Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Boston Currency for fuller and sustainable employment?

Boston has suffered lately along with the nation and the world, as we adapt to financial recession. It seems clear that financial stimulus is the next step,, but Washington, D.C. and the state of Massachusetts seem unable or unwilling to step in.

Since Boston has property tax authority, perhaps there is a way for Boston government to stimulate the local economy in a way which ensures the return to the locale of the resulting benefit. I'm thinking of a municipal currency redeemable for Boston property taxes as they come due in the future. These notes would be accepted by Boston, and perhaps other participating municipalities here, toward yearly property accessments. Boston would print them now for acceptance in the coming years.

There are a number of ways they might be used. Boston could use them to pay otherwise furloughed state employees, and to pay otherwise-out-of-work contractors to do work. These bills would be exchangable, and people could exchange them, with Boston property owners accepting them as rent payments, with the incentive that they could pay future property taxes with them.

Another way to use these bills would be to arrange that all unions, employees and contractors currently used by Boston accept part of their payments in these bills.

Either of these would accomplish two things: It would employ those Bostonians otherwise unemployed, ( it would tend to steer its economic activity eventually toward involvement of Boston tenants and property owners ). It would also, as these bills flowed through the economy, draw attention to those economic opportunities that 'close the local loop'.

For example, off Boston are many mackerel, which used to be a staple, and still are in Europe. Underutilized locally now, these plentiful fish could be caught with local labor and eaten in town. Sailing sloops called 'Boston Hookers' used to sail out of our harbor to hook these, for sale on our piers, and could again, without imported oil use , if fresh mackerel were to find their earlier favor here.

As a flavorful oil-rich fish, mackerel's flesh probably would supply vitamin D to us, a vitamin who's health impacts have been lately researched, and which could help us, especially those of us with more pigment in our skin, in these long winters, to get the nutrition we need, as the sun with which our skin might make vitamin D is dim inn winter, and on the other side of our warm winter clothes.

It would take a business-labor-government-civil alliance to establish such a municipal currency, but there's a chance it could help us who most need help now, while helping in the longer term to draw attention and business to our options for local self reliance.

Brian Cady

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