by Clive Michael Justice
Fiscal localism, local currency, a Green Economy
This can happen! Creating the possibility of increasing and increased currency flowing through the community. Across the globe there are numerous models in existence, often in response to low employment, depressed markets and poor financial opportunities.
Local people take the initiative to create a system independent or in concert with the country’s currency. [newsletter_lock]Trade happens within the community maintaining its health and sustaining growth and abundance for those choosing to participate, by purchasing the services or products available.
Currency or money has two principle roles, as a standard of value and a medium of exchange. Including interest or usury means that holding onto the currency, banking or investing it, one can theoretically gain over the long term. Unfortunately it also means that if we borrow, our debt increases the longer it takes to repay the loan.
“Interest on money constitutes one of the most systematic causes of our destruction of the global environment.” Bernard Lietaer http://www.transaction.net/money/cc/cc01.html#align
Moving away from usury and interest towards abundance and profit.
Some systems tack a small tax or booster on the currency called demurrage to pay for administration costs and as encouragement to spend, to keep the “money” moving. If you hold the currency it decreases slightly in value every day, so there is little incentive to save it. Instead folks are more likely to invest in long term projects that benefit the health of their families and the community. Because the currency remains in the community (moving around) there is a net increase in prosperity for everyone involved; more people are spending more money creating more employment as the community imagines new ways to contribute and participate.
This is not a new idea, it has been tried and demonstrated with many favourable outcomes in a number of locations. The success of these ventures rests entirely with participation by the community. A truly grass roots, bottom up undertaking.
For more information see these links:
- Local Exchange Trading System-http://www.gmlets.u-net.com/design/dm1%5E3.html
- Green Economy- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_economics
- Demurrage-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demurrage_(currency) and –http://www.transaction.net/index.html
Why local currency in Bafut
Can we imagine the creation of an alternate local currency initiative that would increase the prosperity of the Bafut region?
If successful, it could become a model for other communities within North West region, and possibly other provinces in Cameroon.
We would begin with Nadanifor Permaculture Eco-Village and partners,( for example the local micro loan agency and Bafut Council) then slowly expanding into the various communities of Bafut.
This undertaking would involve both local labour and goods traded or exchanged with the alternate currency. Those using the system would be encouraged to bring other local businesses on board as the program grows, enrolling crafts people, food sellers at the market, local shopkeepers, restaurants, guest houses and other trades people in order for them to have increased opportunities to spend their currency.
As the project succeeds and grows, people are encouraged to imagine and begin new ventures in order to take advantage of fresh possibilities . These might include; landscaping /habitat remediation with Bafut council partnership, house repair and renovation, local individuals teaching courses at the learning centre, forest stewardship, community care of the environment and increased employment in the service areas of each community.
The currency would not replace the Cameroonian franc but augment it, support it and work with it to encourage investment, development and prosperity for all the community.
To facilitate this we are asking you, our readers, to imagine a name for the currency… Bafut dollars? Bafut francs? The Green Franc?
We are sure someone will come up with the right term. And that person will receive a prize!
The winner receives currency equivalent in value to a meal at the Learning Centre which may instead be exchanged for goods or services within the community as they become available.
We are still in the creation stage. As we work on and develop this, your input, suggestions and especially your participation will be most welcome. Once the system is in place we will announce both the launching and the winner.
Stay tuned…. [/newsletter_lock]
Clive Michael Justice is a Canadian volunteer with Better world Cameroon in Bamenda