When I start talking about alternative currencies, I realize that most people only have in mind the BitCoin experiment and underestimate the (r)evolution already created by all the other community currencies. The number of alternative currencies operating is growing exponentially: 2 experiments took off in 1984 and today there are 5,000 mature systems. Here is a selection of great examples that I hope will reshape the way you see what money is and what money does.
The “Fureai Kippu” (“Caring Relationship Tickets” in Japanese) is a time-based cooperative currency created in 1995 and whose goal is to promote care and service to the elderly.
These “tickets” are paid to individuals who choose to help the elderly with areas that the Japanese national healthcare system doesn’t cover such as helping with food preparation in their own homes or helping with the daily bath (a ritual in Japan) so that they can remain in their houses longer instead of having to be put in retirement homes. The caregivers in turn may use these credits when they are ill to get assistance from other caregivers or they may elect to transfer their Fureai Kippu credits to parents or relatives who need help.
This complementary currency gave room for the creation of a powerful personal care service without raising taxes or diverting funds from other programs run in conventional Yen currency. In addition, the elderly prefer the services offered by these caregivers to those paid in Yen: The relationship is different, it is more personal on both sides.
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