New Consumer Magazine - Cliona O. Conaill - Money is so inextricably woven into the fabric of our lives that it has become fundamental to our survival in the West. It affects almost everything we do, and yet we actually know very little about it. However, understanding of the nature of money will empower us as consumers. Money is not an actual thing. It is only an agreement between businesses, banks, governments, communities and nations to treat something as though it has value.
Entreprenuer Magazine - Carol Tice - At Tom's Toys in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, some customers don't pay with cash or credit. Instead, they use a newly printed local currency that's good only in the Southern Berkshires. The money, known as BerkShares, is purchased for 90 cents on the dollar but is redeemable at full price at participating stores. The goal is to encourage shoppers to buy from local merchants. "I think of it as a goodwill form of advertising," says Tom's Toys owner Tom Levin.
Scholastic News - In Great Barrington, Massachusetts, many people spend BerkShares instead of
dollars when they go shopping in the town.
Bookselling This Week - Nomi Schwartz - The signs at Sunday's festival in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, announced: "One million sold."
That's not burgers or books, but BerkShares dollar notes, a currency adopted by towns in the Berkshire Region of New York state and western Massachusetts to support locally owned businesses and services.
Businessweek - Jeffery Gangemi - Steve Carlotta, owner of the three-employee Great Barrington (Mass.) camera store Snap Shop, had been losing business for the last five years to discounters on the Internet. Then, in September, 2006, his town launched a currency program called BerkShares designed to strengthen the local economy by encouraging consumers to support local businesses.
NPR - MADELEINE BRAND, host:
It seems like Slim is practically printing his own money. Here in the U.S., legally only the U.S. Treasury can do that. In some places, though, residents can exchange their legal tender for money that can only be spent locally. It's a way to support small businesses.
The London Times - James Bone - You can buy a slice of hazelnut ricotta torta and a caffe latte at Rubi’s cafe in this trendy Massachusetts town for $5 (£2.50).
The crisp local banknotes look like politically correct Monopoly money, with portraits of social activists and local figures such as Herman Melville, the novelist, and Norman Rockwell, the painter, on one side and pictures by living local artists on the other.
Reuters - Scott Malone - A walk down Main Street in this New England town calls to mind the pictures of Norman Rockwell, who lived nearby and chronicled small-town American life in the mid-20th Century.
So it is fitting that the artist's face adorns the 50 BerkShares note, one of five denominations in a currency adopted by towns in western Massachusetts to support locally owned businesses over national chains.
Albany Times Union - Marlene Kennedy - Ithacaness. It was a term coined years ago by a cadre of college friends. A code word, really, that was mocking but at the same time just a bit envious.
Ithacaness embodied the uniqueness of the Tompkins County city at the southern tip of Cayuga Lake: the organic restaurants, the food co-op, the pottery and craft stores, the political and social activism. They did things differently there, and proudly too.
To those of us living nearby in the uncool hinterlands, Ithaca was alternative urban chic.