A Bang for Your Buck in the Berkshires | How New England Can Change the World
The Schumacher Society–which is now combining forces with England’s New Economics Foundation, another booster of local currencies–sees lots of room for BerkShares to grow. The currency is now spreading out of the southern half of the county–the Tanglewood Berkshires–into the grittier Pittsfield area, and even to a few towns just over the New York and Connecticut state lines. And the Society is also trying to figure out how to start making loans in the local currency, not tied to federal dollars, which would mean backing the BerkShares with something real. Not gold, but a basket of commodities–firewood, apples, wind power–the kinds of things you can produce in Western Massachusetts, where gold mines are scarce.
The loans would be designed to build local economic power: to capitalize the factories and workshops that could bring production and jobs back home. That could reduce the scale of the sprawling global economy at least a little–and trim the danger of the next crash a little, too. I’m betting a Melville it just might work.