Special Issue “Monetary Plurality and Crisis” in the Journal of Risk and Financial Management (JRFM)


In addition to our commitment to the implementation of innovative currency ideas and the ongoing educational work on money and monetary reforms, it is above all the academic treatment of these two fields of activity that will ultimately pave the way for a new monetary and economic order in the long term. Especially in the young scientific field of complementary currencies research, the linking of practice and science was considered from the beginning. Thus, since the early 2000s, the international conferences on this topic have seen themselves as a forum for both activists and academic researchers. Under the auspices of leading universities in France (2011) and the Netherlands (2013) these conferences lead to the establishment of RAMICS, the “Research Association on Monetary Innovation and Community and Complementary Currency Systems”, founded in 2015 during the conference in Brazil. Since then, the specialist journal IJCCR, which has been published since 1997, has also been taken under the wings of this association.

However, it takes time for a new field of research to establish itself, both in the academic discourse and institutions, and in the awareness of academics and students. Publications in one’s own circles help, but full recognition in the discourse of the scientific establishment cannot be fully achieved this way. Therefore, it is a great achievement to place the rather unknown topic of monetary diversity in a conventional and broad-based business journal such as the Journal of Risk and Financial Management. The recently completed special issue on “Monetary Diversity and Crisis”, made this possible. This has not only motivated established scholars to consider new topics and share their thoughts on monetary theory and the practice of complementary currencies, but it has also given young authors the opportunity to publish the results of their work.

To ensure that these articles are not only accessible to a specialist audience with access to institutional libraries, it is of particular value that this journal operates according to the “open access” principle. This means that every article can be viewed in full by anyone at any time, and downloaded free of charge. Since such an approach eliminates the retrospective funding of publishers via subscriptions and “pay per view” fees, their editorial effort and costs of publication are commonly be paid in advance by the author or their institution. Unfortunately, for young and independent scientists this is often an insurmountable financial hurdle, even for many scientific institutions outside the industrialized nations. Therefore, it was a stroke of luck that for this special issue we were able not only to gather the interest of the journal, but to gain the financial support of the editorial team’s organisation. The funding of most of the publishing fees, for articles that passed the rigorous scientific review process, were financed in equal parts by Prof. Georgina Gomez’s research group at the University of Rotterdam and monneta.

Most of the articles now published deal with the economic benefits of monetary diversity. These are examined, on the one hand from a theoretical, macroeconomic perspective (see the articles by Simmons et al. and Kuypers et al.), and secondly on the basis of practical local examples – supported by data from established complementary currencies such as the REC in Barcelona (see Martín Belmonte et al.), the Sardex in Italy (see Fleischmann et al. and Simmons et al.), the Chiemgauer in southern Germany (Zeller) and Sarafu in Kenya (Ussher et al. and Zeller).

Historical examples with parallel currencies are also examined (see Kokabian and Sotiropoulou), as well as lesser-known monetary practices such as the obligation clearing in Slovenia (see Fleischmann et al.). And beyond the economic advantages of complementary forms of currency, some articles examine more fundamental issues, such as the legal definitions of “money” and “currency” as a basis for a sustainable and more equitable monetary order (see Bindewald), the effects of profit-oriented creation of currency on the stability of the financial system (see Kuypers et al.), and the influence of economic inequality on the diffusion of innovations and the importance of cash (see Srouji).

What all these authors seems to have in common is that their research questions are formulated with a concern for social justice and ecological sustainability. The monetary innovations here examined are not evaluated solely in terms of their micro- or market-economic efficiency but are seen in the light of their contribution to a sustainable world.

[The author of this article is also co-editor of the special issue described, and author of one of the articles published therein.]