Paper Money

Paris citizens plan local notes to complement euro

A local currency — a concept used elsewhere in France as shown by these notes — is being developed for Paris, with an aim to boost local commerce.

Images courtesy of Une Monnaie pour Paris.

The rally in the value of the euro is now more than a year old. After 16 years as a circulating currency, it is the official currency of 19 countries, and stands second only to the U.S. dollar in international importance.

But the euro alone does not seem to be enough for France. The magazine Paris Worldwide reports that in addition to the euro, 44 local currencies now circulate in France, and Paris will soon have its own, as well. As with most local currencies, its purpose is to boost local commerce.

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The city government is supporting an organization, Une Monnaie pour Paris (Money for Paris) to experiment with a local currency in the eastern part of the city early this year. Users of the newly created money will need to create an account, after which they will be able to pay for purchases either with a card or special currency.

This French-only website has adopted the time-tested “think global, act local” motto as its tag line, and offers a comprehensive look at the program. The group was founded on March 29, 2016, and refers to itself as a group of citizens who love Paris. After two years of organization and development, they have scheduled a launch party for May 11 to 13 in Paris.

The new currency is meant as a complement to the euro, not a replacement. The group defines four objectives for the currency: (1) to regain control of the economy, (2) to make the economy more sustainable, (3) to rebalance and preserve the local identity, and (4) to serve as a social connection and provide equity in the economy. Its advantage, they claim, is that the use of a local currency will be insurance for Parisians that the money spent will lead to the opening of new local markets. It will not be able to leave the city and disappear in tax havens or be used to pay nonlocal companies.

The group is also aware of the monetary history of France. It specifically says that this is not a return to the Middle Ages when cities issued their own money. The local currencies will have a “reserve fund” of 100 percent of the currency in circulation, where for each 1 unit of local currency created, one euro must be in a fund guaranteed by a banking institution.

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