Vol. 24 (Summer) Issue 2, pp. 30-53

When is money not a currency? Developments from Finland of proto-community currencies

Marcus Petz*

* Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Email: Marcus.kit.petz@student.jyu.fi

Abstract

The article is a case study of several digitally based schemes recently operating in Finland where some functions and properties of money are evident. While working effectively as designed, they do not fully meet the criteria of a well-functioning community currency. The schemes include: sysmä, a digitally based hyperlocal system of account introduced by the rural Sysmä municipality; Pisteet kotiin®, a housing association points system in the city of Tampere, copied from a working Dutch model; BookMooch, a global book-swapping site that has extended its operations throughout Finland. Explored in the article are the institutional enabling and inhibitory factors and implications for and from other community currency projects. Data was collected by participant observation and semi-structured interviews in all schemes. Additional media surveying, internet webscrapes and online surveying supplemented this data. Along with the demarcation problem between currency and money, the technical issues about scale and purpose, if such schemes are to develop their offerings to become fully fledged currencies, are considered. The concept of “current-see” proposed by the MetaCurrency Project, is used as a lens to evaluate if the schemes achieve their purpose and whether further development is desirable or possible. The concept of a proto-community currency is developed.

Keywords

Green economics, community of use, CC terminology, integral theory, pattern language.

Article Petz

To cite this article: Petz, M. (2020) ‘When is money not a currency? Developments from Finland of Proto-Community Currencies’ International Journal of Community Currency Research Volume 24 (Summer 2020) 30-53; http://www.ijccr.net; ISSN 1325-9547; DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2020.0010