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2014/06 - Alternative economies

We looked at a range of 'alternative' ways of doing things economically, instead of 'traditional' banking, these included:
  • Credit unionsSheffield Credit Union (previously had 'branches' in St Barts & Upperthorpe Library; but is now centralised, near Ponds Forge). Various types of loan. Carefully check you can afford to repay the loan. Low interest rates. Have to save, before you can take out a loan. Limited amounts of loans at first. A way of encouraging savings. Profits go back to people who have money invested. Now can get cards that allow people to take cash out of cash machines.
    Recently they have become much less willing to give out loans - will this mean that more people turn to payday loans instead?
  • Shared interest - investors' money is offered out as ethical loans to fair trade organisations around the world. Very little financial return on investments, but can expect a 'social' return in terms of the benefits to those who are able to take out the loans
  • Local community Share offers - e.g. Portland Works, Sheffield Renewables - for people who are interested in investing in their local communities, rather than expecting to get a large financial return on their investment
  • Neighbours can help - matching up people in a local area who need help with different tasks with people who can offer that help
  • Timebuilders - Encourages volunteers to step forward by offering rewards in return for time spent volunteering. Can be a great way for new people to get started with volunteering, but can also lead to 'clock watchers', who are just there to get their time credits.
  • LETS (Local Exchange Trading Systems) - including Sheffield LETS allows people to trade in 'STONES' instead of cash. Members get a catalogue of services offered by other people in the scheme and spend/earn STONEs to pay for them. Similar, in some ways, to Timebuilders, but with more of an emphasis on one-to-one help, rather than volunteering at existing projects.
  • Positive Money - proposing an alternative way of running the banking system, to reduce instability and make it work for the majority, instead of the minority.
  • Sharing economy - most things sit idle most of the time, so why not share them with others? e.g. Air BnB, Uber. Change in attitude among young people - many prefer to share instead of buying stuff (before 2nd World War, most of the economy was a sharing economy, so we are heading back to that). e.g. sharing lawn mowers with neighbours, passing on children’s clothes. HARC will take used suits and pass on clothes to others.Change of mindset, look to borrow instead of buying. Certain vulnerability in lending / borrowing - what if it gets broken?
So, as simple actions, could you ...