Rethink Money: How New Currencies Turn Scarcity Into Prosperity by Bernard Lietauer and Jacqui Dunne is an excellent book on the alternatives of employing currency. These barterlike transactions are designed to increase business activity in local neighborhoods which require a multitude of unique services. The purpose is to strengthen the local economy, provide jobs, serve unmet needs and utilize resources which would otherwise be unused or underutilized.
The authors explain the mechanism which is a local exchange trade system providing mutual credit in exchange for a whole host of service credits for things that are really needed. An example is a timebank for seniors for services like local taxis or home repair. The idea is for the senior to accumulate service credits in one area like volunteering in order to obtain a vital service like home repair or free rides to the local shopping center.
Berkshire, Massachusetts has an exchange program which allows the purchase of $100. of Berkshire shares for $95.00. This slight discount of the local currency in effect lowers prices to attract more business to the locality.
Banco Palmas has an innovative program of disaggregating consumption and production loans to facilitate getting money to borrowers sooner. Kosta Grammatis of Palo Alto, California links community services to donated internet time in order to make the internet more available throughout many communities.
Rethink Money is an innovative book which teaches ingenious ways to maximize economic activity through services, barter, neighborhood currency models and a whole host of unique arrangements which have proven successful in implementation.
The book transcends the idea of barter alone by covering new and innovative systems of exchange which originate at the local level. The presentation is easy to read and very relevant in today’s global economy. The ideas in this book are only a limited cure for unemployment and underemployment. The exchange systems discussed will take pressure off local communities by gainfully employing people in needed services in exchange for service credits for goods and services truly needed.