This article discusses the introduction of another currency system called TEM, in Volos, Greece. Considering the financial instability of the euro, I feel that we should explain this possibility to everyone and, more importantly, it should be of interest to your readers.
In Volos, a small town in Greece, there is a community that no longer pays for items with money. While Greece is in deep economic debt, people in Volos have been able to fall back on a different system. With a network of about 900 people, the inhabitants do not use the euro but exchange items to purchase goods.
After five years of recession and with a 21 percent unemployment rate they introduced an exchange system, called TEM , a few months ago. The system is based online and once people sign up for a TEM network account, they can offer their goods and services. They can also purchase items and services from other people. Food, electronics and clothes: everything can be bought with TEM. Just like with the normal system you will gain credit when providing goods and you will lose credit when purchasing goods. In theory, one TEM is about the equivalent to one euro/dollar.
Inhabitants of Volos enjoy using the system, as it provides them with greater financial stability and purchasing power during the dark days of economic crises and Greece’s worst recession in modern history. Although the community is very happy about the system, it is far from sure if TEM will become the replacement for the Euro in Greece. Mayor Panos Skotiniotis also states that the euro does not have to fear for TEM. He supports the system as a supplement to the euro but not as a replacement because he wants to remain in the single currency. Still the alternative currency users are growing in the community and there are even businesses depending on it.
There are more than a dozen systems like TEM in Greece. The markets in Volos are busy with people who trade and barter without using the euro. Most people think it’s liberating. When the Euro was introduced in 2002 in Germany other means of exchange were also introduced. Nowadays, more than twenty pay systems exist in Germany, one of which is the Chiemgauer. The Chiemgauer is intended to create employment, promote non-profit work, promote the environment and the stimulation of the local economy.
Also in the United States there are a number of alternative currencies like Berk Shares in Western Massachusetts, Cheers in Detroit, the Bay Area Community exchange, Ithaca Hours in New York and Timebank in California. In the American state of Utah they use precious metals like silver and gold coins as legal tender.