Neighborhoods Propose Printing Their Own Currency To Encourage Local Shopping

Two neighborhoods in Milwaukee are considering printing their own currency, which could be bought with U.S. dollars, but would be only accepted at local businesses, in order to encourage people to shop at home instead of Walmart.

It’s not a new concept — the Chicago Tribune says that lots of towns and neighborhoods relied on their own local currency during the Great Depression. It’s also perfectly legal.

So what’s the advantage for shoppers? Well, the currency could offer incentives — trading $100 US for $110 in the local currency would give shoppers a 10% bonus, for example.

What do you think? Would you use a local currency in order to support your community? Or are you going to shop at Walmart until they pry the cart from your cold dead hands?

Milwaukee Neighborhoods Could Print Own Money [Chicago Tribune]
(Photo: sfxeric )

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Graverobber says:

    We already have local currency, it’s in the Sunday papers, and is called COUPONS.

    • Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

      @graverobber- My Yugo Nova!: And I even have a special dealer I visit, known as the “double coupons every day grocery store”

      But this idea sounds gimmicky enough to work, at least until the drug dealers start engaging in large-scale arbitrage on the spread.

    • MyPetFly says:

      @graverobber- My Yugo Nova!:

      Good point… although those are obviously limited to those that take them. But still, it’s pretty close.

    • racermd says:

      @graverobber- My Yugo Nova!: Last I checked, cash value on coupons was 1/10 or even 1/100 of a penny.

      The value of the paper is worth more than that in BTU properties alone.

      /anal retentive mode

      • Graverobber says:

        @racermd: I have a high expectation that this proposed Milwaukee Money will have even less value. And once they realize the program doesn’t work, they will be worth about as much as a Sharper Image gift card.

      • SabreDC says:

        @racermd: Let’s say that you manage to get 1,000 of them (the 1/10th ones), how do you actually get the dollar? If they are manufacturer coupons, do you actually go to the manufacturer that would reimburse the store for them? I’d like to try this and see what they do.

    • sirellyn says:

      @graverobber- My Yugo Nova!: Local currencies literally saved communities during the great depression. They are far from a gimmick. If actual inflates or deflates too much, the local currency still stays stable. So most of the stuff you’ll be buying will be in that local money life doesn’t change much for you. The local currency should probably be anchored to a commodity (or multiple commodities) otherwise the township can just print more when they need to and you’ll have the same problem in the town as you do abroad. (Never ever give people an unrestricted printing press, no good can come of it.)

      • jgw says:

        @sirellyn:
        This is just the same as an AmEx gift card or a transit pass. Only difference is, you’re giving a 9.1% discount to buy goods that are likely more than 9.1% as expensive as Wal-Mart.

        Stores will end up with a stockpile of local currency they can’t use to pay their distributors. Either they fold (and send you to Wal-Mart out of necessity) or the local government steps in and absorbs the 9.1% loss to try and save local businesses by providing an exchange program back into regular dollars. Unchecked (and I can’t imagine it would be too hard to launder money in a small town with no infrastructure in place to track currency exchange), this presents a rather obvious arbitrage opportunity.

        Plus, isn’t lack of liquidity what got us into this mess in the first place?

        • Pyrusticia says:

          @jgw: I would imagine that stores could exchange the currency back to U.S. at the city council (or whoever sells the stuff in the first place) so that they can meet their out-of-community obligations.

          That being said, I agree with your first point. If the discount on the currency is sufficient to compensate for the higher cost of local goods, this will probably work, but if people can still get stuff cheaper at Wal-Mart, they’ll keep going to Wal-Mart.

    • InnovativeAeroplane says:

      hahahahahahaha I LOVE YOU

    • Anonymous says:

      @graverobber- My Yugo Nova!:

      Before I could agree, or disagree with the idea of alternative currency, I would have to know all sides of that proposal. There are too many unanswered questions to make an informed dissension, for instance, how would the retailer get supplies if he accepts this new currency? What would the actual value of the currency be to Joe public? Will the retailers accepting this currency keep their prices the same, or increase them to offset the difference? That is just a few questions that should be addressed. I would suggest that whomever is proposing this alternative currency, give more details than just a proposal. I myself am a retailer, and a lot of questions come to mind, that have not been answered. I would suggest someone get busy mapping out for the community the pros and cons of this proposal, just the way it would be done for an initiative on the ballot before voters.

    • teknowaffle says:

      @graverobber- My Yugo Nova!:

      They used to sell this at my church. It is typically called Scrip, and is used as a fund raising thing.

  2. SWBLOOPERS says:

    I can see where this would have a purpose. My question is how easy would it be to counterfeit?

  3. Jonbo298 says:

    Only way this would work is as said, if they gave an incentive big enough to want “Local money”. I’d do it if the incentive was within reason.

    • aka_bigred says:

      @Jonbo298: Exactly! Why wouldn’t I just go shop at the local stores with my regular US currency?

      The only people likely to buy the “local” currency are the ones that were already planning to shop locally so it’s a useless without a SIZEABLE discount.

      Plus, I buy almost everything with my credit cards and pay the entire balance each month, so it would be lots more hassle for someone like me, even though I try to shop local.

    • drdom says:

      @Jonbo298:
      What about the sales tax??? The State of Wisconsin and Milwaukee County both have a sales tax. If your transaction wasn’t done in US currency, do you owe taxes on it.

      How about State & Federal income tax? If I didn’t earn $50,000 in US dollars, but I instead earned $60K in whatever we call this alternative currency, do you owe income tax on that income, and if so, can you pay that tax in the alternative currency?

      The closest case law I can find quickly equates this process to a barter system.

      It raises a ton of interesting legal questions.

    • TVarmy says:

      @Jonbo298: It’d be interesting to see an economist do an analysis of this. Of course it will increase taxes for people within the town, because the incentives must come from somewhere, but at the same time, maybe the increased local trade would improve the local economy, and thus income grows proportionately. Of course, if it gets to the point that your boss pays you in your town’s Fun Bux, and if you ask for cash you get pay of less value, and your boss runs one of the few local businesses that are worth it, then it’s gone too far. Granted, it’s pretty similar to the WalMart workers who get paid little and can pretty much only afford to shop at WalMart. I’m not sure how often it happens, but the description fits.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Jonbo298:

      I use alternate currency all the time, got me a debit card and an Oregon Trails card. I use them everywhere they are accepted and I use every loving dime to feed the family. I also keep really close tabs on who gets a dime and who doesn’t. I buy local at every opportunity and if I can find a way to eliminate the middle man I do.

      signed poor hippie mamma

  4. Zeniq says:

    I can see the advantages, but I can’t imagine using this regularly. It’s easier to swipe a card that’s linked to an account into which my paycheck is direct-deposited and never touching cash than it is to have to withdraw cash, exchange for other currency, and spend at a few particular locations.

    • socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

      @Zeniq:
      I thought this same thing until I saw how much money I was spending due to the ease of use of plastic. I decided to use cash or a credit card that gets points. Either way I see what I’m spending. Cash is physical while the credit card will have an interest rate soon after the intro period. More thinking involved.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        @socalrob: Same, I paid off my credit card and am strictly budgiting myself on cash only!

      • SabreDC says:

        @tedyc03: The Liberty Dollar, as far as I can remember, didn’t have any problems because someone tried to use it as legal tender for a debt. They went by the same “accepted by the following merchants…” rule.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Zeniq: You’re assuming we’ll still HAVE the dollar, which is doubtful! Think “AMERO”, which is coming! In that case, which would you prefer – Ameros or local currency? Personally, I’d prefer local currency!

  5. Erwos says:

    Sounds like an excellent way for the town to make money:
    1. Encourage the residents to buy lots of this fake money “at a discount”.
    2. Shop-keepers realize that they’re, de-facto, discounting all their wares and stop taking it.
    3. Town stops allowing redemption of fake money to real money, citing “financial difficulties”.

    So, no, I wouldn’t buy any of it. Sounds like a great way to lose your money.

    • opsomath says:

      @Erwos: Wouldn’t that allow lawsuits against the town?

      • Erwos says:

        @opsomath: Sure, if there’s money to collect. I suspect that over the next few years, there’s not going to be a lot of it.

      • Valhawk says:

        @opsomath: On what grounds though? If the town worded the contract correctly there would be no real grounds for the suit other than some bogus emotional distress theory.

    • madanthony says:

      @Erwos:

      Or stores just raise the price of all their merchandise by 10%, thus making people think that they are getting a deal.

      • Anonymous says:

        Your missing the point it’s about taking control over the monopoly like Wal-Mart organization that plagues this world like; an ever growing animal that prays on societies need for convince. These people know that they will not get a “good deal” as you say, but they will do it for the moral and physiological victory over Wal-Mart.

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem being faced in smaller communities (I haven’t heard this story of large cities) is with wallmart and when people paid from small businesses go buy from wallmart, that money doesn’t come back to the community; only the people paid that work at that wallmart and the rest goes away. If everyone keeps buying from their own local businesses, the money stays within the community and is basically passed around for everyone’s needs.
      I’m a mechanic paid to fix someone’s car, with that money I got paid to fix the car I’m going to buy groceries from the shop owner who’s car I just fixed.
      And the cycle complicates from there. But the problem is, is that you don’t want to make the exchanges so complicated and so spread out by giving the money to wallmart, cause that money goes to CEOs in LA or somewhere else where it doesn’t come back like it does with local business.

    • Anonymous says:

      1) The town would have to create its own “Central Bank” or a commercial bank/institutional investor would have to issue bonds at a 10% premium in order to stay afloat…you cannot give people $110 funny money for $100 US and expect to survive the year.

      2) The local businesses could raise their prices 10% to offset the currency discount (it’s a discount because $110 Milwaukees = $100 US…so the Milwaukee is worth less), but consumer psychology would probably drive them into Wal-Mart anyways…afterall they have “Always low prices…Always”

      3) Unless local stores offer items Wal-Mart cannot, the town is creating a sizable inefficiency…so in the end, EVERYONE can pay more!!

      4) If someone were to combine their Milwaukee bucks with a local coupon, local businesses would take twice the hit…A) the currency is worth less than a dollar, B) the price of the item is discounted even further with a coupon. Lower prices = less revenue = losses for local business.

      It’s a novel idea…but sometimes you have to take one to the chin in the real world. If Milwaukee and the US in general wants to overcome this problem, produce goods and services that are superior to other countries’ goods and services…or find cheaper ways to do make the same things… China is stomping us in manufacturing growth because their people are willing to suck it up and do whatever it takes to reach a better life.

      FACT: Most American workers have become complacent with their “careers”…enter: RECESSION

  6. SBR249 says:

    Aren’t these then just glorified gift certificates that are accepted at more than one store? Plenty of stores give you discounts for buying gift certificates…

  7. lifestar says:

    Umm… how about this totally violates the US Constitution? Wasn’t there a story recently about another popular “currency” that was shut down by the Feds last year? Come on, this is no way legal!

    • esd2020 says:

      @lifestar: That was different. “Currency” and “gold coins” aren’t the same thing.

    • Venkman says:

      @lifestar: Yeah, you’re totally right about that. The feds will shut this down in a heartbeat.

      • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

        @Venkman: Ithaca, NY, has had something like this for years. I don’t know the ins and outs, but there are apparently ways to do this and make it compliant. I think it has to be basically a sophisticated barter system, and that’s okay; but if it starts taking on other money-like qualities (like you can bank it for interest), the government starts getting uppity about it.

        My understanding, however, is that “local bux” are okay as long as they fit within some pretty narrow criteria.

        Here’s Ithaca’s: [www.ithacahours.org]
        Wikipedia has a bit too: [en.wikipedia.org]

      • humphrmi says:

        @Venkman: Um, gift certificates? Those coupons books places sell? What’s the difference?

    • jodark says:

      @lifestar: They came down really hard on this during the Depression. Seriously, nowadays they would probably send the entire town to Gitmo on Subverting the Federal Government charges.

    • tedyc03 says:

      @lifestar: This is in fact perfectly legal, in the same way that gift certificates are legal. You accept money because you assign it a value; in this case, the paper here is assigned a value but it derives its value solely from the dollars you use to buy it; also, the town isn’t insisting that it’s good for ALL debts, public and private; only for the receipt of goods and services at participating stores.

      Until someone tries to pay their cell phone bill with it, it won’t be a problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      @lifestar: @lifestar: @lifestar: @lifestar: actually it is our current currency that violates the US Constitution.
      The U.S. Constitution, Art. I Sec. 10 Cl. 1, states, in part:
      “No State shall … coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; …” Competing currencies should be legal. The Bank of England’s imposition of currency on the early settlers was a huge contributor to the American Revolution. Cheers!

    • Anonymous says:

      @lifestar: Not only IS it fully legal, it used to be the standard! I don’t know about other States/Republics of the union (ie – the united States of america, you know,the real one), but if you go to the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus, Ohio you’ll see blown up reproductions of local currencies on the wall in the main hall. At the present time the US is on it’s fourth/4th central bank. And, if anyone has studied their history they know that ALL central banks are doomed to failure, and that they are used to control the serfs and vassals of that particular kingdom. But that’s a different rabbit hole…

    • Anonymous says:

      @lifestar: The fact that the legality of this currency is being questioned versus the legality of the very dollar we use is baffling. The Constitution only grants Congress, not some private corporation, the power to “coin” money. There is nothing in there about printing money, calling it notes and lending out a ratio of ten dollars for every 1 dollar on deposit. The Federal Reserve System in itself is illegal.

    • Anonymous says:

      @lifestar: This concept has been tried in many places to promote buying locally for many years. Lawrence, KS tried to in the early 2000′s but it didn’t take off. So, yeah, it’s basically a sophisticated barter system. Not illegal, otherwise it wouldn’t have even made it long enough to draw attention for this article.

    • Anonymous says:

      @lifestar: @lifestar: @lifestar:
      This is in fact legal. The Constitution declares that you cannot print National money, fake money that is passed off as federal money, or tampering with federal money and then claiming it as federal money. In-state currencies are excepted as long as they are deriving from the Federal Reserve, but passing off any money as money from the Federal Reserve is a no no.

    • Anonymous says:

      Or how about the FACT that the Federal Reserve Is Acting Illegally and Unconstitutionally Itself!!! I say Print your own Money. Create Your Own Economy. Forget the Fed. It’s not even a Government Agency, ITS A PRIVATE BANK!

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes that was in New York. They offered, Gold, Silver, & Copper coins which you could buy with US currency. You could also buy certificates of silver and gold which you could trade in later for coins. The short story is they got very popular and the gov. shut them down and conficated millions of dollars in silver and gold, didn’t like the competition. The ironic part is that the coins already in circulation bring big money on E-Bay.

    • Anonymous says:

      @lifestar: the federal reserve is not any part of the government and has never been . It is a private company entity that is only regulated by the government. It is perfectly legal for them to make their own money. If only the federal were allowed to make money, they would be a monopoly , and the government doesnt like monopolies.

    • GoVegan says:

      @lifestar: I remember recently reading about some guy making his own Liberty Dollars which he based on gold and silver and the feds taking all of his money, gold and silver away after his currency began to be accepted by stores.

      [en.wikipedia.org]

    • maines19 says:

      @lifestar: Local currency is perfectly legal. The feds only care if you use it as a means to evade income tax.

      Ithaca’s currency is called “hours” (rather than dollars) with the notion being that an hour of one’s work should be valued more highly than the current minimum wage. (When I lived in Ithaca 8 years ago, an Ithaca hour was equivalent to $10.) In Ithaca, many businesses and individuals accept partial or full payment for service and goods in Ithaca hours, and there were various sources to tell you who accepted hours.

      Main thing is to have the local currency professionally printed with some kind of feature that assures it can’t be duplicated easily, else the value will be diluted by a glut of counterfeits, and your currency will fail. I used to know David, the guy who prints the Ithaca hours. He was on CNN a bunch of years ago talking about printing the currency.

  8. CRNewsom says:

    Sorry to spoil your party, Meg, but your math is off:

    110 Local dollars for $100 is (approx) a 9.1% discount

    You could call it a 10% bonus/incentive/whatever, if that makes you feel better.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      @CRNewsom: Unless local stores, unable to pay distributors and providers in funny money, jack up prices to match the USD:FM exchange rate.

    • Traveshamockery says:

      @CRNewsom: 9.1%?!? Oh, screw that. At 10% I was interested, but at 9.1%? Pfft!

      /but you’re right

    • Meg Marco says:

      @CRNewsom: Math is ok, vocabulary needs work.

      • Anonymous says:

        With the original amount real money at $100 dollars and the new amount at $110 the percent increase is 10%. This means you now have 10% more than you had before. If you were to exchange the local bucks back to real money then you have a 9.1% decrease, meaning you now have 9.1% less.

    • Anonymous says:

      “trading $100 US for $110 in the local currency would give shoppers a 10% bonus, for example.”

      Sorry spoil YOUR party, CRNewsom, but Meg did call it a bonus. What have you been reading?

    • Anonymous says:

      “110 Local dollars for $100 is (approx) a 9.1% discount”

      The way I see it, I have $100. I use that to get $110 worth of spending power. I now have $10 more than I had to begin with. However you slice it, that bald transaction gives me 10% more purchasing power from the get go.
      Sure, it’s equivalent to a 9.1% discount – but only when you use it.
      Forgive me, but I seem to have always seen a 10% bonus as equivalent to a 9.1% discount. It depends where you start from. Or is math now different?

  9. Krobar says:

    pretty sure the constitution forbids this, wasn’t there a big article here recently about a former failed alternative currency?

    Now if they call them gift cards or something like that, then maybe it’d be ok?

    • Pandrogas says:

      @Krobar: Semantics, it’s still technically legal as the system is the same as a gift certificate. If they attempted to use the local currency to pay taxes, that would be a whole other story.

    • esd2020 says:

      @Krobar: Their problem was they used coins. Paper money is treated differently, believe it or not.

    • mewyn dyner says:

      @Krobar:

      Not quite. This is just like a gift card/gift certificate. This isn’t creating another currency away from the USD, but more of saying “buy a gift certificate from us!” The value is in USD, and directly tied to USD. Sure, they are giving you a discount, but that’s no different than any other pre-pay system.

    • Anonymous says:

      the USC forbids alot of things, but thats hasnt stoped the government before. I mean they spend our money frivously, whats wrong with this. I mean the keep leting walmart kill small towns, so let this small towns fight back. And to ad the constitution does forbid printing private money, but the federal reserve which is not a government runed progam, its actuyly operated by huge investment banks, prints their own money.

    • Anonymous says:

      @Krobar: What is funny about all this talk is that the Federal Reserve is just that… Fake – it is completely made up and our “notes” if you will are completely based on trust! What constitutes a successful currency is how much someone trusts its ability to be exchanged for goods and services.

    • spiffy3 says:

      @Krobar: The Constitution is not that long or complicated. Why don’t you actually look it up and give a reference instead of being “pretty sure?” I know of nowhere in the constitution which forbids the creation of a local currency.

  10. Illusio26 says:

    Immediately thought of this:

    Homer: One adult and four children.
    Woman: Would you like to buy some Itchy and Scratchy Money?
    Homer: What’s that?
    Woman: Well it’s money that’s made just for the park. It works just
    like regular money, but it’s, er…”fun”.
    Bart: Do it, Dad.
    Homer: Well, OK, if it’s fun…let’s see, uh…I’ll take $1100 worth.
    [he walks in, sees all the signs: "No I&S Money", "We Don't Take
    Itchy and Scratchy Money", etc.]
    Aw!

  11. wgrune says:

    So maybe I am not thinking about this right, but here goes:

    A shopper spends $110 in Milwaukee Bucks (HAHA, get it?) at Bob’s Lightbulb Emporium. Bob can’t buy lightbulbs from his supplier in fake money so he has to convert the fake money back to real Dollars at the same exchange rate of 1.1 to 1. Bob doesn’t gain anything by doing this and he is still selling $100 worth of merchandise for $100 worth of fake money. I highly doubt Bob is willing to take a $10 hit on everything he sells so he will raise prices, negating the effect of the favorable exchange rate. It would be like if everyone used a discounted gift certificate for everything.

    • wgrune says:

      @wgrune:

      Oh and not to mention how pissed Bob gets when he tries to cash in his $10,000 in fake money and no one will trade him for real money.

      I think this is an all-around bad idea.

    • eXo says:

      @wgrune: That is an extremely good point. I would be interested in hearing their counter point to that.

    • Tmoney02 says:

      @wgrune: I just assumed that the city government would take the hit, not the merchants, though perhaps splitting it would be viable as well.

      The merchant gains because locals stay in town and shop at his store instead of driving to the megamart in the next town. Also it serves as a promotion driving more people from outside the town there looking to save a bit, thus the merchant makes more sales overall.

      The city gains because there is more people buying local and outsiders buying local – thus more tax revenue, and the city becomes more attractive to new businesses increasing tax revenue even more via the new stores and new jobs.

      So it seems like a win for everyone except for the surrounding towns.

      • Anonymous says:

        @Tmoney02: If somehow this increases local spending, which I doubt, the local merchants would have to raise their prices. This would nullify the entire purpose of doing it in the first place. Here is a tip for the local merchants: if you want to sell more things, lower your price to a competitive level.

    • josephbloseph says:

      @wgrune: My guess is that the community sponsoring it could supply a seed budget to start the system. Much of that initial money would go into some manner of CD/time deposit, and the interest for some term would be the “discount” the consumer sees. Or maybe businesses dealing in local currency would get some sort of local tax breaks.

      • SBR249 says:

        @josephbloseph: I think the point is to support the local economy. Ideally, the government takes the hit in order for the local businesses to flourish. Since the money stays in the local economy, the government then generate more tax revenue or something of the sort, which then goes to fund the program. At least, that’s how I’m understanding it.

        • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

          @SBR249: Down under “benefits” the wikipedia article explains what benefits were found by economists: [en.wikipedia.org]

          To summarize:
          1) circulates more rapidly, resulting in more economic activity
          2) activates underused local resources, esp. labor
          3) keeps the benefits of economic activity in the community
          4) can promote greater utilization of resources on a broader scale with specialized currencies like frequent flier miles
          5) with the internet, may even stimulate economic activity more globally

          • SabreDC says:

            @Eyebrows McGee: Maybe I’m not seeing the point, but how would it keep “the benefits of economic activity in the community”? It seems to me that you’re making the shopper do more work to spend their money.

            Yes, I know it is optional, but why would I take my dollars and turn them into this currency (presumably by doing some amount of work like driving to an exchange place) to shop locally when I can take my dollars to Wal-Mart or Target and not have the overhead of exchanging it? Some may say “Because you’d be supporting local businesses” to which I respond, if I felt that adamant about supporting local businesses, why wouldn’t I just take USDs to that business?

            I don’t see how this helps the community economy.

            • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

              @SabreDC: Like I said (I think in a different set of comments), I don’t really know the ins and outs of it, but economists like it and Ithaca’s program has been very successful. (I became aware of it when my brother was at Cornell and when the college kids used to hire out locally for odd jobs, sometimes they’d get paid in Ithaca Hours, which they’d then use to buy pizza.)

              I don’t think it’s really any different than any other method of encouraging local shopping, except that it’s far more versatile than, say, a local-values coupon book or whatever. If we had them locally, I’d use them. I wouldn’t go out of my way to get them, but I’d certainly, say, take them as payment at a garage sale and then use them later to buy pizza from a local place. Or something like that.

        • Valhawk says:

          @SBR249: What idiot would actually use these though. It will add another layer of administrative costs to businesses, its trading real universal money for fake money only good in the locality. Also don’t forget about the rise of credit cards.

          Basically no large scale business will ever accept this. I’m laughing because it’s doomed to fail.

          • Tmoney02 says:

            @Valhawk: What idiot would actually use these though.

            Shrewd and enterprising local business – seeing an opportunity to steal business from megamarts.

            And how much administrative costs could it add? On your Bank Deposit runs you also make a run to the city government building and exchange/deposit your local bucks.

            I think you lack imagination and creativity. As I said before everyone from the consumer to the merchant to the city benefits from the program so why would it fail?
            If the consumer wants to use a credit card make credit card purchases of local bucks available.

            • Valhawk says:

              @Tmoney02: It adds administration because as a business owner you’ll have to go to the city to turn you fake local money into real money in order to pay your national suppliers, because they sure as hell won’t take local fake money, I doubt banks will either.

              • Tmoney02 says:

                @Valhawk: And those costs will be negligible. Not even worth mentioning. You don’t here businesses crying over the cost of taking money to the bank – likewise they wont be crying over taking local bucks to city hall, then getting a check cut each month to them. (Or immediate exchange if they need it).

                @SabreDC: I know it is optional, but why would I take my dollars and turn them into this currency (presumably by doing some amount of work like driving to an exchange place) to shop locally

                You would do it because as the story states you would get a discount at the stores. As the third paragraph says – you would get 110 dollars for every 100 exchanged.

                Ideally the exchange rate would be such that you could get the service of a mom and pop store while buying for about or a bit more than the price of Target. It helps make local business competitive.

          • Nickoli says:

            @Valhawk: “Basically no large scale business will ever accept this.”

            That’s the point: it’s for small, local businesses.

    • varro says:

      @wgrune: Wouldn’t it be easier to just give someone a discount for being a member of a community group/credit union/employee of another local business?

      • Anonymous says:

        The point of it all is to promote buying locally which it seems most people have trouble doing unless a drastic measure such as creating a local currency is inacted.
        Ideally we would all realize that if we shop locally and support small time business rather than a big company who will do fine during this economic mayhem, that our local businesses will survive. Local business creates a local community, where you buy from your neighbors and friends, as opposed to buying from faceless shareholders and CEO’s.
        The reason that this would fail would be due to everyone being used to our blink of an eye society where if it isn’t fast we don’t care how it affects the community. Credit cards cost businesses thousands to millions of dollars in surcharges every year and if everyone used cash or debit cards instead of fueling a credit based economy and putting themselves deeper in debt we may just exist as rational human beings.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’re missing one posibility; the merchant himself has an incentive to turn around and spend the money locally, in order to avoid the $10 hit. This will not work for everything, but he could buy as many supplies, labor, etc. locally as possible for the business itself. And he would have an incentive to spend his profits locally as well.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah, except I work for what would be considered a “local” small business (highly successful) where we would take a 10% hit for increased volume. In times like this, you take what you can get. You choose the best plan:

      Bob’s Light Bulb Emporium sells 40 light bulbs at US$5 each; his cost for each is US$2.50. This leaves him with a profit of US$100.

      Upon introducing “Milwaukee Bucks,” 20 additional light bulbs are sold by Bob instead of Wal-Mart.

      Now Bob sells 60 light bulbs at MB$5 each, his cost is still US$2.50. His new profit is US$122.73.

      So, as long as Bob believes he will sell, in this case, 5 additional light bulbs he will not suffer harm from the local currency. If he sells 6, he will benefit. It is a marketing risk that all businesses take in some form – not really any different from advertizing or coupons or sales. All of these devices are designed to increase volume.

    • Anonymous says:

      no the idea is take 100 us dollars trade it in for 110 local dollars, then local stores trade the 110 back to the local gov’t for 110 us dollars and in order for the local gov’t to be able to support the costs to run and pay for the program, property taxes increase dramacially and therefore whether you use the plan or not you pay for it. it’s a scam to create local jobs to get friends jobs or to increase federal funding for hitting certain incentives.

    • Anonymous says:

      @wgrune:
      So maybe the way this works is that Bob the choice between spending the local dollars at full value in the community or converting them to less real dollars to spend outside. Then dollars that come in tend to stay in. But you are right, this only works if prices of stuff in local money don’t rise too much. Maybe this has to be enforced by some kind of agreement, or maybe the merchants think their increased sales will cover the losses on what they do have to convert back. And of course there must be enough local stuff Bob wants or needs.

    • jamar0303 says:

      @wgrune: Which is why most, if not all, of the supply chain needs to be local to make this work.

  12. Pandrogas says:

    They could use guilt and get people to buy into a program that promises to give to local charities and interests if people buy from the local business participants.

    Otherwise, locking the currency is probably not the best way to go about it. You can’t beat WalMart price wise most of the time, but you can sure as heck beat them in everything else (service, selection, policies, etc.). Though the bottom line is pretty important to most people… So about those coupons…

    • Anonymous says:

      “They could use guilt and get people to buy into a program that promises… (ANYTHING)”

      That is how the government brought all these ‘social programs’ into being, by guilting the taxpayer with the pixie-dust attraction of ‘helping the poor/old/young/etc’… Gee, one must wonder why the ineer cities are still the least favorable living conditions? It couldn’t be from mismanagement of social program monies by the government?

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you kidding me? My local stores have a bunch of rude teenage employees who don’t care about their jobs – Walmart and Target tend to employ people who understand the value and necessity of having a job and treating customers with respect. At my local grocery stores, it’s impossible to find the same selection of products that Walmart and Target have – for some reason, especially with cereals. They don’t carry the larger boxes at all any more so you basically pay $5 for the smallest size of cereal when you’d pay $4 for one twice the size at Walmart or Target. Check cashing at Walmart wipes the floor with our local stores. Before my mom had opened a new bank account, she could cash her check at Walmart for $3. The same check would have cost her $20 to cash at Dahl’s. The bottom line is *very* important to me and the end result is that at the end of each week, we save at least $20-30 per trip by shopping at Walmart, taking into account price differences on identical products (as much as $1-3 on some things) and then the fact that the local stores don’t carry the same economical sizes of certain items so we get more bang for the same buck. And this is just for a family of four. So yes, I’ll choose to go to the store where I’m treated nicely, there’s an adequate selection of adequately maintained carts and clean, non-broken bathrooms, and where I get more for my money. Until my local stores can start offering me a fraction of that, I don’t care what currency they offer.

  13. robdew2 says:

    Whatever happened to the good old-fashioned practice of making a better product for less money? Is there some reason “local” businesses can’t do this?
    Our town tried a local currency. It failed very, very badly.

    • wgrune says:

      @robdew2:

      It’s hard to run a competitive business when you can buy something from a supplier for a cost and the Walmart (or Target, Lowes, Home Depot, Best Buy, etc) can buy the same thing for 30% less because they are buying millions of units at a pre-negotiated price from the same supplier.

    • Illusio26 says:

      @robdew2: It doesn’t always have to be about less money. Sometimes it’s is about a better service or experience.

      When we do landscaping in the spring, I usually buy our flowers from the local garden center as opposed to Home Depot. We pay a little more, but get much better quality and the staff is very knowledgeable and helpful.

    • SBR249 says:

      @robdew2: Well, that theory works in principle, except for that pesky thing that western nations seem to have called minimum wages…I’m sure once China mandates $6-7/hr for all workers your idea will work splendidly.

    • ludwigk says:

      @robdew2: Lets take my local grocer for example, Piedmont Grocery. They seem to go out of their way to stock high quality meats and cheeses. They offer a lot of produce that the big box grocery doesn’t carry. Their ethnic and specialty foods are products that are harder to find.

      They’ve carved out a niche and won my business by being helpful, high quality, and offering products that I can’t find elsewhere, even though I frequent 2 major grocery chains, whole foods, and trader joes. Competing directly with Walmart is probably a mistake, but carving out your own retail niche is a perfectly viable way for the small guy to stay in the game in the presence of behemoths.

    • Anonymous says:

      @robdew2: Doesn’t work to make a better product for cheaper. People who shop Wal Mart will buy crap regardless of better, it’s all based on price. I made better products, but everyone wanted the Wal Mart price. So I even tried selling my products as a “loss leader” and it wouldn’t work. Face it the buying public would buy a load of (censored) if Wal Mart sold it cheap enough.

    • Anonymous says:

      Rob, you missed the point. This is not the bailout of the auto industry we are talking about, but about local shop owners inability to compete with Walmart pricing. Its due to buying in massive volume instead of buying just for the needs of the community. If you are cool with all the ma and pa shops going out of business, then your point is valid. But then please don’t wonder where all the customer care went.

    • Anonymous says:

      @robdew2: The problem is that big box stores buy in bulk, massive bulk. The best price is usually given to those who buy the most. Places like Wal-mart, Target, etc can divide their merchandise around whereas a local often only sells a small fraction of what is sold nationwide and thus does not get as good of a discount. Also, most local retailers can handle many fewer customers at a time, so they are making much less money and have to charge more to pay overhead like rent and salary.

    • jamar0303 says:

      @robdew2: And in stark contrast Ithaca, NY tried this and apparently it’s actually working.

  14. MartaAnchises says:

    Not a bad idea at all. In fact, I’m often amazed by “free market” anti-monopolists who, after praising the virtues of “competition” and “choice” then defend the Federal Reserve, a private corporation given a government-enforced … you guessed it … MONOPOLY over money.

    “Do as I say, not as I do.”

    • Erwos says:

      @MartaAnchises: The Federal Reserve isn’t private.

      [www.federalreserve.gov]

      If Congress ever chose to do away with the Federal Reserve, they could.

      As for its monopoly over money – well, most all governments have a monopoly over currency creation.

      • Anonymous says:

        @MartaAnchises: @Erwos: Actually the Federal Reserve is private. It is a corporation that prints money out of thin air therefore giving you inflation It was snuck into existence in 1913. It will not be in the blue pages with the government offices. It is a private company much like Federal Express but much more deceptive. Most of your income tax pays the interest on the money the Fed creates from nothing. Do the research.

      • jamar0303 says:

        @Erwos: HK? They have 3 banks issuing currency.

    • SBR249 says:

      @MartaAnchises: As the comment above pointed out…the fed isn’t exactly private so your point is not very valid.

      However, government enforced monopolies are needed in some cases. Take the USPS for example, if there were no government enforced monopoly for the USPS, then it’s likely that many rural residents in the US would not have mail service at all or would be forced to pay exorbitant fees for the service.

    • Traveshamockery says:

      @MartaAnchises: So you’d prefer a “format war” with currency?

      That would work out great. Not.

    • Valhawk says:

      @MartaAnchises: There is not a monopoly of currency. Maybe you’ve never heard of the Euro or the Yen or the Pound Sterling, etc; but I digress.

      The reason for exclusive currency notes is that having multiple competing notes destroys the efficiencies gained from currency as opposed to barter.

      Also, most entities don’t have the financial wherewithal to back a currency, and most of those that do don’t have any incentive to create one where there is a perfectly working currency already.

      In short the reason there are not alternative domestic currencies is because there is no real demand. If people were really dissatisfied with the US dollar, you would see them popping up. This is just small scale protectionism at work.

      • tjsherlock says:

        @Valhawk: The U.S. Federally Reserve Note is issued by a single organization as the sole legal tender for the U.S. market; clearly it is a monopoly. A U.S. creditor is not forced to cancel a debt by accepting anything except FRN’s

        There are more than two options besides an exclusive currency note system and barter. Having a single currency forces all local and regional markets to behavior identically and thus often contrary to their local needs and inherent behavior.

        We can easily have a standard without having a single issuer. This works in software and in the restaurant and retail business (franchises such as McDonald’s, Starbuck’s)

        A currency note is simply an IOU. And under the best circumstances it is backed by something valuable. In the case of a small business, this could be the next three months profit. In terms of an individual it can be the next three month’s labor and a good reputation. This is enough financial wherewithal to back a currency.

        There is a demand for local currencies. People are dissatisfied. Local currencies are popping up within the United States, Canada, Argentina, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and else where.

        Big box corporations come into towns with the offer of employment for locals and the begin to push around the local government and local people. The town end up at the mercy of the corporation for tax revenue and employment. The primary purposes of local currency are to bolster the local economy and improve the social fabric, the sense of community. I fail to see how this can be interpreted as protectionism.

        It may seem to you that there are no local currencies because they are not discussed in schools , they are not encouraged by the Federal Government.

        And then, there’s the mindset common in the United States that every national is good, everything global is good. Translation: if it is local it is bad and inferior. Gratefully there is a small but growing minority of people who recognize the value of local, human-size elements.

        • Valhawk says:

          @tjsherlock: The reason a single currency works is because it’s widely accepted. There is no benefit to competition here other than stealth protectionism. How do you propose people pay federal taxes with local currency because the IRS sure as hell won’t take your funny money.

          I am a believer in free markets, but all this will end up doing is destroying free markets, if Nowheresville Iowa can print money, why can’t Walmart, which sure as hell has more financial backing, suddenly Walmart employees are paid in Walmart money only good at Walmart. This is essentially what the monetary system you propose is doing. It constricts markets more than frees them. A stable and wildly accepted form of currency is the basis for economic prosperity, and if you knew any history you would see that.

          These local currencies are on the whole worthless at best.

    • Anonymous says:

      @MartaAnchises:
      MartaAnchises you need to pull you head out. Did you think you can throw out the word “monopoly” and people would side with you as if all monopolies are a bad thing? You don’t even know what your talking about. Have you even considered what it is that make money valuable? The US dollar is only has valuable as the US government that backs it. If every idiot did as you are implying and started printing their own money that money would essentially become worthless to everyone else. Why would anybody accept your money if they could make their own?

  15. dohtem says:

    lol… this reminds me of a Dave Chappelle standup routine about being in DisneyLand with his kids (apologies for the mild profanity).

    Disney Employee: “Welcome to Disney World Mr. Chappelle, can we interest you in some, Disney Dollars?”
    Dave: “No man I’m cool, I can’t buy weed and p*ssy with Disney Dollars.

  16. NigerianScammer says:

    Yeah! Take that Federal Reserve!!!!!1!

  17. uptown says:

    So Milwaukee is planning on becoming prostitution central since this “currency” won’t really be trading cash for sex.

    • mtaylor924 says:

      @uptown: Prostitution in many jurisdictions isn’t just “sex for cash” – it is selling sex for something else of value…just because you don’t see lonely housewives getting arrested for sexing up the contractor in exchange for a discount on renovations doesn’t mean it isn’t prostitution, and couldn’t be prosecuted as such.

      • emis says:

        @mtaylor924:

        just because you don’t see lonely housewives getting arrested for sexing up the contractor in exchange for a discount on renovations doesn’t mean it isn’t prostitution

        Those contractors screw you one way or the other…

        I know I’ve seen sexual favors traded in lieu of rent and to me it seems like everyone wins in those situations as long as the one w/o the cash is the one who initiates.

  18. FrankenPC says:

    I have a better idea. Issue a credit card to everyone and a credit card scanner. THEN, barter for cash equivalency. So, my neighbor agrees to give me 100$ equivalent cash in exchange for painting the shed. The barter is done and the neighbor swiped the card and enters 100$.

    In reverse, I want to give 100$ to someone for a lawn mower they have for sale. So, I swipe my card through their reader and give the 100$ back…

    Wait a minute…This sounds really familiar… LIKE THE CURRENT SYSTEM. WTF!

    • ludwigk says:

      @FrankenPC: Right. If you make a direct cash equivalent to regular currency, there is no advantage, and that will fail. That is why you need to tie an alternate currency system into something that is more beneficial to the local community that lowers barriers of exchange of some sort. Maybe local currency counts double towards school lunches, or the local currency is exempt from local taxes, or vendors who accept the currency get a subsidy from the local government.

      • Anonymous says:

        @ludwigk:

        By getting together to create a supplemental or complementary currency we can encourage the relocalization of the community by purchasing locally made goods from retailers who support the currency and have agreed to honor it.

        The complementary curency can be loaned out at 0% interest to community members so no usury is involved like banks frequently do the make money off of people thru the leverage of their industry’s monopoly over the commodity of money.

        Profit and labor can be paid in the supplementary currency while the rest of the costs will remain in regular(devalued) currency to paid the costs to outside suppliers.

        One can also get outside suppliers to honor the supplemental currency as well.

        Complementary currency does NOT need to be backed by cash but by agreement alone for those who understand supporting their local community economically.

        Supplemental currencies was done with script during the great depression to make up for the government/Big business maintained devaluation of the dollar and relied upon community support and exchange to support one another encouraging trust.
        (we are much more connected now so the isolated pockets of the different communities durig the period can be reached today)

        This is essentially what currency is: an agreement between people to exchange their labor and services or ‘time’ for goods and other services.

        This has been done successfully throughout the world in times of financial crises(crisis is also the point of opportunity) to allow people a medium of exchange that is not dependent upon the instituted mismanagement and theft of resources by government and Monopoly capitalist industries.

        Rather it is dependent upon what the local community values and opens the door to opportunities of connection and a more direct understanding of how the economy really works around them as well as being able to implement new economic ideas and ways of living together without asking permission from some ‘authority’ outside of ourselves working to ‘author’ OUR lives.

        Complementary currency is the most direct collective agreement in a physical form of a true direct market population.

        For those who are scared of the law and who respect the stolen ‘legality’ of our current capital-dominated culture of maintained theft, I suggest you do a good bit of real historical research and look into economics before mislabling it “fake money”

  19. sspeedracer says:

    Marco: Fuck your Hippie remark.

  20. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Even if there were local stores in my area stores to suppliment what I purchase at Wal-Mart and Shop-Rite, often the variety is lower, and the prices are higher. They would have to be VERY large discounts to compensate.

    I could only see this working for things like local reasturants and attractions (like a local movie theater, or zoo).

  21. docrice says:

    The only alternative currency we need to be concerned with is the barter system, as paper money will only be glorified T.P. when the financial apocalypse occurs… just think of Mad Max – the only thing worth anything was gas and gear.

    Ok, maybe that’s a bit excessive, but seriously, why would anyone want something that has limited use, and why would businesses take it unless there was a strong incentive plan for them? I don’t know how a local government could cover the cost of the currency creation AND make it lucrative for consumers AND retailers to use. This is lamer than gift cards.

    • FrankenPC says:

      @docrice:

      Gas Gear and the worlds oldest profession.

    • ludwigk says:

      @docrice: I used to live in Portland, ME, which has a local currency. It’s not used for buying and selling “Things”, its used for labor. It’s the Cascadian Hour Exchange (CHE), where you can barter with your time. You can offer your abilities, anything from handywork to daycare, or gardening, painting, etc. and bid your skills, or request some particular task at a particular payrate. Granted, with specialized skills, you are probably deeply discounting your goods, but it is also a networking opportunity.

      I don’t know how stable, sound, or viable this economy is, and I fundamentally don’t understand it because there is no central ‘bank’ from which all CHE were made (otherwise, the entire CHE system would always be balanced at a total of CHE dollars in existance, and just swirling debt and credits). But, the idea seemed pretty nice.

      • ludwigk says:

        @ludwigk: Wrong time-dollar program. The one in Maine is called something like “Maine Timedollar exchange”, and the cascadian one is 3300 miles away. but its the same concept.

  22. Cankles says:

    Milwaukee also makes and assumabley drinks a lot of alcohol, don’t they? That would make sense.

  23. amysisson says:

    I don’t shop at Walmart, EVER, so that’s not a consideration. This local currency idea makes me a little uneasy, though, because it seems to indicate a trend of isolationism that I associate with the breakdown of civilization (hey, I read lots of science fiction and have a vivid imagination). I think neighbors will have to help neighbors as the econonmy gets worse (and I think it will get MUCH worse), but I also think we need to pull together as a country.

  24. Narockstar says:

    This system only works for me if I can somehow be paid in Neighborhood dollars without those Neighborhood dollars being taxed. If I’m paid in Neighborhood dollars, how can I enter an amount on my tax return?

  25. mazement says:

    The article is light on info, but I think the model is: The town will sell you $100 in funny money for $90 in cash, and buy $100 in funny money for $100 in cash. So the town loses $10 on every $100 transaction. This money eventually comes from the taxpayers. But more money is being circulated in the community instead of being shipped out, so local residents will be earning more money. The tax on the extra income cancels out some (but not all) of the town’s loss.

    If people can buy and sell funny money whenever they want, the town will go bankrupt. They can keep the losses under control by limiting the amount of funny money in circulation…maybe it’s only given out as welfare, or as payment for work on community service projects.

    The end result is that people who are allowed to buy funny money make a profit, local stores make a profit, chain stores take a loss, and other local residents take a slight loss from increased taxes.

    • Anonymous says:

      @mazement:
      Yea…if I can buy $10,000 of funny money for $9,000, walk out the door, walk back in and sell it for $10,000, I make $1000 profit in 10 minutes. Sign me up for some of that!

      “I can do this all day.”

  26. kwsventures says:

    So it has come down to this. Understand paper money and coin are only worth what someone else will accept for goods or services rendered. Your house you bought for $200k in 1997 and have basically put next to nothing in improvements into the last 11 years now has a market value of $360K. Why? Well, if someone is willing to pay $360K for your house today that is what it is worth. If you can’t find a buyer at that price, you must lower the price (i.e, value) of the house. The marketplace flows up and down in cycles. Just like currency. So get over the financial madness, it is what it is. The natural flow of things. No matter how much taxpayer money the feds want to pump into the system. It will make no difference long term.

  27. emis says:

    – How many people use Visa/Master today in 2008 vs 1929? It would not be possible to spend this currency via typical Visa/Mastercard system

    – How is a 10% discount using local currency any different from the local retailers simply offering a 10% discount across the board on all their products/sales? It isn’t, so why add that much complexity? It would be better to create a “Local Retailer Discount Card” that you show at these retailers to get the discount

    – Presumably you will not be able to withdraw this local currency from an ATM which means transactions would need to occur by hand at either a bank or other authorized exchange station. How many people these days rely almost exclusively on ATMs for cash? Nearly everyone I know does, now you’re add addition steps to get your normal business done

    – The fact that this currency is going to be linked to a dollar means that you can never increase the discount exchange rate without pissing off everyone who ever bought dollars before that point

    This might have worked 80 years ago, but it just isn’t going to work now…

    If you are a retailer the plain fact is that Wal-Marts are in your neighborhood and they probably sell the same brands/goods for less money you do.

    In terms of selling those products you really only have a few choices:

    * Lower your cost to match/beat Wal-Mart, that might mean selling at your cost, or possibly even below your cost for certain items

    * Bundle the goods w/ other goods (possibly not offered by Wal-Mart) to beat the overall Wal-Mart price–i.e. offer up a 20% discount (so possibly below your cost) on national brand spaghetti if it’s purchased with $20 or more of local produce, etc

    * Bundle the goods with services that Wal-Mart does not offer–i.e. if Wal-Mart sells a lawn mower for $200 and you sell one for $300, you need to offer free tune ups and blade sharpening for 3 years

    * Hope you can get enough people to pay more at your store just for the sake of keeping your business alive and fighting against Wal-Mart (sadly, this is probably the only option that will really work very well in the long run)

  28. howie_in_az says:

    I already do this in my area. My currency consists of punches to the face. For instance, I punched the GameStop employee 57 times in the face before I could get my PlayStation 3. When I saw our latest grocery bill, a few punches to the cashier’s face brought about an immediate discount. I’m currently taking some boxing classes because I’ve got my eye on the BMW M3 coupe, and those don’t come cheap!

    Chargebacks, however, are a pain.

  29. coan_net says:

    My local area has Chamber Dollars – which you can purchased and use only at local businesses.

    A lot of the local businesses will get these to give to their employees as their “Christmas bonus” (since giving cash would be taxed twice – once on the paycheck, once when you buy something) – Chamber Dollars are only taxed once – when you buy something.

    [www.vermilionadvantage.com]

  30. bitchkitty says:

    We learned about a similar situation in an econ class I took – Ithaca Hours – http://www.ithacahours.org

  31. Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

    This is all good and well until the “neighborhoods” decide to attack at Gettysburg and end up devaluing their own currency in the process.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I saw this in practice about 15 years ago in Ithica, NY. Their local currency is call HOURs. It does seem corny, but it worked for them, and apparently others. If one wants to inject another medium of exchange, more power to them.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_community_currencies_in_the_United_States

  33. GuinevereRucker says:

    This is a neat idea! I saw it first here:

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9050474362583451279&hl=en

    If you have like 45 minutes that video is awesome, and I learned a lot after the third time or so :)

    It suggests local currency as a way of circumventing the problems fiat currency already has, and if done right it seems like a good system. I don’t know enough about economics yet to say for sure, but the current system is fairly broken – at least, that’s my impression if the stuff in that movie is true.

    • SinisterMatt says:

      @GuinevereRucker:

      I didn’t look at the video, but it seems to me that this “neighborhood dollars” system merely trades one (albeit larger) system of fiat money for a smaller one. If the city sets the exchange rate and the value of the money, then it is merely more of the same, with many of the same problems that a nationwide fiat cash-based economy would have.

      Cheers!

  34. jesdynf says:

    The city I live in — Arlington — bought one of the richest men in Texas an enormous stadium and raised my sales tax to do it. Money minted by that same city? I’d sooner spit in my pocket.

    • SinisterMatt says:

      @jesdynf:

      Glad to see at least one other Arlingtonite (or Arlingtonian, perhaps) unhappy with that “Monument to Jerry Jones.” Now if only they will fix the roads so that I don’t run the risk of ripping out my car’s oil pan everytime I go through an intersection at the speed limit …

      My only question about this system is what happens when the big box stores, after noticing a noticeable hit to their bottom line, start to take the neighborhood cash too? It would kind of defeat the purpose, wouldn’t it?

      Cheers!

  35. Garbanzo says:

    My main problem with shopping at locally owned businesses is that they’re only open when I’m at work. Most of my shopping is done after 8 p.m., so I’d guess over 95% of my retail spending is done at chain stores.

  36. JohnnyP says:

    I don’t see that you getting a 10% discount as much as you are getting 10% more in the conversion. So retailers are still charging the same amount in USD and in turn they can buy from their dealers at the regular rate. So as another post said its like a glorified gift card but the shop keepers would benefit by locking people into buying only local.

  37. Valhawk says:

    I hope their ready to get smacked down by the fed. Others have tried this with certificates for precious metals and such.

    The real question is what will they back their bills with? With US dollars you have the fact that the US government has the power to force people to accept it.

  38. Lucky225 says:

    Perfectly Legal? Hrmmm… LIBERTY DOLLAR ANYONE???

  39. Anonymous says:

    I’ve read a good number of comments about the “Liberty” dollar being unconstitutional. That is simply NOT true. Yes the feds raided Bernard von NotHaus’s business and confiscated everything without arresting or charging Mr. von NotHaus with a crime. To this day the feds have not charged him with anything because they know he did nor has done anything illegal.

    Remember when gas was only 25-cents a gallon? You could take a dollar down to the gas station and buy four gallons for a buck! At that time our dollar was backed by silver – real money. Guess what? That same amount of silver still buys four gallons of gas today.

    As a matter of fact, when you think about it, you realize that gas, food, and almost everything else has NOT gotten more expensive. It only seems that way because the value of the US dollar is worth less and less so it takes more and more of them to buy the same goods and services.

    I read somewhere, too, where towns in New England also use an alternate system for trade.

    How many here who commented that it must be unconstitutional have ever read the constitution? Just because the authorities say or do something doesn’t mean it is legal and constitutional.

  40. bishophicks says:

    As I tighten my spending I have been thinking more carefully about where and how I spend it. I have been driving past Dunkin Donuts to the local non-chain donut shop, explaining to my son that Dunkin Donuts doesn’t need our money, but if we want to have a choice we need to support the little guy. We have a favorite pizza place that we now use exclusively and tip generously. When we go out to dinner, we tend to choose from 4 or 5 local establishments. My reasoning is this: These are my favorite places, they’re really good, and I want them to survive. Similarly, we have someone who comes and cleans our house every two weeks (because we’re really bad at it) and just gave her a 12% raise. We consider all of this to be “taking care of our own” to a certain degree. I don’t really care if Starbucks has to close 600 stores or if 2 of the 5 giant supermarkets within 5 miles of my house have to close.

    As for the local currency, why go to all the trouble? Why not just do it as a YourTown gift card? I spend thousands of dollars a year at my favorite local places and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy $1000 worth of cards, especially if they came with a discount.

  41. Khuluna says:

    Yeah, it’s for hippies. Doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea, though.

  42. bohemian says:

    The extra step of obtaining an alternate currency sounds like too much work. Some sort of loyalty card that gets you some sort of points or cash back for using local businesses would be an attractive option.

  43. snoop-blog says:

    The day I stop shopping at wal-mart is the day someone else is selling the same shit cheaper. I am no loyal fan to wal-mart, I am just a loyal fan of my pocketbook. And as much as some of you would hate to hear it, Wal-mart is a half mile from my house and just so happens to by my neighborhood grocer.

    You know who it was before that?….NO ONE!

    So no way am I going to drive farther to pay more even if I did hate Wal-mart. that is called cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    • SabreDC says:

      @snoop-blog: One problem with that line of thinking is that a lot of stuff you buy from Wal-Mart that is cheap ends up breaking and you buy the same item 3 or 4 times. Sure, it’s fine if you’re buying a Sony TV or a PS3, but if you’re buying a run of the mill blender or something, prepare to buy it several times.

    • Anonymous says:

      @bishophicks: @snoop-blog:
      I am like you, I am a bigger fan of my wallet. Our closest local grocer (Mick-or-Mack) is less then 3 minutes from my house during rush hour. The next grocer is about 8 minutes away (Over priced Kroger) Wally world is about 10 minutes away and if I am going to spend more then say $10 US then I will go to ‘ole Wally World each and every time. Kroger can be the last store on earth b4 I buy from them, wtf do you need a card to get a discount and even then it is cheaper at Wally World! Even the M-or-M is cheaper on most things then Kroger.

  44. chrisjames says:

    The incentives would have to be yummy-sweet, otherwise it could hurt local businesses.

    More importantly, who’s taking the hit by that proposed conversion rate? I’m guessing whoever or whatever it is has done the math and worked a scheme to come out on top no matter how successful the funny money turns out to be. Probably by printing up the local bills, selling them for USD, then escaping town in a high-speed airboat chase through the everglades.

    Seriously though, the more reliable way to make this work is to have the stores willing to participate in this practice just go ahead and lower prices, then subsidize the costs until everything turns back in the community’s favor (i.e. Walmart leaves). That’s more or less the same concept as printing local currency, but with less room for fraud.

  45. FromThisSoil says:

    Homer: One adult and four children.
    Woman: Would you like to buy some Itchy and Scratchy Money?
    Homer: What’s that?
    Woman: Well it’s money that’s made just for the park. It works just
    like regular money, but it’s, er…”fun”.
    Bart: Do it, Dad.
    Homer: Well, OK, if it’s fun…let’s see, uh…I’ll take $1100 worth.
    [he walks in, sees all the signs: "No I&S Money", "We Don't Take
    Itchy and Scratchy Money", etc.]

  46. wickedpixel says:

    I could see this possibly working if they put the local currency on a debit card. But printing new unfamiliar paper money would be a counterfeiter’s wet dream.

  47. snoop-blog says:

    Are you people expecting me to believe that this “local” currency is counterfeit proof? And I’m supposed to trust someone to print and distribute and not steal it? Besides would it even be against the law to counterfeit a currency that isn’t even real? There’s no way you could get in trouble with the feds. A civil suit at the worst if that even. If your neighborhood is poor, making it easier to counterfeit money is probably not going to help.

  48. mrmysterious says:

    So how the hell do the collect sales tax?

  49. fuzzymuffins says:

    is that like strip club ‘funny money’ ??

  50. xerent says:

    Sounds great, until people realize that between the great depression and now, laser printers were developed. Local currency would be ridiculously easy to counterfeit, making the idea even more volatile, and eventually, everyone who used the system would be much worse off.

  51. snoop-blog says:

    Meg,

    Hippies would never go for this. I am a hippy and I’ll tell you why. My pot dealer would never accept these vouchers/coupons/etc. Now I might be able to work out some sort of barter with him, you know how us hippies are…

    “dude I’ll totally give you a ride to the liquor store if you can hook me up a fat dime sack.”

  52. sonneillon says:

    It only works if the whole area is behind it and a bank will exchange it. In small towns it could work especially well because it’s essentially a tax on outsiders, but the Fed does not care about your small town currency and so when tax time comes, things could get interesting.

  53. Need For Speedy Claxton says:

    As long as those stores can convert Schrutte Bucks to Stanley Nickels, I see no problem with this.

  54. Mikestan says:

    I wonder if it will suffer the same fate as the liberty dollar.

  55. racordes says:

    Big deal. Small towns in Minnesota have been doing this for years during holiday seasons. You can win the bucks or earn them and you can only spend them at participating merchants.

  56. wickedpixel says:

    and it’s only fitting that xkcd’s current comic touch on this very subject:

  57. DJFelix says:

    Two words for you all … Liberty Dollar

    ’nuff said.

  58. JustThatGuy3 says:

    Basically, these are gift cards.

  59. potzertommy says:

    i have lived in several communities that have “chamber bucks” only good at area retailers. This doesnt seem any different to me.

  60. Nighthawke says:

    Echos of the Depression Era. Companies set up compounds where the interred migrants were paid in company scrip and was only good in the company stores. Naturally this was bad for the migrants and good for business.

    Doing something similar like this, they have to guarantee that the scrip they are putting out is 1:1 the value of the dollar, no exceptions.

  61. econobiker says:

    Why not just spend real cash at local retailers versus at the retail strip miner Walmart…

  62. JulesNoctambule says:

    Carrboro, NC has something like this. I’m not entirely sure how it works, but it seems to be decently popular.

  63. berribrand says:

    Everyone has their own ideas about living within their means. Local currency would probably not work in LA because I could find myself in Pasadena during the day (at work) and then in West LA at night partying with friends.

    Regarding credit cards, I find myself living about 30 days beyond my means. I don’t pay any credit card interest now (woo hoo!), but if I know my credit card period is going to close soon, I put off buying something until it closes so I don’t have to pay for it for 30 days. That way, I get credit card points or cashback, get the item I want relatively soon, but still pay no interest. It’s the fear of not being able to pay it all off the keeps me from spending too much.

    Of course, you have to know how much you’re going to owe in the upcoming bill, which I generally keep track of.

    • berribrand says:

      @berribrand: Oh and, this means you also don’t touch your savings. You have to ignore your savings account and don’t even think about it as a means to pay off a bill.

  64. krunk4ever says:

    If this is legal, I wonder why the Liberty Dollar was shot down: How Uncle Sam Killed The Liberty Dollar

    • krunk4ever says:

      @krunk4ever: I personally don’t see local currency or liberty dollars as any different from gift cards. I mean gift cards aren’t always limited to a particular store. I remember I could purchase gift cards which I was able to use at any store in the mall.

      Local currency and Liberty Dollars are just elaborate gift cards, which has extra restrictions (i.e. where you can use them). No one is forced to accept gift cards or liberty dollars as it’s an opt-in system.

  65. Taed says:

    Ithaca, NY has a system like this that’s been around for about 10 years called IthacaHours. Here’s the Wikipedia article: [en.wikipedia.org] And here’s their web site: [www.ithacahours.org]

    However, I don’t live in Ithaca anymore (not for 20 years), so I can’t comment on how well it works. Can anyone?

  66. curtisawa says:

    Wouldn’t it just be a lot easier to shop at local stores with real cash if you want to help the local economy? Am I missing a crucial component to this plan?

  67. Anonymous says:

    They did this in an area of Brooklyn a few years back.
    The money was called an “Hour” instead of a dollar.

    All businesses involved agreed to pay their employees 1 “Hour” for every hour of work, in addition to their regular USD paycheck.
    So at the end of the week you had an additional 40 “Hours” of currency.

    Additionally, all businesses involved agreed to accept “Hours” as currency, in exchange for standard goods and services.

    It works as long as everyone involved agrees to pretend the currency has a value attached to it…
    Just like with “real money” =)

    I don’t know what happened to the project but it seemed to work for a while …
    like a “Local grassroots reward program”…

  68. Anonymous says:

    All you naysayers, google Ithica Hours. It’s a local currency in Ithica, NY. It’s been in operation for years, and is a model for other communities that are trying the same thing.

  69. Anonymous says:

    This would only work in areas with large amounts of people…It’s fine as long as it is strictly ran by cities…I live in the country. We have a grocery store, a few hardware stores, pizza joints and a few small shops. People in my area have to drive 30 miles to find the closest store with anything like clothing, furniture, etc. That is places like WalMart. If WalMart went out of business because of this, many people will not be able to get necessities out in the country.

  70. Anonymous says:

    ok, there are many ways to look at this:
    GOOD
    1. by doing this, it ensures that local businesses will be used more than department stores such as walmart
    2. it ensures that less businesses will have to sell out or be closed due to having no business
    3. local businesses are major ways to get money in a community, if u dont have any local businesses, the community will suffer
    BAD
    1. if the currency, for some reason, would have to be discontinued, it would be a major problem for currency holders
    2. some people may get carried away and start exchanging most of their money for this currency, then later on have to switch back to American money, causing delays of course
    3. the biggest problem of all, however, would to be able to pursuade the local businesses to accept this “fake” currency though its perfectly legal tenderand can b exchanged at the normal exchange rate (1$ for 1$)

  71. Anonymous says:

    What can I get with monopoly? lol

    Being like that one commercial where the guy gives the guy at the restaurant fake money.

    But on a serious note, what would one use I mean it would have to be something that someone else couldn’t go making, because it be stupid if everyone or almost everyone else had the means to make fake money, that and the whole corruption thing being those that could make it not you know make as much as they want for like there self.

    Now if this was like one those after end of the world movies, currency would consist of trading stuff like gas, gold, metal, water, and whatever else comes to mind, of course one would have to say this might be a better idea being that people couldn’t just up and make as much gas, gold, metal, water, etc being because what they have and what they can get would be limited obviously, making it lot more fair then then the idea of allowing people to make there own currency but hey when the time comes trading might be the only means to do business in the future if things don’t change with the economy and all that going the way it’s going, but time will only tell I suppose.

  72. Wis Tungsten says:

    Just when I was predicting Milwaukee be the next Portland, it happens. Although it would be nice if they’d try something that hadn’t already failed miserably in Portland. If even Portland doesn’t have enough hippies to pull this off, there’s no hope for Milwaukee.

  73. Anonymous says:

    This should be considered by white collar anb blue collar workers. To show where the money is made and spent. so the real class in society gets the benefits of there hard work. And the government keeps there hands in there own.

  74. Anonymous says:

    As long as it in no way looks like US currency it is legal and not counterfiting. It could work with one catch. All sales, including barter, are subject to state sales taxes. How do you pay the state sales tax? I am sure the state will not accept the local currency.

  75. Anonymous says:

    That part about a 10% bonus in value if the city offered $110 local for $100 American…how’s that a bonus? Businesses will have to buy things in American dollars, and if they accept local dollars at a 1:1 exchange rate they’ll be out 10% of their income when they convert the local dollars back to American dollars. Businesses would just raise their prices 10% to compensate, punishing out-of-towners and effectively forcing people to use local currency.

  76. Anonymous says:

    You know I just moved from Texas to NYC and I really hate the whole shop local idea, I just cant see spending 5.99$ for a bag of cheese at the “local” store when I could get the same thing at walmart for 3.79$ so this whole local money with a 10% discount makes no sence when the “local” prices are 20% higher to begin with!

  77. Anonymous says:

    Local businesses earn local money, thus more of the local money remains local. If more people were to shop at local businesses, then the community would profit more.

    It’s just hard to compete with WalMart’s buying power.

  78. coren says:

    So what’s to stop Walmart from accepting these too and defeating the purpose?

    Why not just have the retailers discount their products by about 9.1 percent and just get the remainder covered by the government?

    And hell, what’s to stop me from setting up a scam, were I to live here, where me and my buddy who runs a store from just turning this into profit? I buy 1000 bucks, my buddy goes in and turns them in, we just made 50 bucks. Done on a wide scale (cuz stores do a huge business, even if profit margins are small), well the profit possibility is pretty big.

  79. Anonymous says:

    I don’t like the two answers on your poll. No, I do not want to deal with local currency to shop local. Locally in El Portal, CA consists of 2 gift shops at local motels since our grocery store (which would have fit inside a 7-11) burnt down earlier this year. I also am insulted that your poll presumes that if I am not buying locally that I am going to go to Walmart. I hate Walmart and NEVER go to it.

  80. Anonymous says:

    WORST idea ever.. Besides the obvious statements about it not being cost effective for any of the 3 parties involved (local government, consumer, and retailer), we also need to think about the fact that the towns in Milwaukee are setting themselves up for failure in one simple step: distribution. You see, if the townspeople of Milwaukee decide that they feel like using phony cash, how are they going to get it? What if someone doesnt feel like wasting their time in a 2 hour line, and instead decides that a 10% “bonus” isnt worth it? Wal-Mart doesnt make you wait in line, plus, the selection is huge and the prices are low enough already.. Makes sense right?

  81. alexmg2420 says:

    Not only is this Unconstitutional (only the federal government has the right to “coin money”), it’s also stupid. It’s Unconstitutional because it is in fact an alternative currency, as it can be used in multiple places (unlike gift cards/certificates), and is not an account with a balance, such as Visa gift cards, etc. It’s stuipid because, as wgrune essentialy describes it, you don’t get something for nothing: someone’s gotta take the it for the 1.1:1 exchange rate…and to the guy that said the city would take the hit: who pays for the city? That’s right. That city’s taxpayers. Again, you can’t get something for nothing.

  82. Anonymous says:

    So lets try this one for size. The town invests in a process to make its on money… Because they probally wont invest in a multi thousand dollar process to make this money means it will be easy to counterfit. Now businesses are giving there product away for fake fake money. Then the town after being screwed out of tens of thousands of dollars of course will not admit fault so joe the store owner just got screwed for being gulable and going along with a rediculous idea. No thanks

  83. Anonymous says:

    A local grocery store used to give a $1.00 store coin as part of any check cashing activity so you would at least spend $1.00 there. I knew people who saved the coins and used them to pay for piano lessons because they knew the teacher shopped at that store.

  84. Anonymous says:

    Many collecge towns across America do this already with their student cards. Students, or more likely parents, add money to the card that can only be used at participating local retailers discounts for card users are the incentive.

  85. Anonymous says:

    Hasn’t anyone realized how terrible a sign this is? They did this once before in large amounts- during the GREAT DEPRESSION. The money was called “scrip”. Every city had their own. It was just pieces of paper that were worth nothing, except in the city/ town that printed it. They did this because real money was so hard to come by. If scrip is back, then we are in big, big trouble. It means people aren’t trusting the real dollar, or people simply don’t HAVE a real dollar. It’s basically the same thing as passing IOU’s around. “I don’t have any money to pay for [product], but I’ll give you this IOU that I have from John, you can collect from him.”

    Of all the signs I’ve seen about this bad economy- the stock market fluctuating wildly, the supply of products outweighing the demand greatly, or other things that are occuring exactly as they did in 1929, this one scares me the most.

  86. Anonymous says:

    Anyone ever hear of Norfed or Liberty Dollars? Private company that did exactly the same thing and even went so far as to back all their ‘currency’ with silver. Feds raided them and confiscated all their stuff. Check out their story by looking up Liberty Dollars and Norfed. It’s a good plan but the govt. doesn’t like the competition.

  87. Anonymous says:

    Yes, WalMart sells cheaper – which is creating the race to the bottom. It’s the catch 22: American Consumers want to buy things really CHEAP, but want good paying jobs. The two can’t go together. Because the way WalMart sells for less is buy stocking up with Made in China products. Yep, buying stuff made by Chinese people who get paid like $1/day is how we get cheap stuff.

    So, next time you get that really good deal at Walmart, don’t complain about why another American factory / business just closed down & the only job you can get is a fast food or “welcome to walmart” low pay crap job. :(

  88. Anonymous says:

    Xerent hit the nail on the head.
    This is we have a national currency, with much effort put towards anti-counterfeiting. The problems the US had before we federally backed currency, was people couldn’t really tell what was real and fake when exchanging one local currency for another. Aside from exchange rates, that is probably another reason why the Euro was endorsed for Europe

    I seem money laundering scandals in the future if this becomes popular.

  89. Anonymous says:

    People will still buy from Walmart because it’s cheap crap from China and because there is no alternative to cheap crap because the US hardly makes anything anymore.

    We sold the farm. Manufacturing made us #1. It will do the same for China in 10 years. We’ll become a second class nation like England or Canada. In fact, Canada will surpass us because of its abundant raw materials and huge supplies of fresh water.

    This is all contingent upon us solving the global warming crisis.

  90. Anonymous says:

    I think it’s a good idea until I realize that like many others living in the heart land, I am completely surrounded by wal-marts and other commercialized establishments. All of our local stores have been bought out and if not there way to expensive even if i do get an extra 10 bucks.

  91. Anonymous says:

    I think that you are all missing the point. It is not about the fact that you can get the same discount with a coupon or that you have a better selection at walmart or any of that. It is about supporting your local stores. You want to know why small shops and businesses do not produce better products for cheaper prices? It is because they have to have the customer base to support these ventures. You want the Local businesses to operate in a early 1900′s manner while you are shopping in a walmart world. The fact is, the neighborhood currency will not work if the residents do not support their local businesses. In my neighbor hood we have a hardware store. the prices are slightly higher there than they are at the local home improvement store because he is not buying his product to supply 1200 locations. However, I still shop there because I know him, he is a neighbor. Also, I know the people that work for him. They are all good people that depend on the local residents buying there so that they will get paid. That is what it is about. So what if it costs you an extra 2 dollars there. You will probably blow that on something that you do not need anyway.

  92. Anonymous says:

    The bottom line is that Milwaukee is trying to get people to buy locally. Remember the Mom and Pop shops? They have disappeared by huge conglomerates who sell things cheap by using cheap labor from other countries. Then these Coporate employees are paid poverty wages. Fake money, or real money, I say buy locally on at least half of your items. The satifaction that you will feel, the gas that you save by not driving further, and just doing the right thing is real reward. Getting to know your neighbor isn’t so bad either.

  93. Anonymous says:

    :) I wanted to click on both as well. I think that Meg has a great idea and that it would work wonderfully just as it did during the great depression; however, there are a few things that need to be revised…
    One) Wal-mart will only die if EVERYONE walks away and never returns to the burning desire of debt and low prices… which will, quite unfortunately, never happen even in my lifetime.
    Two) We need to get rid of our habits of wanting the best things for no money, because that will not happen ever, it takes something to make something, and the things made from the ‘least somethings’ will not make it very far in the short existence span of the product.
    Three) yes, your math is slightly off as a few people noted, however not anything that cannot be worked out. I wouldn’t have noticed had the people not pointed it out, so it can’t be that horrid.
    Four) and finally, you would be in need of a better procedure to come to the agreement and use of this type of currency. They stores would have to be marked, and what do you do when the people are just passing thru and will only be there to pick up one thing? How will you deal with that? Also, the idea of credit cards was a neat entry. I liked that idea a TON. You could combine the two ideas, and come up with a ‘town credit card’ which could be used only at local stores and given to everyone. It would be very helpful especially for those who do not like to personally handle these things. It would make for less fraud and less stealing. You could have it run by the cashier, and the person would just need a pin, then no one would be able to steal the credit.
    Just some ideas,

  94. Anonymous says:

    Great way to get rid of the Federal Reserve, too. For those who don’t know, the Federal Reserve is NOT the government. You don’t have American Government dollars in your wallet, you have a private banks money. Look it up.

    Another benefit is that on a large enough scale, you could eliminate the built-in debt system with our currency. The federal reserve charges interest on every dollar in existence. They’ve done this from day one. If they print one dollar and lend it to you, then say they want it back plus interest, how do you do that?? Lend you more money! Great scam passed in 1913. Many had tried before but people stopped it, and now 95 years and one crooked congressional gathering later, we’re stuck. Go with local currency, and wipe them out. :)

  95. Anonymous says:

    It isn’t illegal because they are backing their “Milwaukee buck” (MB) with US dollars. It is essentailly the same as a gift card or store (here city) frequent shopper card. Also local stores would have incentives to take the MB because it increases the potential sales. As anyone who has ever taken a Macroeconomics course knows, as sales increase the price will fall. While it is unlikely local vendors will ever have the resources to match Walmart, I would be willing to pay a little extra for goods if it meant no waiting in lines at Walmart. As for the extra hassle of exchanging the MB for US dollars, it wouldn’t take longer than places that still take checks or other noncash currency.
    I say go for it Milwaukee.

  96. Anonymous says:

    On the poll, I wanted to instinctively click both “yes” & “this is for hippies”. I love the idea. I am totally open to this alternative and creative way of change. The only thing is that there would have to be a massive incentive. Although handmade local goods and products are super-duper, I don’t buy them because I can’t afford them. Not because I don’t want to. I hate Walmart, but I shop there for a lot of things anyway because it is all I can afford. :-

  97. Anonymous says:

    That would be great, that way I could pay more taxes to cover the administration and printing costs of the program and negate my savings. Additionally I could spend money driving somewhere to get my cash exchanged. oh wait… the store has both cash and local money why not just exchange it there… oops because then everyone is really getting the discount without the local money. At least the environmentalist democrats who support it will be adding to pollution… driving more… cutting down more trees… and running a printing press. Great idea.

  98. Anonymous says:

    If everyone were to do that, there would be no more tax!
    It would for sure slow down the debt crisis and food shortage, people would save a little bit more money as well for things that dont require community money. (like cars and houses ect.
    If you think about its all interconnected. If we all started working with each other, instead of against each other, things would definitlly start to look brighter. The government can’t help us, they can only aid us, and tell us what options we have. We the people are the ones that trully run this country. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is where it starts… in our community. I hope this idea burns like wild fire!

  99. Anonymous says:

    At first the idea seems really cool. But, after reading everyone’s perspectives I am kind of turned off to the idea. It really does seem like a coupon that would cause both parties to lose money in the end doesn’t it? Gah! Screw money.

  100. Anonymous says:

    Why can’t I vote for both?

  101. survivalistshopper says:

    The traitors in govt are free to debase the currency, and the little guy always gets his pocket picked. The flaws in this plan are familiar to those who’ve tried a barter system. The local businessman (at least those who passed SBA 101) doesn’t want to be the bagholder of a lot of illiquid “currency” that they can’t use to pay suppliers. Worse, thanks to the armed thug parasites at the IRS, they’re expected to cough up real cash for onerous taxes related to the transactions. Special sales offers will dry up because nobody can justify lowering prices for services and products and in fact, they often have to raise prices to off-set the hit making them even less competitive. Purveyors of big ticket items either cap the amount of fake tender they accept or they can find themselves in cash flow trouble real fast. It’s a nice idea, but the devil’s in the details.

  102. Anonymous says:

    Wouldn’t it be much easier for these neighborhoods to just offer discounts to shoppers who live in the neighborhoods that they shop in, cut out the whole currency exchange deal and make life much simpler??

  103. Anonymous says:

    We’ve had an alternate currency since ancient times — one that’s always been used in times of financial instability. It’s called gold. Look into it. Until FDR, our currency was based on it.

  104. Anonymous says:

    Anyone who understands the history and nature of money will understand that this is a good idea.

    See http://www.amazon.com/What-Has-Government-Done-Money/dp/0945466102/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1228449483&sr=1-2

  105. Anonymous says:

    OutBack offers $120.00 in gift certificates for $100.00. Gift cards and gift certificates are currency that many already put into circulation.

  106. Anonymous says:

    I live in a very small community and if the locals could use local money and still collect money from the visitors in a resort town I think that it caters to both and feel that it allows all to survive together.

  107. Anonymous says:

    hey y’all, my community in Montana already has this, we call them chamber bucks sold by our local chamber of commerce. businesses all over town except them and alot of times radio or businesses use them for prizes or drawing to encourage local shopping. lots of residents use them too. they make great gifts for friends family or kids. i’d rather know that my kid is using his 100 dollar christmas gift on local store items and not getting into trouble with it!

  108. Anonymous says:

    How can you create money that’s not backed by hard assets? Or is this more of the same crap we’ve had for years now nationally? There’s already a lack of hard assets to back the paper so I’ve been told by different people.

  109. Anonymous says:

    I am goin to use a “saying” that we used in the Marine Corps when someone did something wrong but at least tried to do it;

    “Good initiative, bad judgement”

    Although i applaud there efforts to bolster there local economy, this accomplishes nothing. Might as well start a commune. Futhermore, if the residents aren’t already shopping in local stores, what makes you think that they’ll buy money for those same local stores? These people must have been those kids sticking a triangle into a round whole. Lastly, it all comes down the the bottom dollar for everyone. Plain and simple so if Home Depot has a hammer for $5.00, and Jack’s Hardware has one for $9.00, you can hit the road Jack!

  110. Anonymous says:

    This is such a post depression idea that actually worked. The cities will probably in turn offer incentives to the businesses that accept the new currency, and it is a good way to keep money in the local region.

    While this is not a true fix this is probably the best stimulus package idea I have ever heard of happening in this crisis.

  111. Anonymous says:

    I think a better way of doing it is just offer all the residents a hometown discount card. There are many cities that are geared toward retirees that do a similar thing that allows you to show a residence card and get special offers and a regular discounts. It would be a lot easier and legal.

  112. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a hassle for both the retailers and the consumers. It’s just one more step in the buying process. It just doesn’t seem worth it, or make sense.
    They just wanted to have cool looking coins with their city on them. Who’s face will be on it? The mayor’s? Who pays to make the coins?

  113. Anonymous says:

    How can I become a vendor that can exchange fake dollars?!?!?! I would gladly give fake dollars out for some of the real stuff. Ooooh! I could also charge a fee to all the boneheads wanting to exchange their hard earned US currency.

  114. Anonymous says:

    I think it is an excellent idea! Ask yourself, do the American people REALLY have control over there government? No. Why is that? Because politicians have gotten so rich off the stock market that only the worst, most ambitious ones can even come close to being elected. “So what does this have to do with the price of tea in China,” you might be asking… Well, it has everything to do with a local currency. Everyone wants MONEY. When someone HAS money, then they want POWER. Face it, Power is MONEY. But what about the little people; the little-American person, and what do we really have; Money, Power? No. We give it all to Wal-Mart. Why? Coupons and convenience, it literally has EVERYTHING we need to survive. Everything…and as the little-American shops and stores close down, forever, because places like Wal-Mart (or any other LARGE multi-national “convenience” corporations) DESTROY THEM, and we are then at their mercy. Furthermore, we are at anyone else’s mercy, too. In the end, family towns and WHOLE COMMUNITIES have been destroyed. What are left in the end are just drugs and crime, murder and rape. Why? Because WE little-American people gave all of OUR hard-earned MONEY to people in OUR COMMUNITY, who instead of spending that money within his or her community, they spent it on places like Wal-Mart…and made MILLIONS. More money, more POWER. Politics is the next stop to power. Here’s the real hind-end kick, every politician has to start somewhere. Have you THOROUGHLY checked to see how your community’s education system is doing? How well it’s funded? So, again, “what does all this have to do with the price of tea in China?” We, the little-American, give all of our money to Walt-Mart and have lost, the true, American Way: self-sufficient family communities. But how did this happen? No community support. The little-American gives all their money to businesses in the community. Many of these businesses, not all, have owners who, instead of spending their money on community businesses and goods, shipped all their supplies from wholesale distributers to sell inside the community…and they got RICH. Rich is money, money wants power, power comes from politics. Now, money also covets money. Those NOW RICH business owners decide to join politics, starting in their communities. They get elected, buy land, place people in certain positions, and then the re-zoning begins. MILLIONS ARE MADE. Perhaps TENS or HUNDREDS of millions are made. Then, Wal-Mart comes in, and family businesses DIE. You know what a recession is? Recession happens when places like Wal-Mart have sucked out every dollar from every little-American…and then beyond…through credit: nothing left. This all happens because the people in communities supported those business owners, within their community, with MONEY, who then used that money to get richer by importing their goods, instead of supporting their community’s economy. Then, they use that wealth to get elected, position people in the right place, and then comes Wal-Mart, family businesses die, real estate prices go up, massive corporations move in and send their money overseas, families sell and move out, education takes a back seat, land gets cheap, crime moves in, more Wal-Marts go up, morals decline, and the family communities die. Do you want to know where the money in a community goes? OUT. Now, think about all of that on a national, global scale, and then think about what a local money-market with its own currency could do for a family community: a safe and educated family environment. Think about that.

  115. Anonymous says:

    I would support anything that would rid the world of the evil that is Wal-Mart. If there are three things I could eliminate in the world, it is cigarettes, sending our troops overseas for oil and Wal-Mart!

  116. Anonymous says:

    The government already has a version of this, called WIC checks, good only at participating grocery stores, and on a limited basis at some farmer’s markets. The only drawback is you can only buy healthy stuff, which annoys the junk food junkies.

  117. Anonymous says:

    I think that if local merchants offer gift certificates for their store with a value of as this exsample $25.00 value for $20.00 dollars would be a great deal for shoppers. Do you agree?

  118. Anonymous says:

    This money seems about as legal as what we havein place now.the current fiat system we use is unconstitutional. We use a fake money system now, based on nothing.The Federal Reserve is about as “federal” as Fedral Express. Printing money as they see fit. We are doomed if we think they can fix the economy. I think they have already given it a “fix”…and you or I were not in on the good end of it.
    I think we will, at some point, move towards a sort of money system linked to hard commodities like gold and silver.After we see the effects of the coming hyperinflation we will need something to stabalize…thank you gold and silver.

  119. Anonymous says:

    This is a good idea and I have a good for example. In my hometown in Vermont we have a farmers market each week in the town square. In the last 5 years or so they started to make it so people on foodstamps could use them to buy locally grown fresh produce. What they did was they had a machine set up and a state or town rep and you would swipe your card for say $50. they would give you your receipt and then you would get wooden “coins” in denominations from 25 cents to $25. You then would use those to “buy” your food at the farmers’ stands and go on your way. When it was all done the farmers would turn in their coins to the rep and collect the US currency. This allowed the agricultural workers in the community to market their goods to more people, especially those who probably wouldn’t buy it with money because they didn’t have it promoting consumerism in the community and support for some of the population while also allowing its citizens to eat fresh healthy foods and all the while keeping that money within the town rather than filling up the Walmart owners’ pockets. I apologize this was a long comment but I wanted to give a good example as to why this is a great idea. It allows a community to lean on itself during dire times.

  120. Anonymous says:

    This is similar to the construction of the economy under the Articles of Confederation. Each state had its own currency, which was a big problem for interstate commerce, and ultimately why this practice was abandoned. However, the practice of using local currency does present the benefit of supporting local businesses and stimulating the economy from the bottom up. We rely so much on foreign labor, foreign raw goods, and foreign buyers to stimulate the economy that it might be nice for us to try going the other way with things.

    Thoughts?

  121. Anonymous says:

    I’m curious as to which “neighborhoods” are the ones looking into this. If it’s on the “fashionable and trendy” east side or the “soon to be upscale” downtown areas, this won’t work a lick. Try putting your prices back at common sense levels and maybe you’d get more people in the door. As much as I hate to say it, until money starts to grow on trees, people are going to tap Wal-marts for the lower prices on everyday stuff.

  122. Anonymous says:

    Local currency is like a token on carnival rides or arcade games.

    Depression is just a virus on the consciousness of the masses who don’t realized real prosperity.

    More on local currency below:

    http://www.hophunt.com/search/local-currency/1-1.html

  123. Anonymous says:

    Lets not forget the time it takes to convert “funny money” back into real dollars and time is money. Also having been a Hippie I can attest that for the most part. we believed more strongly in the core values of this country than most of the so called strait society

  124. Anonymous says:

    We are not in a depression, a recesstion yes, but if we overwhelm our own minds about another depression and using local money to fight the buisnesses we helped grow, then everything will be worse than it already is.

  125. Anonymous says:

    Ithaca, NY has had its own money for years! And, it has worked out quite well. They should investigate how they did it.

  126. Anonymous says:

    So, these local neighborhoods think they can subsidize local businesses to the point that they are as cheap as WalMart’s everyday low prices? Good luck with that. Why not save themselves the expense of printing fony mony and just give real dollars to the local businesses instead? The local businesses could take the subsidy and lower their prices to compete head to head with WalMart, only more so since they actually get more of money because you don’t waste all of that printing and administration expense that is…ummmm…useless.

    Of course these dollars will be coming out of the taxes the poor residents will be paying (whether straight up USD or local monopoly money). So if you really wanted to make it nice and efficient, just force the local residents to fork over hefty sums of $ to local businesses without laundering it through local government. Of course, that gets you voted out of office…hence the need for all this smoke and mirrors to fool people into thinking they are doing something different than just paying the higher prices that local businesses have to charge to stay in business.

    Ah, well. Whatever….

  127. Anonymous says:

    Why do you need an incentive to help out your neighbors? I come from a small town and the local businesses all need help to stay afloat. I know that they may be more expensive for some items, but they are YOUR NEIGHBORS. C’mon people….this is sad. I would help them out.

  128. Anonymous says:

    Iowa’s newest town Vedic City has its own currency. It’s called the Raam and its pegged one to ten us dollars (full story http://www.maharishivediccity.net/attractions/currency.html). Its if the money wasn’t pegged to the dollar. This would create competition amongst currencies and discourage excessive printing and lower inflation rates.

    Plus the upside is the us dollars could sit in a bank cd and draw interest lower the need for higher taxes.

  129. Anonymous says:

    We have something similar built into my student ID at the university I attend. I know several universities in Virginia and likely other states have a similar system. We can put money on a debit account and it works anywhere on campus and at local retailers who elect to accept it. It is pretty convenient, but I have not used it in several years since I figured cash is worth the same and I can use it anywhere. I would strongly consider using it again though if there was an added bonus money incentive like is proposed here.

  130. Anonymous says:

    Sounds interesting. But, how will the town banks store and distribute the real money for the fake money?

    Could lead to alot of vault issues. Employees mishandlingthese 2 different currencies.

    Just ponder…..what if your blind?

  131. Anonymous says:

    ok…this i dea is a no go only b/c back in the Constitution day (when it was being written) each state had its own currency and this idea didnt work thats why we went to the well know USD currency. so why go back to the times where the states were diffrent and we were confused that makes no sense we were supposed to be moving forward in time not backward

  132. Anonymous says:

    Get over it. Wal Mart is a great american company. Believe it or not, I support both the local mom and pop businesses for certain things and Wal Mart & Target for other things. That’s a free market, baby!

  133. Anonymous says:

    Well let me see here, this is just a start to an eventual one world currency.The bibical end times I say” before you know it you will not be able to buy food unless you have this currency. Dont people see it’s not about walmart or local business! The tricks and traps of the money system is global, and it has already started.

  134. Anonymous says:

    I don’t really see a big problem with doing this, but it won’t help anyone, because if it’s only local, no one else will care, but to think it will raise the value of money is ludicrous. All this does is cause inflation. If all local residents know that 110 local dollars = 100 us dollars, then they’re going to charge you 50 cents for a newspaper and 55 local cents for the same paper. It won’t make anything cheaper, nor should it.

  135. Anonymous says:

    OK, I think a lot of you are missing the big idea. I read one person’s comment using the analogy of Bob light bulb emporium. Here’s the skinny. If Bob is only selling 1 light bulb a week and makes a 2 dollar profit of each light bulb, that is sucky business. BUT if Bob partakes in the “fake money” ordeal and starts selling 20 light bulbs a weeks but only makes a 1 dollar profit on each one BOB WINS, the consumer is the one that loses. These local businesses dont care what kind of money is used because no one is looking to make a monetary profit. The ONLY idea (atleast in interpretation) is encouraging the locals to support their local economy and quit stuffing Walmart’s pockets. ITs a great idea and I would absolutely support it. I would support any bogus idea honestly because it encourages people to take matters into their own hands and not just except things for the way they are. The American WAY!!! God bless

  136. Anonymous says:

    Its a nice thought, however the price to shop at mom and pop places is 10 to 20% higher since they do not have the buying power.

  137. Anonymous says:

    How about this as an idea. Just have all local stores offer a 10% discount. No need to exchange cash and you have the same effect. The End.

  138. Anonymous says:

    Well, there is only one legal currency. It sounds like this is merely a boycot on Walmart. You don’t have to shop at Walmart if you don’t want to. Shop online and discount grocery stores and produce stands in the Summer. But know this… You cannot beat Walmart or any other retail giant. Especially knowing that they will get bailed out if they face or near disaster. The economy will not get any better by Walmart losing money. It will just put hundreds and thousands out of work which will make the economy worse and worse.

  139. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, giving someone $110 local currency for $100 cash still doesn’t offset the fact you can go to Walmart or any other discount chain and get the exact same product for let’s say $70. The $10 extra in local currency still won’t offset the discount of a discount store. Also, try returning a product to your local store. Restocking fee’s, in store credit instead of a refund, etc. Return it to a large discount store. No questions asked. Sad, but true.

  140. Anonymous says:

    I shop at my local stores anyway, and would a separate currency work for the vendors? I’d just as soon use real money in town instead of at walmart, so I don’t think printing a different currency would be worth it. how much would it cost to print this stuff and wouldn’t it be easily counterfeitable?
    Think globaly and act (shop) locally : )

  141. Anonymous says:

    how much does it cost to whiff out funny money,each person pays real money for home made money,,,what a deal…i dont want to buy home made money but will trade your dollars for my paper…and i can shop any where…

  142. theblackdog says:

    Whoah, this was on the front page of Yahoo, congratulations Consumerist!

  143. Anonymous says:

    Who would control the autherization of the fake money? What stops people from just makeing there own fake money that looks like the fake money? Is there a fake bank that transfers fake money for real money? There are to many variables for this to happen.

  144. Anonymous says:

    Reading these other comments reminds me why capitalism is a failed system and does not work for the majority of the population. Local currency is a brilliant idea that keeps the money flowing in your local economy. But because of the nature of humans, we are all selfishly trying to maximize our resources and minimize our risks. Thus we buy cheap imported goods and most of our money flows out of our communities, and into the hands of fewer and fewer people.

    Think about it, how much of the money you spend at Wal-Mart do you think stays in your town? Less then $1 out of every $100 stays in your town. But lets say you buy the same stuff at Joe Bob’s Hardware down the street. Joe Bob may have to buy much of his stock from somewhere else, but he lives in your town. His kids go to school with yours, he probably pays some of that money he made in property taxes for both his house and business in your community. Wal-Mart gets city’s to waive property taxes for up to 20 years because they promise jobs. So, who are the idiots, those who use local currency, or those who shop at Wal-Mart?

  145. Anonymous says:

    worst idea ever. it would burden the shop owners more than help out the community and stop wal-mart and another thing wal-mart isn’t bad, its actually the opposite. it make you save money in this bad economical time. Plus there are plenty of anti wal-mart people to keep the small businesses running.

  146. Anonymous says:

    There is no problem with printing currency for the local shoppers, but there would be one problem and that is that the local shops would have an increase in the price of their products compared to wal-mart or any coporation, the reason for this is that larger corporations buy a way larger amount of their products to be sold, than the family own, or local business, Which means a great big discount for the amount of times made, bought.
    Even with the incentive for switching to local currency, there would still be decrease in the amount of consumables that could be bought due to the prices of the products.

    These facts are stated from a past employee, and a past local business owner.

  147. Anonymous says:

    Jeez, doesn’t it take money to make their own currency(fake money)? How would they make the currency not duplicable? With the technology today even the treasury has a hard time keeping up with fake dollars. If they find fake currency(fake money), will they call the FBI to investigate or the Treasury Dept? They will get laughed at. I’m no fan of Wally world, but they do not usually have food discounted because they are the superstore to compete with. We buy for $100 a cartful at our local Stop & Shop (Stop & Rob). While 30 min away, we get almost a cart and a half for the same bucks. A 10% discount is not really great if the retailers jack up their prices because you HAVE TO SPEND IT THERE! Sounds like it only benefits the stores not the consumers.

  148. Anonymous says:

    Well this really opens the door to the counterfit and with todays tech. who would be able to keep up with the counterfit cash that would most likely be circulated into the local economy???

  149. Anonymous says:

    Why not let the system work? If someone else can offer something cheaper then buy it there. Why is wal mart the bad guy because they don’t care to use slave labor and send all the work over seas? It seems to me that this is good business? Maybe I’m wrong here, but I doubt it. This sort of “cleansing” needs to happen once in a while. It helps things in the long run. Anyway. The government helping out the big business is garbage and they need to fail just like all the small mom and pop shops. It happens.

  150. Anonymous says:

    I believe the world should simply disregard the paper, inks, and metals/metal alloys. That is all it is! The futuristic and idealistic (somewhat realistic as well) is everything is being processed, created, made, etc., with the simple exchange of the metal and paper, etc. Why not revert back to the very old days where education was free…clothes are made and are available for everyone, the same with food. If you think about it…it is realistic. Of course, the majority of the world doesn’t think this way and would go absolutley ballistic and bonkers and HOG everything!! In all reality, take one small business chain and wherever they receive their food and clothing and “all kinds of stuff” and start there. One thing at a time so there would be mass chaos. Colleges should be able to accept anyone and everyone that wants to learn. If there aren’t enough seats (just like now) wait until the following semester until the course if offered again. It truly makes sense. We need to start realizing that it’s the paper, ink, and metalmetal alloys that drives this country; but it truly does not have to!! Think about it!

  151. Anonymous says:

    This is a great idea, even if the business were to only break even they would still get an increase in business.

    Town invests in program > Citizens get discounts > Businesses get increased sales > Town gets more revenue from taxes.

    The benefits of small business have been long forgotten by many it seems. I personally would rather go down to the local store and say “Hey Bob this (insert random item here) you sold me seems to be defective” and then Bob gives me a new one rather than having to freaking mail some crap in to get more crap from a person I’ll never see who has absolutely no accountability to his customers.

  152. Anonymous says:

    I think that it is a great start to thinking about the American economy. But we must all work together and make a change to bring back “made in America”. Everyone loves to complain but does nothing to change. We are all suffering because of large companies finding cheaper source. It is sicking to see this. China loves to take our money and give us harmful products in return. This is a no brainer are you retarded? We need to make a change or it is only going to get worse. We are spoiled by our own ways. Don’t sing it bring it!

  153. Anonymous says:

    Great idea… use money to create jobs? Think about it: somebody is going to need to be hired to print the money, to advertise the use of it, to collect and convert it, etc. Maybe they could outsorce those jobs… or how about they just use the money that is already in place… that might save money!

  154. Anonymous says:

    So You get a $110 of city money for $100 which is a 10% discount. Sounds good except whenyou go to a local main street store it costs you $75 for a pair of sneakers as opposed to $25 at Walmart which is 67% more. So if you subtract your 10% discount from the 67% extra you paid for your product you actually paid 57% more.

  155. Anonymous says:

    I can see how it would work… and I can see how it would fail. Yes, the country’s economy is failing, but is a new currency really necessary? And wouldn’t store owners be losing money? So it doesn’t really help the economy, especially if you consider the local store owners.

  156. Anonymous says:

    it seems to me that if they marked down there prices 10% ( or 9.1%) local buisness would be more competitave with walmart in the first place without getting middle men involved, who i would bet have there hands in the pot. thats if the city counsolel isnt the the buisness owners using there position to help themselves

  157. Anonymous says:

    A far less complicated system would be credit cards that are only good in those towns, the way that gas cards or store cards are only good in those places. They could still link them to funding by a bank account, the way Paypal does). The town could give bonus points for each dollar spent in town, e.g. $1 back for every $10 spent.

  158. Anonymous says:

    Well, any idea that takes money out of Wal-Mart’s pockets is a good one. How ever I can’t see this being it….until people realize that shopping at Wal-Mart, or any primarily Chinese based retailer, is the root of our economic problems then nothing will save us. You just can’t spend all of your American earned money on Chinese products AND have the American economy support itself…just not possible. It’s such an easy concept that so few people seem to understand or act upon. Sad really….

  159. Anonymous says:

    well how is it a 10% discount becuase all ur shops in town cost more then the stuff cost in walmart so at the end u still save a walmart…this is not board game people get with the program.i mean am i right people?

  160. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a really stupid idea…Why would a local business WANT monolpoly money printed by its’ local neighborhood or city? You buy a toaster from the local toaster store for $80 in Milwaukee Rupees, the store owner now has posession of $80 in rupees and you have posession of a new $80 toaster. Which bank exactly would you store your fake money in? Would you have to store it in a local bank? Would you have to keep it in a safe? What if the market turns good and you are sitting there with a ton of Milwaukee Rupees and no American Dollars? But the biggest negative of all is that the businesses you buy from locally dont make their own products (99% of the time), they order them from another state or country. So are they gonna buy toasters from Pennsylvania with Milwaukee Rupees? NO, its a retarded idea, one that only a “neighborhood” could think of…

  161. Anonymous says:

    The best way to protect local and small businesses is to stop voting people into office who want to impose government regulations and additional taxes to the the wealthy (small business owners) which all but kill our number one creater of jobs in this country which happens to be small, locally owned businesses. We messed that up for the next four years. Lets fix it in two years when folks who want to tax business owners and pay that tax to subsidise non producers are up for re-election. Kudos to the guys up north for finding a way around the mess created in DC by the Pelosi run congress.

  162. Anonymous says:

    Well, I think it is a fantastic idea. BUT, I would only take advantage of it – if it were fair. So long as the prices are actually comparable…if they significantly mark up the products (of the same quality)…then in the long run, it is not going to be beneficial. Unfortunately, at this time…I feel like (and it right that) everyone is only looking out for their personal bottom dollar.

  163. Anonymous says:

    I read the reason why these neighborhoods want to print their own currency, but why blame it on Walmart. They should wake up and smell the coffee. Most clothes, small appliances, home electronics, and most economy cars and made outside the US. Greed will always be in the hearts of some people, and what’s to stop the shop owners in these areas from raising their prices when the currency is printed. Now you are back to square ONE. I would never use the currency because I think it goes against the USA.

  164. Anonymous says:

    I would of voted yes on this because i’m so mad over the bailouts . But think this would weaken the dollar more and give the goverment another reason to get rid of the dollar and switch over to the mexico+american+candna thingie which im toally against.

  165. synergy says:

    If this is legal then why did a guy get arrested for having a currency backed by gold?

    The government hates (legal) competition.

  166. Anonymous says:

    Coffeyville, Kansas already has this program in place, and has for at least 5 years. They are called Coffeyville Bucks, and can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce. My former employer gave them as a Christmas bonus one year. Same as cash at like 30-40 local retailers.

  167. iwould24 says:

    It would be an opportunity for local business owners to expand their customer base in the long run. Consumers that normally shop Wal-Mart would be shopping elsewhere for the same items providing said business owners with the chance to earn a lifetime relationship with these consumers.

  168. Anonymous says:

    We live in the UNITED STATES not the UN-united states…this action is a very small start to breaking us all apart …I am sure the Muslims would love that so they would have a better chance of taking us out. Think big not about saving 10 cents at the store. If Walmart has earned their way to where they are and the mom and pop shops that are trying to compete …thats there fault.

  169. Anonymous says:

    There are many local currencies/LETS in the US already. The most famous & longest running is in Ithaca, NY. Time dollars and PEN exchange are also successful. The Raam in Iowa is even accepted for bank deposits in the Bank of Netherlands. The most successful are where the money can make “a full circle” and you can pay utility bills and property taxes with them.

  170. Anonymous says:

    Nothing new for me. We in Berkshire County,MA already use local currency since September 29, 2006. We call it Berkshares:) Here is the link:http://www.berkshare.org/

    So, it’s been 3 years for us.

  171. Anonymous says:

    Not really a great idea. There’s a local tradition and festival in my hometown of Conway and it’s called Toad Suck Daze. It’s a huge festival and the theme of course, is toads and such but it’s held once a year and attracts a lot of people because they have nothing better to do, honestly. They started a new thing in the last couple of years that you had to pay for “Toad bucks”, one ticket equaling one dollar, and nothing in the entire area would take regular cash except for vending machines, it’s really stupid. You’d have to pay 7 dollars alone to get on a ride, and food is around 2 tickets to more, depending on what you get. There’s nothing you can get for one ticket so any left over is a complete waste and they’re worthless after the celebration is over but the force you to buy them.

    I don’t recommend new currencies at all, they’re big headaches and really don’t help at all or even really need that sort of stuff to begin with. People will eventually get annoyed with the new system, like I would, and drop it altogether. It would result in the businesses that aimed for this marketing scheme to just lose customers and money, so it’s a waste of time. Our festival attracts a lot of people anyways, and the money is all going towards every business there anyways, why even bother?

  172. Anonymous says:

    Well, since Walmart owes the state of WI more than $25 million dollars in taxes (which is in litigation now), I say screw Walmart. That’s tax money which pays for services for the people of WI.

    I am all for this.

    Walmart buys junk from China (no jobs in the US) and sells it to us at cheap prices (which is good because much of it will fall apart within a year), and then screws the state for taxes. Oh, and Walmart encourages its employees to go on public aid because they make so little money.

    Yeah, I am MORE than all for this!

  173. Anonymous says:

    If government wants to keep the money local, they should apply this to farmers. It would work for food. I get the argument about retail having to buy their merchandise for real money and that looking like a disaster but the “local” money could be great incentive to buy local food at a discount to help even out the supermarket deals. Local food is yummier!!!

  174. Anonymous says:

    Beware! This kind of practice would put you at the same level of communal societies, not very congruent with 21st century global economics. Do not let anybody lure you into this trap. Regressing to communism has been proven wrong, just refer to what is going on in some countries in Latinamerica and Africa, not a good scene.

  175. Anonymous says:

    I could see it working. The current system is just fake money made from thin air by the federal reserve , which is a private bank. If the new money would have something to back it , it would be truthfully more valuable than the dollar. The problem would be basing it on the dollar , which is worthless , but recognized by everyone. The current money system is also illegal by constitutional standards , and to base something off of it would not be much of an advantage.
    The new money could in theory work if people just agreed to it that it was worth something.

  176. Anonymous says:

    I think the town would need to back the new currency in something valuable, gold or silver comes to mind, to make this work. Other than that, it has a good chance of not working.

  177. Anonymous says:

    “Money” can really be anything: pieces of paper, blocks of legos, peanut shells… anything. The only thing that matters in terms of making anything function as a means of exhange is it’s relative value, and even more important, what is backing it? Provided a town can establish confidence in the unit of exchange, any form of tender can be issued, it’s just like any other promisary note or paper security. The real question is exactly how would these towns propose to create trust, assign value, and provide for the exchange of currencies while at the same time recognizing the fact that if their local currency gains any kind of substantial trading power, there will no doubt be problems with counterfeits and fraud.

  178. Anonymous says:

    This stuff already exists folks. They call it script, it IS legal, and organizations have been using it for fund raising for decades. For example, many parochial schools and their churches will go together with local businesses (like grocery stores, hardware stores, local clothing stores etc..) and make a deal. The churches will sell script, which helps the businesses by keeping sales local, and in turn that local business will donate a certain percentage (lets say $1 for every $10 spent) of all the sales of script back to the school / church, which the businesses can write off on their taxes as a donation. Many people prefer to buy script because it helps support their churches and schools or whoever else is doing the fund raising. The only difference here is some organization is getting the extra incentive as a fund raiser instead of people getting an extra dollar for every ten as a discount.

    This stuff looks very similar to a gift certificate, which makes it no more expensive than a gift certificate is to produce (which means it’s cheap and cost effective). Most of them do have an expiration date on them like coupons do, which is about a year or so out from the purchase date. In a case like this there would most likely be a legally binding agreement that the local money would be good for an initial period of time (probably 6mo – year). So only if you’re going to buy more local money that you could spend in 6 months would you lose out.

  179. Anonymous says:

    Want to stop Walmart from selling cheaper stuff than local markets? Then abolish NAFTA! Remove the Federal Reserve, and put heavy tariffs on companies that were once American based, that moved to foreign soil, and then “import” the product back into the USA.
    America was once great and proud because of it’s industries, and before the Gov’t “allowed free enterprise to move away into another country, and then market it’s cheap labor goods back to the US. If the Government, that is for the people, by the people, would actually work with the people, and stop big business from being in control of it, and give the power back to the people, then we’d get somewhere. Tax everybody 10% of their paycheck, and I mean everybody! Abolish the IRS, because there wouldn’t be the need for them, due to no more “returns”. The tax you pay, the country’s Gov’t uses to maintain itself. No more Gov’t pensions, only Social Security pensions (of which 5% of each paycheck is put away for retirement benefits), for the elderly over 65 (not 70!), so they can maintain without working themselves into the ground. That way their families can enjoy them before they die, and stories can be told of a once great and proud America! Local funny money, well…that just isn’t the proper answer!

  180. Anonymous says:

    This would be good, but I see one big problem.
    How would we get the money to pay for the products we need. Local companies still need to pay for external products like supplies, waste management, and taxes on a state and federal level. Thus, this plan would eventually cause more local buisnesses to lose money and eventually close. If somebody can solve this, the plan could be foolproof. Please respond!

  181. Anonymous says:

    I have used such a local currency and even got involved in running it for 5 years here in California. I spent thousands of dollars and met many people within my community. There are approximately 70 local currencies in the country — the most famous being Ithaca Hours in Ithaca, NY. I used it to pay for rent, food shopping, clothing as well as some luxury items. I began accepting it at my own business and it drew people to me that might have never come before. It was great. The best part was a surprise to me tough — it was that I really developed a greater sense of community because of it.

  182. Anonymous says:

    Maybe local shop keepers should stop being such tight wads and sell their goods at competative prices. In todays economy, it is much easier and convenient and cheaper to drive the extra 10 miles to a walmart. For that matter, even a gas station chain that sells gas 50 cents cheaper than the local guys. Locals should get thier act together and quit complaining. Walmart is like the internet, it’s not going anywhere and it will keep getting better. Enough said.

  183. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Hmm…printing currency that only has value locally and is worthless anywhere else…oh yeah, I think they call that the “American Dollar.”

  184. Anonymous says:

    I would do anything to break the death grip that the unconstitutional “federal” “reserve” has on our currency. They are neither federal, they are a private banking cartel, nor do they have any reserves, they counterfeit our money and give it to their cronnies when the dollar still has value. By doing these things, they have destroyed the value of the dollar and have been confiscating the wealth of this country for almost 100 years.

    This has happened just like Thomas Jefferson had predicted. “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

    Andrew Jackson (The Guy on the 20) was also wise enough to catch on to these Banksters, “”Gentlemen, I have had men watching you for a long time and I am convinced that you have used the funds of the bank to speculate in the breadstuffs of the country. When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank…You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the grace of the Eternal God, will rout you out.”

    It is time for every sovereign American to rout out the FED once more.

    END THE FED!

  185. tjsherlock says:

    @krobar, @lifestar, local currency is clearly constitutional. The U.S. Constitution gives the Congress the power to mint coins only. The implication here is that a local currency can not be produced in coins. The U.S. Constitution explicitly prohibits the States from printing paper money. The U.S. Constitution does not prevent the People from issuing their own currency.

    There is a law on the books which prevents the people from issuing a monetary unit that is worth less than one dollar.

    @docrice, while it is true that there are start up costs which most likely will have to be paid in the national government currency(Federal Reserve Notes), the system can become self-sustainable with enough traction.

    While a local government may participate in the creation of a local currency so that it can ensure to get its piece of the pie (whether that’s tax revenue or simply local hegemony), it should not be the one to spearhead such a a project. A local currency system should be issued by a committee made of all relevant and effected parties (e.g., local merchants, professionals, local banks, non-profits/charities, residents/citizens, local government, etc)

    Local currency increases the chances of locally-created wealth staying local, thus bolstering the local currency. A local currency is more likely to be paid out to local employees who will spent it locally. A local currency becomes another viable options for a small business seeking a small loan. A local currency organization can choose to issue loans at little or no interest for a nominal processing fee. A local currency returns economic sovereignty to the town or region and wealth sovereignty to the producers of the wealth. The local currency system users would no longer be at the mercy of interests rates set by a group of people who no nothing about their town, their lives, etc.

    Local currency serves as a safe harbor, insulating it from the economic disasters of the national system. The exchange rate between the local currency and then national government money is controlled by the local currency system. The implication is that inflation can be kept in check and the value and strength of the local currency can be maintained by making the local currency more expense to purchase in FDR’s.

    While a local currency could be issued in the form of checks or credits card are even virtually over the Internet, the basic form of paper makes it substantial and tangible in the hands of the unfamiliar. It also makes it accessible to those unfamiliar with the electronic and plastic forms of money.

    Local currency does not replace, but rather complements the national government money, thereby giving the users a choice between a currency over which they have no control and that funds drug cartels and a currency over which they share control with other local users and that benefits the environment in which they live.

    Local currency also has a social function as it encourages people to shop locally more frequently, thus strengthening the social fabric locally.

  186. Anonymous says:

    We’re forced to use paper money printed out of thin air by private bankers who charge us interest to use it. They control our politics, our media, and much of the dumbed-down publicly-educated American people who are not capable of seeing through the deception. It’s the evil Democrats. It’s the evil Repbulicans. It’s Ralph Nader’s fault. A house divided will fall. Don’t buy into the lie. Get educated. http://www.CampaignForLiberty.com – start on the road to TRUTH about our financial fiasco and learn who’s really to blame.

  187. Anonymous says:

    I’ll buy if they make them backed by gold and silver. US constitution: Article 1, Section 10: “No state shall enter into any Treaty,…; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts;….”

  188. johnj21 says:

    Local currency produced on a laser printer at city hall would be 10 times easier to counterfeit than currency produced at the us mint.

  189. Anonymous says:

    I know of small towns that have been doing this for decades, in a slightly different fashion. It works well, particulary during the holidays. We see employers buying “Chamber Bucks” for their employees rather than cash, and I think it causes those employers to be a bit more generous with the amount than what they might otherwise. It’s a good thing and it works.

  190. Kluv says:

    Ithaca, New York has had their own local currency (Ithaca Hours) since 1991.

    [www.ithacahours.org]

    I can definitely see their use picking up these days.

  191. minneapolisite says:

    My hometown has been doing this for as long as I can remember (at LEAST 20 years, probably longer.)

  192. xtrabiotoxin says:

    Its Called A LET System or LETS
    [en.wikipedia.org]

    And to all these people who claim its a waste of time or Unconstitutional….. Learn something before you bash it or deny its possibility you ignorant pathetic sheeple
    And no, hippies are not the creators of this system, i dont think hippies like money anyway, most of them are Neo-Marxist, eco crazy, resource based economy type of people

  193. Anonymous says:

    For those claiming unconstitutional:
    Article I, Section 8
    Congress shall have the Power to coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures.
    To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States.
    Article I, Section 10
    No State shall make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.

    Seems to me that the Federal Reserve is unconstitutional.
    It is a private bank.
    It is not Congress.
    Most importantly, it is not gold and silver Coin.
    We’ve been duped and it is time to take our power back.
    Read Common Sense Revisited, Author Unknown.
    http://www.commonsenserevisited.org

  194. Anonymous says:

    Maybe if the exchange for something of value other than the dollar was used to obtain this alternative currency. Say gold or silver possibly.

  195. drdom says:

    What makes this any different than Travelers Checks? Businesses regularly accept them as an alternative form of currency, and they are not issued by the government.

  196. happysquid says:

    I think it’s a good idea to encourage Milwaukee businesses somehow, if not with some weird currency thing then with something… I heard a rumor the other day that Atomic Records (an eastside institution) was closing…and yup, apparently, it’s true ([www.atomic-records.com])…

  197. jono_0101 says:

    this seems really, really stupid, what makes anybody think that 110 dollars local for 100 dollars US is going to make this seem like a good idea to any local businesses??? what happens when the local business owners go to trade their local money back in for US and have to take a 10% hit on it??? then you are just stuck with local currency and the business owners are going to be trying to shove all the basically worthless local money on each other, somebody is gonna get screwed and you can just as easily use US dollars at local businesses. and what happens when it comes to paying taxes?

  198. stands2reason says:

    Does amazon.com accept local dollars?

  199. T.Bickle says:

    River West is actually a small area in Milwaukee. I think this will be good for the area because within that area it is closer to a local shop rather than a Wal-Mart or such. Also, because of federal dollars losing value I will probably get a few.

  200. Anonymous says:

    Ithica NY has had this for years, many businesses will pay part of someones pay in “Ithica bucks” mosty you can only pay part of a bill with them too. Your $100 purchase might be 50-50 in local money and US money. It has worked for 20 years or more.

  201. james says:

    Sounds like a pain in the ass. The US spends billions on trying to prevent counterfeiting. I can’t imagine a local economy being able to adequately do this.
    Who is securing the money? At some point, people will need to use the money outside of their area, and no one will want this insecure money.

  202. josh42042 says:

    i’m no economist, but this sounds retarded.

  203. Anonymous says:

    I would think that counterfeiting would be a huge problem with these “hyperlocal” currencies. These neighbourhoods don’t have the resources of the large central banks to make hard-to-counterfeit money. Wouldn’t any organization with comparable access to printing presses (e.g., any reasonably-organized gang) be able to make their own Milwaukee Money?

  204. pinkyracer says:

    they have that here in North Carolina. Carrboro has “Plenty” But it’s hard to use, the guy who exchanged it for me at Cat’s Cradle couldn’t even remember the exchange rate. Although on the good side, the exchange rate doesn’t fluctuate nearly as much as with other currencies.

    It’s very pretty too:

    [www.ncplenty.org]

  205. ekasbury says:

    What if I wanted to say “Yes” and “This is for Hippies” as well. Sucks to have to choose one or the other.

  206. You hate your job but you're still working there? says:

    Canadian Tire money.