US town grows money from trees during pandemic downturn

first_imgDesperate times The idea is not new: town officials last tried it during an even worse period of economic devastation, the Great Depression in the 1930s.A national scarcity of dollars at the time prompted officials in Tenino to print money on spruce bark.”The concept became 1930s viral,” Fournier said, with other communities, businesses and chambers of commerce eager to emulate the town’s example.Media attention piqued the curiosity of investors, and over the years the wooden currency became a collector’s item sold on eBay and Amazon.The contemporary version of wooden currency, like the previous edition, aims to help the town through an economic crisis that forced businesses to close nationwide.”It’s more of an advertisement for the town itself,” said Chris Hamilton, the manager of the town’s main grocery store. “It brings a lot of people into town that may not even know about Tenino and want to check this place out that makes its own money.”They might stop off here, buy an ice cream or go down the street and buy a hamburger.”Similar complementary currencies exist elsewhere in the US and Europe, aimed not at replacing the national money but supporting the local economy — a key distinction since American authorities take a dim view of anyone trying to create a bill to compete with the almighty dollar. The US Treasury declined to comment on its position regarding local currencies.Switzerland’s WIR system, created in 1934, is considered the oldest local currency in the world, used by thousands of small businesses every day. Tenino had become a ghost town, and small businesses were struggling to survive amid the coronavirus pandemic, so local officials revived an unconventional idea from the last century: printing the town’s own currency on thin planks of wood.”There was no trading, no selling and the city streets were dead. They looked the same at 3 pm as they did at 3 am,” said Wayne Fournier, mayor of the town of 1,800 people in Washington state, in the northwestern United States.”We were getting a lot of calls from businesses saying they were not sure if they would be able to hang on,” he told AFP. Topics : The currency is good only inside the town limits.center_img Response to globalization Facing an unemployment rate of 11.1 percent in June — one of the highest rates since the Great Depression — American advocates of complementary currencies say now is the time to consider them as a means to help residents.”The crisis in municipal funding is pushing creativity. Administrators are exploring this concept of issuing their own currency instead of bonds to finance their COVID response,” said Susan Witt, director of the Schumacher Center for a New Economics.The research center developed BerkShares, a currency in circulation since 2006 in the Berkshires region of western Massachusetts, which is distributed by local banks. Witt is advising several US municipalities interested in similar initiatives.Advocates of local currencies also see them as a bulwark against unbridled globalization.”People are starting to realize that we went too global, too fast and we lost our local skills,” said Chris Hewitt, founder of Hudson Valley Current, a currency in upstate New York which operates as a mutual credit system.Supporters hope to create a nationwide movement.”If that happens across the country organically, that could be something that helps save us from a serious recession,” Fournier said. The town’s museum had a printing press, so it was put to use to make $10,000 worth of bills on wooden rectangles, each nominally worth $25. They feature a portrait of President George Washington and bear a Latin inscription that translates as “We’ve got it under control.”The money is being given as a grant to locals who demonstrate they have been economically harmed by the pandemic. Each resident is allowed up to $300 per month.Known as “Tenino dollars,” “COVID dollars” or, sometimes, “Wayne dollars” after the mayor himself, the bills are traded at almost all shops in the town at a fixed rate equivalent to $1.last_img read more

Mikel Leads Under-23 Team to ‘Defy’ NFF

first_imgJAPANESE FAN’S CASH BONUSWhile millions of Nigerians are still celebrating the solitary medal (bronze) won in the football event last Saturday by the gallant Under-23 team at the just concluded Rio Olympics, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and the players led by their captain John Mikel Obi have been at daggers drawn over the money donated to the team by a generous Japanese billionaire, Katsuya Takasu.Although the NFF had officially denied the news making the rounds that it wanted to collect the $390,000 on behalf of the team which the reports stated that the players flatly rejected, it was gathered that hours after the team’s victory over Honduras, coach Samson Siasia and Obi received the money from the Japanese plastic surgeon. Earlier on Saturday, the NFF had issued a statement quoting president Amaju Pinnick as saying it was mischievous to say that the body planned to use the donation to offset the backlog of salaries owed its coaches, adding that the NFF was merely conducting an integrity test on the donation and the donor.The Japanese fan in redeeming his pledge to the team wrote out two Citibank cheques — $200,000 in favour of Siasia and $190,000 in favour of Mikel.A member of the team, who craved anonymity, disclosed last night: ”We have resolved that no matter what, we will not surrender this cash to the NFF.“Mikel has insisted all of us will get our share of the money. That we should not mind what the people in the NFF are saying.“He will make available this cash when he comes for next month’s AFCON qualifier against Tanzania in Uyo.”According to him, a meeting by the team had resolved that both players and officials would receive equal amount of the cash, while Obi had said that he would give part of his share to Siasia so that the coach’s share would be more than that of individual player in the squad.It was further gathered that the sharing formula agreed at the meeting would be a flat rate for the 22 players (18 accredited players and four alternate players) and 10 officials.A further check also revealed that the Nigerian Embassy in Tokyo, Japan had written to the Sports Ministry to confirm knowledge of the decision of the Japanese doctor to reward the U-23 team, but the Minister of Sports Solomon Dalung insisted that he would not be part of the generous gift saying: “We want to protect Nigeria’s image.”An official in the Under-23 team said that the desperation on the part of the players to share the money without the support of their principals was borne out of the fact that similar donations to the national football teams by philanthropists in the past were never released to the players.“When the Super Eagles won the African Cup of Nations in 2013, prominent Nigerians made pledges and till date nothing came out till date.“A while ago in 2005 when coach Samson Siasia led Nigeria to come second at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Holland, former Governor of Balyelsa State, late Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, donated $50,000 to the team through NFF and nothing has been heard about the money till date following the dissolution of the camp after the tournament.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more