Communal currencies, operating in ‘barter’ systems, have been introduced in Venezuela by the national government over the last few years, making them unique among contemporary alternative and complementary currencies in terms of their institutional origin. The communal currencies are an element of the Bolivarian Revolution, and an example of President Chávez’s innovative approach to the construction of ‘twentfirst century socialism’. The main ideological features of the trueke (barter) are the recovery of indigenous practices, socialism, and agroecology. There are currently 13 barter systems in the country, with a total membership of about 1,500. This relatively modest development is arguably due to socioeconomic factors such as the widespread reduction in poverty rates achieved through the regular economy. It is suggested that the future of the communal currencies depends on the broader process of building the ‘Communal State’, as well as on their relation to the state.
Kristofer Dittmer Volume 15(2011) A78-83