12 Community economies

A market economy is an economy based on the power of mass production and division of labour in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system set by supply and demand. Market economies are the driving force of capitalism.

The objection to a market economy is that it is alleged to be inefficient at supplying the community with what matters most to most, a harmony of interests. This is because engaging in market competition fosters competitiveness and the growth of narrowly self-interested desires. It prompted John Stuart Mill to say the "foundation of modern life as at present constituted" is "grounded on opposition of interests, not harmony of interests, and under it every one is required to find his place by a struggle, by pushing others back or being pushed back by them."

Economic life so arranged is "the parent of envy, hatred, and all uncharitableness; it makes every one the natural enemy of all others who cross his path, and every one's path is constantly liable to be crossed."

Politicians have attempted to reduce the political dimension of life to the provision of material goods and services. In reaction to this new dependency relationship with government, individuals have abandoned traditional community institutions for guidance or funlfillment.. However, many of the most important needs of the community cannot be provided by government action, including a happy family life and a stable professional career. In the age government budget deficits that are out of control, it is clear that political agents are increasing incapable of providing promised material wants. The disaffection emerging from unmet expectations introduces a self-generating cycle whereby the demand for government interventions creates new distortions in the economy or society, which in turn creates a new round of demand for public sector action, which generates new distortions, which generates new demands for government intervention, ad nauseuam.

To many, the solution to the issue of supplying what matters to most of us when we are reflecting on the kind of person we might want to be and the form of society we might like to live in, is to have government support to engage in a community market without competitiveness and growth in narrowly self-interested desires. The solution is to launch a community currency.

A community currency, in its common usage, is a currency not backed by a national government (and not necessarily legal tender) , and intended to trade only in a small area. It is a tool of fiscal localism. Local moneys can raise awareness of the state of the local economy, especially among those who may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable with traditional bartering. These currencies are also referred to as community currency, and are a form of alternative currency or complementary currency. They encompass a wide range of forms, both physically and financially, and often are associated with a particular economic discourse. One such discourse is a time bank. Time banking is a way for people to come together as a community to help others and help themselves at the same time. Participants 'deposit' their time in the bank by giving practical help and support to others and are able to 'withdraw' their time when they need something done themselves.