Growing Green Money? Mapping Community Currencies for Sustainable Development
Paper for SCORAI conference, June 2013
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Parallel sustainable monetary systems are being developed by civil society groups and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), informed by ecological economics perspectives on development, value, economic scale and growth, and responding to the unsustainability of current global financial systems. These parallel systems of exchange (or community currencies) are designed to promote sustainable development by localising economic development, building social capital and substituting for material consumption, valuing work which is marginalised in conventional labour markets, and challenging the growth-based monetary system. However, this international movement towards community-based ecological economic practices, is under-researched. This paper presents new empirical evidence from the first international study of the scope and character of community currencies. It identifies the diversity, scale, geography and development trajectory of these initiatives, discusses the implications of these findings for efforts to achieve sustainable development, and identifies future research needs, to help harness the sustainability potential of these initiatives.