People Money: The promise of regional currencies
Authors: Margrit Kennedy, Bernard Lietaer and John Rogers
Review by Rachel England
“Regional currency is the Harry Potter of currencies: a wizard with hidden powers.” The first line of the synopsis of People Money is nothing if not engaging. Indeed, one wonders, is it possible that localised currency could prove an unlikely saviour in a world where the term globalisation causes such fierce social division?
According to the authors, the answer is yes, and they demonstrate why throughout the book with tangible examples of regional currency working, like Harry Potter, as a magical force for good.
Take the Brixton Pound, for example. Founded in 2009 in one of London’s poorest urban areas, its 30,000 Brixton Pound turnover is supporting the local economy by revitalising the high street and mobilising spare business capacity. Or the Equal Dollar in Philadelphia, USA, which allows large non-profits to act as banks to create loans and part-pay salaries, thereby bolstering the local economy and its workforce.
These are just two of the many fascinating examples cited, in depth, throughout the book, demonstrating that regional currencies are having a hugely positive effect on local communities.
Most encouraging, however, is the fact that most of these currencies are managed by volunteers and governed by non-profits and co-operatives. There need be no involvement from political authorities, nor bureaucracy overcome, to implement a regional currency.
There’s no talk of if only or perhaps. The idea of People Money is already happening, and this enlightening book demonstrates how simple it is for local communities to take control of their economies in an entirely positive and sustainable way.