A Magazine about the Hudson Valley’s local economy, published by Hudson Valley Current.

Local Liz’s Field Notes

The past year has been an amazing, meandering journey for the Hudson Valley Current. Currents, our local currency, are now flowing through hundreds of businesses in Ulster and Dutchess counties. Since the project started in 2014, almost a half million Currents have been exchanged. That’s the equivalent of a half million dollars flowing through our communities, but Currents never stop moving around in our towns. They have what we call a perpetual multiplier effect because they can never leave our region.

Yes, sometimes we need our money to leave the area—like when we go on vacation, pay for a kid’s education, or give the Tax Man his share—but that’s what our US dollars are good for. The more we use Currents for local purchases, the more we become recession proof. That’s right—local currencies are resistant to economic downturns. For the thousands of years that local currencies have been used, they have helped communities bounce back very quickly from major recessions or depressions. This is because they’re not tied to the fluctuations of the national currency. When bank owners get nervous and stop lending money, it freezes the flow of our economy. But the Current, and other local currencies, don’t have to stop lending based on a national fear and shrinking of the dollar.

The Current offers every participant an interest-free line of credit of 300 Currents, initially. Not only does this mean all users have the ability to start spending Currents as soon as they sign up, they also become a central bank of their own because they create Currents every time they use their line of credit. Going below zero, i.e. tapping into the line of credit, creates Currents. This is why we like to say that being in the negative is positive. Without negative balances in the system, Currents wouldn’t exist.

This is the most fascinating thing about a local currency—it empowers us to be generators of our own money. And since it can only be spent in our region, we all become more successful and prosperous as more Currents flow. Would you like to share in the success? Learn more at hudsonvalleycurrent.org.