The globalization which enriches only a few in the world at the cost of the vast majority gives rise to a number of counter-movements and some insightful people have found out that another currency system may give a fundamental change in our socioeconomic system. This time I would like to depict an interesting initiative in a tiny community not far from the marvelous experiment in 1930s.
Prien am Chiemsee, some 80 kms to the East from Munich, is a Bavarian resort where thousands of tourists enjoy their summer vacations along the lake Chiemsee. Christian Gelleri, teacher of economics at that time at a local high school who had learned Gesell, Wörgl and other related topics, came up with the idea to hold a curriculum to run a local currency in fall 2002. Six female students showed interest in joining this project and the Chiemgauer project took off next January.
This system was conceived to create a win-win relationship among non-profits, consumers and local businesses. Each actor has the following advantage and this means of exchange promotes local production and consumption.
* non-profits: purchase 100 Chiemgauer(=€100) at €97 and resell it to consumers at €100, therefore earning €3 to be spent for their own activities
* consumers: purchase 100 Chiemgauer at €100 and spend it at local businesses at its face value, therefore donating 3% of their consumption to local non-profits without additional expenditure.
* Local businesses: accept 100 Chiemgauer and spend it for other local businesses or redeem it into €95 paying 5% of commission. The 5% commission can be regarded as an advertisement fee and they can attract more consumers who want to help their community.
* Chiemgauer office: sells 100 Chiemgauer at €97 and pays €95 on redemption. The €2 difference is spent to cover its running cost.
It has been successfully increasing Chiemgauer users as well as local businesses’ turnover in Chiemgauer. Now 700 consumers and 380 businesses join this system, recording the annual turnover of 720,000 Chiemgauer(see here for details). It is expected to grow furthermore as the smart card is introduced, receiving more and more attention all over Germany and abroad.