Portland, Oregon’s downtown businesses have a plan to adopt their own currency to use when patronizing the businesses involved. It will only be good with those certain businesses, and there’s a catch to using it. The businesses that participate must turn around spend the local money with another vendor that participates as well.
For example, if someone spends $10 of the money in a Portland bakery, the bakery must then spend those local dollars on supplies (flour and eggs, etc.) to do their own business, and the supplier must be one that participates, and it also must turn around and purchase from the wheat grower and egg suppliers, who also participate.
Business as Usual, Unusually
It sounds like it could work, and, it sounds like it can easily fail. If all the downtown businesses participate it could keep everyone in business in this slowed economy. Since the money is only good in Portland, it keeps locals spending locally, but, if only a handful of people commit, it won’t work.
What’s to stop people from using regular US dollars? The participating businesses will give people using the local currency a 5-10% discount. Discounts will make people want to use the funny money and they will shop the small businesses giving a discount instead of the large corporations for it.
On the website PDXcurrency.org, they say the new currency will be made counterfeit proof by design so people can’t increase their own income by making copies of it. It’s coming out in June, 2011.
When people make credit card payments and installments to big corporations, the money goes out of the city, supporting huge businesses and not the local people in small businesses. Spending local is critical right now, using the only currency available for everything; cash.