Understanding Advantages of a Complementary

Local Currency Exchange

by Jerri-Jo Idanius

A currency transaction is an energy exchange, one that has become highly unconscious in our current society. When we buy products produced for the mass market, we generally donít know what we are really buying, by whom it was produced, or in what corporate coffers our dollars will end up. As a counterbalance hundreds of local currencies are cropping up in the United States and around the world. This is a statement of a universal desire for a more self-empowered, direct and meaningful exchange, in alignment with values we want to endorse.

Local currency has the potential to increase employment, local production, community self-reliance, safeguards to the local environment, and much more. The chart below can best be understood in the context of other articles in this issue.

By accepting a percentage of payment for goods and services in community dollars, you can help rebalance the flow of energy in and out of your community. Since basic shelter, warmth, food, health, transportation, and education are primary needs, the cooperation of landlords, utility companies, food, education and health providers, builders, repair people, accountants, and gardeners will help this system flourish. The broader our participation base, the greater the potential to infuse our local economy with vital and meaningful revenue trading dollars.

National Currency

1 Based on debt with interest

2 Drains communities of capital

3 Competitively driven

4 Generated by outside institutions

5 Profit motive promotes over-consumption

6 Destructive to environment

7 Disempowers the majority

8 Dependence on outside resources

9 Multinational corporations dominate

10 Wealth as Gross National Product

11 Sucks wealth to the top

12 Low wages to produce low-cost products

13 Long distance production

14 Hype in advertising

15 Isolating to individuals

16 Non-negotiable value to the dollar

17 Underemployment is typical

18 Poverty increases dunng crises

19 Fractional-reserve banking

20 Promotes individualism and selfishness

21 Unmotivated wage-slaves

22 Borrowing with interest hikes prices

23 Volatile economy

24 Volunteerism becomes less viable

25 Capitalization of local businesses is corporate-controlled

26 Scarcity of local funding

27 Displacement of small businesses

28 Corrupt power base distant from local scrutiny

29 National governments give power to giant private controls

30 Public health, education and welfare are under tight control

31 Investment for profit as the bottom line

32 Money creates false security

33 Waste products seen as cash-costly and are dumped


Local Currency

1 Based on free exchange

2 Creates local capital

3 Cooperatively driven

4 Generated inside community

5 Provides basic needs

6 Safeguards environment

7 Empowers the individual

8 Promotes self-reliant communities

9 Grassroots human resources dominate

10 Wealth as valuable contribution

11 Redistributes wealth to the people

12 Promotes fair trade and living wage

13 Local production

14 Truth in local advertising

15 Community-building

16 Negotiable value to the exchange rate

17 Higher employment potential

18 Alleviates poverty during crises

19 Mutual credit system ó peopleís bank

20 Promotes cooperative sharing and trust

21 Motivated self-managers

22 Borrowing at no interest stabilizes prices

23 Steady-state economy

24 Supports volunteerism

25 Capitalization of local business under local control

26 Community projects and creative employment opportunities

27 Growth of small businesses

28 Individual is subject to local scrutiny

29 Local government responds to grassroots organizations

30 Private choice in health, education and welfare

31 Ethical investment as the bottom line

32 Spiritual resources and caring relationships are valued

33 Waste products are recycled to maintain local ecology