PBS NewsHour recently featured Alice Maggio ’10, who runs the BerkShares currency program out of the Schumacher Center for a New Economics in Great Barrington, Mass. NewsHour describes Berkshares as an alternative “small is beautiful local currency, born in 2006 and now accepted by some 400 businesses in Berkshire County.” Residents and visitors can trade U.S. dollars for BerkShares at local banks for a 5% discount.
“You can see local currencies as isolationist and secessionist or protectionist,” said Maggio. ”We used to have this system in this country. We used to have local currencies everywhere. That’s what we’d like to see again: regional currencies that work for their region, and a national currency.”