May 2008

Are BerkShares and Other Local Currencies Effective?

METABOSTON - Local activists in the Berkshires created a local currency called BerkShares
to encourage the local economy. Tim Harford questions whether they do any
economic good but thinks they may build community ties:

"The real benefits, if they exist, are not economic but social, and best
explained not by an economist like me but by a sociologist such as Ed Collom
of the University of Southern Maine.

It's Like Money, but With No Dead Presidents

Slate Magazine - Tim Harford - I was recently invited to appear on radio to provide the economists'
perspective on the costs and benefits of local exchange trading schemes,
which are alternative currencies that circulate around a small community.
This made me scratch my head a bit. I could not think of any real benefits,
but then I could not really think of any serious costs, either.