Vol 20 (Summer) pp. 2-23

Psychological factors influencing the use and development of Complementary Currencies

Carmen Smith, Alan Lewis

University of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath, BA27AY, United Kingdom, Email: C.J.Smith@bath.ac.uk; A.Lewis@bath.ac.uk


This paper presents a novel socio-psychological analysis of the motivations and experiences of mutual credit members in the United Kingdom and in the United States. Primary data comprised of interviews and participant observation, supplemented with secondary data analysis of organisation documents, and a review of the literature in psychology, sociology and economics. Group members were motivated to secure personal resilience against hardship, and the personal agency that results from this, along with the experiences of community and cultural identity positioning, motivates engagement. Consequently these groups are defined as cultural communities offering personal resilience to members through informal reciprocity. This approach, which prioritises the social aspects of exchange, has implications for the design of complementary currencies, particularly mutual credit initiatives, and demonstrates the value of engaging with the fields of psychology and sociology in developing interdisciplinary understandings of alternative economic practice.


Complementary currency, mutual credit, sustainability, reciprocity, resilience, community

Article Smith pdf

To cite this article: Smith, C; Lewis, A. (2016) ‘Psychological factors influencing the use and development of Complementary Currencies’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 20 (Summer) 2-23 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN 1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2016.001

Trophic currencies: ecosystem modeling and resilient economies

Wealth is limited. We propose that value is infinite. Any currency isolates certain forms of value to transform into wealth, but those other forms of value remain even as they are undervalued. An economic system with a single currency will only recognize a very limited set of activities as valuable. As a consequence, many of the activities that constitute a functional community, and in turn a functional economy, lie outside of the value analysis of our existing economies. In this paper we present a theoretical currency model analogous to trophic food chains. As plants, grazers, and predators all have different perspective on value and operate accordingly, so do similar distinctions exist in society. We suggest that appropriately differentiated currencies from supranational currencies to regional, sectoral and down to timebanking and nonreciprocal exchanges can help better activate the value in the world, empowering communities and economies.

Marc Brakken, Preston Austin, Stephanie Rearick and Leander Bindewald
To cite this article: Brakken, M., Austin, P., Rearick, S. and Bindewald, L. (2012) ‘Trophic currencies: ecosystem modeling and resilient economies’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 16 (D) 169-175  <www.ijccr.net> ISSN  1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2012.023

Stroud Pound: A Local Currency to Map, Measure and Strengthen the Local Economy

The Stroud Pound is one of the local currencies to be set up in recent years by UK-based Transition Towns. The paper details the first two years of the life of the Stroud Pound; both its authors were closely involved in the development of the currency and the paper is therefore a view ‘from the inside’ rather than a disconnected academic account. The Stroud Pound grew out of Transition Stroud, a community-led response to climate change and peak oil. It therefore has a design that seeks to build greater resilience and strength into the local economy. In this paper the researchers use the local currency as a research tool to explore issues such as: the size of the local multiplier; extent of trade between local producers; the dynamics of the local economy; and the diverse motivations of scheme participants. The paper includes: an account of the literature on community currencies, especially the work of Silvio Gesell; a brief account of Stroud and the results of a survey conducted amongst Stroud-based businesses as part of the establishment of the Stroud Pound; an account of the first year of the Stroud Pound and its impact on the local economy.

Molly Scott Cato and Marta Suárez

To cite this article: Scott Cato, M. and Suárez, M. (2012) ‘Stroud Pound: A Local Currency to Map, Measure and Strengthen the Local Economy’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 16 (D) 106-115  <www.ijccr.net> ISSN  1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2012.017

IJCCR 2012 Scott Cato Suarez

Solidarity economy between a focus on the local and a global view

According to conventional wisdom, money serves the following functions: it is a medium of exchange, a unit of account, and a store of value. However, if we broaden our perspective, we might conceive of money also as a medium of communication, as a means to either change society, or to preserve a community in the sense of “resilience” against outside threat. It is this idea, which the following article wants to further explore, against the background of the newly established regional currencies (Regionalwährungen) in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. If we are not solely occupied with the financial stability of a currency, but with how a currency can contribute to the stability and cohesion of a community and of society as a whole, then we are well advised to look at accompanying structures, physical and social, which may be subsumed under the notion of “solidarity economy”.

Krister Volkmann

To cite this article: Volkmann, K, (2012) ‘Solidarity economy between a focus on the local and a global view’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 16 (D) 97-105  <www.ijccr.net> ISSN  1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2012.016

IJCCR 2012 Volkmann