The causal link between economic growth and environmental degradation has received much attention in recent social science literature(s). Although such studies have generated key insights, the role of monetary systems – as central components of all modern economies – has been almost completely overlooked. This papers argue that monetary systems affect natural environments through the economic activities that particular monetary systems promote. It focuses on two specific aspects of any monetary system: governance and scale. With respect to the former, it shows how the rules that govern monetary systems can promote economic practices with environmental implications. With respect to the latter, the paper shows how the scale at which money is issued and/or circulates affects patterns and intensities of economic activity, both of which have clear environmental consequences. A corollary of the argument is that changing the governance and scale of monetary systems can alter economic activity in environmentally-harmful or -helpful ways.
To cite this article: Brooks, S. (2015) ‘How Green is Our Money? Mapping the Relationship between Monetary Systems and the Environment’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 19 (Winter) 12-18 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN 1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2015.018
This article maps the contours of the community currency scene in Spain. In so doing, it reveals a diverse and vibrant landscape of almost 400 currencies. These are made up of both tried and tested community currency types: service time-banks and mutual credit schemes; a regional currency, the Bilbao-based ekhi and more innovative alternatives such as barter shops and loyalty schemes. The scene is national in scope and has undergone rapid recent growth. The sources used in the study comprise scholarly books, articles published in the Spanish national and regional press, an online database, and interviews and focus groups conducted during field trips to Spain with academics with interests in alternative economic practices, some of Spain’s leading community currency pioneers and community currency user groups and activists. In an effort to reveal the factors shaping community currency practice in Spain, the article discusses the role of municipal councils, community currency pioneers, the recent economic downturn, pre-figurative economic experiments conducted by radical social movements and ideological frameworks such as feminism and de-growth. The article also highlights the extent to which Spanish community currencies have been influenced by developments in Europe, the USA and Latin America.
To cite this article: Hughes, N. (2015) ‘The Community Currency Scene in Spain’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 19 (Winter) 1-11 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN 1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2015.017