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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A local currency for Detroit?

A couple of days ago, I came across an interesting piece in the Atlantic that discussed some different "micro currencies" that have been launched in different places around the world (here is the link: http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/05/the-next-money-as-the-big-economies-falter-micro-currencies-rise/257216/)

Now, I'm sure everyone has their own reason for promoting a local currency, but I thought the example of the Brixton Pound in London, put forward to encourage local spending (>200 local businesses participate), was instructive. I did a bit of research, and it seems like Detroit actually already has such a local micro currency (Detroit Community Scrip, or Detroit Cheers). I hadn't heard about it, and I'm not sure if it is still operational, but I think it is the right idea.

Model D wrote about Detroit Cheers back in 2009 (http://www.modeldmedia.com/features/detroitcheers18809.aspx) and I can't find a website for the currency, so I'm not sure if the bills are still in use. If so, I think more shops should sign up and more people need to hear about it. If the currency has fallen by the wayside...well, with the move to the City of new retailers like Meijer's and Whole Foods, more money will be spent in the City, and if giants like those sign up too...that might encourage them to spend more locally as well, which would be great.

Perhaps places like Hamtramck or Dearborn could take up a similar initiative (or even the same currency), to further re-inforce the positive retail trends that are taking place (e.g., in East Dearborn, or on Conant)...Detroit Dinar, anyone?