Local Currencies

 

Centralized currency issue serves centralized production whereas regional currencies represent a democratization of currency issue, supporting local businesses and educating consumers about how their money circulates in the local economy.

The theory, history, and practice of the Schumacher Center for New Economics' work with local currencies is detailed in Local Currencies: Catalysts for Sustainable Regional Economies.  Bob Swann, founder of the Schumacher Center, offered additional background on money and banking and the case for local currencies in his essays found here.

BerkShares are a local currency for the Berkshire region of Massachusetts. Dubbed a "great economic experiment" by the New York Times, BerkShares are a tool for community empowerment, enabling merchants and consumers to plant the seeds for an alternative economic future for their communities. Launched in the fall of 2006, over seven million BerkShares have circulated in the Berkshire region to-date.

BerkShares and the accompanying Community Supported Industry is currently being supported by funding from the Doen Foundation.

BerkShares were featured on the PBS NewsHour. Reporter Paul Solmon interviewed Local Currency Program Director Alice Maggio about the evolution of BerkShares.  Read their conversation here and watch the video here.

View print and television coverage of BerkShares (international, national, and regional)

In June of 2004 the Schumacher Center for New Economics convened the conference Local Currencies in the 21st Century. The conference report and UTNE Reader article provide details on this landmark event, described by Pete Seeger as "the best conference he had ever attended."

 

Reference Materials for Creating a Local Currency:

Local Currency Directories