During the world economic crisis of the 1930s, the United States experienced widespread use of local currency or “scrip”. The most significant form of scrip, both in terms of the longevity and size of the issues, was tax anticipation scrip. This article surveys the varieties of tax anticipation scrip issue during this period, and suggests some applications to non-crisis circumstances. After outlining the general experience with depression-era scrip, this article describes the nature and origins of tax anticipation scrip as a particular form of local currency. It also examines specific local arrangements that affected the successful circulation of such scrip. The American jurisprudence concerning non-national currency is assessed insofar as it puts into legal context scrip issued during the 1930s. The article concludes by relating the significance of the American experience of the 1930s to neo-chartalist interpretations of the origins and functions of money.
To cite this article: Gatch, L. (2012) ‘Tax Anticipation Scrip as a Form of Local Currency in the USA during the 1930s’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 16 (D) 22-35 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN 1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2012.009