Only our limited idea of money is keeping us poor. David Boyle introduces us to alternative cash and people who can conjure money – that is, spending power – out of nothing. Until recently, the growth of alternative cash had been the province of big business: phone cards, stamps, air miles and Tesco’s clubcard points all have purchasing power, yet are not cash as we know it. Now, locally created money systems like ‘time dollars’, ‘Womanshare’ and ‘Ithaca hours’ are being invented by communities for communities.
With clarity and great humour, Boyle tells the story of this extraordinary revolution: he travels to the USA to visit the people behind local money systems; relates their vision of the future; and describes how to set up your own currency. This is no dry theoretical tome: Boyle writes about his subject in a way that is concrete, illuminating, often very funny and always highly readable.
This paperback edition includes a new epilogue with an update on the latest alternative currency ideas: ‘You just have to cast doubt on the real existence of the money markets and they could just shrivel away. Anything could happen.’
A revolution is underway now: this book tells the story of its leaders and the ideas that inspired them.
David Boyle is the author of Blondel’s Song: The Capture, Imprisonment and Ransom of Richard the Lionheart, and a series of books about history, social change and the future. His book Authenticity: Brands, Fakes, Spin and the Lust for Real Life helped put the search for authenticity on the agenda as a social phenomenon. The Tyranny of Numbers and The Sum of Our Discontent predicted the backlash against the government’s target culture. Funny Money launched the time banks movement in the UK.
David is an associate of the new economics foundation, the pioneering think-tank in London, and has been at the heart of the effort to introduce time banks to Britain as a critical element of public service reform - since when the movement has grown to more than 100 projects in the UK.
He is also the founder of the London Time Bank network and co-founder of Time Banks UK. He writes about the future of volunteering, cities and business.
His work on the future of money has also been covered in books and pamphlets like Why London Needs its own Currency (nef, 2000), Virtual Currencies (Financial Times, 2000), The Money Changers: Currency reform from Aristotle to e-cash (Earthscan, 2002) and The Little Money Book (Alastair Sawday, 2003).
He has written for many national newspapers and magazines, and edited a range of magazines including Town & Country Planning and Liberal Democrat News. He is the editor of Radical Economics.
He lives in Crystal Palace, in south London, with Sarah and Robin (two years old). He is a member of the Federal Policy Committee of the Liberal Democrats and he stood for Parliament in Regents Park and Kensington North in 2001.