Lee R, Leyshon A, Aldridge T, Tooke J, Williams C, Thrift N, 2004, "Making geographies and histories? Constructing local circuits of value" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 22(4) 595 – 617
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Making geographies and histories? Constructing local circuits of value
Roger Lee, Andrew Leyshon, Theresa Aldridge, Jane Tooke, Colin Williams, Nigel Thrift
Received 19 October 2001; in revised form 19 November 2002
Abstract. Reflecting on findings from research conducted in the United Kingdom, we consider some implications for an understanding of economic geographies of the emergence of local currency systems (LCSs) within developed economies. LCSs are founded on the creation of local currencies and driven by local -- but contested -- circuits of consumption, exchange, and production. In this paper we are concerned with three interrelated sets of issues: the intersections of social and material relations and practices in the construction of economic geographies; the possibilities -- constrained by these intersections -- of creating alternative economic geographies; and the consequent possibilities of contributing to economic proliferation. We distinguish between three main forms of LCS -- LETSystems, LETS schemes, and Time Dollars -- differentiated along a range of institutional, organisational, ethical, and moral dimensions. These LCSs reflect and illustrate the diversity of meanings, understandings, and intentions brought to bear upon economic geographies. The existence -- even if only temporary -- of LCSs is testament to the (limited) possibilities of local economic self-determination and organisation; but their material ineffectiveness, decline, and uneven geographical spread reflect their formative links with mainstream practices and social relations and their internal contradictions and barriers. These characteristics illustrate the vulnerabilities inherent in all economic geographies and not just in those that are locally constructed.
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