[C]onsumers in the region southeast of Munich use (the chiemgauer) to buy products as diverse as pizza, haircuts and rugs. Aimed at fostering the production and consumption of local products and services, the chiemgauer challenges the central banking orthodoxy that pumping more cash into an economy accelerates inflation and eventually harms growth.
“When people use the chiemgauer, the apple juice producer sells more bottles and the cheese maker sells more cheese,” Mr. Gelleri said. “In theory, this is not supposed to happen, but the fact is it does.”
While more than 300 million people in Europe use the euro to buy life’s essentials, a small but growing number concentrated in the German-speaking world use a proliferation of currencies with names like chiemgauer, urstromtaler, landmark, kirschblüte and kann was.
Issued by private organizations, these currencies are probably better understood as vouchers — pieces of paper that can be redeemed for goods and services at regional businesses that have agreed to accept them. (…)
Regiogeld, a German association for alternative currencies, tracks 21 such types of money in circulation in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with an additional 31 in preparation. Gerhard Rösl, an economist with the University of Applied Sciences in Regensburg, Germany, has also
located similar experiments in Denmark, Italy, Scotland, Spain and Italy. (New York Times)