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Reporting from the second international complementary currency conference

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
15th July 2013


Excerpted from RUBY VAN DER WEKKEN of the Helsinki Timebank:

(the second part of this article deals with the issue of time bank taxation, we’ll return to it separately)

“Between 19-23.6.2013 the second international complementary currency conference took place in The Hague, Holland. These five days (two academic days, one policy makers day, 2 practitioner days), presented a great opportunity to hear from around the world different experiences with regards to different complementary and community currencies (LETS, timebanks, regional currencies, Barter, Brixton pond, Bristol pound, from countries as Argentina, Brasil, Canada, Costa Rica, England, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Kenya, Korea, Japan, Spain, and the US).

Besides good learning and meeting up with wonderful people engaged in similar endeavours as we are with Timebanking in Finland, the conference created an awareness that in fact we can speak of a global movement focussing on currencies (money is only one form of currency, with the money as debt system as we know it), exchanges, relationships between people and nature.

As one conference participant put forward, this movements believes that the question to the answer of “What is the future of Community currencies?” is “Community”, and (whilst the ways to do so can be different) is looking together with other movements towards another possible world. Solidarity was also expressed with colleagues currently on trial and facing a jail sentence in Kenya for having been issuing Bangla- Pesa barter vouchers for local entrepreneurs in Mombasa, Kenya – see the petition initiated in Holland. As the petition reads, “Community and Complementary Currencies (CCCs) are recognized cooperative instruments, used globally by local groups, municipalities and NGOs for social, solidarity, economic and environmental goals.”

The conference was also a great opportunity to at last meet with Tim Jenkins, the developer of the Community Exchange Systems platform also Stadin Aikapankki (Helsinki Timebank) runs on, after 3,5 years of great cooperation. Tim, who has a remarkable personal history as an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa, held a thorough talk at the conference on exchange systems historically, putting to the forefront what a small role in time ’money, as debt’ has had. CES is a mutual credit system, meaning that people trade with each other simply by keeping track of who does or gives what to whom. No money is required and this builds a circle of trust.”

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