SHARED MONETARY GOVERNANCE: Exploring the role of regulatory frameworks, participatory internal decision-making and scale in stakeholder institutional access to General and Special Purpose Currencies

  • Shiir Jones

Student thesis: Masters ThesisMPhil


Fung and Olin-Wright argue for small scale politico-economic institutions as a means of facilitating greater participatory governance. Similarly, Polanyi emphasised the distinction between large scale 'General Purpose Money' and smaller scale non-national ‘Special Purpose Currencies’ (SPCs). Non-national currencies, by complementing existing national currencies, form alternative or Complementary Currencies (CCs). CC advocates observe that while institutions which issue General Purpose Money tend to use closed (non-transparent and non-participatory) governance processes, CC institutions, particularly when sponsored by local communities, may offer potential models for more participatory forms of monetary governance. This study applies established governance principles to monetary decision-making, highlighting the importance of regulatory frameworks, transparency, accountability and direct participatory input for all currency users. It further explores whether national regulations and scale inhibit attempts by monetary institutions to allow full stakeholder access to monetary governance. To facilitate this exploration, a comparative analytical framework, called “Shared Monetary Governance” (SMG), is developed that allows the evaluation of distinct types of currency institutions. Its application in the cases of four currencies from the USA - the US Dollar, Humboldt Exchange Dollars, Time Dollars, and Deli Dollars - aims to enhance our understanding of how the degree of SMG is affected by three interrelated factors: national regulatory frameworks, internal decision-making processes, and scale. The four currencies are therefore evaluated across three sets of criteria: Regulatory Framework toleration (11 indices), Participatory Internal Decision-making (15 indices), and scale (indexed by function and geography). This methodology empirically compares each set to determine how each interrelated influence affects monetary governance and therefore stakeholder ability to influence priority setting. It finds that community-based currency institutions, part of the group of CCs, tend to allow greater SMG. Such findings imply that a multi-level interconnected monetary system including community-based, national and international money may facilitate greatest stakeholder access.
Date of Award1 May 2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorSusan Harkness (Supervisor), Theodoros Papadopoulos (Supervisor) & Frank Longstreth (Supervisor)

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