Scientific article

Complementary currencies: what opportunities for sustainable consumption in times of crisis and beyond?

ContributorsSahakian, Marlyneorcid
Published inSustainability: Science, Practice and Policy, vol. 10, no. 1, p. 4-13
Publication date2014

This article explores contemporary forms of social and solidarity-based economies, commonly known in French as économie sociale et solidaire (ESS). In English-speaking countries, these activities are part of what is being called the human or people-centered economy, or new economics—a growing area of research, policy and practice that is highly relevant to sustainable consumption studies. This article focuses on complementary currencies, or more specifically community currencies, as one aspect of ESS and as illustrated through case studies from Argentina, Japan, and Switzerland. The main research question is how community currencies might live up to ESS guiding principles and help transitions toward more sustainable consumption. Historical, empirical, and theoretical perspectives are discussed. One conclusion is that ESS and complementary currencies tend to make their value system explicit, placing people above profit for example, while “sustainability” continues to struggle with the compatibility of economic growth with social equity and environmental limits. While complementary currencies may not be a magic wand toward sustainable consumption, they are certainly a useful walking stick for steps in the direction of more sustainable pathways.

  • Market economy
  • Social values
  • Case studies
  • Community involvement
  • Citizenship
  • Financial management
Citation (ISO format)
SAHAKIAN, Marlyne. Complementary currencies: what opportunities for sustainable consumption in times of crisis and beyond? In: Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy, 2014, vol. 10, n° 1, p. 4–13. doi: 10.1080/15487733.2014.11908121
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1548-7733

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