Complementary currencies can build alternative economies

Recently I had the opportunity to meet two officials of the Banco Centrale del Ecuador, the National Bank of Ecuador. The Ecuadorian government is working to launch next year a national complementary currency, along the lines of WIR Bank in Switzerland and Sardex in Sardinia.

There is a number of good reasons why something like this makes a lot of sense:

1) A local commercial exchange would stimulate trade and help develop the local economy;

2) It would provide a cushion against basic poverty;

3) It would increase the tax area, since all transactions in these economies are based on credit which must be backed by a regular invoice.

4) Ecuador is a dollar based economy. A local complementary currency, particularly if run by the central bank, would loosen up the government dependency from the US on their monetary policies.

It’s interesting to notice that models like these are flourishing particularly now, in the middle of a financial crisis. But it’s obvious, considering that such models are directly linked to shortage of cash and high unemployment rates.

A situation we are facing right now in Italy, in a very hard way.

The Euro is shaking, dragged by the situation in Italy and things are getting more dramatic every day. We now have a new government, probably the most qualified government I have ever seen since a started voting. But now the issue really is time. We have a pretty big chunk of our national debt coming up in February and so there is only a couple of months in front of us to get in shape with the investors.

These days being in the Euro is tough for us in Italy, and some newspapers today where even saying that Berlusconi is thinking about building his next electoral campaign on the populistic “going back to the Lira” sytle, something that would be typical of him.

After all, WIR was born out of the big crisis in the thirdies following the 1929 stock market crash.

These are the reasons why at dpixel, we advised our investors to fund Sardex, a Sardinian independent complementary currency. The news was leaked by Wired and it is true.

In fact I am very happy to announce that I will join the Sardex board pretty soon to help the founders in realizing their ambitious goals of entrepreneurs.

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