Local Scrip in the USA During the 1930s: Lessons for Today?
Loren Gatch, 2006
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This chapter outlines, with some detail, the basic types of scrip in use during the economic crisis of the 1930s in the USA. It also addresses the legality of scrip under American law. Contrary to some accounts of this period, the national government did not simply declare scrip illegal in an attempt to suppress local currencies. Next, the paper treats the theoretical justifications for scrip. Did scrip issues reflect a systematic analysis of the social and economic causes
of economic collapse? Whatever its theoretical rationale, some scrip schemes operated more effectively than others. What accounts for the success (or lack thereof) of scrip?
Finally, this chapter suggests some lessons—both at the level of theory and of practice—that may be drawn from the American experience for present-day experiments in local and regional currency.
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