The situation of Korea Community Currency and the activities of Hanbat LETS
Korea has the traditions of “Dure ” and “Pumasi ” as well as “kae” to help and take care mutually, so we can say that community currencies are a multilateral Pumasi in which our tradition has been reinvented as a modern system in accordance to our reality today. In other words, community currencies are a modern representation of barter, a long tradition of Korea.
Community currencies were introduced for the first time in Korea in 1996 when the magazine “Nok-saek Pyeong-non”(Green Review) published an article about the relationship between the community and money(Barbara Brant?(1996), Patricia Nox & Nick England?(1996)) where LETS, a system of community currency, was depicted. And two years later, in March 1998, “the Gathering of those who gaze at the Future”(Minaisa Club) started Future Money, the first community currency in Korea. This period coincided with the most hard domination of IMF’s monetary relief regime, community currencies were regarded as an alternative economic movement to cope with the economic crisis, there was a huge interest from newspapers, broadcasting stations and NGOs, and these currencies were presented as one of the policies to rescue the unemployed. There is a consideration that it would have been very difficult for community currencies to be introduced and diffused so quickly in Korea without the IMF regime.
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