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Les squires

Help build this interest group...

Nighthawk Traders

There's perhaps no question I'm asked more often than "What about Local Currencies?" So I'm starting a study group on alternative forms of community trading. Register your interest! Soon we will begin building a prototype.

Group Type: Local Currencies & Trading
Members: 114
Latest Activity: Dec 29, 2013

Quick Start Overview of Local Currencies

See GLOBAL SIGHTINGS OF COMPLEMENTARY CURRENCIES below. The listing includes the 20 newest mentions of "complementary currencies" or "complementary currency" found anywhere on the web. The list is updated daily.


  1. Discussions: Contribute to a discussion on any of the following topics or start a new discussion on related topics.
  2. Doers vs. Talkers: If you are inclined to dump tons of endless paragraphs about these issues, particularly other websites where people talk, talk, talk, and talk about local currencies, think again! This space is for DOERS. Ask you neighbor if you can trade something of value without using cash currencies: Report the details and results here. Try out the babysitting example: Ask for something you want "in trade" before "volunteering" the next time. Report your experiences below.

A Few Talking Points

  • Baby sitting pool model case -- You take mine for the weekend; in turn, I take yours for another weekend -- win-win
  • Lawn mowers and lawn mowing -- My neighbor "borrows" my lawn mower and agrees to mow my lawn in exchange for his not having to purchase a mower.
  • Precondition: I have NEEDS. I have OFFERS. Ready to TRADE some of mine for some of yours.
  • Barter Exchanges -- Ancient model for trading needs and offers. Limited to two people or businesses.
  • Currency -- Exchange among MORE THAN TWO entities -- imagine the baby sitting pool with 60 couples -- Keeping track of kids and balances -- Oi!!!
  • Local Flow -- what goes around comes around -- Cf. Walmart, Home Depot, Starbucks -- Cash register payments go immediately out-of-state. Cf. Trade Local.
  • Local business incentives -- Local carpenter paid 40% alternative and 60% cash for painting local business establishment. Local business gets beautiful paint job. Painter redeems credits for meals for the family. Parties for Transitioners.
  • Local Tax Authorities -- how would you like to receive credit toward your real estate taxes with value you accumulate by working for Transition...
  • Electronic "banking" -- debits, credits, balances, negative balances, invoices, statements, accounting, IRS -- without "outsourcing" our record keeping to cash banks
  • Paper money -- Ithica dollars -- "In Ithica we trust"
  • IRS -- Accounting requirements for professional services vs. "volunteer" services

Sign up. We're establishing a mailing list at this point. Determining the scope of local interest. We have also set up an online trading account which will be used as a prototype -- sponsored by my community, Nighthawk Circle in Louisville. Sometime around mid-November we'll actually begin real local trading. When we're up to speed and your locality is ready, this group will assist to set up your own community exchange. Patience! There's groundwork to be laid.

Discussion Forum

Mile High Hours - Denver's Local Currency -

Started by Scarlet Begonia Jul 13, 2013. 0 Replies


Started by Mark Stewart. Last reply by Mark Stewart Sep 7, 2011. 2 Replies

Global Sightings of Complementary Currencies

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Comment by Les Squires -- Webmaster on June 21, 2013 at 9:19am

Alternative Currencies on TO THE BEST OF OUR KNOWLEDGE TTBOOKS --

Comment by Les Squires -- Webmaster on August 5, 2012 at 8:07am

I just put out a challenge to Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook -- 
"Mr. Zuckerberg, you have so graciously given us the ability to talk voice-to-voice with each other! To see face-to-face. Eye-to-eye. Stunning! Just stunning.

When you have time, please consider adding another icon to our Facebook inter
actions -- the ability to TRADE with each other. Trade-to-trade. Skill-for-skill. Potatoes-for-housecleaning. Babysitting-for-tutoring. FB is only one step from asserting that a person may be without a "job" but they would never be totally "unemployable". What do you think, Mark?"

Please feel free to post simple examples of your successful trading experiences for the FB crowd.  I urge you not to move too fast to bury this initiative in all kinds of fancy theoretical stuff, or anti-bank harangues, or doomsday scare.  Warm, live, affirmative examples are enough for now.  

Comment by John Comeau on April 27, 2012 at 7:54pm

here's another alternative currency, particularly for computer programmers: and other websites. a few days ago I "spent" 100 points of my "reputation" to get some help solving a problem. I've done this a few times already, and it works great! example links: and

Comment by Les Squires -- Webmaster on April 23, 2012 at 9:03am
Please take a few minutes to comment on the new Volos currency. A few words or a LIKE is sufficient.
Comment by Les Squires -- Webmaster on April 23, 2012 at 8:34am
As Greece wonders whether its debt crisis will eventually spell its exit from the euro, one town in the centre of the country, Volos, has formed an alternative local currency. It works through a bartering system or exchange of goods.
Comment by Les Squires -- Webmaster on April 9, 2012 at 5:37am

The Community Exchange System 

Stop talking ABOUT trading. Fully operational system that you can use today.  Here is a video description how the Community (Talent) Exchange Works.

Comment by Les Squires -- Webmaster on April 8, 2012 at 9:35am

Toronto Dollars -- 'The Evolution of Community Currency - A local currency workshop'

Last year the Toronto Dollar and Transition Toronto hosted a talk by Thomas H. Greco on his vision for community currencies.  Greco demonstrated that alternative currencies not only improve community resilience, but can also undermine the economic trends that are keystones in both the domination of governments by banks and the environmental destruction our planet is experiencing.  We were inspired.

The Toronto Dollar is one of the most successful community currencies ever.  Join Glen Alan, President of the Toronto Dollar, in looking at ways to build on that success and develop the TO dollar into a currency that can do even more for our local communities.  Glen will introduce some of the basics of where we are and where we can aim to be, and then we will open the floor in an effort to "unlock the creative genius of the community" and get the ideas flowing on where to go with the Toronto Dollar.

Comment by Les Squires -- Webmaster on February 19, 2012 at 7:56pm

Tom Greco

Newsletter Late Winter, 2012

In this issue
  • David Cobb, Creating Democracy & Challenging Corporate Rule
  • Catherine Austin Fitts, The global financial system and the power of people to overcome it.
  • Camilo Ramada, Can the Latin American C3 Model of Complementary Currency work also in the USA?
  • Occupy how?
  • The U.S. is already at war with Iran
  • Investing in yourself and your communities
  • Building our social capital
  • My 2012 U.S. Tour


Hanging out in the San Francisco Bay area has provided me some great opportunities for networking and enrichment. Over the past few weeks I‘ve had the privilege of hearing three excellent presentations. One of these was by David Cobb, titled Reversing Citizens United: Amending the Constitution to abolish corporate personhood. David is a lawyer and a fiery speaker who ran for President in 2008 on the Green Party ticket and has been traveling the country telling people about the history of corporations and how they have managed to usurp the political rights of real people. It is unfortunate that his presentation was not recorded, but you can get more information at the website,, and you can get involved, and perhaps find a group in your area by going to Amending the Constitution is one strategy for reigning in the power of corporations over our lives, but there are others that we can take directly that may have more immediate results. We first need to recognize our dependence upon corporations, then act to lessen it. We can also take concerted action to pressure them into being more responsible through organized boycotts and local ordinances, and we can work to get our pension fund manages to vote our corporate share holdings in ways that promote the public interest. None of these is a panacea, but as we the people unite to change the status quo, we will come up with even more creative approaches.

Another excellent spokesperson on this issue is Bill Quigley, a law professor at Loyola University. I highly recommend his article, Occupy Corporations: How to Cut Corporate Power.

Another recent event was a fascinating presentation by Catherine Austin Fitts. Catherine is an investment advisor and entrepreneur who once held a high level position in the federal government, having served from 1989 to 1990 as Assistant Secretary for Housing, responsible for the operations of the Federal Housing Administration during the first Bush administration. Her experience close to the center of power in Washington gave her a unique vantage point from which to view government malfeasance at the highest levels. She has some amazing stories to tell.

Here are a few important sound bites from Catherine’s presentation:

  • Over the past three decades, America has experienced a “financial coup d’état.”
  • The financial system is actually a centralized control system.
  • Americans have a traditional respect for individual rights. We need to globalize our covenant with one another regarding that.
  • Money follows trust.
  • Life is more valuable than metal (gold, silver, etc.)
  • “The beginning is near.”
  • The most likely economic and financial scenario is not sudden collapse, but a “slow burn.”
  • Invest your time in things that are both fun and productive.
  • Invest in things that provide a positive return to the commonwealth.
  • Some of the Occupy tactics have had a negative return to the commonwealth.

Catherine is the publisher of the Solari reports. I highly recommend Catherine’s website, and her blog. These can help you to cut through establishment propaganda and provide critical financial planning information.

Still another major event was a presentation on January 30 by Camilo Ramada at the Foundation for the Future in Palo Alto. Camilo is central figure in a Dutch non-profit called STRO, The Social Trade Organization. STRO has projects in various countries around the world and has a history of developing effective models for local economic development. Camilo gave a description of “C3,” a local currency project that has been operating successfully, with government support, in Uruguay. The Commercial Community Circuit (C3) creates a digital means of payment that is fully backed by cash reserves, financial guarantees and/or credit insurance.

Here is the official description of C3.

This digital currency is managed through the Cyclos software that offers all the functionalities of traditional on-line banking software:

  • a set of accounts through which users can make and receive payments
  • payments through Internet, cards or text messages
  • wide array of functionalities for users and administrators

The C3 works as a set of contracts between key partners that focus on their specialties. It does not require new skills or departments.

In a C3, a partner such as a community bank offers digital credit to be used locally as a means of payment. This digital credit will be more flexible because it does not require an immediate outlay of cash. It is cheaper than cash credit because it can charge less interest.

Entities with designated budgets for particular purposes, such as foundations, public agencies, and large construction projects can channel their budgets through a C3 to increase its local multiplier effect.

The C3 is self sustaining through transaction fees that, once costs are covered, can be reinvested in local social projects.

STRO's websites are:


Cyclos software project site

Camilo’s presentation was recorded and you can view the complete proceedings at

Occupy how?

I’ve recently posted several important items that relate to the Occupy movement on my blog,, which I encourage you to read. The latest of these is: The Occupy movement at risk from violent protesters A key point that I make in that post is that, “The real threat to the powers that be, (and the most promising path toward our goals) is intelligent, non-violent, empowering actions that make them and their systems irrelevant. The way forward, as I see it, is to assert our fundamental rights and to organize better ways of providing for our basic needs.”

Other recent posts that may be of interest are:

*   The 100% solution: non-violent organizing for the common good

*   Taking Cashless Trade to a Higher Level

Just scroll down until you find them, or enter a portion of the titles in the search box.

The U.S. is already at war with Iran

There are many ways to fight a war that don’t require air strikes or military invasion. As Jim Rickards points out in his article, Iran, The Dollar And Financial Warfare (Tue, Feb 7), “The U.S. has applied financial and economic sanctions to Iran for over 30 years,” but what is new is President Obama’s recent move to prevent international banks from doing business with Iran’s central bank. “The result,” Rickards says, “was an immediate isolation of Iran from the dollar system and an acute shortage of dollars in Iran. The Iranian currency, the rial, crashed in value 40% against the dollar in a few days. Since many goods in Iran are imported, local prices doubled as merchants demanded more rials in order to acquire whatever dollars might be available on the black market to buy imported goods. Iranian banks responded by raising local interest rates to over 20% in order to keep rials from flooding out of the Iranian banking system.

In a matter of days, the U.S. had isolated Iran from the world banking system, destroyed the exchange value of Iran's currency, injected hyperinflation into the local economy and caused a stratospheric increase in interest rates.”

But that’s not the end of the story. Rickards article also mentions the sabotage and assassinations that the west has recently carried out against Iran. But Iran may have some weapons of its own, and they have nothing to do with nuclear weapons. Please read the entire article. I don’t know Rickards, but he seems to be uncommonly knowledgeable and insightful in the realm of money and international finance. He is the author of Currency Wars: The Making of the Next Global Crisis, and author of numerous articles, two of which are:

The Real Agenda Behind The Fed's Easing.

The Pending Currency War And What We Can Do About It.

Investing in yourself and your communities

I’ve been reading a pre-publication copy of Michael Shuman’s book, Local Dollars, Local Sense which is due to be released within the next few weeks. This book is a valuable addition to the literature about local investing and community empowerment. You can order it from Chelsea Green Publishing, but in the meantime, check out Michaels article, 5 Ways to Make Your Dollars Make Sense, in the February issue of YES! Magazine.

Building our social capital

We should all be working to build social capital in our communities because it is the social fabric that provides the foundation for political and economic empowerment. How to do that in our highly mobile and impersonal society is a crucial question. One example given by Bill McKibben in his best-selling book, eaarth, is that of a couple in Burlington, Vermont who printed up 400 flyers that they distributed throughout their neighborhood. The flyers invited people to use an email forum they created to inform one another of their news, events, problems, needs, etc. The emails would be assembled periodically and sent out as a single message to everyone on the list. Participation grew steadily and eventually reached 90% of the neighbors. McKibben relates some remarkable things that occurred as a result. Now the idea is spreading quickly and gave rise to that within two years “reached thirteen thousand households, participating in more than a hundred neighborhood forums…” That number has now grown to 33,000 households. FrontPorchForum describes itself as a free community-building service. Your neighborhood's forum is only open to the people who live there. It's all about helping neighbors connect. FrontPorchForum  makes it easy for anyone to create a forum for their own neighborhood or group.

My 2012 U.S. Tour

I’m planning a tour of the U.S. that will begin sometime in March and take me through the southern tier of states from California to Florida, then up the eastern seaboard. I hope to balance work with leisure and will be conducting a few workshops, presentations, and consultations along the way.

I’ll be spending some time in Tucson, then commence the tour from there. On the docket so far are a presentation and workshop to be held in San Diego, March 19 and 20, and a presentation at the Public Banking in America Conference in Philadelphia, April 27–28. That event is a “response to the growing demand for monetary and banking reform in the public interest,” and is being sponsored by The Public Banking Institute.

If you would like me to consider making a stop in your area, please contact me.

Let’s make 2012 the breakthrough year we’ve all been hoping for.


Comment by Les Squires -- Webmaster on February 6, 2012 at 6:34pm

Debt: The First 5,000 Years --Comment by Geoff Chesshire

I have just finished reading David Graeber's book, "Debt:  The First 5000 Years" -- I highly recommend it.  It turns economics on its head, debunking the myth that money was invented to get around the inconvenience of two-way barter.  He shows that about the same time in diverse ancient civilizations, coin was first issued to soldiers to buy their supplies in occupied lands, then was issued by governments for the payment of taxes, and only then was taken up by the general public in order to pay taxes and debts.  He calls this the "military-coinage-slavery complex" and shows that the typical result was to shift society away from cooperation and toward competition driven by fear of falling inextricably into the monetary debt trap.

Comment by Les Squires -- Webmaster on February 6, 2012 at 9:08am

A Short History of American Money, From Fur to Fiat

FEB 6 2012, 10:33 AM ET

What do animal pelts, tobacco, fake wampum, gold, and cotton-paper bank notes have in common? At one point or another, they've all stood for the same thing: U.S. currency.

Before independence, America's disparate colonial economies struggled with a very material financial hang-up: there just wasn't enough money to go around. Colonial governments attempted to solve this problem by using tobacco, nails, and animal pelts for currency, assigning them a set amount of shillings or pennies so that they could intermix with the existing system.

The most successful ad hoc currency was wampum, a particular kind of bead made from the shells of ocean critters. But eventually the value of this currency, like that of other alternative currencies of the day, was undermined by oversupply and counterfeiting. (That's right: counterfeit wampum. They were produced by dyeing like-shaped shells with berry juice, mimicking the purple color of the real thing.)


It was a crew of Puritans from Boston who first put their faith in paper. Initially, the Massachusetts Bay Colony tried to issue colonial coinage. The pieces themselves, struck in 1652, were made from a mash-up of poor-quality silver and were soon outlawed by the Brits. Less than a decade later the colonists tried again. They were forced to, really, because they owed money to the crown to help fund Britain's war against France, yet lacked any currency with which to pay up. They called the paper "bills of credit." The local government essentially said to the people:Here, just use this. It's real money. We'll sort out redeemability later.

There were endless debates, from prairie farmlands to the floor of Congress, about whether this paper was real money or just a smoke-and-mirrors scheme destined to end badly. In the United States that dispute, between the fear of paper and the advantages of national currency, would rage for more than a century, and it is even front and center in the Constitution.

During the Continental Congress, the founding fathers deliberately forbid the nascent federal government from issuing "bills of credit." Paper money, one delegate noted, was "as alarming as the Mark of the Beast." The federal government was, however, granted authority "to coin money, regulate the value thereof ... and fit the standard of weights and measure."


But paper issued by the federal government would get its chance, thanks to the Civil War and its economic fallout. To foot the bill of the Union Army's campaign, the government had to issue $450 million in greenbacks (about $8.1 billion in 2011 dollars). They may have been un-constitutional, but they worked, making it possible to buy equipment and pay soldiers. War has a habit of quieting concerns about currency's backing.

The end of the war, however, brought with it inflation and renewed attention to the constitutionality of paper money. It was Salmon P. Chase who, first as the secretary of the Treasury Department, made the greenbacks possible. Then, as a Supreme Court justice less than a decade later, he made one of history's most famous flip-flops, ruling that currency notes were illegal. He made this determination despite the fact that the face printed on them was none other than his own.

A reshuffled Supreme Court--two new justices were appointed by President Ulysses Grant the same day of that initial verdict against paper money--would quickly reverse the ruling. Two subsequent decisions in what became known as the Legal Tender Cases sealed the deal: the Constitution may notexplicitly grant the federal government power to issue bills of credit, but it had the implicit right to do so be- cause governing over a country, or at least this one, would be flat-out impossible without it.

Before the advent of a single circulating national currency, though, thousands of private banks issued their own notes, sometimes backed by bullion or coinage in a safe, but just as often backed by nothing at all. This was a monetary free-for-all, and--considering the greenback's universal acceptability now--it's strange to imagine how, less than 150 years ago, money in America was a smorgasbord. Countless varieties of paper money circulated throughout the land, most issued by unchartered "Wildcat" banks, and much of it of questionable authenticity and unstable value.

Even during that chaotic time, however, the paper's value always depended, at least in theory, on the idea that you could exchange it for a weight of gold or silver. The conviction that precious metals are value incarnate was still as strong as it had been 2,000 years prior. It was inconceivable that currency could have value without this link to metals-- that currency value might be fluid. That too would soon change, during what was the final stage in this metamorphosis from ancient money to the cash in your wallet. 


The first step was in 1933, when President Franklin Roosevelt called in the public's gold supply as part of a radical effort to rebuild the economy during the Great Depression. Then in 1944, representatives of the major economies of the free world anointed the U.S. dollar to become the de facto currency of the globe--to replace gold, sort of. The dollar would still be locked at an exchange value to gold of $35 an ounce. Bizarre as it may sound, a small group of men sitting around a table determined that a 1-ounce nugget of gold would be worth, not $34 or $36.75, but $35. Other world currencies, instead of having their own correspondence to gold, would fix their value to the dollar, and wouldn't be allowed to change their exchange rates without special permission from the newly minted International Monetary Fund.

The rub was that this postwar agreement gave other countries the right to exchange their stashes of dollars for gold. By the early 1970s this policy, even if rarely acted upon, was becoming an increasingly obvious absurdity, as foreign banks held an amount of dollars equal to three times the amount of gold the U.S. owned. The situation aggravated foreign governments because a war- and deficit-weakened U.S. economy also hurt the dollar, and that in turn dragged down other countries' currencies and economies. Most prominent among the ticked off was France, which converted billions of dollars into gold, hoping other countries would follow suit and force the U.S. to get its financial house in order.

But others didn't follow suit. Instead, on August 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon severed the last remaining connective tissue between a material substance and national currencies. Nobody could exchange greenbacks for gold anymore. The number of dollars required to buy an ounce of gold would from here on out be determined by the markets, just like it is for oil, sod, dental equipment, and tulips. Currencies would be measured against each other, like untethered balloons carried on a breeze. 


The dollar, meanwhile, remained the anchor currency of the world: the one ring that kinda rules them all. Other governments hold on to dollars and use them for paying debts, and in the aisles of the global supermarket of goods, most items are priced in U.S. dollars.

This is what's so weird about commentators in the U.S. proudly declaring that the dollar is the most stable currency in the world, as if this were because of American economic policy today, when it's really just the result of negotiations a few generations ago that made it the backbone of the whole system. The greenback is stable because the U.S. economy is huge and the United States is a terrific republic--OK. But it's also stable because everyone else's well-being depends on it, and on belief in its stability. That may be changing, though.

As for paper money itself, the end of the gold standard meant that cash had become a total abstraction. Its value now comes from fiat, government mandate. It's a Latin word meaning let there be. In God we better trust. 

From The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers--and the Coming Cashless Society by David Wolman. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Press.

Images, from top: Wampum contract between William Penn and Native Americans; $55 dollar note, backed in gold or silver, dated 1779; modern $20 bill.


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