Borsodi envisioned his School as a local, self-governing organization to provide the basic knowledge and skills for a livable world and the good life.
While local currencies more generally see such vast application and have the potential to help the lives of such diverse groups, there’s evidently a lot of questions still to be answered when it comes to the function of local currencies in slum settings.
Of course the economic crisis was fundamental to the evolution of alternative economics in Greece. Although some thinkers have long advocated other ways of using and running currencies, most barter systems arise in times of upheaval where trust in the banks is eroded or they withdraw liquidity.
That’s why the Totnes Pound was so powerful for me. It helped so many people to create memories of the future, lived moments of what a different, more hopeful, more delicious, more resilient future might actually be like.
The Brixton Pound (B£) was launched in 2009 by Transition Town Brixton to support local businesses with a local currency that would “stick to Brixton.”
The world is on fire lately with the exponential growth of Bitcoin and other electronic cryptocurrencies. While some see these as speculative bubbles that are tied to nothing, used on the dark web to ransom hacked computers, and profligate users of electricity, others see Bitcoin and its ilk as our liberation from nation states and their central banks. Both could be true. Perhaps more important is that the platform underpinning Bitcoin, called blockchain technology, and later advances such as Ethereum, have the potential to completely transform the way that the world operates.
Tools born from the internet, applied across autonomous networks and movements seeking alternatives to capitalism, are providing the infrastructure of alternative societies. In the last of our specials on community currencies and alternative economies, we showcase FairCoop, a self-organized and self-managed global cooperative created through the internet outside the domain of the nation-state.
Within alternative movements there is much interest in introducing local currencies and they have been central elements in many Transition Towns and other initiatives. Unfortunately I think most of these have been quite misguided, failing to grasp the power a local currency can have, and not likely to make a significant contribution to goals such as town sustainability and resilience.
Local currencies of the kind described here are more revolutionary than may first appear, not least because they amount to a rejection of the most fundamental neoliberal principles – the primacy of the market and the monetisation of human values.
For more than three decades, the town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, has quietly demonstrated how grassroots, sustainable, and human-centric projects could easily become the building blocks of the next economy.
Though the community currency failed to materialize in Barcelona, the city immediately to its northeast, Santa Coloma de Gramanet, created a local currency this year. This currency — the grama — was designed to be an innovative way of enabling the city’s residents to protect their livelihoods from external economic threats
The Swiss WIR (“We” in German) is the longest surviving social or community currency, sometimes called a complementary currency.