Alternative Currency Thriving in Greece

Yet another example of alternative currency thriving in a collapsed economy:

What rules the system has are designed to ensure the tems continue “to circulate, and work hard as a currency”, said Christos Pappionannou, a mechanical engineer who runs the network’s website using open-source software.

No one may hold more than 1,200 tems in the account “so people don’t start hoarding; once you reach the top limit you have to start using them.”

And no one may owe more than 300, so people “can’t get into debt, and have to start offering something”.

Businesses that are part of the network are allowed to do transactions partly in tems, and partly in euros; most offer a 50/50 part-exchange.

“We recognise that they have their fixed costs, they have to pay a rent and bills in euros,” said Pappionannou. “You could say that their ‘profit’ might be taken in Tems, to be reinvested in the network.”

Choupis said she thought the network would have grown even faster that it has if people were not so “frozen, in a state of fear. It’s like they’ve been hit over the head with a brick; they’re dizzy. And they’re cautious; they’re still thinking: ‘I need euros, how am I going to pay my bills?’ But as soon as people see how much they can do without money, they’re convinced.”

The Guardian: Greece on the breadline: cashless currency takes off

(via Brainsturbator)

The real question is not whether these types of systems work during times of economic crisis, but how they can persist once organizations like the World Bank step in to “restore order.”

See also: The New Currency War.


  1. A libertarian once told me that local and non-governmental currencies were advantageous because they might be able to thrive and endure when national currencies faltered and failed. Here is a superb test case – thank for the info.

    The economic system proposed by Technocracy did not limit how many Ergs (their currency unit) a group or individual might be able to amass, but they did give every Erg an expiration date. After a year, an Erg becomes worthless. A temporary economic zone (forgive me, Hakim Bey). Technocracy proposed this as a disincentive to hording that had the side-effect of being an economic leveler. You might be Erg-rich for a while, but if you just sat on it you’d end up with nothing. Better to put Ergs back into circulation, even to give them away or sell them at a loss.

  2. Actually the word “thriving” is misleading. This is practiced by a small number of people and no discussion is made publicly to attract nationwide interest to examine if this model is going to take off. Personally I think it is not going to happen.

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