This initiative to create a local currency for Ithaca, New York seems to mesh paradoxically with some macro political currents going on right now.
On one hand, there's a growing tide of new Ron Paul supporters and Tea Partiers who display an above average distaste for the federal government and the federalness of its powers. They love states' rights and decentralization of authority. And they are skeptical of federal monetary policies: they
think point out that the Fed is unregulated, they fear the Treasury and Congress have too close a relationship with banks, they want to do away with the IRS, they don't like federal spending, and some of them worry about our fiat money system, lacking any metal standard. A lot of these ideas come from Paul.
Paul Glover's local Ithaca currency seems to fit, pretty well, with all that. It's a rejection of all things federal, at least from a money standpoint.
But Glover considers himself a community organizer and is concerned with ecological living. Not exactly defining characteristics of Ron Paul supporters and the Tea Party movement. The local currency represents an hour of Ithaca labor, or $10, and there's something communistic about that--the equation of all work hours to the same wage, for one, and the heightened, overt involvement of a social experience (people agreeing to use this quirky Ithaca money, to participate in the project and, in doing so, value their own work hours according to the standard at the point of goods-for-money exchange) in the assignment of monetary value is, in a big way, Marxist.
Perhaps the Tea Partiers and the Marxist ecologians can find a meeting place after all. Sounds like it might be Ithaca.
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is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic
and a reporter for The Hill