Saturday, May 16, 2009

The New Prosperity

Dancing Hands
Originally uploaded by ojodorado

I'm noticing with the current economic slowdown that people are beginning to find wealth in each other. Barter and
local currencies are sprouting up all over the U.S.A., just as alternative economics flourished in Argentina during their 2002 economic crisis.

I visited one of these 'local networks' the other day in Fairfax (Marin County) California. The primary organizer,Matthew, explained that he viewed currency in three concentric layers, the first being our direct family and friends, with whom we can use trade, the second our community, with whom we can use a combination of trade and regular currency', and the third being the bigger world, where we operate with 'traditional' currency.

The Village Network in Fairfax operates as a membership, where people can post their needs and what they have to offer, and then earn credits according to how much they have given or received. A bulletin board in a small shop called Origin, one of the network's three public spaces, is filled with colored cards that people have posted, offering and asking for massages, business services, housing.

Here's another thriving barter experiment in Madison,Wisconsin.

Any community can start something like this. It is a way of shifting our
attention away from our 'lack' of money and/or jobs towards the real resources we have as individuals and as community.

The photo is of two hands meeting during a dance last summer at a Choctaw Pow-Wow in Mississippi.

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