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The Bristol Pound: A Tool for Localisation?

Marshall, AP and O'Neill, DW (2018) The Bristol Pound: A Tool for Localisation? Ecological Economics, 146. pp. 273-281. ISSN 0921-8009

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Abstract

The Bristol Pound is not the first convertible local currency (CLC) to circulate regionally, to be administered by a credit union, or to be supported by a local council. However, it is the first to possess all three of these attributes simultaneously. For this reason, the Bristol Pound has been heralded by some as marking a new era for local currency-driven localisation. To explore the Bristol Pound's impact on localisation, 27 semi-structured interviews were conducted with businesses and other Bristol Pound stakeholders. Economists were also interviewed to gain insights into the barriers to localisation and the likely impact of a CLC on these barriers. Overall, our findings suggest that the Bristol Pound is not driving localisation. Many of the key barriers were found to be political/institutional in nature (e.g. support for free trade, the free movement of capital, the power of global corporations, and the expansionary logic of capitalism). Such barriers are unlikely to be influenced by a CLC. We therefore suggest that those pursuing localisation should engage in a more active agenda that aims to change government policy and institutions to support an equitable, sustainable economy.

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