Creating an Alternative Local Currency

Common Credits would facilitate the creation of an alternative local economy, relying on local exchanges of services and goods among both individuals and cooperatives and businesses, where these services or goods can be traded, using “Common Credits” as a mean of tracking the flow of value.

Suggested Reading:

The End of Money and the Future of Civilization

 by Thomas H. Greco Jr.

Thomas Greco begins by showing that social justice, economic equity, personal liberty, world peace, and ecological restoration cannot be achieved until we give birth to a just and sustainable paradigm for exchanging energies. The roots of our current financial predicament are revealed and the need for something better is lucidly explained. This book is a concise and efficient way to get up to speed on the history of alternatives to conventional ‘money’ as well as enter the new world of technologically liberated exchange that has the potential to bring about the end of money as we have known it.

Web of Debt: The Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free

by Ellen Hodgson Brown

Except for coins, all of our money is now created as loans advanced by private banking institutions, including the private Federal Reserve. Banks create the principal but not the interest to service their loans. To find the interest, new loans must continually be taken out and expanding the money supply. Web of Debt unravels the deception and presents a crystal clear picture of the financial abyss towards which we are heading. Then it explores a workable alternative, that was tested in colonial America and is grounded in the best of American economic thought, including the writings of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.

Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth

by David C Korten

Today’s economic crisis is the worst since the Great Depression. However, as David Korten shows, the steps being taken to address it do nothing to deal with the reality of a failed economic system. Korten identifies the deeper sources of the failure: Wall Street institutions that have perfected the art of creating “wealth” without producing anything of real value: phantom wealth. Our hope lies not with Wall Street, Korten argues, but with Main Street, which creates real wealth from real resources to meet real needs. He outlines an agenda to create a new economy- locally based, community oriented, and devoted to creating a better life for all, not simply increasing profits.

The Future of Money

by Benjamin J. Cohen

An informative discussion of various currency arrangements, from exclusive reliance on a national currency to bimonetarism to the adoption of foreign currency as official legal tender, touching on both academic and practical arguments for each.

Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future

by Bill McKibben

Challenging the prevailing wisdom that the goal of economies should be unlimited growth, McKibben  argues that the world doesn’t have enough natural resources to sustain endless economic expansion. Drawing the phrase “deep economy” from the expression “deep ecology,” a term environmentalists use to signify new ways of thinking about the environment, he suggests we need to explore new economic ideas. Rather then promoting accelerated cycles of economic expansion—a mindset that has brought the world to the brink of environmental disaster—we should concentrate on creating localized economies: community-scale power systems instead of huge centralized power plants and co-housing communities instead of sprawling suburbs.

Animal Spirits: How Human Psychology Drives the Economy, and Why It Matters for Global Capitalism

by George A. Akerlof, Robert J. Shiller

George Akerlof and Robert Shiller, argue that the key is to recover Keynes’s insight about ‘animal spirits’–the attitudes and ideas that guide economic action. The orthodoxy needs to be rebuilt, and bringing these psychological factors into the core of economics is the way to do it. . . . The connections between their thinking on the limits to conventional economics and the issues thrown up by the breakdown are plain, even if they were unable to make every link explicit.

Small is Possible: Life in a Local Economy (Paperback)

by Lyle Estill

Estill chronicles the failures and victories of an ongoing movement for sustainability and local resiliency in Chatham County, located in the piedmont region of North Carolina. Estill co-founded Piedmont Biofuels, a biodiesel co-op that went from backyard operation into an industrial plant in a few short years. Readers interested in academic arguments for local economies can find other books on the subject, but if they want a compelling story about noble attempts to walk the talk, Small is Possible delivers. Estill takes us on a loving stroll through his North Carolina neighborhood and shows us how small-scale sustainability – feeding, fueling, and financing locally – is both possible and preferable.

The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience

by Rob Hopkins

The Transition Handbook shows how the inevitable and profound changes ahead can have a positive outcome. These changes can lead to the rebirth of local communities that will grow more of their own food, generate their own power, and build their own houses using local materials. They can also encourage the development of local currencies to keep money in the local area. There are now over 30 “transition towns” in the UK, Australia and New Zealand with more joining as the idea takes off. They provide valuable experience and lessons-learned for those of us on this side of the Atlantic.

Creating a Sustainable World: Past Experience/future Struggle

by Trent Schroyer (Author, Editor), Tom Golodik (Editor)

Trent Schroyer and his co-editor Thomas Golodik have pulled together some of the most influential theorists and practitioners of sustainability from around the world Vandana Shiva, Wolfgang Sachs, Robert Engler, Peter Montague, Joan Dye Gussow and Michael Shuman, among others. These seminal essays offer critiques of the publicly accepted notion of sustainability that has evolved, devoid of democratic input and driven by market forces. Schroyer exposes the market-driven agenda underlying the dominant “sustainable development” paradigm and shows us what would be required to advance society without having the Earth irreparably harmed. The authors offer contrasting concepts of sustainability derived from civil society and grassroots communities These are models untouched by the global free trade system and come to us through the voices of people directly affected by “sustainable development” projects 

Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice

by Julian Agyeman

Julian Agyeman argues that environmental justice and the sustainable communities movement are compatible in practical ways. Yet sustainability, which focuses on meeting our needs today while not compromising the ability of our successors to meet their needs, has not always partnered with the challenges of environmental justice. Sustainable Communities and the Challenge of Environmental Justice explores the ideological differences between these two groups and shows how they can work together. Agyeman provides concrete examples of potential model organizations that employ the types of strategies he advocates.

Sustainable Communities: A New Design Synthesis for Cities, Suburbs and Towns

by Sim Van der Ryn

Architects, community planners, ecologists and biologists contribute ideas for developing largely self-reliant communities, drastically cutting the use of fossil fuels and putting regional economies in balance. This book offers examples, real and proposed, of sound environmental planning for communities. Three case studies, Sunnyvale, California; Golden, Colorado; Philadelphia and a group of essays on the “Context for Sustainable Design” are included.

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