The Totnes pound is an alternative local currency<ref>"The town already has its own currency, the Totnes pound" in "Devon town bids for eco status (retrieved 20 June 2008)</ref>, intended to support the local economy of Totnes, a town in Devon, UK.
The initiative is part of the Transition Towns concept, of which Totnes is a pioneer. This means that it is "a community in a process of imagining and creating a future that addresses the twin challenges of diminishing oil and gas supplies and climate change, and creates the kind of community that we would all want to be part of"<ref>Transition Town Totnes, April 2008</ref>.
The Totnes Pound was launched as an initiative of Transition Town Totnes Economics and Livelihoods group in March 2007<ref name="Project">The Totnes Pound Project, April 2008</ref>. The group argues that "Economic localisation is considered to be a key aspect of the transition process, and local currency systems provide the opportunity to strengthen the local economy whilst preventing money from leaking out"<ref name="Project"/>. Using Totnes pounds basically is a visible ways of showing that you support the local economy and local businesses.
The anticipated benefits of the Totnes Pound<ref name="Project"/> are:
- To build resilience in the local economy by keeping money circulating in the community and building new relationships
- To get people thinking and talking about how they spend their money
- To encourage more local trade and thus reduce food and trade miles
- To encourage tourists to use local businesses
Value and Usage
A Totnes Pound is equal to one pound sterling and is backed by sterling held in a bank account. It can only be used locally. As per September 2008, about 70 business in Totnes were accepting the Totnes Pound <ref>Totnes Pound Project - How It Works</ref>. It started with only 18 business involved. One Totnes Pound is equal to one Pound Sterling but the buy rate is 5% higher.
Origins of the idea
The idea for the Totnes pound originated with Rob Hopkins whilst at the Schumacher College, during a presentation of alternative economists Bernard Lietaer <ref>The Transition Handbook</ref>. Two things were very important, according to Lietaer. Firstly, relocalisation is only possible with both the national and a local currency. Secondly, any such currency must be designed from the outset so that (local) businesses will use it.
- Totnespound home
- "They don't just shop local in Totnes - they have their very own currency" - The Independent - 1 May 2008 (accessed 20 June 2008)
- This article is based on text from Wikipedia, available under the GFDL.