A Town That Makes its Own Money

If you don’t have even one U.S. dollar on you, or a credit card or a debit card, there is a place with another purchase option. In Great Barrington, Massachusetts, you can open your wallet and pull out your BerkShares. Perhaps, you’ll use the bill with Norman Rockwell’s face on it. It’s worth 50 BerkShares.

This is not funny money. It works. Okay, it’s true that at one point you will have had to purchase BerkShares with U.S. dollars, but once you have them you are a favored customer in many Great Barrington establishments. Also, If you pay with BerkShares you’ll be spending 10% less. A BerkShare is worth 90 cents but the rate of exchange is one to one. For example, if you buy a cup of coffee for $1 and you pay with 1 BerkShare, you’ll actually have spent only 90 cents.

The idea behind this local currency is to create purchasing power with pride. Instead of trotting over to a franchise, shop locally. So far there are 844,000 BerkShares circulating and the system is not even a year old.