Declare economic independence with revolutionary micro-currency

Communities around the world who find the mainstream economic system taxing at best, and downright disempowering at worst, are taking matters into their own hands. With micro-currency and modern day barter systems, people are making positive strides in curbing economic downturns. Both promote ingenuity, economic sustainability, prosperity and connection with neighborhood commerce. As more cities, towns and rural hamlets embrace alternative currencies and bartering, abundance thrives -- free of national and global financial strangleholds.

Inspired local economies

Ziggy Stardust on valid currency? This is just what the London neighborhood of Brixton has done. Called the Brixton Pound, residents can use it at over 200 local businesses. As an added bonus, businesses often extend a discount to those using this innovative (and gorgeous) money. Although backed by national banknotes, the beauty of alternative currency is that it keeps money and prosperity local. Brixton is one of four regions in the UK that currently employ this ingenious economic system.

From the Chiemgauer of Bavaria to BerkShares of Massachusetts; Montana's Butte Bucks to Calgary Dollars in Alberta—each promote a vital sense of community and economic independence. Non-profits and businesses are encouraged to keep the Chiemgauer circulating by being charged a hefty five percent commission fee if they want to change it back into euros. BerkShares are worth more than a standard US dollar, giving people a nice little incentive to use local currency for their purchases. And Butte Bucks will exchange $40 American for $50 of local money, while a Calgary Dollars member can make local cash by listing a service, product or skill. A merry-go-round of cash flow is created by earning and spending within the community. All this allows friendly forging of business deals and helps to support a stable local economy.

Bartering goes high-tech

Another clever economic structure is the time bank. Using the sophistication of the Internet, time banks are popping up around the globe -- helping people to barter for services. A time bank will keep track of who provides what services, the number of 'hours' a person has contributed and how many hours are owed. Different skill levels will accumulate varying rates of hours. For example, a carpenter will accumulate more hours than a babysitter. As soon as an individual has accumulated hours, they can 'spend' them on services they need. A record of the remaining hours is then coordinated by the system. Time banks are found throughout the world—yet administrators are vigilant to make sure value is never given in hard currency which would open a Pandora's box of taxation from governments.

Eric Garland, futurist and strategic analyst, observes in the Atlantic:

"With all this innovation going on, one big question remains: what does this mean for paying the tax man, who wants a single currency to represent all of the activity so he can measure it and take his bite? The national revenue services of the world may need to start innovating themselves if they want to come up with the answer."

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