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The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 17, April 26, 2009, Article 29

MORE ON DETROIT'S LOCAL CURRENCY

Loren Gatch writes:
There have been a number of recent articles in the general press about local currency as a response to economic problems. Of course, this stuff has been around since the early 1990s, but our current malaise has sparked a resurgence of interest.


Loren supplied links to a few recent article on Alternative Currencies. Here's an interesting one with more information on the creation of Detroit's currency, Detroit Cheers. -Editor
Detroit Cheers Detroit, some say, is a weird but cool blend of big city and small town. Detroit Cheers is making it weirder, smaller and cooler.

Detroit Cheers is a new local currency -- the city version of exchanging grain for flour or darned socks for a loaf of bread. Only it's more like beer for pizza, or housewares for a bike tune up.

With the goal of supporting a local small economy, a trio of Detroit business owners -- John Linardos from Motor City Brewing Works, Tim Tharp from Foran's Grand Trunk Pub and Jerry Belanger from Park Bar -- have put up their own cash to back a new local currency, or scrip, called Detroit Cheers.

Put plainly, Cheers are locally issued currency accepted at select local businesses. Belanger, Tharp and Linardos each put up $1,500 to back the $4,500 worth of Cheers in circulation. The backing money is held in reserve at a bank. As backers are added, they'll release more Cheers. So one Cheers equals one dollar. "It's as good as the U.S. dollar … ironically, it's no better," Belanger says

Belanger admits that the Cheers roll-out, while enthusiastic, hasn't been flawless. "We've been overwhelmed with the response, with people who want to use Cheers -- almost too much," says Belanger. "It's been bad in a good way or good in a bad way."

One issue has been with the paper that Cheers was printed on. The trio of backers chose a cotton rag paper for durability, and bought a ream of it -- no cheap purchase. Then they had to print the stuff.

"In keeping with spirit of the whole idea, we could have gone to a printer from out-of-state that has already done this for other municipalities, where we wouldn’t have had the learning curve," says Belanger. "But that would have been kind of contrary to our sustainability, local thing -- so we're going through a learning curve."

The worst-case scenario that Belanger fears is having to completely reissue the scrip. "To have that expense all over again ... it's not always just roses!"

To read the complete article, see: 3 Cheers for Detroit's Local Currency (www.modeldmedia.com/features/detroitcheers18809.aspx)



Wayne Homren, Editor

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