Sysmä Community Currency: An Analysis of its Success from the Perspectives of Purposes, Stakeholders and Promotion

Open access

Abstract

The article is a case study of a local currency, recently introduced in the rurally situated municipality of Sysmä, Finland. As a small community suffering a gradual population decline since the 1960s, Sysmä municipality has begun to innovate with several projects this millennium. Here, we analyse as a narrative and from the viewpoint of experienced tensions, the introductory phase of one of these projects, which strictly is a hyper-local currency acting as a system of account. It is noted that there are unclarities regarding the purpose of the scheme, and that different stakeholders and other observers do have varying ideas about this purpose. Political decisions over limiting rights of issuance of the local currency to locally registered businesses; and its exclusive use for local association subsidies have created some challenges to the acceptance of the currency. Further, the currency has limited uptake due to technical issues, injudicious use of the marketing mix and difficulties with innovating in a rural area. Noting these issues and the peculiarity of the scheme amidst other typical European local currency schemes, the article also points out benefits of the scheme and potential future developments.

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