Alternative Currencies

The Transition PDX Alternative Currencies Working Group was founded in June 2012 to study different types of alternative currencies and learn about other practices for strengthening local economies, including:

  • Complementary currencies (e.g. BerkShares, used in the Berkshire region of Massachusetts),
  • Local (or mutual) exchange trading systems, a.k.a. LETS (e.g. Ashville LETS in North Carolina);
  • Hours, another type of local currency (e.g., Ithaca Hours, a local currency in Ithaca, New York, valued at $10 for one hour);
  • Local shopping incentive systems (e.g., Supportland here in Portland).

One outcome of our first meeting was the creation of a LETS (Local Exchange Trading System) to enable hands-on learning through practice. A website was set up for listing offers and wants, and it’s easy to sign up. Click here to join and begin trading on PDXLETS.

After nearly nine monthly meetings with rich discussion, as of April 2013 the Transition Alternative Currencies working group formed a book study group (with the Economic Justice Action Group of First Unitarian Church of Portland) to focus on the writings of Bernard Lietaer. Lietaer’s most recent book is Rethinking Money. His first book is titled New Money for a New World. The more recent book has more current day examples. The first book goes into more of the depth psychology around money.

As of midsummer 2013, the TPDX Alternative Currencies Working Group has again lapsed into inactivity, but occasional articles and local activities continue to find their way onto our listserv, AltCurr, which you may join by clicking here.

The convener for this working group is Becky Luening:

Recommended Reading

PDF paper, “Shareconomy: Introduction to a Value-Based Economy of the Commons That We Can Implement Now,” authored by Peter Herring of trovi, a new web service dedicated to connecting local consumers with local vendors.

Debt: The First 5,000 Years by David Graeber

The End of Money and the Future of Civilization by Thomas H. Greco, Jr.

The Man Who Quit Money by Mark Sundeen

New Money for a New World by Bernard Lietaer and Stephen Belgin

The Real Wealth of Nations by Riane Eisler

Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein (also see short film)

Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered by E. F. Schumacher

“As Spain’s Recession Darkens, Alternative Economies Rise”, published by Common Dreams on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.