Totnes Pound

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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.

Intended benefits

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.

External links


This article is based on text from Wikipedia, available under the GFDL.
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