19 June 2007

Unclear On The Concept

From Reuters, comes news that Great Barrington, Mass, a nice little town just down the highway, has issued its own currency:
A walk down Main Street in this New England town calls to mind the pictures of Norman Rockwell, who lived nearby and chronicled small-town American life in the mid-20th Century.

So it is fitting that the artist's face adorns the 50 BerkShares note, one of five denominations in a currency adopted by towns in western Massachusetts to support locally owned businesses over national chains.

"I just love the feel of using a local currency," said Trice Atchison, 43, a teacher who used BerkShares to buy a snack at a cafe in Great Barrington, a town of about 7,400 people. "It keeps the profit within the community."
I don't mind that the Town of Great Barrington is unclear on the concept of "money" because money is a fairly subtle concept. I don't even mind the whiff of fraud of what amounts to "dollarizing" the Great Barrington economy. I flat out admire the indirection they use about the profit they're going to make from collectors; that is, tourists who buy the BerkShares, take them home and never redeem them. But have these people never heard of coupons?

7 comments:

David said...

Though I'm unclear why this is the "above the fold" headline on Drudge at the moment, nudging out such ephemera as "Suicide Bomb Teams Sent To US."

Peter Burnet said...

How is this for adding a lustre of profundity to either the story or the initiative?

The BerkShares experiment comes as the dollar is losing some of its status on international markets, with governments shifting some reserves into euros, the pound and other investments as the U.S. currency has slid in value.

I guess to bring down the Great Satan, you have to start somewhere.

pj said...

Looks like the word "superstitious" isn't good enough anymore, we need "religious" to take its place. But what will we use to communicate the content formerly held by "religious"?

Bret said...

It's not clear to me whether or not the local businesses have signed some sort of contract by which they're obligated to accepts BerkShares or if they're obligated by statute. Otherwise, what happens if suddenly nobody takes them anymore?

Mike Beversluis said...

George Bailey tries to jump into an icy river.

Peter Burnet said...

Bret:

You are right. They are fools to place their confidence in worthless paper. The natural, earthy, holistic-minded folk of Great Barrington would be far more prudent to put their trust in iron bars or something of proven residual value like this.

pj said...

Oops, my comment was supposed to be on the previous post. Don't know how that happened ...