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Alternative Currency Pioneer Leaves Rich Legacy

Alternative Currency Pioneer Leaves Rich Legacy

Long before Bitcoin was a twinkle in its creator's eye Dr Margrit Kennedy was writing the framework for a world of alternative currency systems.

Dr Kennedy, a German architecture professor, passed away 2 weeks ago on December 28th with little fanfare, but her 1988 book 'Interest and Inflation Free Money' started a world movement in economic thinking including here in New Zealand.

Her tour of New Zealand in 2001 inspired the formation of the Living Economies Educational Trust which promotes building local economies through monetary literacy and the implementation of community currency systems.

Living Economies Chair, Phil Stevens said “Margrit was deeply committed to promoting money systems that work for the welfare of people and the planet.”

She stated that her work on ecological architecture in 1982 led her to the discovery that it is "virtually impossible to carry out sound ecological concepts on the scale required today, without fundamentally altering the present money system or creating new complementary currencies"

“Awareness of complementary currencies is increasing, thanks to the work of Margrit and others in the field, and there are now technological solutions to enable any community, interest group or even local government to start their own digital exchange systems.” Mr Stevens is also a server engineer for Community Forge, who provide open source software and free hosting for online currencies around the world.

Helen Dew, founding member of Living Economies commented that “Living Economies has come a long way since our modest beginning in 2002. Timebanks have spread throughout New Zealand, currently in 28 locations with many more in formation. Savings Pools, an interest-free savings and loan scheme unique to NZ are also gaining in popularity and interest is being expressed in copying the model in other parts of the world.

Given the mounting financial challenges experienced by local authorities, businesses and community organisations we fully expect rapid and widespread adoption of complementary currencies throughout New Zealand this year.”


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