In a blow to Big Bankers, a small Washington town of Tenino has started minting its own wooden currency amidst the Coronavirus crisis. By having its own local currency Tenino wants to keep the money in the community.
As the United States government suffers from losses incurred due to the coronavirus crisis; the local government of towns like Tenino in the state of Washington are coming up with innovate, revolutionary methods to combat and mitigate the impact of the pandemic. They have proposed a unique solution to enable its residents to fulfil their needs and to withstand and overcome their financial urgencies.
It was in a town meeting that Wayne Fournier, the mayor of Tenino, Washington was motivated to implement a big idea, that has so much prospect. Tenino started printing its own $25 local currency made of wood, reported Reuters. The currency has the name of the town, ‘Tenino’ superimposed on the image of a bat with the words “COVID relief” accompanied with the Latin phrase “Habemus autem sub potestate” in cursive, which suggests, “We have it under control.”
Fournier said that he had plans for creating new jobs in Tenino. But the lockdown bought everything to a standstill. A lot of start-ups and businesses have already announced that they are not going to reopen, and the others are seeking financial help and support.
The town of Tenino is also impoverished as compared to rest of the Washington State. There is a higher rate of poor people, says Fournier. Tenino needs to come up with a solution to combat the problems it is going through.
Global productive capacity has shrunk significantly as a consequence of the lockdown. Even important things like personal protective equipment and ventilators are in short supply just because people are not able to work due of the current outbreak.
Residents of Tenino, who are below the poverty line receive money from the $10000 fund; when they apply for it. If approved, they are given Tenino’s wooden local currency which are worth $25 each. Every resident can acquire 12 wooden notes or $300 on a monthly basis.
There are certain restrictions on how the residents can spend the money. The money cannot be used to buy lottery tickets, cigarettes and alcohol because the currency is designed to serve essential needs of food, medicine, education and daycare.
Practically all business in Tenino accept the wooden notes. And to turn these notes into cash they have to submit Redemption Requests.
The reason for the implementation of this wooden currency is simply that; by having its own local currency Tenino wants to keep the money in the community.
The wooden currency can revitalize the local economy as it did during December 1931, when Tenino’s only bank shop closed. Don Major, a local newspaper publisher put across the brilliant idea – “With no bank, Tenino could make its own local currency”. Then Major with other officials who agreed to do so minted notes on Sitka spruce.
Fourier puts it as, “It went 1930s viral”. Money now really grows on trees!
Business started paying with these wooden local currencies and flourished. Susan Witt says, “It is a very grim time for small businesses. Many won’t survive.” She has the opinion that a currency managed locally is an excellent choice to address local needs.
Fournier is optimistic, he says “We will run out this program. And then we will look into having our own city currency.”
Many benefits of this innovative idea are already being leveraged; this probably provides a hint of the unforeseen future. It is still too soon to know what this idea brings and serves for.
Fournier views this as a step to overcome the unprecedented losses and overcome the anticipated losses happening due to crisis.
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