Ithaca HOURS are, arguably, the most successful of the local currency experiments of the last two decades. At the height of their popularity in the mid-1990s, perhaps as many as 2,000 of Ithaca and region’s 100,000 residents were buying and selling with HOURS. The high profile of HOURS in the Ithaca community has prompted a series of articles, television news segments and documentaries, primarily for the popular media. Though constituting valuable documentation of an intrinsically interesting phenomenon, these reports has tended to be fragmentary and ahistorical, thus lacking in context in terms of the longitudinal evolution of the Ithaca region’s political economy. The present study attempts to remedy these lacunae in our understanding of the genesis and evolution of Ithaca HOURS by presenting a systematic account of Ithaca’s experiment with local currencies over the past decade and a half through the person of Paul Glover, the individual most closely associated with the founding and developing of HOURS. The article follows the activist career of Glover through the end of 2003, thus placing HOURS in the context of Ithaca’s activist community’s efforts to push the local polity and economy in the direction of ecological sustainability.
Jeffrey Jacob, Merlin Brinkerhoff, Emily Jovic and Gerald Wheatley Volume 8(2004) 3
IJCCR vol 8 (2004) 3 Jacob et al
To cite this article: Jacob, J.; Brinkerhoff, M.; Jovic, E.; Wheatley, G. (2004) ‘HOUR Town – Paul Glover and the Genesis and Evolution of Ithaca HOURS’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 8 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN 1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2004.003
Community currencies have been put forward as a grassroots solution to the problems of social exclusion and the need for active communities, and are gaining policy support. LETS has been the most common form of community currency in the UK for the last 10 years. Time banks (based on the Time Dollar idea from USA) represent the next generation, providing service brokering and equality of labour to overcome many of the obstacles faced by LETS. This paper presents the first research into time banks in the UK and reviews their origins, growth and development, and their ability and potential to tackle social exclusion. The reciprocal learning from LETS to time banks is discussed, along with possible future development paths for community currencies. Time banks have been successful in attracting members from socially excluded groups, and have become established in mainstream health and community development settings. Remaining obstacles include the need for sustainable funding, to grow and widen their scope, and for policy changes to provide a more supportive framework.
Gill Seyfang Volume 6(2002) 3
IJCCR Vol 6 (2002) 3 Seyfang
To cite this article: Seyfang, G. (2002) ‘Tackling social exclusion with community currencies: learning from LETS to Time Banks’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 6 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN 1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2002.002
This article looks at whether or not Community Currency Systems form part of an alternative development agenda when analyzed through the lenses of feminism and associationalism. It begins by differentiating Alternative Development, as a static concept, from alternative development which is only comprehensible in its current context and form. The latter, according to the author, must involve a process of self-empowerment, a deepening of democracy and embody strong sustainability. A case study is provided of Thailand’s first CCS, Bia Kud Chum, and its encounter with state authorities. Using this example, it is shown that CCS and feminism share a recognition of the shortcomings of economic dualism and the desire to re-structure market values. Risks from this vantage point include the creation of new gender-biased institutions and an increase in women’s double burden. The associationalist analysis of CCS highlights the system’s capacity to serve as a vehicle for decentralization and potential in building networks central to economic success. However CCS proponents must be wary of co-optation into a programme which threatens the redistributive role of the state in the South. In the conclusion, it is argued that the Bia Kud Chum system was able to initiate a process of self-empowerment and encourage a deepening of democracy, and should, therefore, be considered part of an alternative development agenda.
Jeff Powell Volume 6(2002) 1
IJCCR Vol 6 (2002) 1 Powell
To cite this article: Powell, J. (2002) ‘Development at the Conjuncture of Feminism and Associationalism’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 6 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN 1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.2002.004
The Local Exchange Trading System (LETS) is a form of local currency which is non-tangible, interest-free, freely created, and restricted to the local community. It is advocated by ‘green’ economists as a tool for enabling more sustainable economic development; that is, it is claimed to promote self-reliant communities, overcome cash scarcity (which inhibits economic activity), and incorporate environmental and socially equitable ethics. To test whether this is indeed the case, a social audit of one LETS is conducted. The case study is found to be a small, low-trading rural system with no local import-substitution and limited opportunities for the creation of new economic opportunities. However, there were large social and community benefits and a ‘warm glow’ effect associated with participation; most members were involved for these political and ethical reasons. This characteristic seems to be broadly similar to other LETS.
Gill Seyfang Volume 1(1997) 1
IJCCR vol 1 (1997) 1 Seyfang
To cite this article: Seyfang, G. (1997) ‘Examining Local Currency Systems: a social audit approach’ International Journal of Community Currency Research 1 <www.ijccr.net> ISSN 1325-9547 http://dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.ijccr.1997.004