Malvern mayor Julian Roskams writes for the Observer:
WHATEVER the season, we are used to having what we want, when we want it.
But lengthy global supply chains not only waste energy but leave us vulnerable to interruptions in local energy, finance, food, and industrial networks wherever in the world they occur.
Increasingly extreme weather and rising energy costs highlight this exposure.
Current monetary systems fail because they simply burden us with debt and put no new money into circulation when and where it is most needed.
The intense drive for investor and corporate profit is poorly aligned with what matters most to the average person: wellbeing.
A sustainable society requires us to move towards self-reliant local economies, where the majority of our needs are met from genuinely local production.
We can become more self-reliant by funding a diverse set of small businesses and local supply chains.
And a local currency, the Malvern pound, would shift economic activity out of the globalised economy and into a local economy on which we could all come to rely.
A currency that must be spent locally boosts local economic activity by retaining money in the area.
Known as the multiplier effect, the Malvern pound would be spent repeatedly only within the local economy.
With sterling, much of the wealth spent in the area is soon lost to big international business, remote shareholders and the boom–bust financial services industry.
A Malvern pound would deepen and diversify connections between local business people and all the citizens of the region – essential to building a sustainable regional economy and providing high quality employment – building a sense of community and shared purpose.
And if local councils accepted the Malvern pound in payment of taxes, this would immediately underwrite the value of the currency and increase its credibility.
Local currency systems can inject new money into a region, so increasing the capacity to generate jobs and fund public services.
A Malvern pound could be directed toward public works, to fund new businesses, generate donations for local schools, non-profits and social services, or to help a community reduce inequities in income and wealth.
The people of Malvern have a strong sense of identity and civic pride and our independent businesses are crucial to that community identity.
A Malvern pound could help us to support them and enable Malvern to become truly self-reliant.