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

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 Dun 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.

This pamphlet explains the practical differences between national and local money – how local currencies work, what they can do that national money can’t do, and why they are needed.

If you are lucky enough to have a local currency, find out why you should join it. If you don’t, you might be inspired to start one!

“Must-read pamphlet. I found it clear, concise, assertive, inspiring and timely. Miraculously, John Rogers has distilled everything you need to know on this subject into this very easily digested little tome.

Seriously impressive. I recommend it to Transition Initiatives and community groups anywhere that are looking at reasserting control over their local economy.”
                                                                                                                                                             Ben Brangwyn, Transition Network

Local money has been used for hundreds of years and throughout the world, yet very few of us understand what it’s all about. Recently, Bristol and Brixton launched their own ‘Pounds’, but why?

We all need money – to stay alive, to buy essential goods and services. But when jobs and money are in short supply it’s largely because 97% of national money is controlled by the private banking industry. They trade, gamble and invest money where they can earn the biggest profit. And when the banks are in trouble so are ordinary people.

By contrast, local currencies are owned by the community. They are designed to support local businesses, local jobs, local producers and services, local crafts and artists, community initiatives, charities, volunteers, etc. They create strong social networks and ensure that the community thrives even in a recession. By keeping the currency local, they protect it from speculators who will only invest if there is a profit to be had.

Money and Sustainability: The Missing Link

From an outmoded money system to a monetary ecosystem.

A Club of Rome report.

It is usually said there is no alternative to our current monetary system – while it is quite clear that it is ailing, obsolete and completely unsuitable for overcoming the current crisis in the Euro Zone. Like any other monoculture it is at first profitable but in the long-term it unavoidably leads to economic and ecological disaster. The alternative is a “monetary ecosystem” with complementary currencies, which have already proven themselves many times in practice to be flexible, resilient, fair and sustainable.

“Limits to Growth”, the famous first report of the Club of Rome in 1972, showed how an economic system based on endless growth in a world of limited resources fundamentally undermines sustainability. This new report, published in 2012, analyzes our current monetary system and the errors in reasoning at its heart. The authors – Bernard Lietaer, Christian Arnsperger, Sally Goerner and Stefan Brunnhuber – describe the catastrophic ecological, socio-economic and financial problems that will continue to confront us if we make no radical changes. Finally, they list nine concrete measures that can immediately be implemented alongside the existing money system. This book is essential reading for politicians, business leaders, economists, bankers and anyone interested in the future of the planet.

Read the Executive Summary.

Read the Full Report.

There is widespread misunderstanding of how new money is created. Where Does Money Come From? examines the workings of the UK monetary system and concludes that the most useful description is that new money is created by commercial banks when they extend or create credit, either through making loans or buying existing assets. In creating credit, banks simultaneously create deposits in our bank accounts, which, to all intents and purposes, is money.

Many people would be surprised to learn that even among bankers, economists, and policymakers, there is no common understanding of how new money is created. This is a problem for two main reasons. First, in the absence of this understanding, attempts at banking reform are more likely to fail. Second, the creation of new money and the allocation of purchasing power are a vital economic function and highly profitable. This is therefore a matter of significant public interest and not an obscure technocratic debate. Greater clarity and transparency about this could improve both the democratic legitimacy of the banking system and our economic prospects.

More information and buying option for this book on the New Economics Foundation’s website.

“People Money – the Promise of Regional Currencies”
is a comprehensive guide to the principles and practice of regional currencies. It shows how regional currencies can transform the lives and well-being of local communities, how they can sustain businesses, how local authorities can participate in their success and, consequently, why supporting regional currencies is of vital importance to the future of your community, region or country. It’s also a complete guide to the process of developing and implementing a regional currency.

“People Money is the single most useful and empowering book I have encountered for those wanting to get involved in the complementary currency movement. Its diverse real-life examples and insightful ‘how-tos’, embedded in deep theoretical understanding, will surely make it essential reading for activists, policy-makers, and economists interested in localization and sustainability.”

                                                                                                                                       Charles Eisenstein, Author of Sacred Economics

The book, published in 2012, is a completely revised and updated edition of the 2003 German book “Regionalwährungen” by Margrit Kennedy and Bernard Lietaer, who invited local currency organizer/activist John Rogers to collaborate to create the first English edition.

Part One lays out the theory of regionalisation and makes the theoretical case for the introduction of complementary currencies at the regional level.

Part Two begins with the variety of reasons why people start local currency systems, introduces some key design principles for creating sustainable systems and then presents 16 profiles of leading systems based on interviews with organizers around the world. It also profiles support agencies in the field and finishes with some recommendations for action.

Order a paper copy of the book.

Download the full text.