It’s Time to Make Some Money
Consider this case: A local school district is facing a 20% decrease in state funding, so it is looking for ways to make up for the shortfall. The school board is considering various options from shortening the hours of instruction to decreasing the length of the school year. These options would mean about a 10% decrease in teachers’ and staffs’ salary. Well, there is another option: They could make some money themselves and use it to replace the 10% loss in salaries.
How is this possible? Let’s say that a teacher’s salary is about $60,000.00, or about $3,500.00 a month after deductions. 10% would be $350.00. So each month teachers get $350.00 in local currency. They could use this currency as a means of exchange (a primary function of money) with businesses and services that had joined the community supporting such a local currency (LC).
Let’s imagine how an individual might use that much LC in one month:
|Two dinners at locally owned restaurantsFour lunches at locally owned restaurants
Gifts for friends at local gift store
Local Book store
Yoga (or workout at local gym)
Donation to charity
You might add other ways to use a local currency, but it doesn’t seem like it would be that difficult to get enough local businesses to join in so that the currency could be used for the benefit of all. A basic requirement of local currencies is that they circulate, which means that whoever accepts them has a way of using them.
Here’s the point. If public agencies don’t have enough money for public services, they should make some. Money, of course, has multiple functions, but one is to function as a means of exchange. Every community has lots of things that could be exchanged for everyone’s benefit. If the lack of money prevents such exchanges, then simply increase the supply.
For more reflections on local currencies, check out Charles Eisenstein’s recent post: “Design and Strategy Principles for Local Currency.”
Teachers, like most of us, exchange talents, time, and care for the things needed to make a living. It should be a fair exchange, so we get a good day’s pay for a good day’s work. We don’t work for money. We work for a good life. Local currencies could certainly help in realizing this for all of us.