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Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Community currency has great local benefits
By Paolo Fabrizio, Special to the Examiner
Most of my columns come from real life lessons, some from my dad, some from other family members and friends, but the best ones of all come from my grandfather.
My grandfather was the biggest Libertarian I ever knew, not only in size but in hard-core belief that a free person could do anything and when a free person has government as a big brother maybe things turn out different.
One of my favourite stories was from when he was in the army serving in the Second World War. During this horrible and terrifying piece of history, a beautiful Libertarian lesson and message was brought to life.
During the war, the soldiers had little or no money on them; they had no way to purchase anything from another soldier or anyone else.
Since they couldn’t rely on the government to show up in the middle of the battlefield and say ‘here you go guys, a couple of bucks for your trouble, go buy something’, they had to come up with a system that would best serve all the soldiers and do it without the government’s help.
My grandfather told me it was because the government wasn’t involved that they came up with their own great and very useful currency. It was an early form of community currency and it worked great.
The soldiers would use playing cards as money and it was accepted by almost all soldiers. Every card would represent time or a trade. So if a soldier worked for half an hour, a soldier would get a card and he could use that time as a trade or a straight purchase.
In the war, time was the most valuable asset, so that’s what they used. It was a great idea and one that had no government involvement.
I took this great idea some years later and tried to implement it in today’s society.
I spent years showing people how community currency can help all of us. It’s an idea that could possibly give every level of society a chance for a better life.
I had a belief that the government shouldn’t have a monopoly on money and — with the soldiers’ ideas — community currency would be a great way to help all of society.
I tried to take it a little further and tried to convince any local government to adopt my ‘Shop At Home Policy’, where the city would reward citizens for shopping at home.
I found that many of my neighbours would work in Toronto and while they were in Toronto they would do their shopping, therefore, robbing Barrie or any other bedroom community of business.
To increase employment and bring the better jobs, we are always hearing about the need for our own people to shop at home.
A community card that could be used at any Barrie store would give you points that, in turn, would give you a discount on your property taxes.
When more money is spent at home, in return, more jobs will be created and when more jobs are created, larger companies will be more interested in relocating here.
It’s time to use past, real-life lessons and help our people here at home.
For anyone who wants to know more about my grandfather and his time in the war, just read my blog. Or if you have any stories of your own you want to share.