Fwd: BIG Ithaca HOUR News!

Doug Henwood dhenwood at panix.com
Wed Oct 18 16:51:56 PDT 2000

Joanna Sheldon wrote:

>Ithaca money was never meant to have anything *but* a local effect.
>The local is the whole point, fer cryin' out loud. As Glover says
>in his introduction:
>"We printed our own money because we watched Federal dollars come to
>town, shake a few hands, then leave to buy rainforest lumber and
>fight wars. Ithaca's HOURS, by contrast, stay in our region to help
>us hire each other. While dollars make us increasingly dependent on
>transnational corporations and bankers, HOURS reinforce community
>trading and expand commerce which is more accountable to our
>concerns for ecology and social justice."
>What's so silly about that?

I know the local is the whole point, and I'm very skeptical that it has more than a microscopic local effect. A region is poor because of where it's inserted into the larger economic structure. The kinds of labor HOURS can buy is strictly local - restaurants, manicurists, etc. - but it's not like HOURS is keeping money around that used to leave town. People rarely travel far for a routine meal or a nailbuffing. The real dollars still leave town to pay taxes or buy any goods or services that can't be produced locally. What's changed? The real distribution of resources would be almost entirely unaffected.

As the Old Man said, "Labour time cannot directly be money...precisely because in fact labour time always exists only in the form of particular commodities."


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