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Case Studies and Proposals

Submitted by on March 3, 2010 – 9:41 amNo Comment

We now have a number of well documented success stories of complementary currencies that were introduced by governments, with very positive results.   Two well known such experiments are the Wörgl in Austria and Banco Palmas in Brazil.  

The Wörgl experiment (Austria: 1932-1933)

In the mist of the Great Depression, the Austrian town of Wörgl made economic history by stimulating its local economy through the introduction of a stamp scrip.  The Wörgl experiment was conducted from July 1932 to November 1933 in a little Austrian town of 4,500 inhabitants under the leadership of its mayor.  It is a classic example of the potential efficacy of local currencies, demonstrating that a depressed community in an apparently hopeless situation can find a way to end the seemingly intractable challenges of unemployment, local decline and lack of a reliable tax base.   Read the story.

Banco Palmas in Brazil (1998-present)

With the help of NGOs, people in Palmeiras, an impoverished district in Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil organized and set up a community credit bank.  The currency of this bank is called Palma and it is in this currency that inhabitants there sell, buy and stimulate the local economy.
The government decided to generalize the dual currency system in place at Banco Palmas to 200 local banks and requested that the Banco de Brazil (largest government-owned bank) make this happen.   Read More / Watch Video.

The Saber: A Proposal for a Government-Backed Education Currency

The Saber is a government-backed complementary education currency proposed by Bernard Lietaer to help Brazilian schools provide greater educational opportunities despite the lack of available funds.   The educational vouchers are designed to set in motion a substantial “learning multiplier” so that a given amount of money can facilitate substantially more learning for a greater number of students.   The currency would fuel this learning multiplier without creating any new financial pressure on the economy.  Read the Saber proposal.