what a wonderfully kind gesture
for someone to leave a gallon of milk and bread behind
to be discovered by someone else who may need it more.
“let us temper our criticism with kindness. none of us comes fully equipped.”
“generosity is not giving me that which I need more than you do,
but it is giving me that which you need more than I do.”
Take the Wooden Money
During the darkest days of the Great Depression, the logging city of Tenino, Washington, created a complimentary wooden currency to help locals survive the economic crisis. Now, almost 90 years later, the town is once again “printing money” on postcard-sized sheets of maple to help locals suffering from financial hardship. Pegged at the rate of real U.S. dollars, the currency can be spent everywhere from grocery stores to gas stations and child care centers, whose owners can later exchange them.
“It worked perfectly,” says Tenino’s mayor Wayne Fournier, who offers residents who demonstrate they are experiencing economic difficulties caused by the pandemic a stipend of up to $300 a month in wooden dollars. These currencies aren’t actual replacements of real money. They are complementary currencies — a broad term for a galaxy of local alternatives to national currencies.
According to research published in Papers in Political Economy in 2018, 3,500 – 4,500 such systems have been recorded in more than 50 countries across the world. Typically they are a localized currency that can only be exchanged among people and businesses within a region, town, or even a single neighborhood. Many are membership programs limited to those who have signed up; they typically work in conjunction with, rather than replacing, the official national currency.
They take many different forms. Relatively few are based on paper money; many are purely digital or exchanged via smart cards. Their goals can span multiple economic, social, and environmental objectives. Some aim to protect local independent businesses. Some promote more equal and sustainable visions of society. Others have been founded in response to economic crises when traditional financial systems have ground to a halt. As the coronavirus pandemic brings on a wave of social and economic tumult, all three challenges appear to be in play at once.
In Tenino, which has a population of less than 2,000, the wooden money is printed using an antique 1890 Chandler & Price letterpress. Since the launch in May, cities from Arizona to Montana and California have been in contact with Tenino for advice about starting their own local currencies.
“We have no idea what is going to happen next in 2020,” adds Fournier. “But cities like ours need to come up with niche ways to be sustainable without relying on the larger world.”
“sharing money is what gives it its value.”
credits: story – Bloomberg City Lab, Peter Young. photo – Jason Redmons, AFP
*GLOBAL DETROIT is a nonprofit regional economic development initiative that believes immigrants and refugees are critical to job creation, regional growth, and prosperity. Global Detroit is revitalizing Metro Detroit’s economy by mobilizing its immigrant potential. We are an innovator and expert in connecting international talent with regional businesses’ unmet talent needs, catalyzing the growth and development of immigrant entrepreneurs, revitalizing neighborhoods, and building a globally-competitive and inclusive region.
In addition to our local efforts, Global Detroit has spearheaded the creation of the Welcoming Economies Global Network (WE Global), a ten-state regional collaborative
of 20 peer local immigrant economic development initiatives across the Rust Belt. WE Global Network is a project of Welcoming America, run in partnership with Global Detroit.
“make a difference about something other than yourselves.”
thank you Toni Morrison, for your many inspirational words.
credits: *global detroit (image and story), WE global
in much the same way
that he appeared out of the blue
in the midst of a very heavy snow season
to ask if i would hire him to shovel my driveway
and disappearing just as suddenly
only to appear again
wheeling his mower down the sidewalk
and stopping by
to ask if i would hire him to mow my lawn
soon after my lawn mower refused to start
the quiet, polite, hardworking kid with no name is back
and gone again.
“everybody is a hero in their own story if you just look.”
image credit: pincor products vintage advertising
‘bad things do happen in the world,
like war, natural disasters, disease.
but out of those situations always arise
stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.’
for all who suffer as a result of the disasters
for all who arise to do extraordinary things to help.
image credit: REUTERS/Adrees Latif- East Texas
what a beautiful morning to help
at the annual
juvenile diabetes research foundation event
to take a great walk after
right in the mix with
dogs, babies, strollers, scooters, families,
friends, teams, singles, wagons and trees
and then come to the end
very happy to have been a part of it all.
“we are all here on earth to help others;
what on earth the others are here for I don’t know.”
photo credit: steve townsend