Who Needs Money Anyway? Towards Resilience, Sustainability, And A Healthier Means Of Exchange

Ken Banks | National Geographic | June 26, 2013

We pay too little attention to the reserve power of the people to take care of themselves. We are too solicitous for government intervention, on the theory, first, that the people themselves are helpless, and second, that the government has superior capacity for action. Often times both of these conclusions are wrong – Calvin Coolidge

In times of extreme hardship people often become increasingly innovative. I’ve witnessed this first hand during my twenty year career in international development, spent mostly in Africa.

But this particular problem is much closer to home. The global economic crisis has hit hard, leading to austerity measures in many countries – particularly Europe – which have only hit harder. People are finding themselves with less and less cash in their pockets, and in countries such as Greece many have turned to an age-old method of exchange – bartering. Small scale local currencies and time banks have also sprung up. And it’s this – how communities react to economic shocks – that interests me.