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

The Currency Corner: We are ALL Assets!

By: Dr. Michael B. Marks and Dr. Leanne Ussher 

In the inaugural issue of “The Currency Corner,” we described the Hudson Valley Current (HVC), and the importance of joining this local ecosystem of exchanges in order to promote local businesses, and ensure their growth and survivability—especially during the pandemic. We noted that through a closed network of reciprocity, members that trade in the currency can increase their income and purchasing power, local communities can reduce their reliance on increasingly scarce national currency, and new initiatives can be incubated to address local challenges, creating inroads on addressing systemic inequality. The more local members using the currency, and the higher the frequency of exchanges made, the greater the enhancement of the vitality and impact of the local currency on individuals, businesses, and communities.  

Many of you might have noticed that the majority of HVC members are small micro-enterprises and businesses, trading products and services they produce. The HVC Exchange provides opportunities for small enterprises to market their services, gaining new customers, suppliers, and vendors, using the currency as the medium of trade. But what if you don’t currently operate a small business? Does this limit your opportunity to participate in earning and trading in the Currency, contributing to the purposes and goals of local currency adoption noted above? The short answer is absolutely not! We at HVC believe every member of society has assets, and as HVC membership expands, and currency usage targets social challenges, there will be opportunities for your strengths, interests, and assets to shine, unfolding an endless variety of earning and spending opportunities. Some examples of trading opportunities for individual members include: 

You may have a new idea for creating a social enterprise to improve your community, such as developing a learning pod for families without the resources to finance one with dollars, or developing a transportation service to help citizens returning from prison find and keep jobs. The HVC Exchange provides an opportunity to test out these new ideas, perhaps crowdfunding donations in Currents to finance start-up costs, and charging participants in Currents for all or part of the cost of accessing the services. As an initial step, you may want to seek out business development expertise to plan and launch your enterprise, offering consultants Currents for services provided. 

HVC will soon be sponsoring weekly community surge days whereby Current members can earn Currents working on a local event or project. Come out and work with other Current neighbors to earn Currents for valuable work helping others!  

There are about a half dozen and growing nonprofit members within the Current network, each of them seeking out community members who would like to help with projects and operations. Nonprofit members have Currents to spend in exchange for needed services that you could provide. Or you might want to donate some or all or your Currents to the nonprofits which would provide them with additional purchasing power to build their capacity to achieve their mission. In either approach, you are contributing by using your assets to help an important community organization.   

HVC is expanding its capacity to facilitate member to member exchanges. Here, you can spend Currents on services provided by other Current members by requesting your needs, such as assistance walking your dogs while you are away, helping your aging parent with household chores, or tutoring your homebound 5th grader in math and science. Similarly, you can offer your services to fellow Current members, or respond to their requested needs, earning Currents while doing so.

In summary, we at HVC believe that all community members are assets, in possession of strengths, experiences and expertise that can contribute to individual, organizational, and community health and well-being. If you need assistance spending and/or earning Currents, please contact us.

For more information on ways to exchange, please contact Kristi Parnell at membership@hudsonvalleycurrent.org.