Means of Exchange
Sharing approaches to reconnect communities
Means of Exchange
Using emerging technologies to build a resilience economy
Means of Exchange
Promoting a return to local resource use
Papers and Reports
In addition to hand-picking a great selection of books, we’ve taken the liberty of scouring the web and picked out some of the best (and most interesting) free papers and reports.
The Lewes Pound ‘How to Manual’
The Transition Network
Communities around the world are looking for an alternative to their national currencies that bring greater value to the community. Local currencies have the power to strengthen community bonds and encourage local trading. The Lewes Pound ‘How to Manual’ is a basic primer to understanding the implementation and utilisation of local currency. It outlines the benefits to the general community with communities in transition as a special emphasis. The document details the requirements for creating an alternative currency and tying the currency to a local value. More than a simplistic ‘How to’ guide, the report includes a case study of the Lewes community and how the alternative currency has been successfully applied to everyday life. From defining stakeholders and launching the currency to day -to-day operations, this document is both instructive and informative.Download PDF
Going Out of the Town Hall: The Benefits and How They Can be Achieved
From urban gardening and networks of sharing to community-owned wind farms, citizens’ initiatives have emerged all over Europe in a quest to find new answers to today’s pressing challenges. This policy brief explores new forms of co-operation between local governments and these bottom-up initiatives. It argues that getting involved with initiatives helps local governments to be an active player in their community’s change dynamics. This co-operation also requires new ways of engaging and participating between the groups.Download PDF
From the Digital Divide to Inclusive Innovation
The Royal Society of Arts
This 2013 report from the Royal Society of Arts Action and Research Centre investigates one of the most radical and rapid transformations in the commercial world – the rise of digital money. It considers how digital money could be used to help the world’s poorest people by giving them more opportunities to create wealth.Download PDF
Rebound: Building a More Resilient World
The Rockefeller Foundation
This 2013 report from the Rockefeller Foundation on resilience is composed of six articles from a range of authors. As the future of our world becomes increasingly uncertain it is increasingly necessary for people to make more sustainable choices in the event of major catastrophe. According to Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, there are five core features of resilient systems – spare capacity, flexibility, limited or ‘safe’ failure, rapid rebound and constantly learning. Report contributions include New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; the CEO of Dow Chemical, Andrew Liveras; the Directors of the World Food Programme; Mushtaque Chowdry of BRAC; Jane Waru, Director of Akiba Mashinani Trust and Coca-Cola CEO, Muhtar Kent. The six articles offer a variety of viewpoints and attitudes from vastly different stakeholders. All agree on the importance of resiliency, though they seem to differ on the best approach.Download PDF
Capacity Trade and Credit: Emerging Architectures for Commerce and Money
Report prepared by Z/Yen
This report examines the continuing evolution of forms of exchange outside the conventional financial system. We are all aware of the shortcomings of conventional finance, so it shouldn’t surprise many to learn that the business world has continued to develop alternatives for some time. Both the general concept and the practical implementation of bilateral and multi-lateral barter and ‘non- monetary’ exchange are not, in fact, new, but what may surprise people is to know how large a share of world trade takes place in non-monetary terms, more than 20% by some accounts, especially in the form of countertrade.
Innovative capacity exchanges with common tender have particular relevance now as we face a weak economic recovery and widespread constraints on the flow of credit to SMEs, in that they have the potential to ease counter-cyclically the liquidity problems facing businesses coming out of recession. But while the advantages may be highlighted in a downturn, reducing the need for traditional financing saves money and makes sense at any time for businesses, large or small. Helping businesses to trade more efficiently and to depend less on traditional financial credit is one of the exciting potential benefits from such exchanges, as well as helping companies gain better access to external supply chains and encouraging more effective utilisation of capital. There is also a challenge and an opportunity for government: to welcome such innovations, to foster them and to help ensure that they reinforce Britain’s place in global trade.Download PDF
A New Approach to a Typology of Complimentary Currencies
International Journal of Community Currency Research
Well over 5,000 complementary currency systems have been established worldwide to date. They range from very large systems, such as the WIR Cooperation Ring, to small neighbour-to-neighbour exchange circles. Such a diverse range of currency types have developed that it is almost impossible to get an overview of the whole field. This article attempts to strip complementary currency down to its basic features and then develop a typology of the various currencies. An important foundation for this is the work of the independent American scholar Edwin C. Riegel (1879 – 1953) who developed his own perspective on money that is still not accepted by mainstream scholarship. This work was revived and further developed by Thomas H. Greco, a contemporary monetary thinker. Another basis is the consideration of money as a purpose-driven means for the organisation of human relations.
This article is an excerpt from a thesis on complementary currencies by the author in The Institute for Research on Management of Associations, Foundations and Cooperatives (VMI) at the Economic and Social Sciences Faculty University of Fribourg in Switzerland.Download PDF
Local Exchange Trading Systems and Impact Assessment
Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETS) are schemes that aim to allow alternative means of access to local markets and economic systems. There is no one single LETS scheme. LETS are a very flexible tool and the features of the scheme should be designed to meet the particular circumstances in which the LETS seeks to provide support. As with all schemes that have the same broad objective, that is, to create a sustainable local economy not dependent on either the national currency or the wider national markets to survive, there are protagonists arguing that adoption of such a scheme will result in a wide range of benefits that only such a scheme is able to generate. Protagonists are usually unwilling to take a balanced view. The risk from this is that LETS can be introduced in the most inappropriate circumstances and therefore not only fail to achieve the sought for benefits and perhaps even cause actual damage to fragile communities, but also lead to damage to the whole LETS idea, leading ultimately to its lack of use or even abandonment as a useful tool.
Therefore those sponsoring or designing a LETS should ensure that both potential benefits and non-benefits are identified at the outset. Those who will be affected by the scheme should be involved in its design. Unless there is such an involvement there is the risk that not only will the scheme not meet its objectives, but also it might offend public policy leading to its being shut down (as this Guidance Note will demonstrate). Such involvement does not only ensure greater commitment to the LETS but also probably affects the design of the scheme including the objectives the system was intended to achieve. A further benefit is that involvement would encourage participation by the intended beneficiaries of the LETS in the impact assessment process. Participatory methods of impact assessment though are not the only forms of assessment that should be used with LETS and scheme sponsors and designers should consider at the design stage, all the alternative methods of impact assessment that would be used to identify whether or not the scheme was achieving the desired benefits and non-benefits. Therefore, features should be designed into the scheme from the outset that would enable an effective impact assessment to be made. This also means that appropriate baseline surveys should be carried out.Download PDF
More Than Money Platforms for Exchange and Reciprocity in Public Services
It’s increasingly clear that we live in collaborative times. Many of the most interesting innovations of recent years have at their heart ideas of sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, exchanging or swapping. These are age-old concepts being reinvented through network technologies and a cultural shift driven by the more civic minded millennial generation.
NESTA’s work over the past couple of years has sought to understand how this movement towards collaboration – what Rachel Botsman has called “Collaborative Consumption” – can be applied to meet rising social needs as well as disrupting commercial markets. Our work with a growing body of social innovators from across the UK suggests that there is huge potential for new platforms for reciprocal exchange to harness idling capacity, reduce waste, build social capital and transform the relationship we all have with public services.
While there is an enormous explosion of interest and expectation, in many ways this isn’t a new field of activity. We commissioned this report in an attempt to learn the lessons from the past and to provide a framework for understanding the many different approaches to complementary currencies and other platforms for reciprocal exchange. Who better to articulate this than David Boyle and nef (the New Economics Foundation), who have been central to the development of theory and practice in this fieldDownload PDF
in the UK and across the world. In parallel to this report we are also publishing a literature review, which presents the existing evidence of impact across different types of reciprocal exchange systems in greater depth.
Local Exchange Trading Systems: A Rural Response to the Globalization of Capitalism?
The Local Exchange Trading System represents a possible community-level response to the globalisation of capitalism. However, few studies have examined the potential of the LETS concept in rural areas, and no studies are available of LETS in rural Scotland. The present research employs empirical evidence from the Isle of Skye to investigate the potential of LETS for re-localising social and economic relations in remoter rural areas. This particular socio-cultural milieu presents both obstacles and opportunities for the development of LETS. It is suggested that further expansion of the Skye system could be stimulated by a focus on local food production. A LETS-based food co-operative can promote direct links between producers and consumers, extend the membership base and thereby reduce the frictional effect of distance on trading and social contact. It is concluded that to achieve such an objective the efforts of LETS members would be facilitated by the support of a sympathetic local authority.Download PDF