A new book by Bernard Lietaer shows the way to a sustainable world and calls for concrete measures from individuals and leaders.

Lietaer calls for a new perspective and three paradigm shifts essential for survival. With unsuitable means we half-heartedly try to repair the complicated clockwork of our world. This gets us nowhere. It won’t get us out of the crisis. The time has come to choose a completely different perspective and to lead ourselves and our world through “three paradigm shifts”.
This is what Bernard Lietaer demands in this book, which he dictated on his deathbed.

First: Recognize and adhereto the law of sustainability.
Lietaer shows that in our world we are dealing with “living systems” that are linked in many ways. With forests, our money, our society, and .. and .. and. Our well-being depends on the future sustainability of these systems. Lietaer’s “Law of the Sustainability of Living Systems”, developed with other experts, explains and specifies the principles ofsustainability: It says that living systems are only sustainable if they achieve a balance between productivity and elasticity. Balance, therefore, between short-term benefits of long-term existence. Just like that of Yin and Yang -not an “either -or”. We violate this law criminally. We have driven mostliving systemsout of balance. Monocultures of all kinds, for example, emphasize short-term benefits and are not even sustainablein the short term without massive additional costs, as Lietaer shows with the example of forests and today’s monetary system.Lietaer calls on readers to ensure that this law is recognizedand complied with. Both as individuals and as leaders in business and politics, readers arechallenged to balance the short-sighted overvaluation of rapid returnwith the preservation of resilience.

Second: Balance matrifocal and patrifocal values.
In order to viewour society within the framework of the law of sustainability, Bernard Lietaer uses the terms “matrifocal” (“give and maintain”) and “patrifocal” (“take and have”). Both men and women follow this pair of values, each person according to their personal orientation. From this point of view it becomes clear that here, too, we are violating the law of sustainability. All over the world we live bypatrifocal (“have”) values and neglect the matrifocal (“give”) side of balance, as we can seein our dealings with education, the elderly, people in need of care and with each other. Even though Lietaer sees signs of improvement, he does not only demand a fundamental change in our values in this area. He invites his readers to become aware of these values in themselves and to achieve their personal balance. Leaders must also establish and maintain a matrifocal/patrifocal balance in their areas of responsibility.

Third: Make personal information personal again.
An extremely important system for the sustainability of mankind is the flow of human information. It enables learning and solving problems together. This is also why the “General declarations of human rights” declares unhindered flow of information a principle human right. Bernard Lietaer shows that this system, which is essential for survival, is completely out of balance. Companies have centralized flow of information and exploit it to their advantage. We individuals have thus been dispossessed of our information and, from the point of view of the law of sustainability the information system has deeply slipped into the “productivity corner”. The answer, says Bernard Lietaer, is to restore personal ownership of our information. This must be achieved jointly by both IT companies and governments. A convincing message. Despite addressing at first glance a seemingly complex matter the book creates a convincing message – in simple and clear descriptions, examples and pictures.

“Towards a sustainable world” will be available here from Dec 2019. A German edition is planned for 2020.

More information on www.sustainable-world.ch

The idea that each country should have one currency is so deeply rooted in people’s minds that the possibility of multiple and concurrent currencies seems unthinkable. Monetary systems contribute to problems of high unemployment and social distress during financial and economic crisis, so reforms to increase the responsiveness and flexibility of the monetary system can be part of the solution.

This book discusses ‘monetary plurality’, which is the circulation of several currencies at the same time and space. It addresses how multiple currency circuits work together and transform socio-economic systems, particularly by supporting economies at the local level of regions and cities. The book shows that monetary plurality has been ubiquitous throughout history and persists at present because the existence of several currency circuits facilitates small-scale production and trade in a way that no single currency can accomplish on its own.

Monetary plurality can improve resilience, access to livelihoods and economic sustainability. At the same time, it introduces new risks in terms of economic governance, so it needs to be properly understood. The book analyses experiences of monetary plurality in Europe, Japan, and North and South America, written by researchers from East and West and from the global North and South. Replete with case studies, this book will prove a valuable addition to any student or practitioner’s bookshelf.


1. The monetary system as an evolutionary construct – Georgina M. Gómez;
2. Monetary Plurality in Economic Theory – Jérôme Blanc, Ludovic Desmedt, Laurent Le Maux, Jaime Marques-Pereira, Pepita Ould-Ahmed and Bruno Théret;
3. Making sense of the plurality of money: a Polanyian attempt – Jérôme Blanc;
4. How does monetary plurality work at the household level? The division of labour among currencies in Argentina (1998-2005) – Georgina M. Gómez;
5. Monetary federalism as A concept and its Empirical underpinnings in Argentina’s monetary history – Bruno Théret;
6. Famine of Cash: Why Have Local Monies Remained Popular throughout Human History? Akinobu Kuroda;
7. The pervasiveness of monetary plurality in economic crisis and wars – Georgina M. Gómez and Wilko von Prittwitz und Gaffron;
8. Birth, Life and Death of a Provincial Complementary Currency from Tucuman, Argentina (1985 – 2003) – Bruno Théret;
9. Community Currency and Sustainable Development in Hilly and Mountainous Areas: A Case Study of Forest Volunteer Activities in Japan – Yoshihisa Miyazaki and Ken-ichi Kurita;
10. Sustainable Territorial Development and Monetary Subsidiarity – Marie Fare;
11. Relationship between people’s money consciousness and circulation of community currency –  Shigeto Kobayashi, Takashi Hashimoto, Ken-ichi Kurita and Makoto Nishibe;
12. Gaming Simulation using Electronic Community Currencies: Behavioural Analysis of Self-versus-Community Consciousness – Masahiro Mikami and Makoto Nishibe;
13. For the policy maker: when and how is monetary plurality an option – Georgina M. Gómez.

For more information and to order this book directly from the publisher see

This handbook has been designed by the New Economics Foundation (NEF), on behalf of the Community Currencies in Action (CCIA) EU Interreg IVB NWE Programme, project, to inspire community currency (CC) organisers and help them gain the most from their currency project by learning more about project evaluation and impact assessment. Getting to grips with project evaluation can help to make project aims clearer and also ensure that project support and funding is easier to achieve.

We provide guidance on how to evaluate the impact of a CC by using a Theory of Change (ToC). This is a process that suits a number of diverse project settings. It can be used as an instrumental initial step in defining a project’s aims and helping to evaluate its success.

The whole handbook can be downloaded here, more information on the NEF website.

Local Authorities and Municipalities across Europe are facing unprecedented socio-economic challenges in the context of budget cuts and increasing demand. It is in this challenging environment that Local Authorities and Municipalities are looking for innovative approaches and practical instruments that support them to deliver their core aims and responsibilities.
Community Currencies are economic, policy and social instruments, complementing conventional money and addressing issues or problems that would otherwise remain unmet in the current money system. As such, they are unique tools for Local Authorities and Municipalities to integrate into their core delivery to address numerous high-priority issues. These include responding to increased health and social demands, building a vibrant local business economy, democratising public services and addressing environmental impacts. Community Currencies are economic, policy and social instruments, operating supplement to conventional money, addressing issues or problems that would otherwise remain unmet in the current money system.
Section 1 gives a brief overview of Community Currencies and introduces some of the key examples that will be utilised throughout the paper.
Section 2 then demonstrates how Community Currencies address a number of the key challenges and opportunities facing local authorities, focusing on four key areas of impact
in particular:
1.    Democratising services and improving service delivery
2.    Supporting the SME economy
3.    Countering inequality and social exclusion
4.    Addressing environmental impacts
Through multiple examples of Community Currencies from across northwest Europe (NWE) designed to deliver these four outcomes, Section 3 explores the different roles that Local Authorities and Municipalities can play in the development, implementation and evaluation of currency projects. Six distinct levels of engagement for Local Authorities and Municipalities will be introduced, namely: championing; participating; sponsoring; co-partnering; integrating; and leading.

Finally, Section 4 summarises the opportunity and challenges for Local Authorities and Municipalities in implementing Community Currencies.
The majority of examples including in this paper are taken from pilot currencies of the Community Currencies in Action (CCIA) project. Part-funded by the European Union’s Interreg project, CCIA is the largest ever transnational project in the community currency field, bringing together expert partners from across NWE and coordinating six pilot currencies in the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands and France.

The whole report can be downloaded here.

Since the financial crisis, interest in new types of money has surged. Projects like Bitcoin have hit the headlines as communities around the world experiment with their own currencies and methods of exchange. In this new and innovative field, we have only just begun to understand and measure their impact.

It is no coincidence that community currencies have rapidly risen to prominence in the years following the financial crisis. When the conventional monetary system foundered, alternative means of exchanging time and goods were created to plug the gaps.

These new currencies provide an important supplement to conventional money. A growing body of global evidence supports the idea that they can meet the needs of local areas and economies in ways that euros and pound sterling cannot.

The whole report can be downloaded here, more information and appendix on the NEF website.

The book
People Powered Money is the result of the project Community Currencies in Action (CCIA), which ran between 2011 and 2015. CCIA, which was part-funded by the European Union through its Interreg program, was the largest transnational project in the area of complementary currencies. It brought together experts from north-west Europe and coordinated six pilot projects in the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands and France.

This book takes the results of these pilot projects and insights from the wider movement for the renewal of currencies and offers both decision makers and practitioners alike information and advice for the successful implementation of a currency project in a community. With the correct insights and support, users can gain many economic, social and environmental advantages.


The book is divided into two parts. The first part provides a non-technical overview of the potential advantages of community currencies along with some basic pragmatic observations about them and will be of use to decision makers or people who are new to the field.

Chapter 1 presents the rich and various background of complementary currencies and sets the following sections in the context of their historical legacy.

Chapter 2 describes the goals of community currencies and underlines the importance of goal-oriented design. The book then describes in detail four benefits of new currencies: increased quality of public services; support for small and medium enterprises; social inclusion and building local networks; improvement of environmental sustainability.

Chapter 3 gives an overview of typical participants in a community currency project and what level of engagement or contribution might be expected from each. Challenges of large, complex, multi-partner projects pose are discussed here.

Part 2 focuses on details of planning and implementing a currency. This section is (necessarily) more technical but also useful and accessible to the uninitiated.

Chapter 4 summarizes the most important considerations in designing a currency and, although it is stressed that each community currency is unique, provides some guidelines for planning currencies.

This is followed by a more detailed discussion in Chapter 5 of some of the technical planning requirements typically involved in a community currency. Then the discussion moves away from planning local currencies to cover, in Chapter 6, the greatest challenges to creating successful currency projects. A currency can look great on paper but without solid organizational structure and assured cost recovery it is difficult to sustain a project.

Chapter 7 deals in more detail with the development of effective communications, which is fundamental to starting a currency project and for ensuring the right people are on board at each phase. Finally, Chapter 8 covers evaluation of a currency project. For both individual community currencies and for the entire field, it is important to collect evidence in order to learn what works and what does not, which aspects of the planning were effective or not and why, and how such projects can be further refined and developed.

CCIA: People Powered Money – Designing, developing & delivering community currencies,

New Economics Foundation, London, 2015

Print ISBN: 978-1-908506-78-8 | ePub ISBN: 978-1-908506-80-1

Download as free PDF or e-pub.

Nigel Dodd, 2014, Princeton University Pres.

Questions about the nature of money have gained a new urgency in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Even as many people have less of it, there are more forms and systems of money, from local currencies and social lending to mobile money and Bitcoin. Yet our understanding of what money is—and what it might be—hasn’t kept pace. In The Social Life of Money, Nigel Dodd, one of today’s leading sociologists of money, reformulates the theory of the subject for a postcrisis world in which new kinds of money are proliferating.

What counts as legitimate action by central banks that issue currency and set policy? What underpins the right of nongovernmental actors to create new currencies? And how might new forms of money surpass or subvert government-sanctioned currencies? To answer such questions, The Social Life of Money takes a fresh and wide-ranging look at modern theories of money.

One of the book’s central concerns is how money can be wrested from the domination and mismanagement of banks and governments and restored to its fundamental position as the “claim upon society” described by Georg Simmel. But rather than advancing yet another critique of the state-based monetary system, The Social Life of Money draws out the utopian aspects of money and the ways in which its transformation could in turn transform society, politics, and economics. The book also identifies the contributions of thinkers who have not previously been thought of as monetary theorists—including Nietzsche, Benjamin, Bataille, Deleuze and Guattari, Baudrillard, Derrida, and Hardt and Negri. The result provides new ways of thinking about money that seek not only to understand it but to change it.

Nigel Dodd is professor of sociology at the London School of Economics. He is the author of The Sociology of Money and Social Theory and Modernity.

Order options and more information on the publisher’s website.


Money – The Unauthorized Biography–From Coinage to Cryptocurrencies” by economist and asset manager Felix Martin answers the questions: what is money, and how does it work?The author challenges our conventional understanding of one of humankind’s greatest inventions. Martin describes how the Western idea of money emerged in the ancient world, and was shaped over the centuries by tensions between sovereigns and the emerging middle classes. Money, he argues, has always been an intensely political instrument, and that it is our failure to remember this that led to the crisis in our financial system and the Great Recession. He concludes with practical solutions for making money serve us and a discussion of what Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies mean for money’s future.


The Map” describes how to make the rich underused capacity of regional economies more visible. It shows how to engage individuals, businesses, voluntary groups and local government to share their underused assets to meet each others’ needs. The Map is both a vision and a practical action programme.

Self-published pamphlet by local currency organizer/activist John Rogers in September 2014.

Exclusively available here for free download.

Rethinking Money
by Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunhttp://www.lietaer.com/writings/books/rethinking-money-by-bernard-lietaer-and-jacqui-dunnene points out that there is a way, in fact a thousand ways, to stop our current juggernaut towards global self-destruction. There is a system of solutions already in place in localities throughout the world where terrible problems have existed.  The changes came about, not through the redistribution of wealth, increased conventional taxation, bond measures or enlightened self-interest from corporate entities, but rather, by people simply rethinking the concept of money.