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Currency as Common. An Innovation for a Sustainable Alternative Development in the South Also

Jean-Michel Servet Professeur honoraire, IHEID Genève ; chercheur associé, Triangle (unité de recherche CNRS, ENS Lyon, Université Lyon 2). Contact : jean-michel.servet@graduateinstitute.ch.


Understanding finance and currency as common does not reduce this issue to their potential contribution to sustainable development from an environmental point of view (in the consumption of the physical resources or the financing of equipment, means of transportation and housing). Their “common” dimension appears through the production and the circulation of liquidity which are essential for the functioning of the economic and financial systems and through types of management which involve all their “stakeholders”. Unlike “natural” resources that “common” management tries to protect and thus to limit the consumption of, in order to assure their reproduction or their preservation, currency must be spent because its injection and its circulation lead to real multiplier effects of income.

Here, we mainly analyse certain current limits of the capacity for development of commons and the necessary conditions for their appropriation and for their reproduction. We present the case of the best known complementary currency in a developing or emergent country, in Conjunto Palmeiras and its replications in Brazil, as well as the recent monetary project in Kenya (Bangla Pesa). These complementary currencies place these commons especially in small territories. The global level raises numerous issues ; on the one hand, the implication of what are supposed to be the "stakeholders" and their representatives, and on the other hand, the conditions of the production of the monetary and financial resources.


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