In 1934, Werner Zimmermann and Paul Enz created the WIR currency to help stabilize Switzerland’s economy through the pangs of the Great Depression. Today, the WIR still circulates, strengthening and stabilizing local commerce throughout Switzerland. In this episode, we speak with Volker Strohm, Head of Corporate Communication for the WIR bank. We ask him about how the WIR works and potential applications for today’s economic problems.
How do you jumpstart an economy in a community that has no money? Create a new currency. Will Ruddick is one of the directors of Grassroots Economics, a non-profit foundation focused on community development through economic empowerment and community currency programs. By creating new and secure currencies with blockchain, marginalized communities can more easily become self-sustaining economies.
Jean-François Noubel calls himself an ‘open source earthling’. Though he lives in France, he considers his true home to be within himself. Like a turtle. And though he lives within a market economy, he chooses to live as much as he can in a gift economy instead, without money. But why? As a researcher of collective intelligence, Jean-Francois sees currency as the tool that informs the design of human society. He believes we have to expand our concept of wealth and redesign the currencies that connect us to create economics systems that are fair, civil, and transparent.
How can we tackle both climate change and income inequality? Stephen DeMeulenaere thinks economic redesign through complimentary currencies could be the answer. Complimentary currencies introduce new paths of exchange that can support community resilience, encourage sustainable behavior, and decentralize wealth. Stephen explains why a diversity of currencies–some as complex as Bitcoin, others as simple as a babysitting circle–is essential for a resilient and equitable future.
Gwendolyn Hallsmith, founder of the Headwaters Garden and Learning Center ecovillage, talks about how our money system has gotten out of balance and what it will take to get our world back on track. Bonus: she sings!