Solutions for Self-Reliance

Can a Local Currency Improve Resilience?


Here’s something interesting going on in Europe.

The slow motion collapse the EU has led the city of Nantes, France to take steps to add resilience to its economy.

How?  It is in the process of launching its own currency called the nanto.  To do this it has partnered with the WIR Cooperative Bank in Basel Switzerland.

The WIR bank has had considerable success in Basel over the last 40 years, with over 60,000 businesses accepting the WIR to settle debts.  The WIR functions as a bookkeeping system for clearing local transactions, and doesn’t use any paper bills.

Nantes is making a pretty smart move.  Why?

A local currency is an economic safety valve.  If the dollar and euro economies fall into depression, a local currency like the nanto can keep a local economy alive.  In this way, it is functionally similar to the resilient local production of energy and food.

Nantes is also doing something that is likely to ensure that its local currency is successful.  It is configuring its parking system, transport, leisure and other facilities to accept the nanto AND it is planning on paying city employees some of their salaries with the nanto.

This is critical.   Historical evidence implies that local currencies that don’t integrate into the local government’s financial flows are usually limited to loyalty programs.  Those that do are real, tangible currencies that people will use daily.

Of course, getting a local currency up and going takes time.  It’s better to do it now, as protection against a growing depression in the dollar and euro economies, than to wait until later.

Your thinking about vitality created by thousands of new community currencies guide,


John Robb

PS:  Keep it simple.  At the local level, the evidence indicates that a local currency should be focused on making local transactions as easy as possible.   Avoid attempts to use the currency as store of wealth or a mechanism for debt.

PPS:  Local currencies are being used as a way to keep communities (barely) alive in Greece.



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