Bristol launched its very own currency, the Bristol Pound, with a great fanfare in
September 2012. You can read a BBC report here, the Guardian's take
on it here, and the
Telegraph's rather more informative (!) report here.
The notes certainly look good and are nice to handle. I gather
they are very proud of the fact that they have more security
features than the US dollar; I guess this says something about the
enterprise of Bristolians, if not quite in the way intended.
But will the currency catch on with locals and traders, or prove
to be a triumph of hope over experience? The theory is great, but
it's hard going; the Stroud Pound, (BBC report
on its launch in March 2010 here, and Sustainable Crediton's report here) is said to have weakened somewhat
after a strong start, though its website shows over 60
Could it work in Crediton? I rather wonder if our local economy is
big enough. If the the LETS scheme
here couldn't keep going, something more ambitious would certainly
be a challenge. But it's fun to think about. And it's not the Euro.
But if the Stroud Pound could agree with the Bristol Pound that
their citizens could use their currencies in each others' towns,
and then if other towns in the South West joined in, perhaps we
might be talking?!
I'm not quite joking - The Chiemgauer is a regional currency in Bavaria
in which millions of euros' worth is traded yearly, according to
the Telegraph. Of more comfort to Telegraph readers, perhaps,
is the news that this isn't another Brussels plot: go trade in BerkShares if you find yourself
in he Berkshires region of Massachusetts. Its website lists
over 370 businesses in Berkshire County that accept it.
I suspect that scale is important. I hope the Bristol
Pound makes it big.