Over the past 15 years, local money networks, which are essentially trading networks using a community-created currency, have emerged in countries as far apart as Argentina, Australia and New Zealand, Canada and the US, continental Europe and Japan. They range from Local Exchange Trading Schemes (UK), to Time Dollars (US), Green Dollars (New Zealand, Australia and Canada), Trading Circles (Hungary), Barter Networks (Argentina) and Talents (Germany). Drawing on an ethnographic case study of alternative currency movements in Manchester, UK, this book provides an analysis of the motivations, aims, successes and failures of alternative currency networks. It also raises questions such as the contribution of the alternative currency movement to current debates about alternatives to neoliberalism. While it is theoretically informed, critical and grounded in fieldwork, it is also sympathetic to the political aims of the protagonists and cognisant of the non-economic benefits that arise from their development.
Contents: Introduction: money only has the value we give it?. Context and Theoretical Background: Developing a toolkit for understanding LETS: social movement approaches; Investigating social movements; 'Dirty Old Town': urban change in Manchester. Manchester's Alternative Currency Networks: LETS in Manchester; The politics of LETS; Self-analysis: do members see LETS as a social movement?; Transformation: LETS and economic development; LETS and the inner city; Explorations in Heterotopia: the micropolitics of money, work and community. Conclusions: Conclusion: the long term trajectory of LETS; Index.