“In regionally diverse and digitally advanced economies – whether local, national or sectoral – there is no one-size-fits-all money. What is more, though money evolves along with social and technological changes, it must not be forgotten that people ultimately control its path. In towns, regions and online networks people have quietly been creating their own currencies for decades: testament to the growing realisation that monetary innovation is not the exclusive purview of governments and big business.
Strong, active communities make for more resilient financial systems, while improving peoples’ livelihoods and standards of living. Currencies can be designed to support this, to foster the kind of social interactions and exchanges we want, rather than remaining dependent on pounds, dollars and euros. This realisation is now moving decisively into the mainstream. As it becomes more and more clear that monetary monocultures serve the international financial markets better than the needs of people and societies, currency experiments are increasingly emerging as welcome disruptions to this status quo.“
Between 2012 and 2015, Community Currencies In Action (CCIA) sought to harvest best practices through deployment of six pilot currencies launched by a coalition of European partners experienced in testing and evaluating innovative economic solutions for local communities. “People Powered Money” is the resulting document offering a wealth of insight on the process for evaluating local challenges, determining if a currency deployment is appropriate, engaging local stakeholders, and assessing the impact of the currency as a remedy to the problem.
Throughout the book, case studies provide insight into the outcomes of a range of currencies from small community operated timebanks incentivizing social participation to larger intranational mutual credit exchanges which allow small to medium enterprises to float inventory when global demand for their goods has decreased. “People Powered Money” opens with a theory of currency innovation as a solution for national or regional currencies which become poor mediums of exchange once they are traded heavily on international markets. It then shifts gears to extend practical advice about the importance of communication strategy and tempering expectations for a currency deployments in the early stages.
This report serves as a helpful course of study for developing a more pluralistic currency ecosystem. Within the Collaborative, our view is that plurality of methods for negotiating exchange would create the conditions for equity by matching excess capacity with unmet needs and disrupting financial capital as a singular channel for economic transactions. The full report can be located on the website of New Economics Foundation via the link below.
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