As complementary currencies sprout up all over the world, Nelson becomes the newest community to make its own money.
Columbia Community Dollars, a community initiative two years in the making, represents a growing trend of communities finding their own solutions to ailing economies.
”Creating community currencies is perfectly legal,” said Michael Sheely, coordinator for the community dollars. “Probably because it seems too good to be true is why most communities haven’t taken this step. However, this trend is changing fast.”
Complementary currencies have been shown to create resilient local economies and build community interdependence, reducing the effects of national and global recessions.
”We’ve taken the experiences from Barter Bucks, Nelson’s previous currency and customized a proven system used around the world to implement in our region,” said Bradley Roulston, certified financial planner and key player in the Nelson’s movement to make local money.
“The vast majority of the money we use is created when we take a loan from a bank,” explained Sheely. “The bank creates the money we borrow, but not the interest they charge. That creates an inherent shortage in the money supply. We compete for the always scarce resource of money. Bankruptcies and economic recessions are an inevitable consequence of this system.
”Nelson’s new money is different. We print the money and give it to non-profits and community groups that help make Nelson a better place,” said Sheely. “The businesses that have agreed to accept the currency help secure the value of the currency, so we let them decide which groups we give it to.
”Then people who want to support those groups can buy it off them. Rather than making donations people trade currencies so they don’t lose spending power. And it encourages them to support local businesses because that’s where they can spend it.”
”The banks are lucky because the federal government requires us to pay taxes with the money banks create,” said Roulston. “That ensures the money’s value. Starting a new currency requires a lot of education to build acceptance. Especially since people have spent their entire lives believing that only one model can exist.”
A live demonstration of how this all works will happen as part of the launch on Wednesday. To be part of this historic moment come to Ward and Baker Streets at 10 a.m. and watch Nelson’s new money hit the streets.