local currency

Democratic Dignity

Local currencies are designed to encourage trade at locally owned businesses.   At the same time their very design can reflect and honor the history and culture or an area. This is true of BerkShares.  On the 20 BerkShare note, for example,  you find Herman Melville, novelist, essayist, poet, and mariner.  Melville is best known as the author of one of the greatest of all American novels, “Moby Dick” (1851).

Small Change/Big Impact

"Lowly, unpurposeful, and random as they may appear, sidewalk contacts are the small change from which a city's wealth of public life may grow."  --Jane Jacobs from "The Death and Life of Great American Cities."

Economic Ideas that Matter/Jane Jacobs

Judith Schwartz turns to Jane Jacobs for ideas that matter when it comes to economics. See her Miller-McCune article below.


What Jane Jacobs Can Teach Us About the Economy

Late urban champion's notions about decline and imports newly resonant during this recession.

By: Judith D. Schwartz | October 24, 2009

David Boyle at launch of Brixton Pound

David Boyle is one of the senior staff at the New Economics Foundation in London and well known for his writings on local currencies. He is part of the NEF team working with the E. F. Schumacher Society to form the New Economics Institute in North America.

David gave the following address last week at the launch of the Brixton Pound.

Washington Post on BerkShares and Brixton Pound

Today's "Washington Post" credits BerkShares local currency with inspiring launch of the Brixton Pound as a citizen-driven economic development tool in London's poorest neighborhood.


When Going Gets Tough, Local Currency Gets Going

By Karla Adam
Special to the Washington Post
Sunday, September 27, 2009

Time Magazine writes of Local Currencies

Continuing national media attention to BerkShares, the local currency for the Berkshire region, Time Magazine carried a story by Judith Schwartz in its July 12th issue.


Local Currencies
by Judith Schwartz

WIR/Cooperative Credit and Exchange

Erick B. Hansch was a colleague of Robert Swann and Ralph Borsodi at the International Independence Institute. One of the projects of the Institute was the launch of a currency called "The Constant" in Exeter, New Hampshire in 1972. Borsodi, an economist, was in his 90's at the time and decided to issue the currency as a one year experiment to prove it could be done, rather than just writing another book on the subject.

Democratizing Finance

The incomparable Hazel Henderson has been campaigning and strategizing for a green economy for the past forty years in her writings and talks, and at board and government tables. Her pioneering work has led to many of the programs we now take for granted in the socially and ecologically responsible investment field. She has worked with both citizen groups and heads of states around the world. She has created a language for evaluating the ethical basis of financial programs. Her name is a trademark.

Value Added Economy

Users of BerkShares have circulated over two million of the local currency in the Berkshire economy since launch in September of 2006. The success of this initial stage of the program has enabled a strategic adjustment to the exchange rate between BerkShares and U.S. dollars. Now, 100 BerkShares can be purchased for 95 federal dollars (100B$ = $95).

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