A Study Retreat for Activists and Scholars
The Villarceaux Monetary Forum 2014 : The challenge of “scaling-up”
27-29th of June, 2014, Domaine de Villarceaux (France)
The Villarceaux Monetary Forums are conceived as a space for dialogue between researchers and practitioners in the realm of community and complementary currencies, who study and/or implement these mechanisms, and promote currency’s role as a tool for social transformation.
Some 35 participants gather to discuss the significance and viability of the monetary projects that will be presented, as well as practical approaches, obstacles to be avoid, difficulties encountered, and the transformative potential of these mechanisms.
The 2014 Forum was devoted to the question of scaling up, which can be posed in two ways: in relation to a specific currency project, with all the practical issues this implies, such as the projects’ development, its internal dynamic, and its recognition by authority; but also, more generally, in relation to the community and complementary currency movement as a whole.
Many of the project’s practitioners, as well as the scholars who support them, seek profound social and economic transformation—whether this be defined as a shift to a territorial economy, the ecological transition, social inclusion, or the fight against poverty—and see currency as a lever of change. Along the way, these actors encounter practical and political difficulties, relating to the mechanism’s viability, public confidence, recognition, and so on.
Discussions with the actors and scholars interested in these issues have made it possible to identify three of the main stakes:
1) Building and expanding the sphere of exchange: What kinds of resources can enter the exchange circuit, and how? How are they to be identified, integrated, and valued? What practical difficulties are encountered? Is the current sphere of exchange viable?
2) Explaining the project to users and encouraging use: community and complementary currencies depend heavily on the personal involvement of project activists. How can the circle of users be expanded? How are conflicts related to the managing of the mechanism handled?
3) Negotiating recognition with the authorities: project practitioners must “negotiate” their projects with a wide range of actors: local government, public institutions, local associations, social and solidarity economics networks—and as high up as monetary authorities, who are increasingly interested in these mechanisms. What arguments can be used to “justify” these currencies at each level? As a response to the economic crisis? As a tool for local development and prosperity? And how is one to speak of monetary creation, given official skepticism about this matter?
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University - The Hague/Rotterdam -Netherlands
for Tunisia Presidence on social innovation - Project Time Banking
Money Research Group (Berlin)
East Anglia - UK
Recherche et Développement (IRD) - France
Nazionale Banche del Tempo)
générale du réseau Accorderie France Currency
Accorderie - France (Paris)
Brixton Pound -
van der Wekken,
- France (Romans sur Isère)
Centre d’études africaines, EHESS
2 - France
Europe/FMDV/Monnaies en Débat