From an idea to a scalable working model: Merging economic benefits with social values in Sardex

The remarkable growth of Sardex as a local currency throughout the island of Sardinia over the past 6 years motivated an in-depth look at its starting assumptions, design and operational principles, and socio-economic context. The paper looks at Sardex as a social innovation start-up, a medium of exchange and unit of account, an online and offline mutual credit system, and a closed economic community or ‘circuit’. The analysis relies on semi-structured in-depth interviews of circuit members and benefits from the reflexive point of view of one of its founders. The main findings are that trust was and continues to be fundamentally important for the creation and operation of mutual credit systems and that Sardex encompasses and mediates both economic and social values. Compared to other mutual credit systems, in addition to its unique design features Sardex is distinguished by its federated model of expansion and its strong commitment to keeping a balance between the economic and social aspects. In Sardex, money’s fungibility is defined by market utility and social values at the same time.

Giuseppe Littera *, Laura Sartori **, Paolo Dini ***, Panayotis Antoniadis ****

*, Sardinia, Italy

** Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche e Sociali, Università di Bologna, Italy

*** Department of Media and Communications, London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE, United

**** ETH Zürich and Nethood, CH

Article Littera et al. pdf

To cite this article: Littera, G., Sartori, L., Dini, P. and Antoniadis, P. (2017) ‘From an Idea to a Scalable Working Model: Merging Economic Benefits with Social Values in Sardex’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 21 (Winter) 6-21 ISSN 1325-9547. DOI

Doing it together. Studying the implementation of a new social currency in the Netherlands

In this paper we take Do it Together! (DiT), a social complementary currency (CC) project in two Dutch municipalities, as an interesting example to show how action research with actual projects in the field can add greatly to the development and proliferation of CCs. We argue that action research, collaborative learning and actively sharing the lessons learned from the experiences can help CCs become sustainable and attractive models for use as valuable social (policy) tools in the future. We first describe how the participating organisations and businesses in DiT design and implement a social currency that binds the efforts of their different policies and strategies into a unified framework. Through this co-creative design process, the partners support one another in achieving their own objectives through rewarding desired behaviours of citizens and customers. Secondly, we identify challenges at different levels – micro, meso, and macro – to which the project partners have found several creative solutions. These strategies stem from a broad range of disciplines, bringing psychological, organisational, and institutional theories together in the design process and the resulting currency program. Finally, we assert that reflection on the dynamics and underlying mechanisms of these experiences and processes through action research can enrich a comprehensive understanding and improvement of CCs.

Lydwien A. Batterink*, Edgar A.D. Kampers**, Judith C.V. van der Veer***

* Radboud University, Master student and Qoin, The Netherlands (

** Qoin, co-founder and director, The Netherlands (

*** VU University Amsterdam, PhD, The Netherlands (

Article Batterink-et-al pdf

To cite this article: Batterink, L., Kampers, E. and Van der Veer, J. (2017) ‘Doing it together. Studying the implementation of new social currency in the Netherlands’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 21 (Winter) 22-35 <> ISSN 1325-9547. DOI

Timebanking, co-production and normative principles: putting normative principles into practice

Timebanking is a parallel currency system structured on Cahn’s normative principles of co-production (2004, 2010; Cahn & Gray, 2013). This article provides a descriptive analysis of the normative principles of co-production in timebanking in order to explore the moral commitment espoused by timebanking economies, especially in regard to reciprocity and the adoption of an asset perspective. A further strand examines the literature on timebanking outcomes for evidence of the influence of normative principles in practice.  Discussion centres on the nature of co-production in timebanking, the practice of reciprocity and time exchange balances. Two distinct issues are identified in the literature that impact the actualization of the normative principles in timebanking practice: a reductionist approach to measurement of exchange, and reciprocation latency. The nature and causes of these invite further research. These issues arise from alternative interpretations of the nature of exchange in co-production in timebanking. The work is important because of the gap in community currency research in regard to how normative values, foundational to this alternative economy, are actualized. The discussion provides a summary of the influences which frame the timebanking exchange and indicates possible areas for further research.

Neville Clement, Allyson Holbrook, Daniella Forster, Johanna Macneil, Max Smith, Kevin Lyons, Elizabeth McDonald

The University of Newcastle, Australia, Email:

Article Clement et al. pdf

To cite this article: Clement, N.; Holbrook, A.; Forster, D.; Macneil, J.; Smith, M.; Lyons, K. and McDonald, E. (2017) ‘Timebanking, co-production and normative principles: putting normative principles into practice’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 21 (Winter) 36-52 <> ISSN 1325-9547. DOI