The Tumin Project and The Tlaloc Barters Group ∗ Mexico



The Tumin Project 
Mercado Alternativo y Economia Solidaria (El Tumin) 
Alternative Barter System for local development
Espinal, Veracruz, Mexico
http://www.tumin.org/


The Tlaloc Barters Group
Red de Multitrueque Tlaloc (Red Tlaloc)
Alternative Barter System for local development 
Mexico City, Mexico
http://redtlaloc.blogspot.mx/

The tumin and the tláloc are vouchers that are complementary to the peso, the Mexican currency. They seek to support family income serving as a means of facilitating the development of an alternative exchange dynamic: the barter system (which used to be the traditional exchange system in the region).

Both the Tumin Project and The Tlaloc Barters Group’ central objective is reducing their communities’ dependency on the peso-based national economy, which is not guaranteeing that resources flow into their localities, pushing their inhabitants to migrate or live in poverty. By capitalizing on and promoting social trust and solidarity through the use of alternative currencies, the final aim of their projects is to enhance social cohesion as the basis for improving the lives of the communities— which made these two cases of great help for exploring the significance and means for self-sufficiency.

The Tumin project operates in a rural area of Veracruz, Mexico, deeply affected by poverty and its cyclical causes and consequences, meaning: the dependence resulting from the lack of means of production (people work lands that are not theirs or sell foreign products to survive), the violence permeating the State in the context of the country’s war on drugs, social divisiveness based on class, ethnicity, etc. All this still persists, despite the extensive intervention in the area of various poverty reduction government programs. For that reason, and inspired by the Tlaloc Barters Group, which has operated from Mexico City since 1996 promoting alternative barter markets (of products and services), local university teachers in 2010 created an alternative market project popularly known as “The Tumin Project” as a tool to boost the local economy (promoting the circulation of goods which had no buyers due to the absence of conventional money in the place) and reduce external dependence (on resources and on the values from the printing and distribution of economic currency).

The Tumin is a voucher that is complementary to the peso, the Mexican currency. It seeks to support family income serving as a means of facilitating the development of an alternative exchange dynamic: the barter system (which actually used to be the traditional exchange system in the region).

Vouchers are used to exchange goods with value equal to (but not worth) 1 Mexican Peso ($ 0.08 USD approx.), backed up by the goods and services offered by its partners, which are listed in a directory so that its members can compromise to support each other. A coordinating team, which is rotatory (ensuring the equitable representation of and responsibilization of all of the members) monitors and evaluates the project. It is made up of Commissions (education, communication, etc.) that are in charge of organizing various issues related to the project, ensuring its integrative character.

The community contributes with volunteer work (e.g. the promoters), the payment and collection of Tumins, facilities for holding the assemblies, a space for Tumin’s House (the project’s head office), and 5% of the value of the partners’ products sold at the Tumin’s House to cover administrative costs. They also contribute with their participation in assemblies and other meetings, and with the payment of the Tumin house’s staff. This participation has enabled the project to sustain itself so far, despite the organizers’ complaint about the difficulties they have had in gaining the trust of the people and enhancing their solidarity and participation, which they claim to be the result, mainly, of people’s habituation to government’s “welfarist” assistance, the corruption that permeated them, local cultural/class/ethnic-based divisionism, and people’s lack of clarity on concrete means to participate.