Where there is a will there is a way

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

TEM - an alternative value system is tried by a community in Greece.

From "Making Money", a feature aired on Dateline (Australia's longest running current affairs program), SBS TV.

"TEM stands for Τοπική Εναλλακτική Μονάδα, which translates as Alternative Local Unit." - quote from Dateline's website
In this time of difficulty in Greece is experiencing with its money system failing, the city of Volos has established its own revolutionary trading system called "TEM". Basically, the people can trade any good or service - such as olive oil, electrical repair - and receive TEM, which is transferred online. Members advertise their goods and services online. Because there is a cap on how much TEM you can accumulate (no more than 1200 TEM), the profit motive is controlled. There are TEM markets where people can trade, and get food. In the documentary I saw about it on Dateline, they said there was no bad feeling at the market - people were just trading in good spirit. People felt liberated - even if they were unemployed, or their salary has been reduced, as long as they have something to contribute, even eggs - they can buy food.

Yiannis Grigoriou is a co-founder of the system. He says, "It's invigorating. We've got to see ourselves able to do this. Once we realize the potential of this, maybe the whole world can change."
The documentary narrates: "People often join TEM to make money. They soon discover that solidarity, not profit, is the invisible hand in this market." - ie the mechanic they interview wanted to participate in TEM to help people out of work who needed their cars to go job looking.

A lady at the market, translated: "It's as if a world of abundance has opened up. Outside there's a crisis," says a buyer. "Yes, yes..." another agrees. Another lady standing beside her says:"I buy marmalade, strawberry marmalade, yes yes. I don't have Euro, I have TEM. I am rich!"
They asked Yiannis Grigoriou how they were able to do this. "How do you start a currency from scratch? How do you start money from nothing?" He answers: "Because we believe that the creation of value, which means currency - as your question - is the right of any individual, and the right of a community."

The feature's narrative continues on, still at the TEM market: "This is still capitalism, but with a kinder face." Man at a market booth, translated: "One thing I'll say that is one day's work in here, is one week's work outside. If that says something. Here people buy much more easily. And they help and support each other without any feeling of negativity."More on this at http://www.sbs.com.au/dateline/story/about/id/601479/n/Making-Money

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