Currency - Local Currencies

Local Currencies

In economics, a local currency is a currency not backed by a national government, and intended to trade only in a small area. Advocates such as Jane Jacobs argue that this enables an economically depressed region to pull itself up, by giving the people living there a medium of exchange that they can use to exchange services and locally produced goods (In a broader sense, this is the original purpose of all money.) Opponents of this concept argue that local currency creates a barrier which can interfere with economies of scale and comparative advantage, and that in some cases they can serve as a means of tax evasion.

Local currencies can also come into being when there is economic turmoil involving the national currency. An example of this is the Argentinian economic crisis of 2002 in which IOUs issued by local governments quickly took on some of the characteristics of local currencies.

One of the best examples of a local currency is the original LETS currency, founded on Vancouver Island in the early 1980s. In 1982 the Canadian Central Bank’s lending rates ran up to 14% which drove chartered bank lending rates as high as 19%. The resulting currency and credit scarcity left island residents with few options other than to create a local currency.

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Famous quotes containing the word local:

    The local snivels through the fields:
    I sit between felt-hatted mums....
    Philip Larkin (1922–1986)