What if local currency could restart a local economy?
Travelling to New York (OpenSkies, of course! So much better and cheaper, and I say that not just because this is a client of TBWA\Consulting 😉 ), I read a fascinating article in the newspaper Le Monde, entitled “My neighborhood, my money” (mon quartier, ma monnaie, in French), explaining that in the South London neighborhood of Brixton, following the initiative of an environmental organization, there is now a purely local money. Unbelievable! Not only do the English refuse to adopt the Euro, they create local currency! The “Brixton Pound” is part of a trend that includes two other rural English cities (Totness and Lewes) that started in 2007 and 2008 municipal money that would incite citizens to spend locally. Is the recession behind this phenomenon? Well, the 1930’s depression in the US spawned some 5000 local currencies (created by citizens who didn’t trust their banks) before they became illegal. The Brixton association that convinced the first 60 business to accept and participate in this project claims that this project, by inciting local consumerism, will result in a reduced carbon footprint. However, after many failed relojes especiales attempts at virtual currency on “Second Life” and Facebook, we could think that this trend prefigures the Club Med beads! In a world where the transport of merchandise (and people) will become much more expensive, we can imagine (or hope?) that a re-localization of production will create a more human consumption among “less open” economies. So it’s decided, when I get back to France, I will re-launch the Sestertius in the Latin Quarter. Who’s with me?!