Warehouse D
Local Scrip
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Alternative Currency To Replace The Failing Dollar?


By James Donahue


America’s financial market is in chaos, property values are collapsing, the value of the dollar has become so unstable that Iran, the fourth largest world exporter of crude oil, now is trading in European Euros instead of dollars. Other nations may soon do the same.


The economy has become so unstable that people are losing their jobs and their homes by the thousands, businesses are closing and even the media talking heads are daring to use the word “recession.” Recession is a given. What is really threatening us is “depression.”


Investors have putting their money into things like gold, copper, oil, and grain . . . always hedging their bets on some fast money in the rush for these quickly disappearing commodities. But some say it is this crazy shifting of world investments by speculators that has driven up the price of food. High food prices are hitting the global market and slamming the starving impoverished people of the world.


With the stability of the old greenback crumbling, it is small wonder that there is a lot of interest in alternative money. Some are converting American dollars to euros, yen or other world currencies, although that is a complex process in the United States. Some banks offer services that assist in doing this, although they will not hold the money for you. They send the cash in a box and you stick it under the mattress, or in a bank deposit box for safe keeping. And it will not earn interest.


Maverick Texas Congressman Ron Paul, long considered by Internet supporters to be a viable candidate for the presidential office, has introduced legislation that would force U.S. banks to not only convert our money to foreign currencies, but also keep it for us in their vaults. He put the bill out on the House floor in December, 2007, and it has been locked up in committee ever since.


To counter the declining dollar, the loss of jobs, and all the rest, something unique has been happening in cities and towns across America. Literally hundreds of communities have begun printing their own money, or utilizing the most ancient of commodity exchange . . . variations of the barter system . . . to keep the wheels of local business and life-styles running.


Lawrence, Kansas, for example, mints R.E.A.L. money that more than 100 local businesses accept.


In Ithaca, New York, people are paid with Ithica Hours, a barter exchange for work done. And in San Francisco they are issuing Bay Area bucks. In Chicago you can get Time Dollars. These alternative cash systems appear to be based on a median hourly wage of ten dollars.


Writer Monica Grand Pre’ noted that “local currency is a form of exchange that doesn’t come to town, shake a few hands and then leave to buy a rain forest in South America, or wage war tens of thousands of miles from home in which the local community has no abiding interest.


“Local scrip is created and circulated for the singular purpose of sustaining and growing area businesses and providing residents with increased purchasing power. The easy exchange of local scrip is a win-win situation, wherein individuals can utilize their talents and skills to support themselves and become valued members of the local economy.’


It local scrip legal tender? There appears to be no law prohibiting it and it is working quite well in communities large enough to offer both work and the variety of services needed to feed, clothe and house working families.


What is interesting about turning to local scrip is that it avoids dealing with national currency, and consequently wage earners escape the tax man. The money earned stays in the local community.