[permaculture] NEW BOOK People Money: The Promise of Regional Currencies by Margrit Kennedy, Bernard Lietaer and John Rogers

Wesley Roe and Santa Barbara Permaculture Network lakinroe at silcom.com
Thu Sep 20 09:54:56 EDT 2012

a triarchy press publication

People Money: The Promise of Regional Currencies
by Margrit Kennedy, Bernard Lietaer and John Rogers
For customers in North America, copies are printed in and shipped from 
the USA.

Epub version: available here
Kindle versions: amazon.co.uk | amazon.com

Read what people are saying about this book

Join the discussion on the People Money Facebook Group

About the book
People Money is a comprehensive guide to the principles and practice of 
regional currencies.

It shows how regional currencies can transform the lives and well-being 
of local communities, how they can sustain businesses, how local 
authorities can participate in their success and, consequently, why 
supporting regional currencies is of vital importance to the future of 
your community, region or country.

It is also a comprehensive guide to the development process and 
implementation of a regional currency.

The Present Currency System
"Centralised national money destroys community. It makes us deal with 
human beings like we deal with dented cans – we throw them away when we 
can’t make a profit from them ..."
Bob Fishman, Equal Dollars Community Currency

In the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, vast numbers of people have 
had their livelihoods stripped away and, for many, the future looks 
bleak. There is a growing gap between the haves and have-nots and the 
disagreements between policy makers (economists and governments) about 
how to ‘rebalance the economy’ increasingly suggest that nobody has 
control or knows what to do.

The growth vs. austerity options under consideration will do little to 
help the financial sector stabilise. According to the IMF, there have 
been at least 145 banking crises, 208 monetary crashes and 72 
sovereign-debt crises in the last 40 years and these are bound to 
continue if we stay with the present approach.

It is not just another downturn in the business cycle but a deep 
systemic crisis caused by the rift between a casino economics based on 
monetary speculation and the social and ecological realities of our 
time. The only way to bridge this chasm between money and planet, 
between money and people is to reinvent money.

The Change and Benefits of Regional Currencies
Communities are full of underused resources: individuals with time and 
talents; businesses with spare capacity in the form of restaurant 
tables, hire cars, printing services, theatre seats; voluntary 
associations with underused vehicles and rooms; local authorities with 
underused community and leisure centres.

Regional Currencies reinvent money to mobilize these resources without 
burdening taxpayers either at the national or regional level. Regional 

value talents and skills
rebuild communities and strengthen local economies
help protect local environments share inventory, labour and skills that 
could serve the community
harness volunteers more effectively
support learning, training and skills-sharing
sustain local businesses with spare capacity
meet the demand for the care and support of the elderly.
Furthermore, they are not subject to the risk of a meltdown in the 
financial sector. Like the Brixton or Lewes pound (and there are many 
thousands of them worldwide, in Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, 
Brazil, Venezuela, South Africa, New Zealand, ...) regional currencies 
behave and do what national currencies don’t do.

Who should read People Money?
Anyone who is interested in developing and implementing a regional currency

Policy makers on the funding of education, sustainable initiatives, 
social welfare, youth projects etc.

Business leaders with spare capacity

NGOs or organisations who want to attract more volunteers

Local authority and community leaders

Talent exchange initiatives

Anyone who doesn’t understand the importance of regional currencies

In Part 1, The Case for Regional Currencies, the authors give an 
excellent overview of the present monetary system – its history and 
purpose - and an explanation of its inherent weaknesses. They include a 
short history of regional currencies and their effects, with examples 
dating back to 1265. (The oldest one in existence today is the WIR bank 
in Switzerland, now 78 years old with a turnover of the equivalent of 
1.627 billion Swiss Francs in 2010.)

The characteristics and purpose of the various models of commercial- and 
community-oriented currencies are then explained, with examples from 
rich and poor, urban and rural communities. Different types of currency 
– voucher systems, circulating currencies, exchange rings and 
micro-credit banks – are looked at in detail.

A regional currency should ideally:

represent a win-win situation for all participants
be organised with the aim of mutual social benefit
be professionally run
be transparent for its users
be democratically governed
be sustainably financed
contain circulation incentives.
Drawing on the experiences of organisers of regional currencies, the 
authors describe the administration and governance of the currencies, 
how to cooperate with other financial institutions, clearing systems and 
the issue of taxation.

Part 2, Regional Currencies in Practice, focuses on the ‘how to’ of 
developing a regional currency and the benefits that have accrued as a 
result of their implementation.

Regional currencies can be started by individuals, businesses or local 
government authorities. Through years of experience and in-depth 
interviewing of the organisers of different currencies, the authors have 
developed a framework of 5 phases for new developers to work from. Each 
of these phases is clearly explained so that, by the end, currency 
designers will have a:

Currency mechanism
Cost recovery model
Management structure and key job descriptions
Appropriate governance model
Marketing strategy: a suitable name and the beginnings of a corporate 
Training needs assessment and plan to recruit ‘multipliers’ who will 
publicise and explain the concept throughout the region.
Map of other projects in the regional and social economy, which are 
complementary to the regional currency and could work together
Project presentation portfolio for decision makers and multipliers
Finally, the book profiles of some of the leading organisers of regional 
currencies around the world, explaining their driving passion and the 
nuances of each of the models – how the currency started, how it 
developed, the difficulties encountered on the journey, and how these 
were overcome.

Regional currencies featured in the book include:

Banco Palmas, Brazil ~ WIR Bank, Switzerland ~
The Business Exchange, Scotland ~ Community Connect Trade, USA ~
RES, Belgium ~ PuntoTRANSaccioines, El Salvador ~
Brixton Pound, England ~ Talente Tauschkreis Vorarlberg, Austria ~
Equal Dollars, USA ~ BerkShares, USA ~
Chiemgauer, Germany ~ SOL Violette, France ~
Ithaca HOURS, USA ~ Dane County Time Bank, USA ~
Blaengarw Time Centre, Wales ~ Community Exchange System, S. Africa ~

[For a much more detailed explanation of the history and current conduct 
of the money system and how it threatens not just economic stability but 
social and environmental sustainability altogether – see Money and 
Sustainability: The Missing Link.]

About the Authors
Prof. Dr. Margrit Kennedy is an architect with a Masters Degree in Urban 
and Regional Planning and a Ph.D. in Public and International Affairs, 
who worked for UNESCO and OECD and was a professor for Ecological 
Building Technologies in the Department of Architecture at the 
University of Hanover. Projects in ecological architecture for the 
International Building Exhibition Berlin in 1987 led her to the 
discovery that it is virtually impossible to carry out sound ecological 
concepts on the scale required today without fundamentally altering the 
present money system or creating new complementary currencies. In her 
two books Interest and Inflation Free Money (1987 - translated into 23 
languages since) and Occupy Money (2012) she explores the systemic 
problems of the present system and the advantages of using new 
complementary monetary designs. Her work in this field has been 
instrumental for the start of more than 60 regional currency initiatives 
in the German speaking parts of Europe.

Bernard Lietaer has been active in money systems for 35 years in an 
unusual variety of functions. While at the Central Bank in Belgium he 
co-designed and implemented the convergence mechanism (ECU) to the 
single European currency system and served as President of Belgium’s 
Electronic Payment System. He was General Manager and Currency Trader 
for the Gaia Hedge Funds, when Business Week identified him in 1990 as 
the world’s top trader. He is currently Research Fellow at the 
University of California, Berkeley, and Visiting Professor at the 
Finance University in Moscow. He is the author of fifteen books relating 
to monetary and financial issues.

John Rogers cut his teeth with local currencies by running a local 
exchange system in Wales for 10 years. He co-founded the Wales Institute 
for Community Currencies at the University of Newport, which he directed 
with Geoff Thomas from 2003-2007. They coordinated research into the 
effects of time banking in ex-mining communities, which was published by 
the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in 'Hidden Work'. He now offers training 
and consulting for local currencies through Value for People and has 
spoken and led workshops at many international conferences.

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