There’s a growing body of literature on local currencies, alternative money systems, causes of crash and recession, and the future of money. If you’re interested in learning more here’s a few of the books we’ve been checking out. Book overviews are courtesy of Amazon.

  • The Local Economy Solution

    The Local Economy Solution

    Michael H.Shuman

    To read MoE reviewer Moriah Lee’s take on this book, skip over to the blog…

    In The Local Economy Solution, author Michael Shuman shows it is possible to reinvent economic development for local and regional economies so they can thrive without relying on costly and wasteful taxpayer subsidies.

    Drawing upon examples from across the country and around the world, Shuman introduces more than two dozen examples of what he calls “pollinator” enterprises―self-financing entities that stimulate and strengthen other local businesses and that allow a community to undertake economic development with far greater efficacy and at a substantially lower cost than typical economic-development programs today.

    The Local Economy Solution presents the stories of successful pollinator enterprises that are creatively facilitating neighborhood improvements, business partnerships, entrepreneurship, local purchasing, local banking and investing, and more. Shuman also outlines the kinds of public policy that local leaders can adopt to encourage the spread of pollinator enterprises at virtually no cost, and ensure the long-term economic health of their communities.


    Want this book?

    Order from your local bookshop, else read more / buy here.
  • Funny Money: In Search of Alternative Cash

    Funny Money: In Search of Alternative Cash

    David Boyle

    Only our limited idea of money is keeping us poor. David Boyle introduces us to alternative cash and people who can conjure money – that is, spending power – out of nothing.

    Until recently, the growth of alternative cash had been the province of big business – phone cards, stamps, air miles and Tesco’s “Clubcard” points all have purchasing power, yet are not cash as we know it. Now, locally created money systems like ‘Time Dollars’, ‘Womanshare’ and ‘Ithaca Hours’ are being invented by communities for communities.

    With clarity and great humour, Boyle tells the story of this extraordinary revolution. He travels to the USA to visit the people behind local money systems, relates their vision of the future, and describes how to set up your own currency. This is no dry theoretical tome. Boyle writes about his subject in a way that is concrete, illuminating, often very funny and always highly readable.

    This paperback edition includes a new epilogue with an update on the latest alternative currency ideas. “You just have to cast doubt on the real existence of the money markets and they could just shrivel away. Anything could happen”.

    A revolution is underway now. This book tells the story of its leaders and the ideas that inspired them.

    Want this book?

    Order from your local bookshop, else read more / buy here.
  • Money Secrets of the Amish: Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving

    Money Secrets of the Amish: Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing, and Saving

    Lorilee Craker

    Discover the money-saving and wealth-building secrets of America’s thriftiest people, the Amish.

    Author, journalist and descendant of the Amish, Lorilee Craker, was just like the rest of us, feeling the pinch from the financial fallout of 2008. As a freelancer, her income was going the way of the dodo – family dollars seemed like an extinct myth, the bank account some archeological evidence of past prosperity.

    Then, inspired by a news segment covering her people, the Amish, and how they emerged from the economic crisis unscathed, she realised it was time to get back to her roots and learn a thing or two about their time-tested approach to personal finances. While the middle-class was wringing its hands over the family budget and the wealthy were weeping over their slashed portfolios, the Amish were content as always, spared from the cares of the world and worldliness. They not only had financial health to support their lives, they exuded a wholeness that eludes so many when the financial bottom drops out.

    In Money Secrets of the Amish, readers go on an ‘Amish money makeover’, learning the choices, secrets and disciplines that safeguarded the contentment and the coffers of America’s favorite plain folk by spending less, saving more and getting happier doing it.

    Want this book?

    Order from your local bookshop, else read more / buy here.
  • Lets Act Locally: Growth of Local Exchange Trading Systems

    Lets Act Locally: Growth of Local Exchange Trading Systems

    Jonathan Croall

    A picture of the LETS landscape as of Spring 1997, this book shows how LETS operates in the real world. It describes how goods and services are exchanged using currency created within each LETS, and examines the issues that need to be tackled if the LETS idea is to grow in the 21st century.

    Want this book?

    Order from your local bookshop, else read more / buy here.
  • When Money Dies: The Nightmare of the Weimar Hyper-Inflation

    When Money Dies: The Nightmare of the Weimar Hyper-Inflation

    Adam Fergusson

    In 1923, with its currency effectively worthless (the exchange rate in December of that year was one dollar to 4,200,000,000,000 Marks), the Weimar Republic was all but reduced to a barter economy. Expensive cigars, artworks and jewels were routinely exchanged for staples such as bread. A cinema ticket could be bought for a lump of coal, and a bottle of paraffin for a silk shirt. In desperation, the Bavarian Prime Minister submitted a Bill to the Reichsrat proposing that gluttony be made a penal offence – his exact definition of a glutton being “one who habitually devotes himself to the pleasures of the table to such a degree that he might arouse discontent in view of the distressful condition of the population”.

    Since its first publication in 1975, When Money Dies has become the classic history of these bizarre and frightening times. Weaving elegant analysis with a wealth of eyewitness accounts by ordinary people struggling to survive, it deals above all with the human side of inflation – why governments resort to it, the dismal, corruptive pestilence it visits on their citizens, the agonies of recovery and the dark, long-term legacy.

    At a time of acute economic strain, it provides an urgent warning against the addictive dangers of printing money – shorthand for deficit financing – as a soft option for governments faced with growing unrest and unemployment.

    Want this book?

    Order from your local bookshop, else read more / buy here.

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