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
Financing non-capitalist (public, solidarity and care) economies with current monetary resources raises many economic and environmental problems. This research focuses on the opportunities offered by alternative currencies as a possible solution and discusses their limits. We demonstrate how time-based systems of measure, exchange and credit can foster sustainable financing of non-capitalist economies in a more economically efficient, localised and ecological way. The key is to link them to an average value of labour time, which can significantly widen the power, functions and economic role of alternative currencies. Above all it can foster a new type of universal ecological protection against speculative finance and exploitation of resources, promoting a return to taking care: of ourselves, of others, of our community currencies and the world we live in.
To cite this article: Ruzzene, M. (2015) ‘Beyond growth: problematic relationships between the financial crisis, care and public economies, and alternative currencies’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 19 (Summer) 81-93 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN 1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2015.009
Using complementary currencies systems as policy instruments for environmental purposes is a trend that seems to be progressively emerging in Europe. The Belgian Science Policy INESPO Project, which provides the framework for the research presented in this paper, is building on this emerging trend. The aim of the INESPO project is indeed to build new instruments for energy saving policies in the household sector based on the innovative coupling of Complementary Currencies (CC) and Smart Meters (SM). According to the rationale of the project, the new CC-SM instruments should promote behavioural changes in everyday life as well as encourage households to invest in energy efficiency. The idea behind the project is not to miss the opportunity of including an incentive scheme for behavioural change should a significant SM roll-out take place.
In order to gain insights for the design of the CC part of the instrument, a first step was to turn to projects that had in the past already used CC as policy instrument for behavioural change towards sustainability. To this purpose, projects which have pioneered this path in Europe were analysed. However, although this emerging trend for CC systems had not been left unnoticed by academics (see, for instance Seyfang, 2006 for an insightful discussion on the contribution of NU-Spaarpas to sustainable consumption, or Blanc 2010 and Blanc and Fare, 2010 for a system typology), it appeared that, to the best of our knowledge, no taxonomy of their constitutive parameters had been developed yet.
In this paper, we would like to contribute to the research on CC as policy instruments for environmental sustainability by presenting a selection of such CC systems and by proposing a taxonomy of their constitutive parameters. The resulting hierarchical classification of parameters is also intended to serve as a building tool for designing similar CC systems. However, in our view, “going down the bones” of CC systems, as it is done with the taxonomy, is not enough to make such CC systems thrive. Indeed, beyond the systematic list of parameters that will define the global architecture of the system, attention should also be given to “flesh” (e.g. expectations from stakeholders and carriers of the system) and “soul” (e.g. the conceptual framework used to build the system).
Hélène Joachain and Frédéric Klopfert
To cite this article: Joachain, H. and Klopfert, F. (2012) ‘Emerging trend of complementary currencies systems as policy instruments for environmental purposes: changes ahead?’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 16 (D) 156-168 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN 1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2012.022