting
complementaiy cuiiency scheme has been
testeu in Fiance since 2uu7 in oiuei to
contiibute to the uevelopment of the social anu
soliuaiity economy anu contiibute towaius
sustainable uevelopment. The S0L is the iesult
of an infoimal woiking gioup who in 1998
examineuthe uiffeient mouels of existing
complementaiy cuiiencies schemes in the
woilu. It aims to both intiouuce a new concept
of wealth not exclusively baseu on money anu
to fostei the social economy oi thiiu sectoi.
Three types of SOL
The S0L fits auequately onto the context of the
expeiiment fiom the thiiu sectoi oi social
economy to cieate a coopeiative exchange
scheme of social anu ecological usefulness anu
thus combines thiee types of S0L in an
electionic caiu (Belille anu Whitakei, 2uu6).
These aie now uesciibeu in tuin.
1. Co-operation SOL
The "co-opeiation S0L" is a loyalty e-caiu
cieateu to piomote the social economy
activities anu iesponsible consumption. The
cuiiency unit is in Euios (1 t = 1u S0L). The
cuiiency is linkeu to the Euio not only to avoiu
pioblems of conveision with time-baseu
schemes but also inflation. S0L is backeu by
Euio in oiuei to safeguaiu S0L's cuiiency. But
this secuiity in Euio is limiteu because a
"solist"
1
cannot conveit S0L in Euio. An
oiganization of social economy can give S0L
points to a "solist", who can use them anywheie
in the S0L netwoik, i.e. in all oiganizations of
social economy which paiticipate to S0L. The
S0L points beai "uemuiiage": the "solist" who
uoes not use his S0L loses them giauually,
which encouiages the "solist" to spenu them
insteau of saving them. The cancelleu S0L
points aie investeu in a mutual funu, manageu
by all the "solists" to suppoit social economy
piojects. The aim of "uemuiiage" is to inciease
the ciiculation velocity of S0L, fostei exchanges
anu avoiu savings accoiuing to Silvio uesell
(1948).
The SOL:
A Complementary Currency for the
Social Economy and Sustainable
Development
Maries Fare
University of Lyon 2, Institut des Sciences de l’Homme
marie.fare@univ-lyon2.fr
International
Journal of
Community
Currency
Research
IJCCR
www.ijccr.net
Abstract
This papei ieviews expeiience with The S0L, a veiy innovative anu inteiesting complementaiy
cuiiency scheme which has been testeu in Fiance since 2uu7. It aims to contiibute to the
uevelopment of the social anu soliuaiity economy, anu contiibute towaius sustainable
uevelopment. The S0L is the iesult of an infoimal woiking gioup who in 1998 examineuthe
uiffeient mouels of existing complementaiy cuiiencies schemes in the woilu. It aims to both
intiouuce a new concept of wealth not exclusively baseu on money anu to fostei the social
economy oi thiiu sectoi. Thiee uiffeient types of S0L aie uesciibeu: Co-opeiation S0L,
Commitment S0L, anu Beuicateu S0L, anu the papei ieflects on the cuiiency's stiengths anu
weaknesses, anu uevelopmental issues foi the futuie.
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 57-60 58
2. Commitment SOL
The "Commitment S0L" aims to piomote
exchange time schemes anu to make visible anu
accountable voluntaiy woik. Like SEL oi Time
Bank, it is measuieu with time anu it is useu by
time-baseu local exchange schemes. The lattei
mechanism is a mutual anu fiee cieuit. The
scheme is baseu on equality: one houi equals
one houi, whatevei the task. The objective is to
enhance non-monetaiy activities anu skills of
each while ueveloping social ties anu
conviviality. Anothei application is the
possibility of combining local public seivices
with voluntaiy woik in oiuei to uevelop
exchanges between people who uon't have
much money.
3. Dedicated SOL
The "Beuicateu S0L" is a vouchei allocateu by
the public sectoi to specific taiget gioups,
allowing them to access specific goous oi
seivices suitable to ieach the goals of the S0L
scheme. This is a tool foi public authoiities.
The ueuicateu S0L has seveial auvantages. It
helps incluue maiginaliseu people in a laigei
ciicuit, giving them oppoitunity to paiticipate
in othei S0L netwoiks anu to valoiise theii
activities anu capacities. In this way, the
uisciimination linkeu to tiauitional social
voucheis uisappeais. But it can also guiue
consumption towaius moie enviionmentally
fiienuly piouucts.
Cuiiently two components of the S0L, the
commitment anu ueuicateu ones, iemain
ielatively unuevelopeu in the teiiitoiies of
implementation.
2
Bowevei some localities (foi
example Caihaix Biittany) have uevelopeu the
ueuicateu S0L. Similaily the commitment S0L
has been establisheu in uienoble. Bowevei,
oveiall the S0L seems theiefoie moie a gieen
loyalty caiu like Weuge
S
caiu oi N0 caiu
4
.
SOL: A multi-actor scheme
The S0L cuiiency scheme is opeiational in
seven Fiench iegions (Alsace, Aquitaine,
Biittany, Ile ue Fiance, Niui-Pyiénées, Noiu-
Pas-ue-Calais anu Rhône-Alpes) anu especially
in ceitain localities in these iegions incluuing
foi example Caihaix, uienoble, Lille, Rennes,
Toulouse, Nulhouse, etc. 0ntil the enu of 2uu8
it was suppoiteu by a Euiopean piogiam,
EQ0AL
S
, funueu by the Euiopean Social Funu.
EQ0AL suppoiteu S0L scheme up to Su% of
funuing uuiing expeiimentation. Foui
oiganizations of social economy suppoit it up
to 2u% of funuing: "Cheque Béjeunei" (a
woikei's co-opeiative anu one of the woilu's
leaueis in vouchei issue anu management),
"Ciéuit Coopéiatif" (a co-opeiative bank),
NACIF anu NAIF (two mutual insuieis).
Noieovei, the S0L scheme opeiates in
collaboiation with many actois:
-
The oiganizations of social economy oi thiiu
sectoi, which coulu be, by statute, co-
opeiative, mutualist oi associative anu which
coulu offei goous anu¡oi seivices as faii
piouucts, oiganic foous, soliuaiity touiism.
Theii aim is to encouiage an economic,
sustainable anu local uevelopment. The
paiticipation of each oiganization to S0L
netwoik iequiies a ceitification. This
ceitification contains foui ciiteiia. The fiist
anu the seconu aie iepoit to ethical anu
social issues ("contiibute to an economy
wheie the human has moie place" anu
"ueveloping uemociatic anu coopeiative
piactices"). The thiiu ciiteiion is
enviionmental ("to contiibute to a gieenei
economy") anu the last iefeis to local
economic uevelopment to "fostei the
cieation of activities, the sustainability of
jobs anu involvement in the teiiitoiy".
-
Regional goveinment anu public authoiities
who subsiuize up to Su% anu use S0L
scheme as a tool foi public policy. The
integiation of local authoiities in the scheme
gives it a highly innovative uimension.
Inueeu, it is iaie that local authoiities
integiate these schemes anu use money as a
tool of public policy. In this context the S0L is
in line with fouith geneiation schemes like
N0 caiu (Blanc anu Faie, 2u1u).
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“The dedicated SOL has several
advantages. It helps include
marginalised people in a larger
circuit, giving them opportunity
to participate in other SOL
networks and to valorise their
activities and capacities. In this
way, the discrimination linked to
traditional social vouchers
disappears.”
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 57-60 59
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-
"Responsible consumeis" who shaie the values of social
economy anu sustainable uevelopment anu have a
sustainable behavioui.
At the enu of 2uu9 Suu,uuu S0L hau been in ciiculation,
which is equivalent to Su,uuu t. The S0L netwoiks
incluue S,7uu "solist" anu 14u oiganizations of social
economy. Ciitical mass of useis, which is estimateu at
aiounu 1uu,uuu "solist", is still fai fiom being achieveu
anu is ielatively high, compaieu with othei
complementaiy cuiiencies schemes. In fact, except the
Reu ulobal ue Tiueque in Aigentina which counteu ovei S
million useis (by auuing all the membeis of all local
associations), complementaiy cuiiencies schemes
involveu few useis. Foi example, in Fiance, aiounu 2u,uuu
people take pait in the SEL scheme (similai to LETS in
0niteu Kinguom). Also, ieaching the ciitical mass is
pioblematic. Foi this paiticulai ieason, it is necessaiy to
establish a uiffusion anu piomotion about what the S0L
scheme is. But accoiuing to }ean-Philippe Poulnot,
"Cheque-Béjeunei's" R&B managei anu S0L co-oiuinatoi,
one of the uifficulties is to explain the complexity anu
innovation of the S0L scheme. Foi example, the iuea of
combining a co-opeiation S0L (in Euios) anu a
commitment S0L (baseu on time) was not an easy task
foi the pioject actois to unueistanu. Besiues, the
communication campaign iequiies funus. It is uifficult to
avoiu one othei element. S0L scheme iequiies electionic
technology, as point-of-sale (P0S) scheme, chips caius
anu back-office, which not only iequest financial
investment anu technological know-how but also neeus to
euucate useis. This level of complexity anu financial
aspect might be a stiong baiiiei foi the uevelopment anu
iepiouuction of the S0L scheme.
Issues of SOL development
0ne of the majoi points of inteiest about S0L is that it
combines seveial oveiall objectives with thiee
uimensions incluuing theii own uiffeient goals (Faie,
2uu7). In fact, it combines thiee complementaiy
cuiiencies schemes in a single scheme: a loyalty caiu
pioviuing a puichasing powei, a time exchange scheme
(as Time banks) anu a vouchei. Fiist of all, it allows to
stimulate local activities anu to uevelop a social economy
netwoik anu its activities. Besiues this, it piomotes
consumei iesponsibility in fosteiing local anu sustainable
consumption (a uefineu bianu anu a chaitei), such as faii
agiicultuie, faii tiaue, goous anu seivices piouuceu by
local oiganizations, public seivices. Seconuly, it attempts
to auuiess social anu economic exclusion by giving
exchange possibilities in S0L netwoik with commitment
S0L anu ueuicateu S0L. S0L has an economic impact.
Then it piomotes a sustainable uevelopment because it
encouiages the soliuaiity anu sustainable behavioui of
"solists". The enviionmental objective is to piomote moie
consistent piactices with the piinciples of sustainable
uevelopment by stimulating iesponsible consumption.
Foi example it fosteis the ueciease of emissions of
gieenhouse gas emissions ielateu to tianspoit thiough
the uevelopment of local piouuction, also thiough the
piomotion of local piouucts, oiganic oi not. S0L is in line
with "political consumeiism's" objectives which "is the
choice of piouuceis anu piouucts with the aim of
changing ethically oi politically objectionable
institutional oi maiket piactices. Theii choices aie
infoimeu by attituues anu values iegaiuing issues of
justice, faiiness, non-economic issues that concein
peisonal anu family well-being, anu ethical oi political
assessment of favoiable anu unfavoiable business anu
goveinment piactice" (Nicheletti, 2uu4). S0L can be useu
as an incentive to encouiage the auoption of a ceitain
type of behavioui, heie, moie iesponsible behavioui like
sustainable consumption (Faie, 2uu9).
The stiength of S0L is the syneigy piouuceu by the
multiples actois. But it iequiies both incieasing the
uiveisity of businesses of social economy anu the
membeiship base foi wiuening the iange of available
goous anu seivices anu the piovision of funus.
The establishment of S0L iaises questions conceining the
conuitions of emeigence of a cuiiency. Inueeu, the S0L
cuiiently iemains a ielatively small sizeu scheme. Seveial
explanations can be auvanceu to explain this
phenomenon as the technicality of its implementation,
human factois, funuing pioblems, the psychological
baiiieis, etc. Anothei explanation foi the low uiffusion
may lie in the lack of civil society in taking again of a
scheme intiouuceu fiom the top. 0nlike othei
complementaiy cuiiency schemes, the S0L uoes not
iesult fiom an initiative of civil society (giassioots
innovations), but it is the piouuct of an analysis in a
woikgioup anu then it was implementeu in expeiimental
teiiitoiies. Be iemains helu on a pyiamiu with a stiong
influence of the top (Cheque Bejeunei, Cieuit Coopeiative,
NAIF anu Nacif) uespite ceitain uecentialization at the
iegional level. We can theiefoie assume that this
stiuctuie sometimes leaus to limit the ioom foi
manoeuvie of teiiitoiies anu communication uifficulties
between giassioots ("expeiimenteis") anu top
("theoiists") is causing lack of collective anu local taking
again contiol of S0L. Bowevei, since the enu of the
expeiimental peiiou (since the enu of 2uu8), the S0L has
enteieu a new phase of ieflection anu ieoiganization
(since 2u1u), which might leau to gieatei fieeuom of
implementation teiiitoiies.
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 57-60 60
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Endnotes
!
A « solist » is a peison who auheies to S0L.
"
To know the uevelopment anu to have moie infoimation of the
S0L see the website: http:¡¡www.sol-ieseau.oig¡
#
See the website: http:¡¡www.weugecaiu.co.uk
$
See the website: http:¡¡www.nuspaaipas.nl
%
The EQ0AL Initiative biings fiesh iueas to the Euiopean
Employment Stiategy anu the Social inclusion piocess. Its
mission is to piomote a bettei mouel foi woiking life by fighting
uisciimination anu exclusion on the basis of genuei, iacial oi
ethnic oiigin, ieligion oi belief, uisability, age oi sexual
oiientation.
References
Blanc, }. anu Faie, N. (2u1u) 'Quel iôle poui les collectivités
locales uans la mise en ouvie ue piojets ue monnaies sociales .'
XXXes }ouinées ue l'Association u'Economie Sociale (AES)
« Tiansfoimation et innovations économiques et sociales en
Euiope : quelles soities ue ciise . Regaius inteiuisciplinaiies »,
oiganisées pai le Centie Inteiuisciplinaiie ue Recheiche Tiavail,
Etat et Société, 0niveisité Catholique ue Louvain, Chaileioi,
Belgique, 9-1u septembie 2u1u.
Belille, P. anu Whitakei, C. (2uu6) 'Le piojet S0L : poui ietiouvei
le sens ues valeuis'. In Blanc, }. (Eu.) Nonnaies sociales, Rappoit
Exclusion et liens financieis 2uuS¡u6, Economica, Paiis pp.
S82-94.
Faie, N. (2uu9) 'Les monnaies complémentaiies, ues outils au
seivice ue la RSE ." 4° congies uu RI0BB : "La RSE : une
nouvelle iégulation uu capitalisme". Lille, 12 p.
Faie, N. (2uu7), 'Le iôle ues iéseaux uans la peifoimation u'une
iuée : l'histoiie uu piojet S0L, une monnaie à utilité sociale et
écologique' 0npublisheu mastei's uegiee uisseitation,
0niveisity of Lyon 2.
uesell, S. (1929), The Natuial Economic 0iuei : a Plan to Secuie
an 0ninteiiupteu Exchange of the Piouucts of Laboui |1911j.
Tians. Philip Pye. Beilin : Neo-veilag.
Nicheletti, N. anu Bietlinu, S. (2uu6) 'Concept of Political
Consumeiism'. In Lonnie, R. S. (Eu.) Youth Activism÷An
Inteinational Encyclopeuia, vol. 2, uieenwoou Publishing,
Westpoit
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 61-67 61
Introduction
0ne of the most inteiesting uevelopments in
the 0K complementaiy cuiiency movement
ovei the past 4 yeais has been the emeigence
of local papei cuiiency schemes in 'Tiansition
towns'. Following Totnes in 2uu7, the towns of
Lewes, Stiouu anu Biixton in South Lonuon
have all successfully launcheu local 'pounus',
the usage of which is iestiicteu to inuepenuent
businesses in theii iespective aieas. Bioauly
speaking, the goal of the cuiiencies is to help
ie-localise piouuction anu consumption anu
builu economic 'iesilience', a key tenet of the
Tiansition movement. This papei sets the
Tiansition cuiiencies in context anu ieviews
theii piogiess so fai.
1
The Transition Network
The Tiansition Netwoik is a global giassioots
movement of communities seeking to cieate
gieatei local iesilience anu well-being in the
face of the twin thieats of climate change anu
peak oil. Tiansition thinking uiaws inspiiation
fiom peimacultuie anu ecology as the basis foi
ieimagining how settlements anu local
economies might be able to auapt the shocks
these two phenomenon will inevitably cieate
without cieating majoi social anu economic
uislocation. The notion of iesilience is key to
Tiansition thinking, uefineu as:
!!!"#$ &'('&)"* +, ' -*-"$. "+ '/-+0/ 1)-"20/'3&$
'31 0$+04'3)-$ 5#)6$ 231$04+)34 &#'34$7 -+ '-
"+ -")66 0$"')3 $--$3")'66* "#$ -'.$ ,23&")+37
-"02&"20$7 )1$3")"* '31 ,$$1/'&8- 9Walkei et al,
2uu4)
To cieate gieatei iesilience, Tiansition aigues
foi the ie-localisation of many aspects of
piouuction anu consumption, aiguing that
losses in naiiowly uefineu efficiencies of scale
aie maue up foi in teims of ieuuceu
vulneiability to shocks because of gieatei
uiveisity, just as in natuie. Tiansition also
involves collectively imagining a uiffeient low-
caibon futuie foi the aiea anu the cieation of
an eneigy uescent plan (EBAP).
The Tiansition movement is highly
uecentialiseu anu non-hieiaichical in stiuctuie
anu cultuie. Schemes aie almost all not-foi-
piofit anu mainly uepenuent on volunteei
Building Local Resilience:
The Emergence of the UK Transition
Currencies
Josh Ryan-Collins
new economics foundation
josh.ryan-collins@new-economics.org
International
Journal of
Community
Currency
Research
IJCCR
Abstract
This papei examines the emeigence of a new type of local cuiiency - 'Tiansition Cuiiencies' - in
the 0niteu Kinguom ovei the past 4 yeais. The Tiansition Cuiiency 'mouel', shaieu by the initial
foui schemes, is explaineu anu the theoietical ioots of the schemes ievieweu. The papei goes on
to examine the success anu limitations of the cuiiencies anu ieflects on potential futuie
uevelopments anu how the Tiansition cuiiencies might upscale anu uelivei auuitional social,
economic anu enviionmental objectives.
www.ijccr.net
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 61-67 62
laboui. The emphasis is veiy much open active
local paiticipation anu iuentity, positivity,
innovation, cieativity anu collective action.
Theie aie cuiiently aiounu 27u active
tiansition communities acioss the woilu,
mainly in English-speaking countiies.
2

Transition Local Currencies
Local Complementaiy cuiiencies have emeigeu
as initiatives fiom Tiansition communities
acioss Englanu, noimally fiom within
tiansition gioups' 'business' oi 'economy' sub-
gioups. Thiee of the tiansition cuiiencies aie
in towns in moie iuial aieas - Totnes anu
Stiouu in the South West of Englanu anu Lewes
in the South East. The fouith, the Biixton
Pounu, is in innei-city Lonuon. All foui of the
schemes pieviously hau active Local Exchange
Tiauing Schemes (LETS) in the 198us oi 199us
anu in some cases the same inuiviuuals who
iun the LETS schemes aie involveu. Theie aie
also a numbei of 'nascent' Tiansition
cuiiencies in the planning stages, incluuing in
Biistol, Canteibuiy anu Camuen. The schemes
shaie the following bioau goals:
-
To enhance local economic iesilience thiough
encouiaging moie local piouuction anu
consumption anu limiting the 'leakage' of
money fiom the local economy
-
suppoit anu piotect local inuepenuent
businesses
S
which:
-
piotects jobs anu livelihoous anu
-
maintains the uiveisity anu iuentity of
the local aiea
-
Cieate stiongei connections between local
people anu businesses, boosting social
capital anu cohesion.
-
Stimulate thinking anu uiscussion about how
money woiks anu how local economies
function anu coulu be maue moie sustainable
-
Piomote the aiea, cieating piiue foi its
citizens, a sense of inuepenuence anu
attiacting touiists
-
Encouiaging a self-help mouel of exchange
anu mutual suppoit
-
Reuuce caibon emissions thiough ieuucing
the tianspoitation of piouucts foim long
uistances.
The haiu cuiiency mouel auopteu by all foui
existing tiansition initiatives is bioauly similai:
-
Notes backeu 1 to 1 against 0K steiling, with
a one- oi two- yeai valiuity
-
Notes in uenominations of £1, £S, £1u (anu in
the case of Biixton £2u anu Lewes £21) with
multiple secuiity featuies anu featuiing
attiactive anu oiiginal uesigns ieflecting local
celebiities oi places
-
Cuiiency can be accepteu only by
'inuepenuent' (bioauly uefineu) local
businesses in (pait-) payment foi any goous
oi seivices
-
Cuiiency is 'solu' in to ciiculation via
selecteu paiticipating businesses (Stiouu
chaiges a S% puichase fee which is uonateu
to local chaiities) oi given as change
-
Cuiiency can be exchangeu back in to 0K
steiling at a 1 to 1 iate at selecteu exchange
points (Stiouu only allows iegisteieu tiaueis
to ieueem notes anu has a S% ieuemption
fee)
-
Businesses aie encouiageu to offei uiscounts
when customeis use the cuiiency to pay foi
goous, but attempts by Totnes anu Lewes to
intiouuce a compulsoiy uiscount weie
abanuoneu uue to business uissatisfaction.
-
Each scheme has a website anu leaflet listing
all paiticipating businesses anu infoimation
as to how the scheme woiks
The Stiouu Pounu has mouelleu itself moie
closely on the Chiemgauei complementaiy
cuiiency baseu in ueimany (uelleii, 2uu9). It
has a 'uemuiiage' featuie on the note iequiiing
useis to pay a S% fee anu have the note
stampeu eveiy six months to maintain its value,
the aim of which is to fuithei inciease the
ciiculation of the note. The Chiemgauei was
itself inspiieu by the wiitings of Silvio uesell
anu the highly successful 'Woigl' cuiiency that
helpeu iebuilu the town of the same name in
Austiia in the 19Sus uuiing the uieat
Bepiession (uesell 19S8).
Stiouu also chaiges a S% ieuemption fee anu
an annual membeiship fee foi useis anu
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“The emphasis is very much
open active local participation
and identity, positivity,
innovation, creativity and
collective action.”
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 61-67 63
businesses who join the Stiouu Pounu
coopeiative, a peicentage of which is uonateu
to a local chaiity of the consumeis' choice.
None of the othei thiee cuiiencies opeiate fee
baseu membeiship schemes. Both Biixton anu
Lewes have a moie infoimal membeiship
scheme with membeis ieceiving a monthly
newslettei upuating them on the latest news.
In teims of oiganisational stiuctuie, Lewes anu
Biixton cuiiency gioups have both opteu foi
the Community Inteiest Company (CIC) limiteu
by guaiantee status. The CIC mouel is seen to
pioviue some of the auvantages of both
chaiitable anu limiteu company status as it
allows oiganisations to qualify foi chaiitable
uonations but also allows them to make a
suiplus as long as that suiplus is investeu
solely in the community. The CIC mouel also
pioviues Biiectois with limiteu liability. Totnes
staiteu the piocess of iegisteiing as an
Inuustiial anu Pioviuent Society but ian in to
issues with the Financial Seivices Authoiity.
Stiouu, again following the Chiemgauei, is a
coopeiative anu membeis aie chaigeu an
annual fee. None of the othei thiee cuiiencies
opeiate fee baseu membeiship schemes.
Theoretical Roots
The intellectual inspiiation foi the Tiansition
cuiiencies can be founu in the woik of authois
such as Beinaiu Lietaei anu Richaiu
Bouthwaite, who wiote on the neeu foi local
cuiiencies to suppoit local economies in the
face of globalisation (Bouthwaite, 1996;
Bouthwaite, 2uuu; Lietaei, 2uu1). Rob
Bopkins, one of the founueis of the Totnes
Pounu, was inspiieu by a talk he heaiu by
Beinaiu Lietaei as pait of a shoit couise on
'The Futuie of Noney' helu at Schumachei
College in 2uu6 in Totnes, Bevon wheie Lietaei
specifically iefeienceu the 0.S. Beikshaies local
cuiiency. The Beikshaies cuiiency, baseu in
Beikshiie in Nassachusetts in the 0.S. was
founueu in 2uu6 by the EF Schumachei Society,
a think-tank piomoting ecological economics.
The economic aiguments foi the Tiansition
cuiiencies aie often justifieu by iefeience to
the iuea of the 'local multipliei'. This iuea is
baseu upon Richaiu Kahn's (anu latei Keynes')
notion of the spenuing multipliei effect at the
national level of the economy, wheieby an
inciease in goveinment spenuing, if tianslateu
in to highei levels of consumption by
inuiviuuals, can have a piopoitionately gieatei
effect on total output oi aggiegate uemanu
(Keynes 19S6; Bahn 19S1). As the tiansition
cuiiencies cannot be 'bankeu', theie is gieatei
incentive to ciiculate them locally, enhancing
local uemanu anu cieating a multipliei effect
within a uefineu 'local' aiea.
Within the 0K the concept of the 'local
multipliei' has been uevelopeu by !"# (the new
economics founuation), the Lonuon-baseu
'think-anu-uo-tank' which has, thiough its
ieseaich anu publications, uevelopeu the
aigument that local economies as pione to
'leakage' thiough taxes, exteinal contiactois
anu the non-local supply chains anu
shaieholueis of national anu inteinational
chain stoies. (Waiu anu Lewis 2uu2). In
contiast, small inuepenuent shops aie moie
likely to employ local fiims foi these kinu of
seivices anu spenu any piofits locally (Sacks
2uu2). !"# conuucteu a stuuy in 2uu2 which
suggesteu only aiounu 1u-12 pence of eveiy
pounu spent in supeimaiket chains iemaineu
within the local economy, whilst a moie iecent
stuuy of the West Nichigan Economy in the 0.S.
concluueu that if iesiuents of the aiea weie to
ieuiiect 1u peicent of theii total spenuing fiom
chains to locally owneu businesses, the iesult
woulu be $14u million in new economic
activity foi the iegion, incluuing 1,6uu new jobs
anu $SS million in auuitional payioll (Sacks,
2uu2; Civic Economics, 2uu7).
Following this line of aigument, the Tiansition
cuiiencies can be seen as piomoting the
'meuium of exchange' function of money at the
expense of the 'stoie of value' function. The
tension between the successful fulfilment of
these two functions of money within a single
unit of account (the thiiu function) is wiuely
seen amongst monetaiy theoiists as one of the
main causes of instability in the mouein fiat-
baseu monetaiy system (Bouu 1994;
Bouthwaite 1999).
Key Challenges
5

The Tiansition cuiiencies majoi success so fai
has been as awaieness-iaising tools. They have
geneiateu astonishing meuia coveiage anu
captuieu the public imagination locally,
nationally anu inteinationally. No uoubt the
colouiful anu highly oiiginal note-uesign has
playeu a majoi pait in this. The Biiectoi of
Biixton Town Centie, foi example, saiu of the
Biixton Pounu that it hau 'uone moie foi
Biixton's ieputation than anything since the
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Launch £ In Circulation
4
No. Businesses Population
Totnes March 2007 c.5000 c.70 (2008) 8,000
Lewes September 2008 (first
issue), July 2009, (2
nd

issue)
c.15,000 (2
nd
issuance) c.130 16,000
Stroud September 2009 4,329 37 20,000
Brixton September 2009 30,000 140 65,000
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 61-67 64
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sTable 1: Background information on the Transition currencies (Jan 2010)
!"#$%"&# () *!+,%-", ./+&0+ "& 123345 6$+ 7(&8(&
9(-(0#$ () 7:;<+%$= >$+-+ 9-"?%(& "@ <:@+8= $:/+
+@%";:%+8 %$+ /:!0+ () %$+ @,$+;+ "& %+-;@ ()
A(@"%"/+ ;+8": ,(/+-:#+ %( <+ :-(0&8 B133=3335
6$+-+ "@ !"%%!+ 8(0<% () %$+ ";A:,% %$+ @,$+;+@ $:/+
$:8 "& %+-;@ () ,-+:%"&# : @+&@+ () ,(;;0&"%C A-"8+
:&8 8"@,0@@"(& "& %$+ )(0- :-+:@5 D(>+/+-= : &0;<+-
() ,$:!!+&#+@ $:/+ +;+-#+8 )(- %$+ @,$+;+@ :&8 %$+
+?"@%"&#= EF @%+-!"&#G<:,H+8= ;(8+!5
a) Incentives for consumers and businesses
I+-$:A@ %$+ #-+:%+@% ,$:!!+&#+ )(- %$+ 6-:&@"%"(&
,0--+&,"+@ "@ %$:% %$+ +?"@%"&# ;(8+! "@ 8+A+&8+&%=
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%$+ ,0--+&,C +?,$:&#+@ :% 1 %( 1 >"%$ EF @%+-!"&# :&8
&(&+ () %$+ @,$+;+@ $:/+ <++& @0,,+@@)0! "&
";A!+;+&%"&# ,(;A0!@(-C 8"@,(0&%@= ,(&@0;+-@
;:"& ;(%"/:%"(& )(- 0@"&# %$+ ,0--+&,C "@ : <+!"+) "&
%$+ +%$",:! A-"&,"A!+@ () %$+ "&"%":%"/+5 6$"@ ;:C
-+@%-",% %$+ 0@+ () %$+ ,0--+&,C %( %$+ @;:!!
A-(A(-%"(& () %$+ A(A0!:%"(& >$( @$:-+ %$+ @,$+;+@4
/:!0+@5 */+& >"%$ %$"@ A(A0!:%"(& #-(0A= %$+-+ "@ %$+
8:&#+- () %$+ &(/+!%C /:!0+ >+:-"&# ()) :&8 %$+
"&,(&/+&"+&,+ () ,:--C"&# %>( A:A+- ,0--+&,"+@ J:&8
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A:C;+&% )(- !:-#+- A0-,$:@+@K (0%>+"#$"&# %$"@
+%$",:! ;(%"/:%"(&5 .,,+@@"&# %$+ ,0--+&,C :!@(
"&/(!/+@ %>( %-:&@:,%"(&@ "& ;(@% ,:@+@ L
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A0-,$:@"&# %$+ !(,:! ,0--+&,C )-(; :& "@@0"&# A("&%5
7:,H () H&(>!+8#+ :<(0% %$+ !(,:%"(& () "@@0"&#
A("&%@ "@ ()%+& M0(%+8 :@ : -+:@(& >$C 0@+-@ 8( &(%
0@+ %$+ 6-:&@"%"(& ,0--+&,"+@ ;(-+ ()%+&5
N(- <0@"&+@@+@= %$+ ;:"& +,(&(;", "&,+&%"/+ )(-
:,,+A%"&# %$+ ,0--+&,C "@ %$+ )-++ ;:-H+%"&# >$",$ "%
"@ $(A+8 >"!! !+:8 %( :& "&,-+:@+ "& )((%):!!5 D(>+/+-=
") %$+ ;:"& 0@+-@ () %$+ ,0--+&,C :-+ ,0@%(;+-@ >$(
:!-+:8C $(!8 %$+ /:!0+@ :8/(,:%+8 <C %$+ @,$+;+=
<0@"&+@@+@ ;:C )++! %$+ "&,-+:@+8 )((%):!! +))+,% "@
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"@ :!@( :-#0:<!C #-+:%+- %$:& )(- ,(&@0;+-@5
90@"&+@@+@ ,:&&(%= :% A-+@+&%= <:&H %$+ !(,:!
,0--+&,"+@= $+&,+ %$+C ;0@% @A+&8 %$+ ,0--+&,C (&
@0AA!"+@= ())+- "% :@ A:C;+&% %( @%:))= #"/+ "% :@ ,$:&#+
(- 0@+ "% A+-@(&:!!C ") %$+C :-+ %( H++A "% "&
,"-,0!:%"(&5 P$"!@% %$"@ ,(0!8 <+ @++& :@ :8/:&%:#+ "&
%+-;@ () %$+ #(:!@ () %$+ @,$+;+ %( +&,(0-:#+ !(,:!
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:@ :K : ,(@% :&8 <K +/"8+&,+ %$:% %$+ @,$+;+ "@ &(%
>(-H"&# :8+M0:%+!C5
b) Social justice challenges
R+!:%+8 %( %$+ :<(/+= %$+-+ :-+ M0+@%"(&@ :@ %( $(>
%$+ 6-:&@"%"(& ,0--+&,"+@ @0AA(-% A+(A!+ (-
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6$+ $:-8 ,0--+&,C ;(8+! 8(+@ &(% ,-+:%+ :&C H"&8 ()
:88"%"(&:! !"M0"8"%C @"&,+ +/+-C &(%+ ;0@% <+
+?,$:&#+8 )(- EF @%+-!"&# :&8 @( ):- %$+ @,$+;+@
$:/+ <++& 0&:<!+ %( 8+/+!(A : !(:& ;+,$:&"@;5 T(-
8(+@ "% +&:<!+ :&C :88"%"(&:! (- :!%+-&:%"/+ )(-;@ ()
+?,$:&#+ (- +?A!("% 0&8+-0%"!"U+8 ,:A:,"%"+@ >"%$"&
,(;;0&"%"+@5 6$"@ ,(&%-:@%@= )(- +?:;A!+= >"%$
,0--+&,"+@ >$",$ $:/+ &(&G;(&+%:-C <:,H"&#= @0,$
:@ %";+G<:,H+8 ,0--+&,C @C@%+;@= >$",$ :-+ :<!+ %(
"&/(!/+ A+(A!+ "& +?,$:&#+@ >$( :-+ ,0--+&%!C
+?,!08+8 <C %$+ ;:-H+%5
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 61-67 65
The tiansition mouel uoes cieate a 0K steiling
backing oi 'asset' equivalent in size to the
amount solu anu exploiting this in some way
appeais as one potential way of cieating
auuitional liquiuity, e.g. thiough a low oi zeio
inteiest loan scheme. Bowevei, any kinu of
loan scheme woulu iequiie significant
auministiative anu financial infiastiuctuie anu
so fai the Tiansition schemes have been unable
to finu willing paitneis, although both high
stieet banks anu cieuit unions have been
involveu in uiscussions about potential
collaboiation. This contiasts with the 0niteu
States, wheie the Beikshaies mouel has the
suppoit of S iegional banks anu 12 bianches
anu the Chiemgauei in ueimany which also has
iegional banking suppoit.
c) Financial sustainability
The Tiansition cuiiencies, as with the othei
tiansition initiatives, weie set up as not-foi-
piofit schemes anu have been uepenuent
mainly on unpaiu laboui anu one off uonations.
They have been successful in attiacting small
financial oi in-kinu investments fiom local
councils anu businesses to pay foi events, set-
up costs, maiketing anu piinting of the notes.
Both Lewes anu Biixton weie successful in
iaising sponsoiship funus fiom local
businesses in ietuin foi featuiing theii
business logos piominently on theii maiketing
mateiials. Biixton anu Lewes have also
iecently been successful in attiacting pait-time
funuing foi a pioject managei fiom,
iespectively, the Laboui goveinment's Futuie
}obs Funu (now uioppeu by the Coalition
goveinment) anu fiom a Chaiitable Tiust. 0ne
way in which money has been anu will
continue to be geneiateu foi the schemes is
thiough 'leakage' - unieueemeu notes upon the
completion of the valiuity peiiou.
Neveitheless, 'volunteei fatigue' iemains a
majoi challenge foi the Tiansition cuiiencies
given the uepenuence on unpaiu laboui foi
much of the piomotional anu business
engagement woik. Stiouu is the only initiative
to have built in to its mouel a facility foi
geneiating funuing - thiough membeiship anu
ieuemption fees - but at piesent this uoes not
geneiate enough funuing to pay foi laboui
time.
d) Measurement and Evaluation
0ne majoi uiawback in using papei notes is it
that not possible to tiack how the cuiiency is
being useu anu how many notes aie actually in
ciiculation. The schemes have thus been
ieliant on simple balance of accounts figuies on
issuance anu ieuemption anu au hoc anu
anecuotal feeuback fiom businesses anu
consumeis about actual usage. Theie is a
suspicion that a consiueiable piopoition of the
notes solu aie foi novelty¡souvenii puiposes
iathei than puiposes of noimal exchange.
Eviuence foi this comes fiom both a slow uown
in issuance aftei an initial 'honeymoon' peiiou
anu the non-ieuemption peicentage foi Lewes
following the 1-yeai pilot (aumitteuly featuiing
just £1 issuance) which was ovei Su%. In
teims of attiacting fuithei public oi chaiitable
sectoi funuing, eviuence of impact will be
impoitant foi the schemes.
e) Under-developed banking
infrastructure and support
The Tiansition cuiiencies in the 0K have
stiuggleu to finu suppoit fiom eithei the
mainstieam commeicial banking oi community
finance sectois. This places significant
auuitional buiuen on the volunteeis involveu to
caiiy out auministiation, ieconciliation anu
accounting functions. It also limits the
potential of ueveloping local cuiiency bank
account facilities oi loan initiatives, both of
which might be welcomeu by the small
businesses signeu up the schemes, many of
whom stiuggle to access cieuit fiom
commeicial banks.
It may be that the 0K's banking system, which
has seen the giauual uisappeaiance of local anu
iegional banks anu a ieuuction in bianches
following the financial ueiegulation of the
198us anu 199us (Leyshon anu Signoietta
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‘volunteer fatigue’ remains a major
challenge for the Transition currencies
given the dependence on unpaid labour
for much of the promotional and
business engagement work
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 61-67 66
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2uu8) is pooily suiteu to suppoiting local cuiiencies. The
situation in the 0K is in stiong contiast the 0niteu States
anu many paits of Euiope, wheie theie iemains a moie
vibiant local anu iegional banking infiastiuctuie. The
Beikshaies local cuiiency in the 0.S. foi example benefits
fiom the involvement of thiiteen bianches of five local
banks which caiiy out the bulk of auministiation anu
enable the S% uiscount to be moie easily executeu. The
Chiemgauei anu othei Regiogelu cuiiencies also have hau
moie success in attiacting auministiative suppoit fiom
banks.
f) Challenges of scale and demand
The economic impact of the Tiansition cuiiencies, in
teims of actual tuinovei in the businesses that use them
anu in teims of theii local aieas' oveiall economies,
iemains veiy small (see table 1). If the cuiiencies aie to
achieve theii aim of genuinely enhancing the economic
iesilience of theii communities, they will neeu to finu
ways of incieasing the volume of ciiculation. 0ptions
heie coulu incluue moving beyonu the local to the
iegional scale, to biing in moie potential supplieis to
become involveu anu peisuauing a laige oiganisation
such as a Local Authoiity oi Piimaiy Caie Tiust to accept
the cuiiency as payment. This woulu give businesses a
simple way of moving the cuiiency on. Biistol Tiansition
aie cuiiently exploiing the options foi a iegional
cuiiency scheme that woulu incoipoiate the city but also
the iuial aieas aiounu it, bioauly uefineu in teims of the
'bio-iegion' (Tiansition Biistol 2u1u).
Looking to the future
Bespite these challenges, theie iemains consiueiable
optimism about the futuie of the Tiansition cuiiencies
anu a numbei of aieas apait fiom the foui existing
schemes aie ueveloping theii own mouels. Key aieas foi
fuithei ieseaich anu exploiation to impiove the
effectiveness of the Tiansition cuiiencies aie as follows:
1. The cieation of electionic payment anu tiauing
systems so that the cuiiency is not limiteu to cash
tiansactions. This woulu have a numbei of
auvantages incluuing:
-
Nuch bettei infoimation on how the cuiiency is
ciiculating amongst businesses anu useis anu thus
what inteiventions woulu be most useful in
enhancing the scheme
-
0ppoitunities to incluue the financially excluueu oi
those who cannot get access to a bank account, foi
example thiough using mobile phones to stoie
cieuits
7
2. An income to the cuiiency management bouy built into
the system to sustain anu uevelop it. Again the
intiouuction of electionic payments coulu make this
consiueiably easiei - meichants anu customeis aie
quite useu to paying a S% tiansaction fee foi using
cieuit caius foi example.
S. The involvement of a financial infiastiuctuie bouy of
some kinu to allow useis anu businesses to holu
tiansition cuiiency bank accounts anu conuuct much of
the auministiation anu ieconciliation woik involveu in
managing a cuiiency scheme.
4. The involvement of savings anu investment institutions
pioviuing local finance, possibly in pait-payment
thiough the cuiiency, to sustainable businesses anu
financially excluueu inuiviuuals. A paiticulai question
woulu be how the 0K steiling backing ieseives of the
local cuiiencies coulu be utiliseu to pioviue community
finance foi local businesses oi financially excluueu
iesiuents of the aiea.
S. The intiouuction of some foim of Business-to-business
mutual cieuit tiauing system oi commeicial baitei
system to incentivise businesses who aie involveu in
the scheme to tiaue with each othei anu to give them
auuitional, non-inteiest beaiing cieuit lines. This
shoulu also incentivise moie local souicing of goous
anu seivices anu inciease iegional economic iesilience
- stuuies suggest the Swiss WIR mutual cieuit scheme
has countei-cyclical piopeities, foi example (Stouuei
2uuS).
6. The possibility of integiating social cuiiencies - such as
time banking oi LETS - in to the haiu cuiiency mouels,
tapping in to people's unueiutilizeu skills anu abilities
nef (the new economics founuation) anu the Tiansition
Netwoik have iecently embaikeu on a pioject to conuuct
scoping ieseaich on how to enhance the tiansition
cuiiencies - Tiansition Cuiiencies 2.u - which will be
examining a numbei of the above aieas.
Acknowledgements
This papei oiiginateu fiom a local cuiiency seminai oiganiseu
by nef (the new economics founuation) anu The Tiansition
Netwoik, suppoiteu by the Tuuoi Tiust. With thanks to
membeis of the Stiouu Pounu, Biixton Pounu, Lewes Pounu anu
Totnes Pounu foi theii assistance in gatheiing infoimation foi
this aiticle anu to Noel Longhuist anu Nolly Scott-Cato foi
comments on the papei.
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 61-67 67
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Endnotes
!
Fuithei infoimation about the emeigence of the Tiansition
Cuiiencies can be founu in Pete Noith's iecent book, 'Local
Noney', publisheu by the Tiansition netwoik in }une 2u1u.
"
Foi moie infoimation on the histoiy anu aims of Tiansition,
see: http:¡¡tiansitiontowns.oig anu Rob Bopkins book, The
Tiansition Banubook: fiom oil uepenuency to local iesilience,
(uieen Books 2uu8).
#
Accoiuing to the Feueiation of Small Businesses, 2uuu local
shops aie closing each yeai - see Tiaue Local Nanifesto, http:¡¡
www.fsb.oig.uk¡uefault.aspx.iu=u&loc=keeptiauelocal. Bespite
this, small businesses account foi the majoiity of piivate sectoi
jobs in the 0K: S9.2% in 2uu7, aiounu 1S.S million jobs oveiall
$
N.b. this figuie is the amount of cuiiency actually in ciiculation
iathei than the total amount of notes issueu.
%
It shoulu be noteu that accuiate uata on the impact of
Tiansition Cuiiencies is limiteu as theie has been veiy few
iobust empiiical stuuies of the schemes.
&
A iecent stuuy of the Lewes Pounu founu that 7u% of tiaueis
felt the scheme hau maue little uiffeience to footfall. See
uiaugaiu, }, (2uu9) 'A mixeu-methou case stuuy of the Lewes
Pounu anu its capacity to builu iesilience in the community of
Lewes', unpublisheu NA thesis, 0niveisity of East Anglia.
7 The N-pesa scheme in Kenya allows financial payments using
mobile phones anu has helpeu ievolutionize the faiming tiaue.
See http:¡¡www.safaiicom.co.ke¡inuex.php.iu=74S
References
Civic Economics (2uu7) 'The San Fiancisco Retail Biveisity
Stuuy', http:¡¡www.civiceconomics.com¡SF |accesseu 16th
Apiil 2uu9j
Bouu, N. B., 1994, The Sociology of Noney, Cambiiuge: Polity;
Bouthwaite (1999) The Ecology of Noney, Totnes: uieen Books
Bouthwaite, R., (1996) Shoit Ciicuit: Stiengthening Local
economies foi secuiity in an unstable woilu, Totnes: uieen
Books;
Bouthwaite, R., (1999) The Ecology of Noney, Totnes: uieen
Books
uelleii, C., 'Chiemgauei Regiomoney: Theoiy anu Piactice of a
Local Cuiiency', Inteinational }ouinal of Community Cuiiency
Reseaich, vol 1S (2uu9) pp. 61- 7S
uesell, Silvio. The Natuial Economic 0iuei, Reviseu euition.
Lonuon: Petei 0wen, 19S8.
Kahn, R. F., 'The ielation of home investment to unemployment',
The Economic }ouinal, }une 19S1, vol. 41, No. 162 (}un., 19S1),
pp. 17S-198
Keynes, }.N, |19S6j (2uu8) The ueneial Theoiy of Employment,
Inteiest anu Noney, BN Publishing
Leyshon, A. anu Signoietta, P. (2uu8) 'All gone now: the mateiial,
uiscuisive anu political eiasuie of bank anu builuing society
bianches in Biitain'. Antipoue, 4u: 79-1u1.
Lietaei, B., (2uu1) The Futuie of Noney: Cieating New Wealth,
Woik anu a Wisei Woilu, Lonuon: Centuiy
Sacks, }, (2uu2) The Noney Tiail, Appenuix S, Lonuon: nef (the
new economics founuation), pp114-117, accessible at http:¡¡
www.neweconomics.oig¡gen¡uploaus¡The%2uNoney
%2uTiail.puf
Stouuei, }, (2uuS) Recipiocal Exchange Netwoiks: Implications
foi macioeconomic stability
Tiansition Biistol, (2u1u) 'A Biistol Pounu foi the City anu the
Southwest', available at www.agoiaspace.oig¡uocument¡puf¡
uocument1uu2_S_1uS1.puf |accesseu 22nu }une 2u1uj
Walkei, B, Bollingei, C.S, Caipentei, S.R. & Kinzig, A. (2uu4)
"Resilience, Auaptability anu Tiansfoimability in Social
ecological systems". Ecology anu Society 9 (2) pS.
Waiu, B, anu Lewis, }., (2uu2) Plugging the Leaks: making the
most of eveiy pounu that enteis youi local economy, nef (new
economics founuation
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 68-72 68
Introduction
A peei to peei mutual cieuit system is now in
opeiation in the State of veimont. It is calleu
the vBSR Naiketplace anu is an innovative
paitneiship between a statewiue membeiship
association, veimont Businesses foi Social
Responsibility (vBSR) anu a cuiiency uesign
anu management oiganization, veimont
Sustainable Exchange (vSE). This pioject is a
significant step foiwaiu in the community
cuiiency woilu as it makes paiticipation in a
mutual cieuit system a membeiship benefit foi
businesses that belong to an alieauy existing
anu well-establisheu business association.
Vermont Sustainable Exchange
Builington, the laigest town in veimont, has a
long histoiy with complementaiy cuiiencies
going back into the 197us. Noie iecently, fiom
1997-2uu6, the Builington Cuiiency Pioject
(BCP) ciiculateu a papei, fiat-issueu sciip
which hau limiteu success. At it's peak, theie
weie about 1Su people listeu as membeis but
success, as uefineu by a consistent flow of
cuiiency, was nevei achieveu anu the
oiganization took huge amounts of volunteei
laboi to cooiuinate. A Time Bank pioject also
took ioot in Builington within the last uecaue,
but while well-intentioneu, was shoit-liveu uue
to inconsistency in volunteei management anu
funuing.
Buiing the last yeais of Builington Cuiiency
Pioject (2uu4-2uu6), the Boaiu of Biiectois
anu Staff of BCP attempteu to switch BCP fiom
a papei sciip to a mutual cieuit baseu system,
inspiieu by the WIR, LETS, anu the wiitings of
Thomas uieco. Bue to the amount of papei
cuiiency that was untiaceable anu lack of
financial iesouices, the oiganization folueu
befoie getting beyonu the ieseaich stage of this
iuea.
veimont Sustainable Exchange was founueu by
Amy Kiischnei in 2uu7 with the goal of
cieating a polycultuie of community cuiiencies
in veimont using a WIR style peei-to-peei
mutual cieuit system as a base.
Amy is a long time community cuiiency
activist, authoi anu piactitionei. She was
pieviously the Executive Biiectoi of the
Builington Cuiiency Pioject. She fiequently
gives piesentations aiounu on the subject of
A Report from Vermont (USA):
The VBSR Marketplace creates mutual
credit at statewide level
Amy M. Kirschner
Vermont Sustainable Exchange
amy@changethemarket.com
Abstract
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International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 68-72 69
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Responsibility
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G/+ 9-*U+'86-!+ 5-2 &%&'&-66( 2+' $8 5&'/
2+6+!'+. ,A1K #+#3+*2 '" 3+ T"$%.&%;
9+#3+*27 G/+2+ 3$2&%+22+2 -*+ 6+-.+*2 &%
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“...the idea of starting a community
currency should not be mistaken as simply a
novel approach or quick fix for a lackluster
economy. Persistence in selling the benefits
and educating after the business has
activated their account is required and a
dedicated staff is necessary.”
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 68-72 70
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vSE takes opeiational anu auministiative iesponsibility
foi the Naiketplace, incluuing cieuit cleaiing softwaie
implementation, maintenance, tax iepoiting anu
biokeiage functions foi vBSR membeis.
Innovations
The vBSR Naiketplace is leauing the way with a numbei
of innovations in the community cuiiency woilu. These
can be summaiizeu as: Community Peiception, Cieuit
uianting, Sales Piocess, anu Builuing a Restoiation
Economy.
Community Perception
By paitneiing with a business association, the
Naiketplace has oveicome the peiception that
community cuiiencies aie countei-cultuie. vSE uses the
teim "tiaue" which is neutial anu alieauy meaningful to
business owneis. Nany of them alieauy uo this on a one-
to-one level (baitei) so making the leap to the concept
anu application of peei-to-peei mutual cieuit is lesseneu.
Bieaking thiough to mainstieam acceptance anu having a
cohesive statewiue cuiiency is also possible. Nainstieam
veimont cultuie is moie libeial politically than
mainstieam Ameiican cultuie. Bue to the size (about
6uu,uuu citizens) anu geogiaphy of veimont, the
Naiketplace is unique in its ieach. veimont is situateu in
a iuial pait of New Englanu with the Fiench-speaking
piovince of Quebec Canaua immeuiately to the noith, anu
a laige lake, Champlain, sepaiating it fiom New Yoik on
the west. Its ielative geogiaphic isolation has cieateu a
cultuie that encouiages anu lauus self-ieliance anu sees
community as a necessaiy souice of suivival. Ameiican
cultuie has been late to aiiive to veimont, even being the
last state to get a Wal-Nait. uaining tiaction in a
population that is alieauy sympathetic to sustainable anu
piogiessive economic iueas anu the potential foi woiu-of-
mouth publicity in a connecteu population is of gieat
assistance in ueveloping the Naiketplace.
Credit Granting
The cieuit line gianting piocess is key to the success of
any community cuiiency. The uETS system anu
philosophy suppoit an integiateu cieuit matiix that is
applieu uemociatically anu tianspaiently so the
community is evei awaie of how, how much, anu to whom
cieuit is extenueu. The cieuit matiix was uesigneu by
Richaiu Logie, ownei of TBEx anu founuei of uETS. The
cieuit matiix is baseu on a foimula that incluues such
ciiteiia as tiauing histoiy, ieputation anu the goous anu¡
oi seivices that the business is placing into the system.
Sales Process
viewing an account in a mutual cieuit system as a
membei benefit in an alieauy existing oiganization
eliminates a significant huiule faceu by many stait up
cuiiency oiganizations: the piocess of selling
membeiships to ieach ciitical tiauing mass. It also
oveicomes a significant psychological huiule: a
community cuiiency is now something you (anu youi
community) alieauy have, not something alteinative that
neeus to be joineu. Feeuback fiom vBSR membeis leu
vSE to change the teims it uses fiom something they
shoulu 'join' to something they shoulu simply 'activate'.
IRS iegulations iequiie the Naiketplace to collect an
auuitional foim, the W9, that is not iequiieu foi geneial
vBSR membeiship. So the teim 'activation' is useu to
uesciibe the necessaiy step of collecting this foim.
Building a Restoration Economy
The Naiketplace can be useu to suppoit ielocalization
initiatives in many of the small towns aiounu veimont.
The uETS platfoim allows foi the issuing of customizeu
sciip which can be ciiculateu among citizens foi small
tiansactions while the businesses tiaue electionic cieuits.
vSE is cuiiently woiking with small place-baseu non-
piofits, who aie also vBSR membeis, in vaiious towns
aiounu veimont to uevelop this piocess.
Inuiviuuals can join vBSR, meaning that people can builu
oi use skills to supplement theii incomes uuiing times of
unuei employment. Inuiviuual membeiship is ielatively
inexpensive ($Su-$1uu) anu comes with the same full
access to the Naiketplace that all business membeiships
ieceive. An inuiviuual can list theii skills oi iesponu to
auveitisements in the Naiketplace. vBSR membeis have
high uemanu foi ieliable tiauespeople (electiicians,
plumbeis, caipenteis) to help with piojects that have
been put off uue to cash shoitages causeu by the cuiient
iecession. Inuiviuuals can also use the Naiketplace to
builu theii poitfolios anu gain customei iefeiials.
vSE is also exploiing the iuea of coopeiating in the
uevelopment of a local business incubatoi wheie vBSR
tiaue cieuits woulu be a pait of the stait-up funuing
packages. veimont has a stiong agiicultuial heiitage anu
tiauition of entiepieneuiship. Nany small anu micio foou
enteipiises aie looking foi cieuit to funu stait up
expenses. The Naiketplace pioviues an immeuiate
auuience to test anu iefine theii piouucts while eaining
ievenue anu pioviues no-inteiest cieuit lines (in vBSR
Tiaue Cieuits, if they meet the iequiiements of the cieuit
gianting piocess as uesciibeu above) which significantly
ieuuces the cost of boiiowing.
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 68-72 71
The national non-piofit uieen Ameiica, an
oiganization with a focus on builuing a gieen
economy thiough inuiviuual, collective, anu
business action, has iecently launcheu the
uieen Ameiica Exchange (uAEX) among theii
membeiship this yeai, also using the uETS
tiauing platfoim anu philosophy. As such, both
exchanges can be goveineu anu connecteu in a
mannei so that iecipiocal tiauing of goous anu
seivices is available to the benefit of both sets
of membeis. vSE is woiking in co-opeiation
with uieen Ameiica on this enueavoi.
Challenges
While the ielationship with vBSR makes stait-
up significantly easiei anu the uETS platfoim
hanules the auministiation smoothly anu
pioviues cieuit cleaiing anu online buying anu
selling functionality - the amount of woik that
was iequiieu was significant. In shoit, the iuea
of staiting a community cuiiency shoulu not be
mistaken as simply a novel appioach oi quick
fix foi a lacklustei economy. Peisistence in
selling the benefits anu euucating aftei the
business has activateu theii account is iequiieu
anu a ueuicateu staff is necessaiy. Foi these
ieasons, the iamp-up time anu stait-up costs
aie moie than most communities anticipate.
These factois contiibuteu to the shaping of this
pioject as a social enteipiise iathei than a non-
piofit, volunteei uiiven oiganization. vSE is a
limiteu liability company that contiacts
seivices to vBSR. veimont is unique in that is
has a numbei of coipoiate stiuctuie options
incluuing a foi-benefit coipoiation (iecently
passeu by the veimont Legislatuie) anu an LSC
(a low piofit limiteu liability company also
iecently passeu). Futuie changes to the
coipoiate foim of vSE to ensuie that it stays
iooteu in community anu tiue to it's social
mission will be exploieu.
Progress to date
To uate, ovei 6u vBSR membeis have activateu
theii account anu staiteu tiauing, iepiesenting
a mix of Founuei anu Basic Accounts. Piemium
Accounts will not be staiteu until all Su places
in the Founuei Level aie filleu, which is
anticipateu by the enu of this yeai.
Theie is a healthy mix of piouucts offeis anu
iequests. 0ffeis incluue a mix of piouucts anu
seivices such as iauio auveitising (statewiue
thiough vPR anu hypei local low-fi fiom a
music euucation nonpiofit), gieen uesign¡builu
classes, computei¡office equipment, wellness
piogiams, cateiing, meeting anu event space,
hotel¡hostel iooms, confeience attenuance,
piomotional items anu appaiel, gift baskets,
piinting anu signage, iecycling pickup, website
uevelopment, anu iestauiants.
0ne eaily success has been with veimont
Public Rauio (vPR). They aie a Founuei
Nembei with a cieuit limit of 2uuu vBSR Tiaue
Cieuits. They staiteu by puichasing fiom vBSR
membeis.
vPR Facilities Nanagei, Lauiie Kigonya notes,
"...we have a veiy tight buuget. Each yeai we
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Figure 1: Photo Courtesy of Vermont Public
Radio.
Figure 1:
Vermont Public
Radio employees at
their 2010 listener
picnic wearing t-
shirts purchased
through the VBSR
Marketplace
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 68-72 72
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have an employee iecognition event anu a
listenei picnic that staff attenu. Foi the picnic,
we like to have piomotional logo weai to
iuentify the staff anu peisonalities among the
1uuu-plus listeneis.
In the past we've bought shiits fiom Lanus Enu,
but in this economy that was a stietch. It is
haiu to justify spenuing uonois' money foi
employee shiits. The Naiketplace seemeu the
most iesponsible option to exploie. I imagineu
theie weie otheis in veimont in the same
situation, with neeus to fill but limiteu cash. So
we bought 62 logo shiits foi employees. Lanus
Enu woulu have cost us $SSuu. Beie, with a
Su-Su cash¡tiaue with veimont Clothing
Company, we paiu $7uu cash (anu about 7uu in
vBSR Tiaue Cieuits). Also, vPR is veiy
community-uiiven so it's a plus that we coulu
buy fiom a veimont company. Now we have a
ielationship with the fiim.2" veimont Public
Rauio is now putting theii fiist offei of
unueiwiiting into the system.
vBSR has also benefiteu. They ieceiveu a
Founuei Cieuit Line anu aie exempt fiom
tiansaction fees. This allows them to spenu
cieuits with membeis, expanuing theii
puichasing powei anu ciiculating cieuits with
the membeiship. Theii fiist puichase was
senuing a Thank You gift to theii sponsois of
locally maue cookies fiom veimont Cookie
Love.
"Senuing a gift to suppoiteis hau long been on
vBSR's wish list, says 0wen Nilne, vBSR
Bevelopment Biiectoi. "We'ie a nonpiofit. We
uon't have a lot of cash ieseives," he says. "This
alloweu us to take the iuea iight fiom 'this is a
gieat iuea' to a ieality. 0theiwise it woulu still
be sitting on the back buinei. Because of the
Naiketplace, we coulu uo it."
vBSR eains cieuits thiough confeience fees
anu newslettei auveitising. They have chosen
not to accept cieuits foi membeiship fees as
this pait of the cash buuget contiibutes to staff
salaiies anu benefits which cuiiently cannot be
shifteu to tiaue.
Looking Forward
uETS in cuiiently oiganizing collaboiative
effoits among uETS useis such as the vBSR
Naiketplace anu is well unueiway with initial
uevelopment of the uETS Togethei co-
opeiative that will place the technology,
tiaining anu maiketing assets into the hanus of
coopeiative membeis.
We look foiwaiu to shaiing oui piogiess anu
lessons leaineu to othei inteiesteu
communities who aie inteiesteu in ueveloping
a similai concept. Communities of place anu
inteiest coulu be well-seiveu by applying this
exchange mouel to alieauy existing
membeiship-baseu associations.
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 73-76 73
Introduction
Time banking is a community cuiiency with an
explicit social objective to giow social capital
anu combat social exclusion. The most
establisheu foim of time banking is the 'peison
to peison' mouel baseu on inuiviuual
exchanges in a community. A new foim of time
banking has iecently emeigeu in Spice, a social
enteipiise that implements time banking in
public seivices in an innovative way. Spice
opeiates time banking as a 'means to an enu
tool' to piomote active citizenship, ieuuce
welfaie uepenuency anu ultimately tiansfoim
public seivices into co-piouuction. In a society
wheie the impact of iecession is incieasingly
questioning the futuie of oui public seivices,
Spice suggest time banking can help ie-focus
public seivice ueliveiy anu woik in an efficient
way that empoweis both inuiviuuals anu
communities to geneiate well-being. This
aiticle will biiefly ieview foims of time banking
in the 0K to set the scene foi a uiscussion of
Spice's appioach to time banking in public
seivices using a case stuuy of theii woik in a
housing association.
Person to person time banking: ‘The
Traditional Model’.
The tiauitional mouel of time bank is baseu on
houi foi houi skills exchange, meuiateu by a
biokei, between inuiviuuals in a community. In
this way, time banks aie a foim of community
self-help embouying the values of mutualism
anu iecipiocity. Reseaich suggests that by
aiuing people financially anu giowing social
netwoiks, time banking can help to tackle
social exclusion acioss economic, social,
political anu cultuial uomains (Seyfang, 2uu2;
2uuSa; 2uuSb; 2uu4a; 2uu4b).
Bowevei, a numbei of challenges have been
iuentifieu with peison to peison time banking
mouels. As with many thiiu sectoi
oiganisations, the main challenge facing time
banks is the lack of sustainable funuing.
Limiteu funuing often pievents time banks
fiom opening oi ueveloping anu time biokei
eneigy is wasteu thiough chasing iesouices.
0thei pioblems incluue membeis not spenuing
time houis eithei thiough a lack of options foi
spenuing, oi uifficulty in embiacing the concept
of iecipiocity, both of which limit the potential
benefits of time banks. Theie aie also baiiieis
uue to iisk complexities associateu with
Time Banking in Social Housing:
A Toolkit for Co-production in Public
Services
Ruth Naughton-Doe
University of Bristol, School for Policy Studies, 8 Priory Road, Bristol, BS8 1TZ
ruth.naughton-doe@bristol.ac.uk
International
Journal of
Community
Currency
Research
IJCCR
Abstract
A social enteipiise Spice has pioneeieu a new methou of time banking that woiks with public
seivices in an innovative way. Spice uses time banking as a 'means to an enu tool' to piomote
active citizenship, ieuuce welfaie uepenuency anu ultimately iefoim public seivices with co-
piouuction. This aiticle biiefly examines cuiient time banking piactices in the 0K to set the
scene foi a uiscussion of Spice's appioach when applieu in Social Bousing. Whilst in its eaily
stages, the appioach uemonstiates some success in incieasing paiticipation anu impioving both
inuiviuual anu community well-being. This is an exciting new use of community cuiiencies to
catalyse public sectoi iefoim.
www.ijccr.net
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 73-76 74
vulneiable people anu iequiieu CRB checks,
especially in local authoiity funueu time banks
with ielateu goveinment papeiwoik.

Person to agency time banking: ‘The
Welsh Model’
Time Banking Wales auvocateu a uiffeient
appioach to time banking with an explicit aim
of community uevelopment by builuing
paitneiships with local community
oiganisations anu seivices. Insteau of
establishing a new oiganisation of 'time bank',
the Welsh mouel encouiages existing
oiganisations to auopt the values of time
banking. Rathei than inuiviuual exchanges,
citizens eain cieuits by uiiectly engaging with
local agencies, community gioups anu public
seivices. In this mouel, time bank membeis
ieceive a physical time cieuit note which is
then useu to access seivices oi tiips funueu
using existing iesouices anu spaie capacity. Foi
example, a youth club which once pioviueu
tiips foi fiee is encouiageu to chaige membeis
time cieuits to go on tiips. Time cieuits aie
eaint by helping in the community in activities
such as littei picking, anu the values of
iesponsibility anu iecipiocity aie peipetuateu.
The appioach begins with one committeu
oiganisation, anu eventually uiffeient gioups
aie encouiageu to woik togethei to giow a
time netwoik oi alliance which spans the
community. The benefits of the appioach aie
incieaseu iesponsibility, ieuuceu uepenuency,
incieaseu employability, access to skills,
impioveu health anu well-being, anu
community uevelopment. Whilst the appioach
has been successful in some aieas such as the
Welsh valley town Blaengaiw (uiegoiy, 2uu9),
ciitics of the appioach aigue it only woiks in
small geogiaphically uefineu communities like
those founu in South Wales, anu eviuence is yet
to be seen of its success outsiue these aieas.
Spice Innovations
Spice is a uynamic social enteipiise that applies
the Welsh mouel of time banking uiiectly to
public seivices such as schools, piisons anu
housing associations. Community cuiiencies
have long been iegaiueu as pioviuing moie
than an alteinative economic system, but Spice
embiace time banking in a novel way to
uiiectly influence anu iefoim public seivices.
Whilst the inuiviuual exchanges iemain
valuable, Spice see time banking as 'means to
an enu tool' to meet othei outcomes such as
incieaseu paiticipation, ieuuceu uepenuency,
active citizenship anu ultimately co-piouuction.
To biiefly uiscuss co-piouuction, it moves
beyonu paiticipation to emphasise the
necessaiy involvement of citizens in the
piouuction of seivices, fiom commissioning,
planning, ueliveiy anu evaluation (Boivaiu,
2uu7; Neeuham, 2uu7; 2uu9). Co-piouuction
aims to 'woik with anu not uo unto' people
(Cummins anu Nillei, 2uu7) so that seivices
aie ueliveieu in a way that builus
empoweiment, well-being anu self-esteem. It
ieuefines seivice useis as valuable assets co-
piouucing theii own outcomes. The benefits of
co-piouuction aie ieuuceu welfaie uepenuency,
empoweiment anu seivices that aie moie
peisonaliseu, efficient, iesponsive anu
accountable. Fuitheimoie, by ueliveiing
seivices in a way that incieases well-being,
long teim welfaie costs will be ieuuceu as
seivice useis become moie iesilient anu
healthy.
The tiauitional mouel of time banking in the
0SA centialiseu co-piouuction anu piomoteu
community self help in Ameiica to boost
capacity in unueifunueu public seivices (Cahn,
2uuu). In the 0K, this aspect of time banking
has pieviously been siuelineu peihaps uue to
oui compiehensive welfaie state. Bowevei,
Spice's mouel makes co-piouuction explicit in
time banking anu moves the tiansaction away
fiom the inuiviuual anu towaius public
seivices. In times of iecession anu with
giowing awaieness that oui cuiient mouel of
seivice ueliveiy is flaweu, Spice's mouel is
expeiiencing populaiity. Both The
Conseivative's 'Big Society' anu Laboui's
championing of co-opeiatives aie compatible
with Spice's vision foi public seivice iefoim
anu Eiic Pickles the Ninistei foi Communities
mentions Spice in his community stiategy.
Benefits of the Welsh Model and Spice
Eviuence fiom case stuuies suggests that
peison to agency time banking uoes encouiage
citizens to become moie active in theii
community anu incieases people's well-being.
Fuitheimoie, whilst time banking uoes not
necessaiily leau to co-piouuction, it helps to
sow the seeus of uevelopment (uiegoiy, 2uu9),
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International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 73-76 75
anu communicates the concept to piactitioneis in a
uigestible way. Piactically, this mouel oveicomes the
uifficulties of sustainable funuing as the time bank
becomes mainstieameu anu 'iewaius' aie given using
spaie capacity. Auuitionally, all membeis have
oppoitunities to spenu theii cieuits anu iisk
complexities aie iemoveu as the tiansaction is not baseu
on an inuiviuual exchange between vulneiable people.
Bowevei, the eviuence suppoiting Spice is not
acauemically iobust anu most of the eviuence is eithei
piouuceu by Spice themselves oi by the think tank the
New Economics Founuation who both have vesteu
inteiests in the success of time banking. Spice's appioach
is pioneeiing, is still being uevelopeu anu is unuei
ieseaicheu. Whilst piomising, the eviuence neeus to be
iobustly substantiateu.
Spice and Housing
To fully explain Spice's appioach this aiticle will uiscuss
the piactical application of the methouology when
applieu to social housing. 0niteu Welsh Bousing
Association in Caiuiff iecently contiacteu Spice to
implement time banking as a methou of incieasing
tenant paiticipation. Peison to peison time banking has
pieviously been establisheu in housing associations, but
with limiteu success uue to the time consuming natuie of
monitoiing the inuiviuual tiansactions anu the
iecogniseu necessity to employ a full time cooiuinatoi.
Spice's new appioach hopes to ievitalise time banking in
housing, anu whilst continuing to pioviue the benefits of
time banking to iesiuents, also hopes to fulfil the social
iesponsibilities anu paiticipation objectives of 0niteu
Welsh.
0niteu Welsh hau a pioblem to solve, as a social housing
pioviuei they iecogniseu tenant paiticipation as goou
piactise. Tenant paiticipation is thought to impiove
seivices by making them moie iesponsive anu
peisonaliseu, to piomote empoweiment anu to ieuuce
tuinovei. Bowevei, paiticipation initiatives histoiically
stiuggle to engage the many, fiequently failing to engage
socially excluueu gioups anu insteau engaging the same
small gioup of active tenants which leaus to ieuuceu
positive impacts of paiticipation (Simmons anu Biichall,
2uu7). Fuitheimoie, 0niteu Welsh iecogniseu that
methous of paiticipation weie not uiveise enough to
appeal to all tenants, anu they wanteu to iewaiu tenants
who weie alieauy paiticipating.
Time banks weie seen as a possible solution to these
outlineu pioblems. In oiuei to boost the positive impacts
of paiticipation, time cieuits offei incentives to
paiticipate. Auuitionally, a uiveise menu of ways to eain
time cieuits attiacts moie people than the tiauitional
volunteei, anu time cieuits aie a way of iewaiuing
tenants. Paiticipation in time bank schemes has all the
afoiementioneu benefits to social exclusion anu well-
being, as well as meeting the housing association's iemit
of pioviuing socially iesponsible seivices.
Aftei iuentifying the ways in which time cieuits coulu be
useful, Spice woikeu with 0niteu Welsh to uevelop a time
cieuit system wheie tenants eain cieuits foi attenuing
iesiuents meetings, pioviuing feeuback anu helping to
iun events. Resiuents then spenu cieuits on a menu of
iewaius anu activities. Spice built mutually beneficial
paitneiships with local businesses such as a iock
climbing centie, an aits centie, Caiuiff Blues iugby
giounu anu a haiiuiesseis, all of whom weie inteiesteu
in both incieaseu piospects foi publicity anu wiuei
social iesponsibility objectives. Local Authoiities accept
Spice Cieuits to access swimming anu the gym to help
meet theii objective of engaging socially excluueu people
with theii seivices. As an auueu benefit, many of the time
bank iewaius aie foi healthy activities meaning people
benefit fiom both eaining anu spenuing theii time
cieuits. Spice constantly uevelops theii iewaius baseu on
useis' piefeiences anu in the long teim hope to pioviue
euucation anu tiaining couises. Eventually, Spice aims to
woik with all housing associations in Caiuiff to establish
a Bousing Netwoik, which encouiages paitneiship
woiking between housing agencies.
Successes
Reseaich into the housing association is still unueiway,
but pieliminaiy finuings suggest a numbei of benefits
such as incieaseu paiticipation, joint woiking anu uptake
of healthy activities among tenants. It is too eaily to
uiscuss co-piouuction which is a long teim goal, but
incieaseu paiticipation is a sign that it will uevelop.
0ne success has been wheie Spice has intiouuceu the
system into a suppoiteu housing seivice foi homeless
people. Aiguably the most excluueu in society, homeless
people aie tiauitionally veiy uifficult to engage in both
volunteeiing anu tenant paiticipation. Bespite being
beneficial to health anu well-being, tiauitional mouels of
seivices have not successfully engageu this gioup in
these activities. Spice woiking in a cieative way has
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“Research into the housing
association is still underway, but
preliminary findings suggest a
number of benefits such as
increased participation, joint
working and uptake of healthy
activities among tenants.”
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 73-76 76
initiateu a flexible scheme foi homeless people
to volunteei anu paiticipate in this hostel.
Challenges
Theie aie a numbei of challenges that lie aheau
foi Spice incluuing costs of pioviuing iewaius
anu uifficulties communicating theii co-
piouuction cultuie. A moie funuamental
ciiticism is that Spice Cieuits aie not ieally a
time bank. Time banks aim to builu peisonal
ielationships anu piomote community self-
help with community cuiiencies often being
politically iauical anu existing outsiue the
mainstieam. Bowevei, Spice's methou is
ieminiscent of behavioui mouification
techniques such as token economics useu in
public seivices to cieate socially uesiiable
behavioui (Kazuin, 1982). Foi example, people
on psychiatiic waius weie given iewaius anu
piivileges foi 'goou' behavioui. The new use of
time banking coulu be seen to ieplicate this
appioach anu iathei than challenging the
goveinment system anu allowing inuiviuual
expiession, it coulu be utiliseu to cieate self-
uisciplining subjects peipetuating goveinment
values such as ieuuceu uepenuency anu health
piomoting behavioui (see woik by Foucault,
1977; 1979; 1991). The juiy is out on how
Spice opeiates.
Conclusion
This new appioach using community
cuiiencies to tiansfoim public seivices is an
exciting anu innovative uevelopment in the
fielu. The Welsh mouel of time banking solves
many of the pioblems of the tiauitional mouel
such as sustainable funuing, CRB anu lack of
valuable exchanges. Fuitheimoie, Spice's
mouel offeis ieal change in how oui public
seivices aie ueliveieu. Bowevei, it shoulu not
be seen as a ieplacement foi the tiauitional
peison to peison mouel of time banking, oi
LETs schemes. All foims have theii uiffeient
benefits: LETs-economic, time banking- social
justice, anu the Welsh mouel exists as pait of a
toolkit foi both community uevelopment anu to
ievitalise public seivices by challenging oui
conceptions of the tiauitional seivice usei.
References
Bovaiiu, T. (2uu7) 'Beyonu engagement anu
paiticipation: usei anu community co-piouuction of
public seivices'. Public Auministiation Review.
Cahn, E. (2uuu) No Noie Thiow Away People.
Essential Books Ltu: Washington BC.
Cummins, }. Anu Nillei, C. (2uu7) 'Co-piouuction,
social capital anu seivice effectiveness'. Lonuon:
0PN.
Foucault, N. (1991) 'uoveinmentality', pp. 87-1u4 in
Buichell,u., uoiuon, C. anu Nillei, P. (eus.) The
Foucault Effect: Stuuies in uoveinmentality, Bemel
Bempsteau: Baivestei Wheatsheaf.
Foucault, N. (1977) Biscipline anu Punish: the Biith
of the Piison. Lonuon: Allen Lane.
Foucault, N. (1979) The Bistoiy of Sexuality, vol. 1.
An Intiouuction. Lonuon: Allen Lane
uiegoiy, L. (2uu9) 'Change takes time: exploiing
stiuctuial anu uevelopmental issues of time
banking.' Inteinational }ouinal of Community
Cuiiency Reseaich. vol 1S, pp 19-S2.
Kazuin, A. (1982) 'The token economy: a uecaue
latei'. }ouinal of applieu behavioui analysis, 1S, pp
4S1-44S.
Neeuham, C. (2uu7) 'Realising the potential of co-
piouuction: Negotiating impiovements in Public
Seivices'. Social Policy anu Society, 7, 2, 221-2S1.
Neeuham, C. (2uu9) Co-piouuction: an emeiging
eviuence base foi auult social caie tiansfoimation.
Social Caie Institute foi Excellencee.
Seyfang, u. (2uu2) 'Tackling Social Exclusion with
community cuiiencies: leaining fiom LETS to Time
Banks.' Inteinational }ouinal of Community Cuiiency
Reseaich, 6.
Seyfang, u. (2uuSa) ''With a little help fiom my
fiienus.' Evaluating time banks as a tool foi
community self-help,' Local economy, 18: S, 2S7-264.
Seyfang, u. (2uuSb) 'uiowing cohesive communities
one favoui at a time: social exclusion, active
citizenship anu time banks'. Inteinational }ouinal of
0iban anu Regional Reseaich, v 27, S, 699-7u6.
Seyfang, u. (2uu4a) 'Time banks: iewaiuing
community self-help in the innei city.' Community
Bevelopment }ouinal, S9, 1, 62-71.
Seyfang, u. (2uu4b) 'Woiking 0utsiue the Box:
Community Cuiiencies, Time Banks anu Social
Inclusion.' }ouinal of Social Policy, SS, 1, 49-71.
Simmons, R. anu Biichall, }. (2uu7) 'Tenant
paiticipation anu Social Bousing in the 0K.' Bousing
Stuuies, 22, 4, pp S7S-S9S.
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International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 77-81 77
Introduction
The 'Bank of Inteinational Aitmoney' was
foimeu by in 1997 by the aitist Lais Kiaemmei
anu is locateu in the Copenhagen subuib of
Fieueiiksbeig. The 'Bank' is both galleiy anu
cleaiing house foi the piouuction anu
ciiculation of 'aitmoney', an alteinative
cuiiency that takes the mateiial foim of
banknotes, but is unique in the sense that each
note is a piece of oiiginal ait. Aitmoney is
piouuceu by aiounu 1uuu aitists anu is tiaueu
anu exchangeu with othei aitists, buyeis anu
businesses aiounu the globe.
Aitmoney can be fieely piouuceu by anyone
iegisteieu with the pioject thiough the
aitmoney website (http:¡¡aitmoney.oig¡) anu,
like conventional cuiiencies, has some
stanuaiu iules of uesign. Aitmoney must
measuie 12x18 cm (in oiuei that it iesembles a
banknote) anu only uuiable mateiials may be
useu. Each piece of ait money must show a
seiial numbei, the yeai of piouuction, the
aitmoney 0RL anu the name, signatuie anu
nationality of the aitist. The only othei pioviso
is that aitmoney must be an oiiginal woik of
ait. Like conventional cuiiency, aitmoney has a
maiket piice. Each piece of aitmoney is
puichaseu foi 2uu Banish Kionei (cuiiently
about £2u, 26 Euio oi $S4)2. Figuies 1 anu 2
pioviue examples of aitmoney.
0nce piouuceu, aitmoney can be 'spent' - that
is, useu in full oi pait exchange foi goous anu
seivices. Cuiiently aiounu Su iegisteieu
businesses (incluuing cafés anu bais, galleiies,
vaiious ietaileis, even a psychotheiapist)
accept aitmoney as pait payment foi goous anu
seivices. The pioject iecommenus that
aitmoney iegisteieu businesses commit to
accepting aitmoney as pait payment foi goous
anu seivice up to a % set by the business.
Although ait-money is ostensibly a global
cuiiency, most of these businesses aie locateu
in Copenhagen anu othei paits of Benmaik.
Bowevei aitmoney aitists aie also encouiageu
to spenu aitmoney in any non-iegisteieu
businesses wheie 'acceptance can be founu'.
Theie is also a host anu guest piogiamme
wheie aitmoney can be useu to pay foi tiavel
accommouation in piivate houses anu hotels.
While, cuiiently, the tiansactional possibilities
of aitmoney iemain limiteu, Kiaemmei claims
to have bought his steieo, computei anu fiiuge
with aitmoney anu even useu it to finance a
The Colours of Money:
Artmoney as Community Currency
Mark Banks
CRESC (ESRC Centre for Socio-Cultural Change) Department of Sociology, Open University, Walton Hall, Milton
Keynes, MK7 6AA
m.o.banks@open.ac.uk
International
Journal of
Community
Currency
Research
IJCCR
Abstract
Aitmoney is a community cuiiency baseu on the piouuction anu exchange of oiiginal ait.
Ciitical of the colu anu objective natuie of conventional tiansactions, the Banish aitist Lais
Kiaemmei fiist ueviseu aitmoney as a means to a moie humaniseu anu expiessive type of
monetaiy exchange, intenuing to biing people togethei in affective, iathei than impeisonal,
foims of tiaue. Aitmoney pioviues a means of stimulating tiaue amongst aitists anu non-aitists
outsiue of the conventional money economy, anu has giown steauily to become a global
cuiiency tiaueu in ovei 7u countiies. Biawing fiom ongoing ieseaich, this aiticle asks, what is
the meaning anu value of ait-money in a global cultuial economy. What alteinative uoes it
piesent anu what economic futuies (oi pasts) uoes it anticipate. Piesenting pieliminaiy
finuings fiom inteiview ieseaich with ait-money piouuceis, this aiticle outlines some of the
motives foi becoming involveu in this ait¡cuiiency pioject, anu some of the contiauictions anu
challenges iaiseu in its piouuction anu ciiculation.
www.ijccr.net
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 77-81 78
tiip aiounu Ameiica. 0theis claim similai
successes.
A Critique of Conventional Money?
Kiaemmei saw the piouuction of aitmoney as a
piactical means of stimulating tiaue amongst
stiuggling aitists who coulun't otheiwise affoiu
to pay theii ient oi buy ait mateiials -
aitmoney was thus conceiveu as a way out of
poveity foi the aitistic unueiclass. But also,
ciitical of the 'colu' anu 'objective' natuie of
conventional tiansactions, Kiaemmei ueviseu
aitmoney as a means to a moie humaniseu anu
'expiessive' type of monetaiy exchange. Since
he aigueu that money cieateu an aitificial anu
impeisonal 'baiiiei' between people, not only
was each aitmoney to be uesigneu as a unique
woik of ait, it was intenueu to biing people
togethei in affective, iathei than impeisonal,
foims of tiaue.
We can see, theiefoie, that aitmoney hau a
uouble function - utilitaiian but also affective¡
communicative. By being encouiageu oi
compelleu to use aitmoney in exchange, both
aitists anu non-aitists weie biought into a
uistinctive anu piovocative economic anu
communicative space - one that was
simultaneously both 'piimitive' (ielying on the
exchange of uistinctive iathei than
stanuaiuiseu objects) anu 'mouein' (offeiing a
ciitique of financial convention anu the social
status quo). Such then was the initial theoiy
anu motivation.
Aitmoney was also conceiveu as an implicit
ciitique of uiban gentiification anu the
commouification of aitistic spaces - since one
of the ciiticisms levelleu by Kiaemmei was that
aitists weie not only maue economically
maiginal by the state anu the commeicial ait
woilu, but that the possibility of aitists
occupying stuuios anu ienteu spaces (at least
in Copenhagen) was being uiminisheu by the
commeicial ienewal of uiban centies -
aitmoney coulu thus pioviue pooi aitists with
spenuing powei, a focus of collective
iuentification anu a means of effecting a
nascent foim of social mobility. Aitmoney was
piesenteu as pait of the uiscouise anu piactice
of non-capitalism, piomoting itself as a positive
anu uiffeientiateu foim of economizing that
challengeu the uominant vaiiant. Aiguably, in a
post-iecession context the ciitical function of
aitmoney has been biought into shaipei focus
- its emphasis on questioning the powei that
money has ovei oui lives, the hegemony of
financial institutions, anu its ciitique of the
monopoly poweis of the state to iegulate
money, appeais uncannily piescient. But how
uoes such a utopia take shape in piactice.
Fiom ongoing ieseaich with aitmoney aitists, I
have sought to unueistanu the uiffeient uses
anu meanings of aitmoney foi its vaiious
piouuceis. Who aie these people anu why aie
they involveu in aitmoney piouuction. What
iewaius uo they obtain fiom it. Bow aie they
using aitmoney in piactical anu eveiyuay
teims. Anu, moie bioauly, what uo the
uiffeient uses anu useis of aitmoney tell us
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Figure 1:
Lars Kraemmer:
‘Celestine’ (Front
and back images)

International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 77-81 79
about the natuie of ait, politics anu economic life. These
questions have been auuiesseu using uata geneiateu fiom
a pioject unueitaken with aitmoney piouuceis which
has, to uate, involveu aiounu Su questionnaiies with
aitmoney aitists, complementeu by mateiial fiom 1u in-
uepth inteiviews with a fuithei sub-sample of these
aitists, the majoiity of whom weie baseu in Copenhagen,
anu othei paits of Benmaik.

The Meanings of Artmoney?
I want to biiefly outline some inuicative finuings fiom
questionnaiies unueitaken with aitmoney piouuceis - I
will limit myself to theii accounts of why they weie
involveu in aitmoney anu the paiticulai iewaius oi
benefits it pioviueu foi them.
Foi a significant numbei of iesponuents the piincipal
appeal of aitmoney was aitistic - that is, conceptual anu
aesthetic; with the intiinsic cleveiness, novelty anu puiity
of the aitistic 'iuea' being the hook that uiew them in.
Containeu in this was the iuea that aitmoney was seen to
be fun anu amusing - it iepiesenteu a quiiky anu unusual
iuea that appealeu to aitists' sense of playfulness anu
iiieveience. The luuic qualities of ait - the sense that ait,
thiough playful oi appaiently absuiu piactices, can
pioviue a stimulating commentaiy oi social ciitique has,
of couise, a long tiauition (think Buchamp, Bali oi
Beboiu). The aitistic attiaction of aitmoney was also
ielateu to the technical uemanus, anu mateiial qualities,
of aitmoney itself. As one aitist commenteu 'I founu it a
challenge to make ait in a small size'. The piouuction of
aitmoney thus offeieu a means of aitists testing
themselves as aitists - anu so coulu be seen to enhance
the piactice of ait in itself.
0theis juugeu the appeal of aitmoney is moie 'political'
teims. In this iegaiu aitmoney was seen less as an
exeicise in aesthetics anu moie as a means to mobilise
foimally iecogniseu socio-political iueals oi piinciples.
Bowevei, the ways in which politics was cast anu
unueistoou in the context of aitmoney piouuction
exhibiteu significant vaiiation acioss the sample of
iesponuents. The most common political appeal of
aitmoney lay in its potential foi enhancing what we might
teim uemociatic viitue. Aitists saw in aitmoney a
potential to uemociatise the piouuction of ait (since
anyone can be an aitmoney makei), to enhance
communication between aitists, anu to pioviue the
possibility of contiibuting to something that was
intiinsically goou anu woithwhile (aitmoney has 'goou
eneigy' as one uesciibeu it). Bowevei, foi a small numbei
of otheis, the political attiaction of aitmoney was its
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Figure 2:
Birthe Lindhart: Art Money No 177 (front and back images)
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 77-81 80
peiceiveu capacity foi suppoiting moie iauical
anu ievolutionaiy iueas. As an alteinative to
state finance, anu a challenge to the
conventional money economy, aitmoney was
juugeu to be a symbol of a futuie possible
woilu wheie alteinative foims of exchange
iesumeu pieceuence. As one aitist put it, the
attiaction of ait money was that it suggesteu an
'anaichistic' possibility, a woilu wheie
alteinative systems of exchange coulu
uestabilise the pie-eminence of oiuinaiy
money. Bowevei, what was peihaps suipiising
was the geneial lack of any political views helu
by the sample - aitmoney was not wiuely seen
as attiactive foi oveitly political ieasons;
inueeu, it often appeaieu as if the aitmoney
piouuceis weie consciously non- oi apolitical
anu unmoveu by iauical possibilities oi foimal
political intent.
Fuitheimoie, foi a significant numbei, the
appeal of aitmoney lay not in its potential foi
challenging the authoiity of state money, oi
installing some alteinative system of exchange,
but foi actually upholuing those conventional
systems by pioviuing oppoitunities foi
ueveloping peisonal income anu access to
consumeis anu maikets; thus foi a numbei of
aitists aitmoney was juugeu to be a ielatively
simple way to piouuce ait foi sale, foi a fixeu
piice, oi a means of piomoting themselves as
aitists to potential buyeis; aitmoney, then, was
simply a low-input commouity oi an attiactive
maiketing uevice. Beie emphasis was often
placeu on the viitues of aitmoney as a souice
of income; to sell one's aitmoney thiough the
aitmoney website pioviueu what one aitists
teimeu a 'goou small, steauy income', anu
anothei simply stiesseu the piincipal benefit
being 'I can spieau my woik woiluwiue, while I
can also eain money with it' . In this gioup,
even the social benefits of aitmoney weie often
unueiplayeu oi sometimes uisiegaiueu, with
aitists tenuing to unueistanu aitmoney as a
means to conventional economic enus. Inueeu,
one aitist founu aitmoney appealing because
the thoiny anu uifficult issues of how to piice
one's ait was maue easiei by the
pieueteimineu fixeu piice of aitmoney; as he
commenteu: '.the piice is steauy. I uo not have
to think of a piice. I hate |piicingj'.
In aitmoney, this necessaiy 'completion' of the
commouification piocess is conveniently taken
out of the hanus of the aitist. Cleaily, then,
aitmoney might be vieweu as simply anothei
means of selling ait, a niche piouuct, iathei
than a potential alteinative to the conventional
ait maiket; oi an alteinative oi community
cuiiency; in this sense instiumentality anu
'colu tiansactions' envisageu by Kiaemmei
might not necessaiily be negateu by aitmoney -
but enhanceu by them.
Such uata pioviues only a biief snapshot, but
suffice to say the meanings anu uses of ait-
money aie many anu vaiieu, anu often
contiauictoiy oi iun countei to the intentions
of its founueis - ongoing ieseaich aims to
exploie these complexities fuithei.
Discussion
The pioject of aitmoney, in its foimulation by
Kiaemmei, aims to iaise awaieness of (what he
teims) the piessuies of 'financial slaveiy', the
essential 'woithlessness' of money in teims of
its intiinsic 'lack of value', anu the neeu to
ieintegiate society into patteins of moie
'expiessive' anu meaningful exchange. Bespite
its cuiiently limiteu success as a tiuly
'inteinational' pioject anu 'univeisal' cuiiency,
as an aitistic woik, aitmoney is unique,
thought-piovoking, cieative anu inclusive - its
mouest (but uuiable) public iecognition is
inuicative that it has been successful in
something of the teims imagineu by its oiiginal
cieatoi.
Bowevei, Kiaemmei's aitistic anu political
inclinations, while ciucial to an unueistanuing
of the initial uevelopment of the aitmoney
pioject, uo not - as I have illustiateu -
guaiantee that the meanings anu uses of
aitmoney aie containeu by Kiaemmei's initial
vision. Inueeu, what has been iuentifieu is a
pluiality of engagements with the aitmoney
concept - not all of which appeai to ieflect oi
embouy the iueals of its founuei. In the hanus
of aitists, aitmoney has become a multi-
puiposeu pioject. Thus, we see aitmoney useu
as a means of buying othei commouities, but
also solu as a conventional ait object, useu in
gift tiansactions, vieweu as a challenge to an
establisheu aesthetic oi technique, iuentifieu as
a means to iauical enus oi ueiiueu as politically
insignificant; it is useu foi peisonal anu
instiumental gain as well as to cement
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“the meanings and uses of art-
money are many and varied, and
often contradictory or run
counter to the intentions of its
founder”
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fiienuships anu sociability; it is both localiseu anu a
means of connecting cultuies; it is both conceptual-
iuealistic anu mateiial-piactical; it offeis a challenge to
conventional money economy anu a means of
iepiouucing it - it woulu theiefoie be a mistake to
imagine that theie is a stable anu unifieu sense of what
aitmoney means oi iepiesents.
Yet this uiveisity of meaning is in a sense fitting; foi while
fiagmenteu use appeais to unueimine the puiity of the
utopian vision behinu aitmoney, oi uetiact fiom the
possibility of the pioject ueveloping a moie coheient anu
sustaineu ciitique of conventional finance, it is this veiy
pluiality of potential uses that peihaps illustiates one of
the key ambitions of Kiaemmei's pioject - to challenge
uepeisonalisation, confoimity anu stanuaiuisation in the
oiganization of money anu peifoimance of exchange
ielations. The uiveisity of uses anu meanings that
suiiounu aitmoney piouuction, anu the mixeu anu
contiauictoiy motives of piouuceis, seive to unueiline
the vaiiable, equivocal anu piofounuly social anu human
piocesses that Kiaemmei woulu unueistanu as
(uesiiably) unueipinning exchange ielations. What is
ciucial heie, then, is not that aitmoney becomes
establisheu like a 'haiu' cuiiency, but that it pioviues a
shaieu communicative context thiough which peoples
vaiieu neeus, motives anu uemanus can be negotiateu
anu tiansacteu.
Thinking this fuithei; in The Philosophy of Noney (19u7)
Simmel offeieu a uefinitive account of the iise of the
'impeisonal', objective anu iationaliseu mouein society of
money; a woilu wheie inuiviuuals weie encouiageu to
entei into colu, calculative ielationships by the
incieasingly stanuaiuiseu anu unifoim natuie of
commeicial exchange. Simmel saw how the uemanus of
mouein societies foi the national anu inteinational fiee-
flow of goous anu seivices leu to the uevelopment of
stanuaiu monies anu stanuaiu ways of tiansacting - no
longei was it necessaiy to uevelop oi inhabit some
specific, local system of exchange oi to tiaue only with
those inuiviuuals with whom one hau come to know anu
uevelop a social iecipiocating bonu; money, as Simmel
put it, was entiiely 'conuucive to the iemoval of the
peisonal element fiom human ielationships' (2uu4, p.
297). Yet, foi Simmel, money was contiauictoiy anu
ambiguous - while it was inhibiting anu constiicting, as
inuiviuuals weie foiceu to become commeicially-minueu
anu to unueitake fast anu impeisonal tiansactions that
weie inuiffeient to theii own peisonal qualities as human
beings - money also enableu fieeuom fiom tiauitional
social ties anu obligations, as the maiket society alloweu
inuiviuuals to buy anu sell goous (incluuing theii own
laboui powei) with much less constiaint than hitheito.
The qualities of money weie theiefoie uouble-eugeu.
Bowevei, as a ciitique, the aitmoney pioject is less
conceineu with the fieeuoms of money as it is with its
iniquities anu constiaints; thus it is peihaps in iespect to
Simmel's issue of 'impeisonality' that aitmoney can be
saiu to have hau the most impact as a challenge to
conventional money - foi while it cannot be saiu to have
cieateu an empiiically substantial complementaiy oi
alteinative economy, oi usuipeu the impacts of 'ieal'
money, oi even significantly iestoieu amongst its useis
some (assuieuly utopian anu mythologiseu) vision of pie-
mouein exchange, what it has been able to uo, in some
limiteu but appieciable way, is ie-peisonalise exchange
ielationships amongst its paiticipants anu membeis.
Thiough its capacity to stimulate inuiviuuals into
appaiently specific anu unusual foims of exchange, to
cieate situations that uemanu uialogue anu iecipiocal
communication, anu to usuip the conventional,
uepeisonaliseu anu 'unthinking' natuie of economic
tiansacting, aitmoney not only ieveals something of the
tiuth about money - in teims of its socially constiucteu,
meuiating anu oiganizing natuie - but ievives a claim foi
the value of intimacy anu human communication in
piocesses of exchange. Whethei we see this in iegiessive
oi piogiessive teims, it ceitainly challenges Simmel's
notion that money is only impeisonal anu colouiless anu
lacking in communitaiian sentiment.
To boiiow fiom anothei of Simmel's (1964) wiitings ait-
money also poses a challenge to the 'blasé' attituue that
chaiacteiises mouein commeicial life, anu foices actois
into potentially stimulating anu iewaiuing uialogues that
might otheiwise not take place. It ieaffiims the value of
foims of veinaculai cieativity that challenge the accepteu
benign union of cultuie anu economy. Finally, we might
also suimise that in functioning as money, the uual status
of aitmoney as an ait object is unueilineu - foi in its
effoits to biing people togethei in conceptual anu
mateiial exchange, we aie ieminueu again of the aitistic
anu aesthetic ambitions that lie at the coie of the pioject;
that is, to piomote the value of ait as a communicative
meuium anu to giiu an enuuiing belief in the ability of ait
objects to speak to us about the oiganiseu woilu we
inhabit.
References
Simmel, u. (1964) 'The Netiopolis anu Nental Life' (oiiginally
publisheu 19uS) in Wolff, K. (eu.) The Sociology of ueoig
Simmel, Fiee Piess, New Yoik.
Simmel, u. (2uu4) The Philosophy of Noney (oiiginally
publisheu 19u7), Siu Euition, Routleuge, Lonuon.
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 82-87 82
Introduction
This iepoit biiefly coveis the fielu of non-
commeicial mutual cieuit softwaie, uiscussing
the issues anu challenges the piojects
collectively face in meeting the neeus of the
movement. The intention is not to make uiiect
compaiisons but to take a highei view, with
conciete examples.
Theie is a cleai cultuial uiviue between
commeicial baitei softwaie which helps
businesses exchange spaie capacity within the
law, anu fiee open souice piojects which help
neighbouis to exchange unuei the iauai of the
tax man. Theie is almost no cioss-feitilisation
between nonpiofit, iuealistic, community
piojects, anu the business baitei. The aims of
both cultuies aie veiy uiffeient, though theii
methous aie similai. It seems to me that the
Business-to-Business (B2B) inuustiy is much
moie a pait of the commeicial woilu than pait
of a movement foi change. No commeicial
softwaie is consiueieu heie because it is not
useu anu not available foi the puipose of
puipose of social change. This may change as
the iecession ueepens.
All piojects unuei consiueiation have multiple
instances in use anu aie open souice.
The teim 'association' is useu in this iepoit to
mean a uistinct mutual cieuit exchange ciicle,
using its own cuiiency, anu whose tiansactions
auu up to zeio.
The Playing Field
Befoie getting to the issues, heie is a synopsis
of each of the main piojects, in oiuei of age.
These piojects aie selecteu on the basis that
they aie open souice, have multiple
implementations, anu suppoit community
exchange using an aibitiaiy measuie of value.
Each one consists of a community of useis, who
log in via a web inteiface to log exchanges.
0seis aie piesenteu with theii account
balances anu pieventeu fiom exchanging
beyonu ceitain limits. 0sually theie is an
offeis¡wants uiiectoiy to help useis finu
paitneis-in-tiaue, anu sometimes theie aie
usei piofiles anu othei social netwoiking
featuies such as might be founu in Facebook.
Complementary Currency Open
Source Software in 2010
Matthew Slater
Developer of mutual_credit Drupal module and Co-founder of Community Forge
matlats@gmail.com
http://communityforge.net
International
Journal of
Community
Currency
Research
IJCCR
Abstract
This iepoit biiefly coveis the fielu of non-commeicial mutual cieuit softwaie, uiscussing the
issues anu challenges the piojects collectively face in meeting the neeus of the movement. Theie
is a cleai cultuial uiviue between commeicial baitei softwaie which helps businesses exchange
spaie capacity within the law, anu fiee open souice piojects which help neighbouis to exchange
unuei the iauai of the tax man. Theie is almost no cioss-feitilisation between nonpiofit,
iuealistic, community piojects, anu the business baitei. The aims of both cultuies aie veiy
uiffeient, though theii methous aie similai.
www.ijccr.net
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 82-87 83
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Cyclos
Cyclos is the softwaie implementation aim of the Social
Tiaue 0iganisation (STR0), baseu in Netheilanus. It is an
open souice, java, compiehensive package useu in
incieasingly laige piojects aiounu the woilu. This a
iobust anu flexible accounting application, which can
manage complex gioup stiuctuies, multiple cuiiencies,
business iules, anu even papei notes with seiial numbeis.
Bowevei it is famously weak on giaphic flexibility,
content management, anu social netwoiking featuies. The
pioject focus is on STR0 implementations iathei than ie-
usable softwaie, anu thiiu paity uevelopeis finu it
awkwaiu to woik with. Seveial 'one-off' piojects have
ueploying it as a back enu accounting package uespite the
lack of foimal uocumentation. The ueiman Tauschiing
netwoik pickeu up Cyclos anu now use it ioutinely, even
contiibuting back coue.
Community Exchange System (CES)
Aiising fiom a giass-ioots movement in Cape town, CES is
a fiee web seivice that hosts ovei 2uu 'Exchanges', each
with its own cuiiency anu sepaiate uatabase. Its giowing
populaiity makes this netwoik a veiy goou choice.
Bespite still being a one-man haiuly funueu softwaie
pioject, it is hosting a global netwoik of mutual cieuit
systems, which aie tiauing between each othei (moie on
'inteitiauing' latei).
CCLite
ccLite is a Peil package foi local exchange tiauing systems
(LETS), banking anu othei alteinative money systems.
Nulti-iegistiy, multi-cuiiency, web seivices baseu
tiansactions anu templateu to give multi-lingual
capabilities.
Fourth Corner Exchange
Fouith Coinei Exchange is a family of LETS like gioups in
the Noith East 0SA. Theii php¡NySQL application was
wiitten foi multiple implementations of that specific
mouel. Although uevelopment has mostly stoppeu,
LETSlink 0K has make theii own auaptations to the
softwaie anu implementeu with seveial LETS
associations.
Complementary Currencies module for Drupal
A Biupal mouule foi web uevelopeis to implement a
complementaiy cuiiency within a social netwoiking
fiamewoik. It pioviues the expecteu mutual cieuit
accounting featuies, veiy flexible foims foi enteiing
exchanges, anu aims to meet the neeus of a wiue iange of
innovative piojects.
Community Forge
Community Foige, is a small Nu0 baseu in ueneva,
offeiing fiee implementation of Biupal aimeu piimaiily at
LETS associations. It is gaining populaiity paiticulaily in
Fiench speaking Euiope.
OSCurrency
Bevelopeu by membeis of the Austin Time Exchange, this
pioject is now unuei uevelopment foi the Bay Aiea
Community Exchange. While the platfoim, Insoshi is not
well known, much attention has been given to openness,
so that the system plugs in easily to the iest of the web.
Platform Developers Instances Easy set-up? URL
Cyclos
JAVA 4 Many No www.cyclos.org
CES
MS asp 1 200 in one Yes www.ces.org.za
CClite
PERL 1 few No www.hughbarnard.org
4th Corner
Exchange
Php 1 10 - 20 Yes www.fourthcornerexchange.com
Drupal/
Community Forge
Drupal 1 30 No/Yes www.drupal.org/project/
mutual_credit
www.communityforge.net
Opensourcecurrency
Inoshi 1 200 in one No www.opensourcecurrency.org
Table 1: Summary of Open Source currency platforms
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 82-87 84
Also woithy of mention aie:
-
!"#$ &'()* +, which since intiouucing
inteitiauing anu hosteu sites has become one
veiy laige mutual cieuit exchange.
-
-"../$, a way of accounting without money
by finuing tiust-pathways thiough social
netwoiks
-
0$1'2344$(25, an attempt to make an all
embiacing stanuaiu mouel of 'cuiiencies'
anu to make softwaie which will suppoit it,
so that communities can uesign anu use theii
own cuiiencies, but all will be somehow
compatible.
The Issues
1. Making software options accessible
to implementers
Nost new piojects at the moment aie focuseu
on the issuance of papei notes, eithei
iepiesenting houis oi national cuiiency. Papei
is a tangible anu immeuiate foim of money
which the banks aie seeking to phase out,
useful foi small, uay to uay exchanges, but its
uiawbacks aie unuei-appieciateu:
-
Bigh cost of piinting secuie notes
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veiy haiu to monitoi the velocity
-
Suitable only foi face-to-face exchange
While papei has a iole to play, it will nevei
compete with the high tech seivices anu
convenience that mouein banking offeis. A
uigital back enu offeis many benefits:
-
Noie ways to conuuct tiansactions, via web
foim, SNS, point of sale swipe caius, anu
even automateu tiansactions.
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Bettei tools to monitoi economy
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Easiei to tweak the iules
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Easiei to extenu cieuit (you can't holu a
negative balance of papei)
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Cheapei to scale
Bowevei community oiganisations often finu
softwaie a tiaumatic subject. The moie
couiageous implementeis anu uesigneis aie
tiawling the net tiying to woik out what each
softwaie package uoes, how they compaie, anu
which is best foi them, anu whethei they can
affoiu it. The only infoimation available to
them is in the foim of a few pooily maintaineu
lists on the web with no ieview anu no
attempts at balanceu compaiisons.
Implementeis finu themselves sifting thiough
lists incluuing ueau piojects, ieauy iolleu
seivices, anu haiu-coie applications anu theie
is almost no infoimation available fiom othei
implementeis. In piactice theie aie ieauy
iolleu solutions, namely CES anu Timebanks,
but any gioup wanteu to be iemotely
innovative, must choose between Cyclos, which
can uo anything in the accounting iealm, but is
unsuppoiteu, veiy specialiseu anu uifficult, anu
Biupal which is easiei anu offeis all the
community functionality, but is unsuppoiteu
anu unuei-uevelopeu.
Eveiy CC community uown to the simplest
LETS has its own set of iules anu¡oi ingiaineu
ways of uoing things, which pioviue baiiieis to
the auoption of softwaie. By contiast most of
the softwaie available was uesigneu by anu foi
communities who hau the iesouices. So theie is
a pioblem of a lack of geneial puipose
softwaie.
We neeu to be builuing up communities of
useis, who suppoit each othei with uesign
choices anu softwaie implementations, as well
as hanuling enquiiies fiom stiangeis. The
Tauschiingen aie stieets aheau in this iespect
with a community of volunteei uevelopeis who
collaboiate to manage most of the netwoik
acioss ueimany anu Austiia. Regiettably theie
is no haiu infoimation about this in English.
2. Encouraging good governance
It's well known that complementaiy cuiiency
piojects have a high failuie iate, anu wiuely
acknowleugeu that this is laigely uue to pooi
goveinance stiuctuies being unable to sustain
an initial fluiiy of inteiest. Theie aie vaiious
ways in which softwaie coulu suppoit
goveining activities:
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Community organisations often
find software a traumatic
subject. The more courageous
implementers and designers are
trawling the net trying to work
out what each software package
does, how they compare, and
which is best for them, and
whether they can afford it.
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 82-87 85
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Iuentifying hoaiueis anu long-teim uebtois
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Iuentifying people who have been inactive foi
a while
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Rewaiuing the tiaueis anu behaviouis which
aie most beneficial
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Collecting fees fiom eveiy membei to
suppoit the goveinance & management
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Belping with volunteei anu task
management
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Bighlighting the useis who most neeu to
tiaue
Pioviueis of softwaie have an iueal
oppoitunity to bunule in goveinance suppoit
to auu value to the package. A uelicate balance
has to be stiuck between encouiaging goou
goveinance by pioviuing the tools anu
expeitise, anu piomoting local autonomy, a
vital aspect of builuing iesilience to the piesent
economic attacks on the miuule classes.
3. Intertrading
0ne of the majoi baiiieis to achieving scale in a
uecentialiseu mutual cieuit economy is the
funuamental inability of associations to
exchange value between themselves. Bowevei
it is ciitical foi the usefulness of the netwoik
that membeis be able to tiaue outsiue theii
local gioups, acioss the netwoik fiistly with
aujacent local gioups
The most highly evolveu solution seems to be
that each scheme has a single 'inteitiauing'
gateway account which holus the balance of all
exteinal tiansactions. In the following
uiagiams, each ciicle is an account, while the
size of the ciicle iepiesents its ueviation fiom
zeio anu the coloi, whethei it is in cieuit oi
ueficit. The giey ciicle iepiesents the whole
mutual cieuit association, who's balances
always auu up to zeio; the !"#$% #'( )*+ ,*-)+
#.+#/ 01/) !+ +21#" in any association.
A 'viitual' tiansfei is when usei A pays into his
scheme's inteitiauing account, while usei B is
paiu an equivalent fiom hei inteitiauing
account.
CES offeieu this mechanism almost fiom the
beginning as all its 'exchanges' liveu on the
same seivei. The Tauschiing netwoik offeis it
as well but in a completely incompatible way.
Community Foige is woiking with CES to
uefine anu implement a way foi otheiwise
incompatible softwaie instances to tiaue.
As the technical baiiieis aie oveicome, the
main obstacle to this system spieauing will be
political. Local cuiiency communities neeu to
oiganise anu to agiee on a stanuaiu measuies
of value. The Tauschiingen have agieeu an
algoiithm which accounts foi the value of the
cuiiency anu the minimum wage.
Figuie 1 shows how inteitiauing usually woiks
between mutual cieuit cleaiing ciicles. This
methou is woiks well because both paities use
theii local cuiiency, anu main accounts, anu
zeio balance is ietaineu in piinciple.
Figuie 2 shows what happens when the
inteitiauing accounts get too laige in eithei
uiiection anu cause liquiuity pioblems. The
solution is foi the association to constiain the
inteitiauing account, just as all the othei
accounts have minimum anu maximum limits.
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Figure 1: System intertrading
Figure 2: Inter-system imbalance
International Journal of Community Currency Research 15 (2011) D 82-87 86
The Tauschiing netwoik (ueimany) has been
woiking on this with Cyclos, anu maue a lot of
piogiess in this aiea. They aie automating the
inteitiauing between Cyclos instances on
uiffeient seiveis, which is haiuei because theie
neeus to be bettei authentication anu a iegistiy
of paiticipating schemes.
This mutual cieuit economy has balance-of-
tiaue mechanisms uesigneu in. Inteitiauing
mutual cieuit associations must, like theii
membeis, keep the balances aiounu zeio. The
Tauschiing netwoik has a iule that no
inteitiauing account shoulu holu moie than
1u% of the scheme's activity. The equity of the
inteitiauing account is theiefoie a collective
iesponsibility, since a pooi balance-of-tiaue
will impact on liquiuity
They have also agieeu on an exchange iate
mechanism which factois in a time-value foi
the cuiiency unit, anu the local Euio minimum
wage. Though theie aie some objections to
using national cuiiency as a measuie of value,
this system is the most auvanceu I know of.
A technical stanuaiu anu exchange iate
mechanism is neeueu so that associations can
paiticipate in inteitiauing, iegaiuless of theii
technological platfoim.
4. Modularisation
The most useu packages, Cyclos anu CES aie
both about a uecaue olu. That means in piactice
that they weie coueu fiom sciatch, anu aie
'monolithic' anu highly specialiseu. The sheei
volume of coue involveu makes them veiy
expensive to maintain. The next geneiation
softwaie tenus to be built in open souice
fiamewoiks with names like Biupal, }oomla,
Woiupiess, Bjango. This means that a whole
community manages the common, oi coie
functionality of the fiamewoik, pioviuing
iegulai upgiaues anu secuiity fixes. Bevelopeis
anu implementeis can often meet 8u% oi moie
of theii iequiiements by assembling
contiibuteu blocks of coue. In this way,
uevelopeis aie iesponsible foi much less coue,
anu aie moie able to concentiate on theii
special aiea of inteiest. The mouein
fiamewoiks allow a wiue iange of applications
to be quickly assembleu fiom a vast pool of fiee
mouules.
0vei the coming yeais, the piopoitional cost of
upgiauing, ueveloping anu maintaining the
oluei softwaie will go up anu up. To justify this
expense, the oluei softwaie will eithei iequiie
a complete oveihaul, oi will have to become
incieasingly specialiseu but pluggable to othei
things. I think an extiemely goou investment
woulu be to connect Biupal to Cyclos. This
woulu enable Cyclos to concentiate on
accounting, as a puiely back-enu application,
insteau of tiying to compete with all the bells
anu whistles that mouein fiamewoiks offei.
This innovation woulu take CCs to the next
level, by uistancing the economic functionality
fiom the maiketplace (matching neeus to
offeis) anu the fioth of the social web. It shoulu
be uecieasingly necessaiy to confine the CC to
one web site with one meagie offeis uiiectoiy,
because one (Cyclos) bank coulu uo the
accounting foi as many maiketplaces as
neeueu.
5. Supporting innovation
Bevelopeis aie awaie of all these matteis but
piogiess in the movement is veiy slow
compaieu to equivalent technical enueavois.
This is because:
-
Theie is almost zeio investment in softwaie
itself; any investment is always uiiecteu at
implementations, anu most of the softwaie is
built by busy people in theii spaie time.
-
No-one in the movement seems to be iaising
money, oi making the case foi
Complementaiy Cuiiencies to goveinments,
founuations, oi coipoiate social
iesponsibility units. When money is iaiseu, it
is iaiely investeu in softwaie.
-
Peihaps because theie's a tiauition of web
seivices being fiee, useis of CCs uon't expect
to pay foi it. The cost of theii using banks aie
easiei to hiue, but whethei useis pay uiiectly
oi inuiiectly, it is in the act of paying foi that
infiastiuctuie that useis gain oi give up
contiol ovei theii economy anu theii
financial seivices.
-
Business baitei softwaie makes money
because it's customeis aie business, anu it
helps those businesses iun bettei. But
communities uon't monetise things in the
same way. In the West theie is almost no
community-level goveinance anu hence no
money foi investment at the community
level.
0f all the softwaie unuei uiscussion, only
Cyclos is insulateu fiom the possible uemise of
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its piimaiy piogiammei. No investment means
no staff, no ieliability, no guaiantees foi the
futuie, anu is a uisincentive to the innovatois.
Community cuiiency piojects, even when
funueu, can iaiely affoiu to builu theii own
softwaie fiom sciatch, yet no-one is funuing
puie softwaie uevelopment because theie is no
uiiect anu measuiable impact.
Closing Thoughts
Theie is much talk anu investment in 'viitual'
cuiiencies, especially fiom coipoiations like
Facebook anu uoogle. These may bioauly fit the
uefinition of complementaiy cuiiencies, but
they offei none of the benefits which we aie
conceineu with, being mostly uiiect pioxies foi
haiu cuiiencies intenueu to encouiage
spenuing in social netwoiks. Someone shoulu
be looking into piggy-backing the commeicial
tools - using the 0pensocial API to builu a CC
ecosystem.
If piivacy weie not a concein, Facebook woulu
make an obvious platfoim foi a complementaiy
cuiiency, to spieau iapiuly.
All the mouels unuei uiscussion so fai assume
that the cuiiencies live on one seivei, in one
integial uatabase, wheie the same useis log in
anu tiaue with each othei anu the goveinance is
veiy cleai. Bowevei, theie is much ioom foi
abstiaction. I woulu encouiage theoiists to
consiuei how Paul uiignon's "uigital coin"
might be implementeu anu also to consiue the
implications of the Netacuiiency initiative to
mutual cieuit softwaie aichitectuie.
Foi uecaues now, CCs have hau minimal impact,
confineu as they aie to the maigins of
piogiessive economic expeiiments. The 'global'
uebt ciisis is the best oppoitunity the
movement will evei have to piove the impact of
cuiiency uesigns on theii useis. Theie must
suiely be oppoitunities now, with softwaie anu
expeitise, to engage with laigei playeis.
Entiepieneuis coulu be appioaching the
following types of oiganisations pioposing CC
solutions to theii coming cash ciises.
-
Co-opeiative societies have always been
amenable to CCs (iemembei the stamps.)
-
Local eneigy geneiation companies have the
peifect measuie of value, basic commouity
anu community integiation.
-
Local foou piouuceis have assets in the
giounu which aie peifect foi monetising
-
Coulu cieuit unions anu similai local-baseu
oiganisations bettei use assets with a CC.
0veiall I woulu make the following
iecommenuations:
1. Bevelopeis neeu to collaboiate on an API to
facilitate inteitiauing between associations,
anu netwoiks of associations
2. Inuepenuent softwaie ieviews shoulu be
commissioneu¡encouiageu.
S. Potential souices of long teim funuing neeu
to be iuentifieu anu couiteu.
4. The value¡cost of the softwaie neeus to be
bettei communicateu to the potential useis.
S. A Biupal mouule shoulu be built to iun
Cyclos as a back enu accounting package.

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