Resource website of social and solidarity economy

Money: Understanding and creating alternatives to legal tender

ebook from Chelsea GreenPublishing Compagny

Thomas H. Greco, 2001

To download : PDF (860 KiB)

Summary :

Money,in the form of complementary currency,can be a very creative and life-serving medium of exchange. Greco is not advocating a rupture with the past. While this book is revolutionary, he calls for a slow revolution.

He suggests that we step out humbly by providing local communities

with a way to buy and sell some goods and services using a self-created means

of exchange that isn’t based on debt, interest, and distant financial decisions made solely for economic gain. Make no mistake, however. The impact of this local trading ability, if developed in an intelligent and sophisticated way, could shift our society away from dependence upon unsustainable and ignoble ways of meeting our needs.

In Part 2 Greco teaches us the fascinating history of complementary currencies. It’s a story filled with both surprise and a sense of familiarity. Trading stamps, store coupons, discount matinees, entertainment books, and air miles are all forms of complementary currency. You pay part of the price of an item in something other than dollars. Volunteering and “house work” (washing the dishes, cooking, shopping) are also activities that fulfill human needs with no exchange of money. Indeed, these are all strategies that individuals discover through doing the 9-step program in Your Money or Your Life. To maximize the value of each dollar, people quickly learn that developing do-it-yourself skills, creating sharing networks, being smart shoppers, and keeping possessions for a long time can yield a low-cost yet high-quality life. Greco shows that by making these choices systemic rather than individual, communities and the Earth can prosper.

Parts 3 and 4 are the recipe book for those who would relish giving the

creation of a complementary currency a try. Will you be the one? Social innovations require champions to turn good ideas into living realities. Social innovators willingly buck systems, tinker, make adjustments, maintain the faith, solicit feedback, and¾as a reward¾have meaningful lives and even, sometimes, great success. While few readers will have the will or time to set up fullscale complementary currency systems, these sections round out the picture.

No reader can henceforth blindly accept that there is no alternative to the

sorry rules of the conventional money system.