Mother Earth News Blogs > Homesteading and Livestock

Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

Alternative Currency

Just the other evening an intern - who is also a student - was posing his homework questions to the rest of us over dinner. I ambled into the room at a critical moment:

“Beth, what do you think are the root causes of the world’s problems?” 

Money and men were my off-the-cuff response. We all laughed for the joke, or perhaps for the truth it suggested. “Men” being alliterative; my meaning being “humanity” lest anyone feel unfairly slighted. The answer, of course, is not nearly that simplistic. Setting aside the topic of humanity, let’s briefly consider that of money.

Money, a statement of value. Yet money so effectively affects our judgment of value. Twists it, undermines it, and counters a traditional value system rooted in place, landscape, resources, and community. 

Rather than judging worth –value - by the time it took to make an object, or the neighbor’s par excellence skill with a particular tool; or the resources you had to pull from your own land for the creation of a good; or the necessity that an object can claim in our daily life…rather than any of these reasonable, tangible, based-in-reality systems of value, we have chosen to use paper currency as a value-determining middle-man. Not only that, but paper currency is now an international value, resulting in total detachment from a community-based scale of value. We have evolved into a system that determines value largely devoid of the people, places, and resource-base from which objects and services originate. 

Is this really how we want to continue? With money flowing out of our communities for objects created in exploitation of distant people and resources, subsidized by governmental agreements and sanctioned by international political status quos?

Not me, for one.

Here at D Acres, we are emphasizing a resource-based, skills-based economy, one grounded in place, reflective of our regional identity, and responding to community needs. Resiliency, flexibility, and sustainability are tenets of a local system, rather than power, exploitation, bureaucracy, and unrestricted development. We want an economy grounded in the reality that surrounds us. We want to maintain money – value - within our communities. Wealth based in resources & skills is wealth that is tangible, necessary, and empowering. 

And so we are envisioning a new system, one that reflects our identity, our landscape, our resources, and our community needs. 

Sounds like grand philosophy, I suppose.  What does it mean?

We are initiating a community exchange system that is based on the goods and services that we each offer. It is a mutual credit system that encourages trading of goods and services between individuals. Administered online, participants will be each other’s oversight and accountability. While we recognize the challenges, we are also excited about the possibilities. 

Join us as we imagine a new way! Community-wide planning begins Saturday, February 25 at 12:00noon, here at D Acres. Come to learn more, contribute your perspective, and be a part of this inspiring community initiative. The future starts now. 

Growing food and growing community 

brian witter
3/1/2012 8:11:44 PM

I dont see how it could work unless there is something physical to trade that has no other use except currency. It would need intrinsic value, something found locally, and limited in supply. Gold dust being an obvious choice, but then you have to deal with measuring/ weighing at every exchange.

t brandt
2/20/2012 12:32:19 AM

First off, this idea of a local currency makes us all feel warm & fuzzy about our community, but means nothing at all. It's simple logic: if a =b and b = c and c = d then a = d, where a is "real money" and b & c are commodities and d is local money. So why bother with local money? It's all only symbolic...Secondly, The Fed served a very useful purpose from the Regan yrs until recently by controlling the "price" of money and thereby keeping inflation under control ( Can we assume you're too young to remember the Carter yrs?) Now that the govt has entered into its death spiral of borrowing beyond our means of ever paying it back, the Fed has set the cost of borrowing essentaillly at zero, thereby abdicating its control over the money supply for political reasons... The problem with the gold standard is that there's only a finite supply of gold, implying, therefore, a finite supply of wealth. But wealth should be generated by labor & creativity, of which Mankind has an infinite supply.

patrick henry
2/19/2012 1:01:02 PM

A community based currency is still by definition a fiat currency which by its nature will seek it true value of zero. It amazes me how people who espouse the evils of corruption of our foods, environment, etc by a facist corporation/government alliance, are so easily fooled into accepting the evil of the corruption of our debt based fiat currency. The only way to correct the overspending, endless wars, corruption of easy money through the Federal Reserve system is to return to a constitutional legal gold/silver monetary system. Every time you use a credit card you contribute to the problem, because every US dollar is created by debt even those you put on the credit card. Alternate currency are not the answer to our problems, A sound monetary policy that eliminates the Federal Reserve is the real answer. End the FED and stop the excessive spending.

charles clarkson
2/19/2012 6:51:25 AM

Consider using LETS money. By its nature it remains local and usually does not violate national laws because it does not compete with national currency monopolies.

baruch atta
2/17/2012 4:55:40 PM

Please let me know how this works out for you. there have been previous attempts - have you done your homework?