Friday, December 5, 2008

I love clever people, part 2

This is one of the coolest things I've ever read. After reading the article I realize that it's not a new concept, but this is the first I'm hearing about it. Wish we were doing this in New York.

Milwaukee neighborhoods could print own money
2 neighborhoods consider printing own currency for exclusive use in local stores

By Erika Slife Tribune reporter
December 3, 2008

They may be talking funny money, but it's not funny business.

Residents from the Milwaukee neighborhoods of Riverwest and East Side are scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss printing their own money. The idea is that the local cash could be used at neighborhood stores and businesses, thus encouraging local spending. The result, supporters hope, would be a bustling local economy, even as the rest of the nation deals with a recession.

"You have all these people who have local currency, and they're going to spend it at local stores," said Sura Faraj, a community organizer who is helping spearhead the plan. "They can't spend it at the Wal-Mart or the Home Depot, but they can spend it at their local hardware store or their local grocery store."

Incentives could be used to entice consumers into using the new money. For example, perhaps they could trade $100 U.S. for $110 local, essentially netting them a 10 percent discount at participating stores.

It's not a new concept—experts estimate there are at least 2,000 local currencies all over the world—but it is a practice that tends to burgeon during economic downturns. During the Great Depression, scores of communities relied on their own currencies.

And it's completely legal.

As long as communities don't create coins, or print bills that resemble federal dollars, organizations are free to produce their own greenbacks—and they'd don't even have to be green.

In Wisconsin, could that mean dough that looks like cheese?


Interesting stuff, eh?

4 comments:

Good Girls Studio said...

that is a very interesting concept...I suppose you should start knitting your own $ : )

Anonymous said...

they do this over in western mass...

http://www.berkshares.org/localcurrency.htm

Jenny said...

Really interesting. Thanks for sharing!

rawn said...

Kate, this is actually an idea that HAS been kicked around a bit in Troy...we had considered the potential for Troy Night Out and it is an idea in discussion at the Troy 100 Forum. Given the right incentives I agree it could mean good things for our local businesses!
-Rachel (Tight Knit!/Troy Night Out VSAP)