February 17th, 2012
07:46 AM GMT
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(CNN) – Ten years after the Spanish currency, the peseta, was phased out, a rural town in Spain has revolted. Against the backdrop of the ailing euro, about 30 shops in Villamayor de Santiago last month began accepting the old currency, which was phased out in 2002 when Spain joined the eurozone.

According to Luis Miguel Campayo, chairman of the local merchant’s association, the move has been especially popular with older clientele, many of whom kept hold of old bills and coins in case the euro failed. "We wanted to persuade them to spend them," he told the Guardian. Shopkeepers have earned more than 1 million pesetas (about $7,900). Shopkeepers exchange the pesetas for euros at the Bank of Spain in Madrid.

The villagers in Spain are not alone. Currencies new and old have sprung up in towns in Italy, the UK, the U.S. and Mexico in the wake of the financial crisis and eurozone debt woes.

In Collobrières, a small French town in the Provence, people reintroduced the franc in 2008, alongside with the euro. “We lost something with the franc," mayor Christine Amrane told the New York Times. "We lost an identity. We moved very quickly into Europe, maybe too quickly.”

However, today is the last day to exchange the franc with the euro before the old currency loses its value.

In August, the less than 600 residents of Filettino, Italy – who opposed government cost-cutting measures forcing towns with 1,000 residents or less to merge with neighboring communities – decided to manage their resources independently from Rome – and print their own currency, the Fiorito, emblazoned with a picture of mayor Luca Sellari on the bills.

In Britain, residents of Bristol will launch their own currency in May this year, the Bristol Pound, the Dailymail reported. Over 100 businesses have already signed up to accept the alternative to Britain’s pound in a move geared to boost local businesses. That follows a similar move of residents in Lewes in Britain, who launched the Lewes Pound in 2008 to tackle soaring prices in the wake of the economic downturn.

"If you spend a pound in a supermarket," campaigner Adrienne Campbell told CNN in 2008, "it almost immediately goes out of the community, leaks away, and then isn't remaining in the community serving the local people." About 50 local traders agreed to accept the note.

A raft of U.S. cities and towns introduced similar local currencies after the credit crisis, such as the Bay Back in Traverse City, Michigan; the BerkShares in Berkshires, Massachusetts; and the Detroit Cheers.

Residents in the Mexican hill town Veracruz created the “tumin”, meaning “money” in the local Totonac language. Silva Jardim, one of the poorest towns in southeastern Brazil, encouraged its 23,000 residents last year to spend money locally with the capivaris, the local currency decorated with the face of a rodent.

In Santi Suk, a small village in northern Thailand, local residents launched their own currency in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis in 1997, the Wall Street Journal reports. Decorating their bills with children’s sketches of water buffalos or Buddhist temples, the villagers started using the money again in 2009 when Thailand’s economy slowed down, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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Filed under: BusinessEuropean UnionFinancial crisis

soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Smiter

    Now where did I put my Monopoly and Life games...? Hundreds of thousands of alternative bucks stashed there.

    February 17, 2012 at 8:18 am |
  2. Kazu

    It sound so bad!! Everybody never confident Euro any more.Does it shows the experiment of Euro has been failed? I'm afraid that it'll train to the other currency in the world. Should we get the wages for gold in future?

    February 17, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  3. wjshelton

    Hmmm, does that mean I should break out the Confederate currency that I have stashed away? I've got a little over CS $100.

    February 17, 2012 at 9:19 am |
  4. James

    Dollar, Euro all going down the drain this year. Buy Gold & Silver

    February 17, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  5. Nuno

    The alternative currencies are GOLD and SILVER not another fiat useless paper

    February 17, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  6. Henk

    "many of whom kept hold of old bills and coins in case the euro failed." Ya right CNN. The article of the Guardian that yo link to made no mention of this. SO your just making up claims now is it. And fantasies at that. Because First of all the Euro has not failed so your suggestion is disgusting and an insult to quality news. And secondly people kept some old bills and coins because of sentimental value. If they felt the absolute need to cash it in they can still do that at the Bank the exact procedure that the shop keepers also follow to change their pesetas into Euro`s. CNN take your lies elsewhere.

    February 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  7. Mike

    Ron Paul 2012!

    February 17, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  8. Floyd Burgoz

    At the end of the day it is all paper and it is all actually worthless. A higher value on goods is due to greed and shortages of in demand commodities. If we in the western world relied more on home grown food, things would not be as out of hand as they are today.

    February 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  9. Jay

    Further proof that money isnt real.... Gold and silver are just ores from the earth... you cant take it with you when you die.

    The MONETARY SYSTEM is THE MOST PERVERTED SYSTEM to have ever shown on mankind.

    Its just an universally accepted idea that MONEY is worth anything at all....

    February 17, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  10. Mr. Robert

    Something similar happened in Argentina a few years ago, alothough instead of a new currency, they were known as "bonds", printed by some provinces., until they were phased out.

    February 17, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  11. scriss

    wjshelton – before you spend that Confederate note, take a look at your local antique shows. Those notes are worth quite a bit!

    February 17, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  12. b stone

    My great grandpappy buried some confederate bills, guess I better find them........

    February 18, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  13. EzioP

    The alternative cash is a solution that satisfy first the psychological need and it is good until you operate inside the alternative cash area which is somehow limited in space and, or time. But then if you need to deal with other areas, national or international, where your local currency is not of use then you face the real exchange value which is not giving you any advantage because you will pay the goods at their country or international real value. Consider also that any imposed reduced price for the goods in the alternative cash area will anyhow be limited as you cannot support the so called “eggs’ business”, that is to buy eggs at 1$ and resale them at 50 cents, you may do a lot of selling but certainly not any profit.

    February 18, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  14. Anon

    Alternative currencies aren't backed by the government. Once the economy starts an upswing again, the alternative currency loses its trading value instantly. Banks won't recognize alternative currencies. Ever. Even though it looks like a good deal in the short term, you'll get burned in the long run.

    February 18, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  15. jakson

    Strangest way to the marriage application

    February 19, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  16. Wasteland Wanderer

    Time to start saving up those Nuka-Cola bottlecaps.

    February 23, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  17. CSCI132

    In Texas some stores along the border take Pesos but I think the Federal Government (of America) made them stop as it was illegal. Too bad they cannot stop the aliens here that are illegal too.

    February 26, 2012 at 12:57 am |
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    March 28, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
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    March 31, 2012 at 6:23 am |
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