Truly Revolutionary: Greek city starts “rebel” barter economy and alternative currency

“You have much more than your bank account says. You have your mind and your hands.”

A return to barter systems
Wiki image

Silver Underground

You won’t likely see it headlining The Drudge Report, making its rounds in talk radio, or featured for discussion on cable news panels, but the October 1st New York Times story covering the emergence of a barter, trade, and alternative currency economy in Greece is one of the most important stories of our day.

The Silver Circle Movie is a story about a band of rebels who vow to take back their freedom amid the economic and political ruins of a catastrophic monetary collapse, but our fictional movie’s predictions for America’s not-so-distant future are the real world economic realities in Greece right now, and the New York Times piece tells the story of real-life rebels taking their future, their prosperity, and their economic freedom back into their own hands, bucking the Eurozone’s fiat monetary system in favor of providing real value in exchange for real value:

“The first time he bought eggs, milk and jam at an outdoor market using not euros but an informal barter currency, Theodoros Mavridis, an unemployed electrician, was thrilled. 

‘I felt liberated, I felt free for the first time,” Mr. Mavridis said in a recent interview at a cafe in this port city in central Greece. “I instinctively reached into my pocket, but there was no need to.’ 

Mr. Mavridis is a co-founder of a growing network here in Volos that uses a so-called Local Alternative Unit, or TEM in Greek, to exchange goods and services — language classes, baby-sitting, computer support, home-cooked meals — and to receive discounts at some local businesses.”

In Greece today, the real rebels aren’t the thousands of protesters angry at the government’s austerity measures, but these few honest, rugged souls who are flourishing on the merits of their own hard work, innovation, and cooperation with others in their local community. These emerging barter and alternative currency networks are happening at the intersection of the most stalwart conservative values and the most ardent hippie ideals:

“Part alternative currency, part barter system, part open-air market, the Volos network has grown exponentially in the past year, from 50 to 400 members. It is one of several such groups cropping up around the country, as Greeks squeezed by large wage cuts, tax increases and growing fears about whether they will continue to use the euro have looked for creative ways to cope with a radically changing economic landscape.”

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