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Leftist Latin American leaders agreed here on the creation of a regional currency, the Sucre, aimed at scaling back the use of the US dollar.
Local currencies, which were once very popular during the Great Depression of the 1930s when federal funds were insufficient in number, are experiencing a renaissance in North America, but for new reasons. In the last decade many small towns and inner-cities have discovered that local scrip, which helped define the regional trade areas, to educate consumers about local resources and builds community.
In a barter economy simple production methods are very visible. The value of tomatoes that we offer in trade is directly linked to our memories of hoeing in the garden, construction of the heap, and wait for the rain after planting. Though our image of the cord of wood for which we barter is not as detailed, although we have probably seen our neighbor as he split and stacked the wood of the tree. Barter binds us inextricably to a particular place and time.
Money, for all its obvious benefits, introduces an element of abstraction in the economic process. This was less so in the past, where real property had been used as money back or exchange. The value was still understood in terms of quantity of labor applied to natural resources.
Today most currencies are not linked to commodities. They are, at best, attached to another, or connected in any way vague overall productivity of the country of origin. At the end of the twentieth century, the process of money creation and management has become completely ignored by most. People can speak to gain 6% interest, but have no idea what this money really doesl if it works at the construction wheelbarrows in Brazil, or if it grows corn on chemically fertilized land in Iowa, or if it makes shoes in a crowded factory in Thailand.
By voluntarily reducing our choices of consumer goods to those manufactured locally, the local currency allows us to know in detail the history of items purchased, stories that include people who have made the minerals, or how rivers, plants and animals that have given substance to the products. This form of consumerism, formed from the experience of real life, seeks to promote responsible consumer choices and a commitment to restore the community. In this sense, local currencies become a tool not only for economic development but also for cultural renewal.
The problem we have now is that many countries which traditionally pegged their currency to the US dollar, as many South American, Asian, and Middle-easter countries have for years, are now finding the value of their labor and products diminished by the devalueing of the US dollar and talk from many of these countries that the US dollar would be worthless because of their growing deficits and unlikely possibility of their paying back debts.
One of the main points of the former Americanism as espoused by Hamilton is that every single nation-state was to have financial soveringty within its own borders, That each nation-state’s government was to be the sole arbitrator was to what its own currency was worth within its own borders. But Monetarism prevail and then system things as teh IMF developed to make Credit of each nation and each person subject to the whims of a very small cabal of international bankers.
Just recently, 9 countries have decided to “ditch” the US dollar as preferred method of exchange and decided to establish their own local currencies in frantic efforts to avoid inflation.
Excerpt from: upside down world in April ’09
During the meeting Chávez said that the SUCRE, which stands for the Unified System of Regional Compensation (Sistema Único de Compensación Regional), “will be much more than a currency.” According to Chavez, the Sucre system will have four branches: The Regional Monetary Council, The Sucre currency itself, the Central Clearing House, and a regional reserve and emergency fund.
“This will help us to overthrow the dictatorship of the dollar, imposed on us from over there, from Bretton Woods,” said Chávez.
LatAm leftists tackle dollar with new currency
COCHABAMBA, Bolivia — Leftist Latin American leaders agreed here on the creation of a regional currency, the Sucre, aimed at scaling back the use of the US dollar.
Nine countries of ALBA, a leftist bloc conceived by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, met in Bolivia where they vowed to press ahead with a new currency for intra-regional trade to replace the US dollar.
“The document is approved,” said Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, who is hosting the summit.
The new currency, dubbed the Sucre, would be rolled out beginning in 2010 in a non-paper form.
That move echoes the European Union’s introduction of the euro precursor, the ECU, an account unit designed to tie down stable exchange rates between member states before the national currencies were scraped.
ALBA’s member states are Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominica, Saint Vincent and Antigua and Barbuda.
The currency, which was backed in April this year, is named after Jose Antonio de Sucre, who fought for independence from Spain alongside Venezuelan hero Simon Bolivar in the early 19th century.
The bloc also called for the replacement of the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes, which arbitrates international contract disputes and has probed a slew of disputes involving ALBA members and western energy firms.
Most ALBA members have already withdrawn from the organization, with Ecuador announcing last July that it would pull out of the group.
When Going Gets Tough, Local Currency Gets Going
By Karla Adam
Special to the Washington Post
LONDON — Throughout Britain, people are hanging on to their hard-earned pounds, scrimping and saving as they ride out the recession.
But in a few communities, people are taking a different tack: printing their own money and spending it. No, the queen’s image on the iconic British pound isn’t being counterfeited. Instead, some communities are producing their own scrips — some of the latest have painter Vincent van Gogh’s face on them — which can be used much like cash at participating businesses.
The latest community to do so is Brixton, the second area in Britain this month that introduced its own currency. With an initial run of 40,000 notes in various denominations, it is the most ambitious project here of its kind so far.
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