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Re: [cyfranogi] The 1 millionth BerkShare

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  • John Rogers
    Yes, this is an important milestone. Berkshares (and the German Regio Geld systems such as Chiemagauer and 30 others in development) have taken the important
    Message 1 of 3 , Aug 1, 2007
      Yes, this is an important milestone. Berkshares (and the German Regio Geld systems such as Chiemagauer and 30 others in development) have taken the important psychological step of backing local currency issuance with national currency. Why important? Because it builds confidence in the local business community that they can 'redeem out' at any point so it gives them confidence to experiment with the new currency. Effect? Christian Gelleri, who organises the Chiemgauer system around the Chiemsee in Bavaria, told me that some businesses were 'redeeming' Chiemgauers received through the till for Euros almost immediately when they first joined. Now months go by before the same businesses want to trade their local currency back in. This means that the system is beginning to embed itself as a normal part of everyday life as people see that it is increasing their cash business too. Not a 'pure' ideal CC? The trick is the interface between national
      money and CC and the dynamics between them which creates new possibilities for exchange and trade. At some point in the future it may indeed become a free floating currency in its own right without the need for national currency backing. Until then, these are important steps along the way.

      Back at the Berkshares, Susan Witt of the US Schumacher Society, one of the brains behind it, told me that they are on Step 13 of a 50 point plan. That means they have paid serious attention to detailed currency design rather than an 'off the shelf solution' from elsewhere. This is the only way that people will "get it right" as Bill McKibben urges. It behoves all of us with a serious interest in sustainable currency systems to do the necessary thinking and planning for new systems so that we do not keep repeating the same old mistakes. As they say in NLP "If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results" and "If what you are doing isn't working, try something else."

      I will soon be announcing my new website to launch my freelance services as Consultant, Trainer and Speaker specialising in Currency Design etc. in order to share best practice more widely.

      Watch this space!

      John Rogers

      ----- Original Message ----
      From: John Waters <john.waters@...>
      To: cyfranogi@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, 1 August, 2007 12:06:56 AM
      Subject: Re: [cyfranogi] The 1 millionth BerkShare

      Andrius Kulikauskas wrote:

      > This is a noteworthy milestone for community currencies, yes? I'm

      > curious what kind of currency this is and what is innovative about it?

      This is a printed currency, purchased with US$ and redeemable for $US at

      less than face value (90% if I remember correctly). Because it can be

      spent locally at a large number of outlets (listed in a directory) it

      tends to circulate - it's better to buy a $'s worth of something with a

      local currency than to get 90c's worth of something at the same outlet.

      It can't buy everything, of course, but it can buy enough to reduce

      leakage from the local economy - perhaps quite significantly.

      It has another benefit. The notes are beatifully designed by local

      artists and are valued by tourists as gifts. They purchase them (for

      $US) as gifts for friends, who (of course) can't redeem them for $US

      unless they return to the Berkshares region to spend them. This brings

      $US into the region through a sort of $-diode.

      For details see http://www.berkshar es.org/

      John :)

      > Andrius, http://www.ms. lt <http://www.ms. lt>


      > E. F. Schumacher Society wrote:

      >> Dear Friend


      >> On July 15th, BerkShares held a Bash to celebrate the one millionth

      >> BerkShare placed in circulation through ten local participating banks.

      >> Forty-seven BerkShare businesses exhibited, bands sang and played,

      > Roger the

      >> Jester delighted children--all part of a community picnic on the lawns of

      >> the historic Searles Castle at the heart of Great Barrington. Rain

      >> shortened the fun but not the fine community spirit. Award winning author

      >> Bill McKibben delivered the keynote address.


      >> If you remember, Bill McKibben's 1989 book "The End of Nature" warned

      > about

      >> the eminent threat of global warming. McKibben is no less concerned today

      >> with the growing climate problem, but his message is different. In his

      >> popular new book, "Deep Economy", he calls for a return to vibrant local

      >> economies where goods are consumed closer to their point of production. He

      >> argues, as did E. F. Schumacher, that in addition to reducing use of

      > fossil

      >> fuels, such a place-based economy can help renew our sense of

      > community and

      >> with it our sense of well being.


      >> He came as keynote speaker to the Bash to honor BerkShares. "While others

      >> are developing the necessary new technologies for sustainable energy

      >> production, BerkShares," he argues, "represent an essential new community

      >> technology for building local economies."


      >> "There is nothing more important you can do for the environment, " he told

      >> his audience, "than ensure the success of this model. As I travel around

      >> the country, people are asking about BerkShares. The eyes of other

      >> communities are on you. You must get it right."


      >> BerkShares, the local currency for the southern Berkshire region, is

      >> young--only ten months since its launch in September. Even so there has

      >> been unprecedented international and national media attention as the world

      >> watches a small community take its first steps towards shaping its own

      >> economic destiny and reducing its dependence on transporting goods from

      >> afar.


      >> Much team work still lies ahead to build strong roots for the existing

      >> program, extend circulation to a broader geographic region with more

      > complex

      >> economic challenges, introduce checking account and debit card features to

      >> facilitate recirculation by businesses, install BerkShares ATM

      > machines for

      >> convenience of users, and record the process as a model for other

      >> communities.


      >> Our merchants, restaurateurs, farmers, bankers, carpenters, auto

      > mechanics,

      >> lawyers, service providers, and non-profit administrators are only now

      >> understanding how best to use a local currency in their businesses. Our

      >> bankers are streamlining their process to integrate BerkShares exchanges

      >> seamlessly with other banking functions. Our citizens are discovering new

      >> economic habits that expand their use of BerkShares and help them

      > learn what

      >> their money is doing tonight. Office staff are developing new ways to

      >> support BerkShares businesses. There is no blueprint for issuing such a

      >> robust local currency in the twenty-first century. Together our Berkshire

      >> community is writing the handbook.


      >> All of this exploration and development is being conducted under intense

      >> media scrutiny, at a whirlwind pace, amid knocks on the door from other

      >> regions asking how it is done. The program carries sufficient depth in its

      >> conception, sufficient integrity in its early application, sufficient

      > vision

      >> for its future, to earn and meet such attention. We welcome the rapid

      >> unfolding and public visibility, simultaneously challenging and fitting.

      >> However to shape BerkShares into a local currency program that shines as a

      >> beacon of possibility for other communities, we are responsible for

      > building

      >> organizational capacity equal to the opportunity. We estimate it will take

      >> an additional two years to complete the research and development phase of

      >> BerkShares and we must rely on grant support to fund these costs. Once

      >> fully operational with vigorous trade in BerkShares, the program will

      >> generate its own funding from user fees.


      >> We need your help, along with that of other E. F. Schumacher Society

      >> friends, to identify sources of this funding and to meet Bill McKibben's

      >> challenge "to get it right." It is not conventional funding, rather it

      > will

      >> take a sophisticated understanding of the complex issues addressed by a

      >> local currency--an understanding sensed by the media and recognized by

      > other

      >> communities grappling with the impact of a global economy and climate

      >> warming on their regions and seeking long-range positive solutions.


      >> Please help. A full proposal is available on request. Donations to the E.

      >> F. Schumacher Society earmarked for BerkShares research and

      > development are

      >> fully tax-deductible. Donations can be made on-line at:


      >> https://merchantz. zenn.net/ EFSS/donation_ form.html

      > <https://merchantz. zenn.net/ EFSS/donation_ form.html>


      >> or by sending a check to


      >> E. F. Schumacher Society, 140 Jug End Road, Great Barrington, MA 01230


      >> or through a gift of stock or other financial instruments (please call or

      >> email to obtain transfer instructions 413-528-1737) .


      >> A detailed record of the development of BerkShares, including local,

      >> national, and international press coverage is at www.berkshares. org.


      >> Information on the history, theory, and practice of implementing local

      >> currencies is available at www.smallisbeautifu l.org.


      >> All of us at the E. F. Schumacher Society remain grateful for the

      > support of

      >> our members and friends.


      >> Sincerely,

      >> Susan Witt, Executive Director

      >> E. F. Schumacher Society

      >> 140 Jug End Road

      >> Great Barrington, MA 01230

      >> www.smallisbeautifu l.org

      >> (413) 528-1737


      >> Board of Directors: Jessica Brackman, Starling Childs, Merrian Fuller,

      >> Hildegarde Hannum, Eric Harris-Braun, Constance Packard, Joseph Stanislaw,

      >> Nancy Jack Todd, and Charles Turner.


      >> Board of Founders: Ian Baldwin, David Ehrenfeld, Satish Kumar,

      >> John McClaughry, and Kirkpatrick Sale.


      >> Advisory Board: Tanya Berry, Thomas Berry, Wendell Berry, Lisa Byers,

      > Olivia

      >> Dreier, Hazel Henderson, Wes Jackson, Amory Lovins, John McKnight, David

      >> Orr, Michael Shuman, Cathrine Sneed, Lewis Solomon, John Todd, Greg

      > Watson,

      >> and Arthur Zajonc.


      >> To be removed from this eNewsletter list, simply write "unsubscribe"

      > in the

      >> subject line of a return email.



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