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Examples and Case Studies

Submitted by on March 15, 2010 – 9:02 amNo Comment

There are numerous examples of successful community currencies.

  • Time Dollars whose purpose is to “reweave community” is a currency which is now applied in several hundred communities in the United States and around the world.   Time Dollars is based on an agreement to use ‘hours of service’ as a means of payment.   The system has elegant simplicity.   It allows members of a community to earn credits for the time they spend helping someone else, and to use these credits to obtain help from other community members.
  • LETS money (like Time Dollars) is created as mutual credit.  Each transaction is recorded as a corresponding credit and debit in the two participants’ accounts. The quantity of currency issued is thus automatically sufficient and (unlike fiat money) does not depend on the judgment and effort of a central authority.   Normally, when too much of a local currency is issued, it will inflate or even become completely worthless; when currency is underissued, the problem local currency was meant to address–too little trade among people in the community–will remain.  So it is not a trivial task for anybody or any group to guess the correct quantity of money to issue, because that ideal quantity will continuously vary according to the rate of acceptance of the local currency, which will change over time; and the overall state of the local economy (including the conditions of the economy in the “normal” national currency), which will also change over time).   Mutual credit solves both these problems in a self-organized way.
  • Ithaca Hours is a paper currency launched by a community activist in the small university town of Ithaca, a relatively low income community of about 27,000 inhabitants.   Similar types of paper currency systems are now operational in numerous communities in the United States.
  • Tlaloc a Mexican popular neighborhood currency provides another version of a low-tech complementary currency.  It operates without individual users needing access to either a computer or even a telephone.