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WIR bank devolved currency: working since 1929

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  • WIR bank devolved currency: working since 1929

    The WIR Bank, formerly the Swiss Economic Circle (GER: Wirtschaftsring-Genossenschaft), or WIR, is an independent complementary currency system in Switzerland that serves small and medium-sized businesses. It exists only as a bookkeeping system, with no scrip, to facilitate transactions.
    WIR was founded in 1934 by businessmen Werner Zimmermann and Paul Enz as a result of currency shortages after the stock market crash of 1929. Both Zimmermann and Enz had been influenced by German libertarian economist Silvio Gesell[1]; however, the WIR Bank renounced Gesell's "free money" theory in 1952, opening the door to monetary interest.[2]
    "WIR" is both an abbreviation of Wirtschaftsring and the word for "we" in German, reminding participants that the economic circle is also a community.[3] According to the cooperative's statutes, "Its purpose is to encourage participating members to put their buying power at each other's disposal and keep it circulating within their ranks, thereby providing members with additional sales volume."
    Although WIR started with only 16 members, today it has grown to include 62,000 - among whom is traded approximately CHF 1.65 billion annually (as of 2004).[4] The available Money supply (currency code CHW) was 839 million equivalent Swiss Francs (as of 2005). [5]
    The WIR bank is a not for profit bank. It serves the interest of the clients, not the bank itself. It is a very stable system, not prone to failure as the current banking system is. It remains fully operational even in times of general economic crisis. WIR may have contributed to the remarkable stability of the Swiss economy, as it dampens downturns in the business cycle.[6]

    A pretty good idea, no?
    It's Economics vs Thermodynamics. Thermodynamics wins.

  • #2
    Re: WIR bank devolved currency: working since 1929

    This has been talked about.

    It is a fine way to keep people spending, but is not very good for encouraging saving.

    If all currency was the same as this 'depreciating' currency, savings rate would go to zero - although more likely people would just start using gold/silver.

    The thing to keep in mind is that paper/fiat money is not a historical accident nor an evil plot. It is a logical evolution based on the idea of representation of value - one which ends badly like lemmings and cliffs, but one which, like Pandora's box, is already released.