Communities print their own currency to keep cash flowing

A small but growing number of cash-strapped communities are printing their own money.

Borrowing from a Depression-era idea, they are aiming to help consumers make ends meet and support struggling local businesses.

The systems generally work like this: Businesses and individuals form a network to print currency. Shoppers buy it at a discount — say, 95 cents for $1 value — and spend the full value at stores that accept the currency.

Workers with dwindling wages are paying for groceries, yoga classes and fuel with Detroit Cheers, Ithaca Hours in New York, Plenty in North Carolina or BerkShares in Massachusetts.

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3 Responses to Communities print their own currency to keep cash flowing

  1. Bella says:

    Hmm. I live in the Berkshires in Massachusetts, and I have never heard of these "BerkShares"….

  2. melissa says:

    I don't get it… To me, something like this makes more sense:

    I mean, I guess it's kind of the same — but not really…

  3. Mark Herpel says:

    Community currency really helps the local economy. Spend a dollar at a large chain store like Walmart and immediately .80-.90 cents leaves the area for their headquarters and on to their overseas supplier. Great for China, bad for the local economy. Spend a dollar of local currency and it can't leave the area, the merchant receiving it has to re-spend it at another local establishment. The Berkshares are estimated to go through 4 separate transactions in the community before getting changed back into USD. Big boost to the locals.

    Community Currency Magazine

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