Making our own Money
During the summer Dave Cockcroft summed up an important role of Transition Stroud as creating sustainable livelihoods for local people. This is the remit of the Lifestyles and Livelihoods Group.
At our meeting on Monday Bernard was very keen to set up a new local currency for Stroud. He likes the model of the Chiemgauer (see more about the scheme from wikipedia, or from the founders if you can read German. This was a real boost to the Transition process in Totnes.
In Stroud we have two alternative currencies already starting: Earth Hours, which is a system where people exchange work with an environmental focus, and the Time Bank, which also enables people to exchange their labour. What will the Transition currency add?
First, I think that a circulating medium can help to illustrate where the blockages are in the local economy. If one person ends up with all the money that probably means they have to buy too many of their inputs in pounds sterling and we should look to increase the local supply.
The proposal is that people buy their 'blobs' from an designated office. We deposit a fixed sum of pounds sterling - say £1000 - and issue an equivalent number of the blobs. This means that people can always trade their blobs in for pounds, so they have real value. However, when they do this they will lose a fixed percentage, say 5%, which will be invested in Transition Stroud projects.
We could spend the money into circulation by paying people for their work for Transition Stroud in blobs. Once the money is out there it can circulate around shops and traders willing to accept it. Both spending and accepting the currency is an indication of commitment to your local economy.