Resource website of social and solidarity economy

Classifying “CCs”: Community, complementary and local currencies’ types and generations

International Conference on Community and Complementary Currencies 2011: “Thirty years of community and complementary currencies – what next?”,February 16 – February 17, 2011, Lyon, France

Jérôme Blanc, February 2011

To download : PDF (56 KiB)

Summary :

Since the emergence of “CCs” thirty years ago, attempts to build typologies and to name things properly have always been disappointing, as if the very object of the analysis escaped from any rigid classification. A major problem that arises with regards to CCs is the obsolescence of previous typologies, due to rapid innovation and the weakening of borders (technological, juridical, political, ideological…) that seemed unlikely to be broken down. Even the terms “complementary currency”, “community currency” and many others (with language specificities in English as well as in other languages – for example, in Latin language-speaking countries, something like “social money” is frequently employed) are not considered similarly by activists, scholars, policy-makers or users. As a result, there is no common typology shared by scholars, activists and observers, beyond a series of general considerations clearly distinguishing specific items between CC schemes. Building a typology requires first to state the precise objectives of it; different objectives may lead to different typologies.

The present short paper aims at proposing ways to build typologies in a flexible framework, able to include further developments of the matter. Section 2 discusses the principles of a CC typology. Section 3 proposes a distinction between local, community, and complementary currencies, based on the schemes’ projects, formulated through redistribution, reciprocity and market criteria. Section 4 distinguishes, in the recent past, four generations of CC schemes, related to combination of previous ideal types : unconvertible community schemes like LETS and trueque (G1), pure time exchange schemes (G2), convertible currencies with local economic objectives like Regio, Palmas or Ithaca currencies (G3) and multiplex schemes like NU and SOL projects (G4). Section 5 concludes.

Sources :

Site web du Colloque international sur les monnaies sociales et complémentaires : CC-CONF 2011, février 16, 2011 – février 17, 2011.Organisé par les laboratoires LEFI et Triangle, Université de Lyon:

« Trente années de monnaies sociales et complémentaires – et après ? »