Published on Dissident Voice, by Peter Breschard, August 24, 2013.

Imagine a large city somewhere in the northern United States where one night 2/3 of the population relocates to warmer climes.

Boom! Out of nowhere a massive number of houses are left abandoned. Boom! In an instant municipal tax revenues are insufficient to fund basic necessities of civilization. Boom! Everybody left in town has to stop what they’re doing and start bailing 24/7 because they know they’re on a rapidly sinking ship.  

Now imagine instead so many people leaving in one day, the process involves decades. You know what I’m talking about.

When a municipality’s survival is based on a single industry and that industry fails, for whatever reason, you know there’s going to be big trouble. When the mine goes dry, when buggy whips become obsolete, when auto companies are more attractive to oil cartels than to their customers; and the mine shuts down, and the buggy whip factory burns to the ground, and the Big Three falter and almost fail; there’s a good chance a new ghost town will come into existence.

Suppose that in this same suffering town that for every dollar spent on cheap food, three to five cents was immediately taken and shipped overseas. Sort of like yea olde tea tax but instead of taxing tea and sending the money to King George, today’s modern consumer buys from Burger King (or other mega-brands) and at least a 3% tax levy is immediately sent to corporate headquarters, which exists somewhere outside the reach of the municipality’s taxing authority (and probably outside the reach of the IRS as well). Would you object to 3% of your dinner bill going to support governments or corporations over which you have no control? Congratulations! you’re already doing just that (and probably more). Goodbye money … //

… What if there were a way to minimize any mandated payroll cuts within a hurting community by a city issuing its own currency? What if instead of a 20% payroll cut in U.S. greenbacks, there were a 20% cut in U.S. greenbacks but half of that cut was made up by issuing those employees local currency?

How could a city afford to back up a local currency?

Let’s play with some numbers. Joe Smith is about to have his pay decreased from $600 a week to $480 a week. Ouch. Ouch indeed. $120 less a week is killer. What’s a city to do? For any number of reasons the city can’t keep paying Joe that $120 but it can do something. To make the pain a little less it can pay Joe an extra $60 a week in bus tokens.

What is a dollar bill other than a promissary note? What is a bus token other than a promissary note? A dollar bill is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government while a bus token is backed by the full faith and credit of the local government and the local municipal bus company. We’re not talking high finance here, we’re talking about maximizing what resources remain in suffering communities.

How would it work? Say Joe gets his reduced pay check and a voucher for thirty $2 bus tokens. Say he cashes in his voucher for tokens. He can ride the bus thirty times if he wants. Joe wins. The city wins because it really didn’t cost them much and Joe is a happier employee. And the bus company, previously underutilized, shows that it can do its job and Joe becomes a good spokesman for its services.

Or Joe can take his bus tokens to the local farmers’s market and see if the merchants there will take his tokens in lieu of U.S. cash payment. History has shown this works. Why not? Farmers take buses too. Or Joe could take it to his local Ma and Pa restaurant and see if they would like some of his tokens. Why not? Ma and Pa know that the tokens are backed by the full faith and credit of the local bus company and besides, they can give their busboy a couple at the end of his shift because he’s been such a fine worker. And you know busboys ride the bus, right?

And so these tokens circulate within the community. Local businesses are supported because they take the tokens. International conglomerates are SOL because banks in the Bahamas don’t take local buses. Cash is kept within the city. Local commerce flourishes.

Suddenly everyone in town feels, and is, a little bit richer.

This is not a new idea. Do some research. Struggling cities can save what few greenbacks they have left for necessities which cannot be produced locally.

There is a vast economy within local areas which do not need multinational companies to survive. This isn’t a barter system, it’s better.

Besides, it might only be fitting if public transportation could save mining towns, or buggy whip boroughs, or even motor cities.
(full text).


Tokenism on en.wikipedia … is the policy or practice of making a perfunctory gesture toward the inclusion of members of minority groups.[1][2][3] This token effort is usually intended to create a false appearance of inclusiveness and deflect accusations of discrimination.[3] Typical examples include purposely hiring a non-white person in a mainly white occupation or a woman in a traditionally male occupation. Classically, token characters have some reduced capacity compared to the other characters and may have bland or inoffensive personalities so as to not be accused of stereotyping negative traits. Alternatively, their differences may be overemphasized or made “exotic” and glamorous

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