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Greece's New Currency

Greece is on its second bailout, with the possibility of a third bailout looming. The Guardian reports on a man in Greece who received groceries and tax services this month without spending a euro:

In return for his expert labour [as an electrician], Mavridis received a number of Local Alternative Units (known as tems in Greek) in his online network account. In return for the eggs, olive oil, tax advice and the rest, he transferred tems into other people’s accounts.

Tems is an alternative currency created by the Exchange and Solidarity Network. All transactions are recorded electronically via the network’s website. To avoid debt or hoarding, Tems has a debt floor of 300 units, and a ceiling of 1,200. Like time banks, it’s not a barter system as there’s a medium of exchange. However, the group does plan on opening a barter market in the following months.

The article implies that the Greek government is in support of such currency innovations:

The Greek parliament recently passed a law encouraging “alternative forms of entrepreneurship and local development”, including exchange networks such as Volos’s, giving them official non-profit status for tax purposes.

Choupis said there was a new mood abroad in Greece, a determination to “move beyond anger to creativity.”