I stumbled across an article this past week about the town of Ithaca, New York. The town began printing their own money in 1991, called Ithaca Hours. Ithaca is not alone; Detroit, Traverse City, and the Berkshire Region of Massachusetts, are among many areas that have printed their own currency. The idea is for people to spend their money where they earn it. If you are paid a portion of your wages in a local currency, you would spend it in the community where it is honored, right? And yes, it is totally legal.
Slate.com, Its Like Money But With No Dead Presidents
From Forbes Feb14, 2006 "Following Ithaca's lead, Madison, Wis., launched an Hours program. So did Corvallis, Ore. The Burlington Currency Project in Burlington, Vt., is issuing Burlington Bread, a similar currency. Although Bread is not yet as widely accepted in Burlington as Hours are in Ithaca, a major hurdle was cleared in 2003, when Gardeners Supply Co., a local outfit that generates $60 million in annual sales, agreed to accept Burlington Bread for up to half the sticker price of every purchase. The next step is getting the city to accept Bread for taxes and other city services and to use Bread to partially fund development projects, like a local bike path." Read the entire article Funny Money
In the recent meeting of world governments in Pittsburgh, the idea was floated of a worldwide currency. At this point, the United States dollar serves this role. As the dollar has continued to lose its value, an alternative is being sought. I don’t want to get off topic here, so I will leave the discussion of a one world government and prophecy to those qualified to write on that. Suffice it to say, the idea of a one world currency is becoming much more than just an idea.
In Jerome’s Corsi’s new book America For Sale, he strongly advocates the creation of local currencies as one strategy for financial survival. As I was researching this article, I had the idea that maybe this is something that Christians should consider. For example, if a church wanted to start its own currency and then members of the church could use it as the basis for trading goods and services. I have long thought that we have lost the true meaning of what the church is supposed to be today. Early Christians stood together as a group, meeting each others needs. Even if we were to take a church of 250 people, there would likely be just about every major profession represented. If you are an auto mechanic, you could trade a tune up for getting a leaky sink fixed by a plumber, and so on. The City of Ithaca has a book available for $25 that outlines the process of starting your own currency. Maybe I am crazy, but I really think this might be an excellent idea for some of you to consider discussing with your pastor.
Bartering Is Back!
My wife decided recently to join a local health club to participate in some exercise and dance classes. The owner of the gym wanted wanted singing lessons for his daughter; a deal was struck. My wife got a free membership and his daughter had a free weekly singing lesson. I really wonder why this is not done more often, especially within the community of the local church? How many of us could simply trade for services and create a win-win for all parties concerned?
Bartering can be a little difficult since each party must have something the other wants. This can be resolved through barter exchanges; the world’s largest is ITEX. As a participant in ITEX, your barter credit can be used with any one of thousands of merchants that participate.
One of our local radio station owners has for years been selling advertising in exchange for gift certificates with local businesses. He then sells these gift certificates through a live auction on the radio each week. I have bought $50 gift certificates for $20 and even less on his auction show. The merchant gets advertising, the radio station gets the gift certificates to auction, and the listeners get a bargain. It also brings new customers into businesses they may have never tried without needing to use the gift certificate. I have discovered some of my favorite restaurants this way.
I would love to hear your own stories of bartering, please use the comment section below.
Helping you make the most of God’s money (wherever it may be printed)!