Patrycja Konieczna
Wrocław University of Economics, ul. Nowowiejska 3, 58-500 Jelenia Góra, Poland

2nd International Scientific Conference on Recent Advances in Information Technology, Tourism, Economics, Management and Agriculture – ITEMA 2018 – Graz, Austria, November 8, 2018, CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS published by the Association of Economists and Managers of the Balkans, Belgrade, Serbia; ISBN 978-86-80194-13-4


Alternative currencies, including local currencies, have recently gained enormous popularity. The oldest local currency is the Austrian currency Wörgl, created in 1932, the main feature of which was the loss of value by 1% in the absence of its use. Unfortunately, the Central Bank of Austria closed the project a year later; however, the rise of Wörgl gave an impulse to create more local currency systems. In 1934, the WIR project was launched in Switzerland (from German “we”), it is the oldest local currency still functioning today. Currently, there are about 5,000 local currencies of various types around the world, and new ones are constantly arriving, but this article will examine, due to their specificity, only local currency systems in German-speaking countries.

The purpose of this paper is to identify the similarities and differences between selected local currencies in German-speaking regions. The functioning of local currency systems, prerequisites for the creation of such systems and causes for the fall of some of them will be analyzed. The author will identify the reasons for impulses to create local currencies in these regions and will look for the answer to the question: “Why did local currencies appear in the German-speaking countries as one of the first in the world?”.

The territorial range includes the following countries: Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg. The time range will cover the years 1932-2017. The subject of research will be selected systems of local currencies. The article is a descriptive analysis based on studies of mainly English-language literature, Community Currencies in Action (CCIA) reports, selected local currencies websites, and financial law studies. The comparative method was used to examine the similarities and differences in the functioning of local currencies in German-speaking countries.

The conducted research has shown that local currencies largely support the development of regions, encourage entrepreneurship and strengthen the position of enterprises, mainly the SME sector. Local currency systems do not only affect the local market, but also have an influence on the development of the economy of the whole country. The research shows that local currencies have become the simplest chance for selected regions to reduce unemployment, increase investment attractiveness, and sometimes even eliminate social unrest and petty crime.

Key words

financial market, money, local currencies

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