Greeks Flock to Grassroots Alternative Currencies in Affront to Euro Debt Slavery

Necessity is the mother of invention.

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When Christos Papaioannou noticed his car needed new tires, the Greek computer engineer bought them with euros—but used an alternative currency, called TEM, to pay his mechanic for the labor. 

His country has avoided a catastrophic exit from the common currency, at least for now. But a small but growing number of cash-strapped Greeks, who are still grappling with strict money-withdrawal limits, have found another route in TEM and other unconventional payment systems like it. 

Before then, Ms. Sotiropoulou said she was only aware of two such programs. No official record of the number of alternative currencies and local bartering systems appears to exist in Greece. But according to an Athens-based grass roots organization called Omikron Project, there are now more than 80 such programs, double the number in 2013. They vary in size, from dozens of members to thousands.

– From the Wall Street Journal article: Alternative Currencies Flourish in Greece as Euros Are Harder to Come by

Hundreds of millions of people throughout the Western world are being forced to admit an obvious, yet uncomfortable reality. Democracy is dead. Your vote and your voice doesn’t matter. Not at all.

No group of people understand this as intimately as the Greeks. They voted for one thing, got something else, and in the process were unceremoniously reminded of their political irrelevance. The Greeks are now in a position to show the rest of us how it’s done. Communities need to take matters into their own hands and tackle challenges at the grassroots level. Nowhere is this more impactful and necessary than in the monetary realm, and some Greeks are already leading the charge.

From the Wall Street Journal:

When Christos Papaioannou noticed his car needed new tires, the Greek computer engineer bought them with euros—but used an alternative currency, called TEM, to pay his mechanic for the labor. 

His country has avoided a catastrophic exit from the common currency, at least for now. But a small but growing number of cash-strapped Greeks, who are still grappling with strict money-withdrawal limits, have found another route in TEM and other unconventional payment systems like it. 

“Money is sparse right now, but people still have the same skills and knowledge they had before the crisis,” said Mr. Papaioannou, part of a cooperative that founded TEM in the port city of Volos and one of nearly 1,000 registered users of the alternate currency there.

“Money is sparse right now, but people still have the same skills and knowledge they had before the crisis.”

Read that line over and over and over again until you realize how simple, elegant and accurate it is.

TEM—a sophisticated form of barter whose name is the Greek acronym for Local Alternative Unit—was founded in 2010 in the early months of Greece’s debt crisis with less than a dozen members. Now it includes dozens of participating local businesses that use the system to sell goods and services, including prepared food, haircuts, doctor visits, or even for renting an apartment.

It is a localized version of what Greece might have to turn to if a tentative bailout agreement reached this week is derailed, or ultimately fails. Before his resignation last month, former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis floated the idea of setting up a parallel-currency system based on IOUs in the event that Greece could no longer stay afloat using euros. Without a rescue, the idea of using IOUs is seen as the country’s most likely alternative. 

Before then, Ms. Sotiropoulou said she was only aware of two such programs. No official record of the number of alternative currencies and local bartering systems appears to exist in Greece. But according to an Athens-based grass roots organization called Omikron Project, there are now more than 80 such programs, double the number in 2013. They vary in size, from dozens of members to thousands.

“The problems that existed have only gotten worse, and the new deal is going to create problems of its own that will deepen the crisis in certain areas,” said Mehran Khalili, one of the founders of Omikron. “The logical response is to create groups to react to that and fill those gaps that are going to exist because of the unsustainable situation that Greece has found itself in.

Experts say TEM and other local currencies work best side-by-side with the euro, not as a replacement. 

“Experts” say. Yeah, the same so-called “experts” who destroyed the world economy and turned the planet into a thieving oligarchy. I think I’ve had enough “expert” economic advice for one lifetime.

One notable example of alternative currencies used during a crisis was in the 1930s during the Great Depression, when the Austrian town of Wörgl decided to fight the economic downturn by printing its own money. Economists called the result a miracle: Employment boomed, while inflation remained subdued. During the economic depression that struck Argentina in 1998 and lasted till 2002, people formed barter networks and several provinces introduced their own currencies.

The alternate currencies have their limitations: The use of TEM, for example is restricted to those people and local businesses that choose to accept them, and won’t directly help people struggling to meet their monthly utility bills.

Maria McCarthy, a British woman who lives in Volos with her Greek husband and children, has earned and spent over 10,000 TEMs in four years by offering English and guitar lessons. She also sells secondhand clothes and other material goods in Volos’ biweekly marketplace, where almost everything besides euros are exchanged. 

Mr. Papaioannou says he has paid for renovating parts of his home as well as food and clothing with the currency, and an increasingly larger share of his computer-repair work is done through transactions with TEM.

“You’re used to a method of doing things,” he said, “and suddenly, you realize there are other ways too.”

You’ve gotta love the Greek spirit. You can knock them down, you can embarrass them, but you can’t kill their spirit. Everyone else on the planet must recognize that what is being done to Greece will be done to us all in turn. We must show totally solidarity with them against the euro-fascists.

For related articles, see:

English City of Bristol Launches its Own Local Currency

The Dissident Dad – Teaching Children to Save in a 0% World

Then of course, there’s my original Bitcoin post, from 2012:

Bitcoin: A Way to Fight Back Against the Financial Terrorists?

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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6 Comments

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  1. ok
    so why
    is no one talking about the gold and silver stackers….How are the gold hoarders doing in greeds now.

    • Because gold is just rocks. It is only a thing that can be traded for other goods and services, unless you use it for jewelry or electronics. When shit really hits the fan people just go to barter, its easier. Dont invest in gold invest in tools and then learn how to use them, you’ll eat a lot better than someone with a stack of rocks in their pocket. Even better buy a few acres and learn to farm vegetables and chickens.

  2. TimeToWakeUPAmerica

    “Because gold is just rocks.” Um… I think gold is a METAL, not a rock. It is probably true that people without silver or gold will go to barter – because, hey, they don’t have any silver or gold – which is ok – as long as they DO ACTUALLY HAVE SOMETHING ELSE, whether it be a barter-able item, or skill, TO TRADE. Silver and gold are just another item that can be used for barter. However, it also has served as REAL MONEY for thousands of years. So, when the NEW currency is introduced, it will likely be backed by either gold or a combination of gold and silver – so, those with the metal(s), will be able – at least – to trade a portion of their metal(s) for the new currency, when the new currency is rolled out. So, go ahead and invest in tools, and learn how to use them, or buy a few acres and learn to farm vegetables and chickens – and, if you are smart, pick up some ounces of silver and gold, too – as ONE ADDITIONAL OPTION for your bartering arsenal.

    • TimeToWakeUPAmerica

      8,000 YEARS OF SILVER: The precious metal’s journey from Anatolia to the modern stock exchange http://www.businessinsider.com/brief-history-of-silver-production-and-application-2015-8

    • Metals are rocks too. If you have extra money to spare, sure use gold or silver but there is absolutely no intrinsic value to either. If you were left with only ten pounds of gold, you would not be able to use it for anything. While in situations where government money is rapidly losing value some traders might decide to accept gold or silver as payment, I guarantee you that in times of scarcity people will accept food, skilled labor, or homemade booze way before they would take a shiny rock. Gold is just rocks, it was an ancient form of fiat currency, useful solely because it was easy to shape into coins and looked pretty. Gold is not real money, money is not real, money is an abstract concept that we use to ration out real goods and services. The new currency will be a baseless fiat currency just like it always is, the only reason the ancient empires used metal coins to represent their fiat currency was coins were durable and easy to make with softer metals. There is absolutely nothing special about gold or silver which sets it apart from any older forms of currency such as seashells or beads. If you have any money and are looking to invest it in some form of metal you would be better off purchasing metal conveniently shaped like guns, farm equipment, or a still.

  3. TimeToWakeUPAmerica

    The Silver Bullet And The Silver Shield
    “The BEST article written on silver in Ten Years!”
    http://dont-tread-on.me/?p=425

    Enter your first name, and email address for the full article. It’s WELL worth the read. For THOUSANDS of years, gold and silver have served as REAL money.

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