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Local currency






An interesting initiative was launched on 1 November in Champaign, Illinois. About 40 local shops, bakeries, beauty salons and more will start working with the new currency, the creation of the company UC Smiles, which belongs to the city council. Stores will begin to return the new money as change to allow the new currency to come faster into circulation. The exchange rate is one "smile" equals to $ 1.

Local officials hope the initiative will help citizens to understand and be more aware of where the money goes to after they spend it. "The project is mainly for educational purposes. People need to know what happens to the money after they spend it," says PR director of UC Smiles. "For example, less than 30% of the money spent in supermarkets owned by transnational corporations remain in the local economy. "she added.

Local currencies are not uncommon on the other side of the Atlantic. The most recent example is from last month when Bristol introduced their own currency. According to a study by the University of Sheffield currently alternative currency systems are operating in 76 countries. In 2009, the professor of economics at the University of Connecticut James Strodar published results from the study on the influence of local currencies on national economy. The implication is clear - local currencies do help safeguard macroeconomic stability.

Joint survey of the Bank for International Settlements and scientists from the University of Tilburg does show that alternative currencies appear primarily in countries with developed banking systems, in which most people have internet access. Local Money thrive in periods of stable inflation and soft credit climate. Moreover -  local currency does not compete with the national currency, but complement it.


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