In the midst of their own Second Great Depression, Spaniards—like hundreds of local communities around the world—are inventing and using their own local currencies.
In the city of Malaga, on the country’s southern Mediterranean coast just 80 miles from Africa, residents have set up an online site that allows them to earn money and buy products using a virtual currency. The Catalonian fishing town of Vilanova i la Geltru has launched a similar experiment but with a paper credit card of sorts. It implements a new currency worth slightly more than the euro when it is used at local stores.In Barcelona, the country’s second-largest city after Madrid, the preferred model is time banks, which allow people to trade their services in hours without the involvement of money. . .
There are now more than 325 time banks and alternative currency systems in Spain involving tens of thousands of citizens. Collectively, these projects represent one of the largest experiments in social money in modern times.
It will be interesting to see if these local currency experiments—involving different ways and logics of exchanging goods and services—survive the current crises and point in the direction of occupying other areas of the economy.