Alternative Barter systems

In order to strengthen the local economy and weaken a community or group of people’s dependency on the national economy, some development initiatives promote local barter systems. National economies can’t guarantee that resources will flow into localities; which can push inhabitants to migrate or into poverty.

Local barter systems, instead, can be used to help boost local economies by promoting the circulation of goods and services that might have ceased to be produced as an unintended consequence of external subsidies, or because the goods had no buyers because of the absence of conventional money in the area.(Creating and capitalizing on local resources including human capital, know-how, etc).

Ultimately, alternative barter systems aim to create incentives and means to increase solidarity and participation among people to solve the problems of their communities (or organizations). Thus, initiating one such system requires that the initiative helps people to identify and define their most urgent needs and how others can offer to help them in the most comprehensive way: goods, services, knowledge, etc.

Exchange of these is facilitated by the use of alternative currencies (eg time banks, paper or digital coins, etc.) whose value is recognized only locally and reduce the need to use conventional money. This encourages people to cooperate in common development projects (such as the one being promoted by the initiative) and transcend, social, cultural or economic barriers that would otherwise separate them.

The alternative currencies, which value is backed up by the same goods and services offered by the participant partners, can add up to a significant proportion of the resources needed to implement other development programs in the area.

The success of such systems relies on the extent to which they satisfy the different needs and interests of the community — the integrality of their network.

Related strategies at:

♣ Alternative Barter systems

♣ Directory of participants/resources

See also:

Strengthening the local economy

Incentives for cooperation

Mapping and Planning inherent sources of sustainability, capabilities and corrosive disadvantages

Information and communication technology tools

Creating and capitalizing on local resources