Local currencies grow during economic recession.

AuthorBlock, Ben
PositionEYE ON EARTH - Brief article

More communities are creating their own "complementary" currencies in an effort to keep wealth in their region.

The Berkshare, available in the Berkshires region of the U.S. Northeast, is among the most successful alternatives to the dollar. Since the currency's launch two years ago, five local banks have printed more than 2 million paper notes. About 185,000 are still in circulation, according to Susan Witt, a Berkshare co-founder.

Alternative currencies frequently appear when mainstream financial systems are in distress. Examples include Greenbacks during the U.S. Civil War, and the British Bradbury "Treasury Notes" and German Kriegsgeld during World War I. These currencies, in theory, encourage consumers to make more purchases within their community, rather than outside. "Buying local" circulates wealth in the region, reduces unnecessary imports, and helps avoid higher unemployment, supporters say.

At least 4,000 complementary currencies are estimated to be in...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT