Either Orlov betrays ignorance of the vast literature on community currency or I betray a pathetic inability to comprehend his argument–namely, that the notion that “local/alternative currencies can help” is a “misleading idea”. The examples he talks about refer to conventional money (legal tender)-money that is created by debt. It is precisely because this type of money makes us (when we use it) “cede power to” or “empower” those who create it (the banks) that alternative/community currencies were invented and in fact are now being productively used worldwide. Or, is Orlov arguing that there is no difference between conventional currency (the dollar or Euro or yen) and community currency (LETS, timebanks, Ithaca dollars, etc)? But if Orlov thinks so, he must explain and prove it–instead of just asserting it by “argumentum ad autoritatem” (it is true because I say so). It is a pity that such an important topic– alternative/local/community currency–involving a huge volume of literature (in the internet as well as in journals, magazines and books) is reduced to a small misleading paragraph of assertions ad autoritatem by Orlov. This paragraph mars Orlov’s otherswise insightful essay. It stands out as a sore thumb in the book. I suggest that this portion “Misleading Idea No.1″ be rewritten by Orlov–to do justice to the theme of the book and to be consistent with the rest of the book’s excellent essays.
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