The alter-politics of complementary currencies: The case of Sardex

A new study of the Sardex complementary currency in Sardinia by Alexandros Kioupkiolis and Paolo Dini, titled ‘The alter-politics of complementary currencies: The case of Sardex‘, has just been published in Cogent Social Sciences.  Here’s the abstract:

This paper addresses the question whether complementary currencies can help us think and practice politics in new and different ways which contribute to democratic change and civic empowerment in our times. The space created by the Sardex complementary currency circuit in Sardinia (2009-to date) seems to leave enough room for the emergence of a collective micropolitical consciousness. At the same time, the design of a technological and financial infrastructure is also an alternative political, or ‘alter-political’ choice. Both are alternative to hegemonic politics and to typical modes of mobilization and contestation. Thus, the Sardex circuit can best be understood as an alter-political combination of the bottom-up micropolitics of personal interactions within the circuit and of the politics of technology implicit in the top-down design of the technological and financial infrastructure underpinning the circuit. The Sardex experience suggests that a market that mediates the (local) real economy only and shuts out the financial economy can provide economic sustainability by supporting SMEs, supply a shield against the adverse effects of financial crises, and counteract the fetishization of money by disclosing daily its roots in social construction within a controlled environment of mutual responsibility, solidarity, and trust. We broached the Sardex currency and circuit in such terms in order to illustrate a significant and effective instance of alter-politics in our times and also to indicate, more specifically, community financial innovations which could be taken up and re-deployed to democratize or ‘commonify’ local economies.

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