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V12 2009 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 38, September 20, 2009, Article 29

BRIXTON POUND LAUNCHED

Philip Mernick forwarded this BBC News article about the Brixton Pound, a new local currency launched this week in south London. -Editor

Short on cash? Then why not make your own. There's no law against it, so long as you don't try to pass it off as sterling.

And you can use whatever you please to make your money, whether cigarettes, rabbit skins or paper notes.

That's what's happening in Brixton, a south London neighbourhood where shoppers, from Thursday, will be able to hand over 10 Brixton Pounds (Bs) in return for their groceries.

brixton_onepound

Proponents of local currencies say they boost the community's economy by keeping money in the area, but critics dismiss them as fashionable gimmicks, tantamount to protectionism.

They may sound experimental but have in fact been used since the Middle Ages when local currencies were all there was - it was not until the 1700s that every European country had its own currency, says Tim Leunig, an economist at the LSE.

Brixton, with its reputation for bustling streets, a lively nightlife and a notoriety for street crime, is the first urban area to have its own currency.

Volunteers behind the project say it has not been an easy sell.

Some shopkeepers are concerned about counterfeiting and the build-up of Brixton pounds in their till. Others see it as a novel advertising tool that could become gift vouchers, or even a collector's item.

Other economists dismiss the whole concept as a gimmick.

"It might make people feel good, but it's not achieving anything meaningful," says Tim Leunig, of LSE.

To read the complete article, see: No money? Then make your own (news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8245276.stm)

Philip's brother Harry located the following additional images of the Brixton pound notes. Thanks! -Editor

Brixton pound pre launch trial
Pre Launch Trial

Brixton pound 10 pound note
Circulating 10


Wayne Homren, Editor

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