In the last 30 years many communities have developed the so-called social currencies. There are at the moment 500 of them worldwide.
They form a group of tools for goods, services and know-how exchange, designed by and for small communities by means of an ad-hoc money organization, a currency specially created for the community.
In other words, it is about exchanging without conventional money and using instead the community own currency. It consists in creating a complementary economy, based on collective management, sharing and cooperation. It is similar to bartering, only much better. Bartering means that if X wants to acquire a DVD from Y, X needs to offer something, equivalent worth that interests Y. Otherwise, the exchange cannot take place. By creating an ad hoc currency, you exchange with another member, who receives units of count that he or she can use whenever desired in order to acquire whatever he or she might have chosen also in a different exchange.
Social money is sometimes perceived as a modest innovation of “improved” bartering. We believe it is a wonderful vehicle for society changes.
Social money allows us to:
- Transform the nature of exchange, by recreating social bond, all-important social ties in a community.
- Bring back economy by developing local production and local exchange of goods and services. It has value only within the boundaries of the respective community, and therefore does not run off outside of it.
- Fight poverty, by providing the community with supplementary means for goods’ acquisition. Social money may elicit a growth of average family income twice as important, and sometimes even five or ten times higher.
- Fight exclusion, by reintroducing the unemployed in the exchange circuit and valuing their contributory skills and as a result conferring them new confidence and hope.
- Protect the environment, by giving priority to local production and consumption, and by promoting second-hand goods.