Guest Post: The Greeks Have Already Dumped the Euro

Tyler Durden's picture

Via Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

[ZH: We first noted the shift to a barter economy that is occuring in Greece back in April. But Mike's excellent update below shows that this 'barter' has progressed to a new 'alternative' currency]

Really fascinating article about how many cities and communities in Greece have already moved on from the euro to bartering as well as alternative currencies.  The city of Volos, 200 miles north of Athens with a population of 170,000 is highlighted in the article due to the size of its alternative money market centered around a local currency call the Tem.  This sort of behavior will be the wave of the future in all countries, as Central Bank currencies are debased into extinction.  It’s interesting because while I was in Crested Butte over New Year’s I noticed they have a local currency going there called Crested Butte Bucks and I was really surprised to see that you can spend them pretty much anywhere in town.  I also highlighted this trend in my post earlier this year English City of Bristol Launches its Own Local Currency.

Now, from the Guardian:

It’s been a busy day at the market in downtown Volos. Angeliki Ioanitou has sold a decent quantity of olive oil and soap, while her friend Maria has done good business with her fresh pies.


But not a single euro has changed hands.


In this bustling port city at the foot of Mount Pelion, in the heart of Greece‘s most fertile plain, locals have come up with a novel way of dealing with austerity – adopting their own alternative currency, known as the Tem.


“Frankly the Tem has been a life-saver,” said Christina Koutsieri, clutching DVDs and a bag of food as she emerged from the marketplace. “In March I had to close the grocery store I had kept going for 27 years because I just couldn’t afford all the new taxes and bills. Everyone I know has lost their jobs. It’s tragic.”


For local officials such as Panos Skotiniotis, the mayor of Volos, the alternative currency has proved to be an excellent way of supplementing the euro. “We are all for supporting alternatives that help alleviate the crisis’s economic and social consequences.”

Full Guardian article here.

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SmittyinLA's picture

the stadium, great anology, Yes, Europe is reaching the tipping point

AC Milan rejected because they came with African immigrants

The EU is already exploding and burning 


Seer's picture

TPTB really love this stuff.  Divide and conquer.  "Professional" sports gears up competition in people to work hard for TPTB.  Alcohol is a great accelerant: imagine if pot rather than alcohol was sold at these events.

This is one reason why I lash out any anyone who pushes racist shit: you out there Freddie? Trav?

Doña K's picture

Do Chen,

The TEM is based on products and services you provide. You fix someone's car you get TEM you take the TEM to the market and you get milk and cookies.

No pain no gain. 


DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Thanks for the info.  Hey if it works, it works.

SilverIsKing's picture

Who created the TEM?  Who prints or mints it?  I would like to be THAT guy.

mkkby's picture

That can't possibly work.  Somebody's got to print TEMs and hand them out to poor people in exchange for votes.  And who's printing extra for the banks and auto manufacturers who gave themselves bonuses instead of doing a competent job?

Seorse Gorog from that Quantum Entanglement Fund. alright_.-'s picture

Gold, silver, Tem, tally sticks, seashells... all debt-free money (I'm assuming the Tem is anyway). What's important is who controls it, not the actual medium of exchange.  

JLee2027's picture

Why are they not bartering with silver?  That is the PAYMENT I would take, I would pay in that bogus local new paper currency...

Not enough silver to be continously used as a currency? That doesn't mean it WON'T be it just means it will be a scarcely seen and valuable one.

Doña K's picture

There is a simple idea behind this. The TEM is local and they want to keep goods and services local. As an example if you were to buy a computer through the internet, there will be leakage from the local economy. You suport your community your relatives your friends and neighbors who will not want to fix their cars in another city or state.

A similar situation as a reaction to that in the US is when states want to tax out of state purchases.

Cathartes Aura's picture

mmm, yes, bonus points in learning to trust individuals within your community, and avoid those who abuse that trust.

it's how great communities are created, and maintained.

Coast Watcher's picture

Not enough silver to be continously used as a currency? That doesn't mean it WON'T be it just means it will be a scarcely seen and valuable one.

Just as silver coins were far less common than copper coins in Medieval England, while gold coins were the currency of the aristocracy, used for really large purchases. The influx of massive amounts of gold and silver into Europe from the New World, via Spain, changed that dynamic a little, tho not by much, until the Industrial Revolution.

NEOSERF's picture

Yeah, so the foodstore sources all it's wares from just inside the town based on Tems?  As soon as you want anything sourced from outside the town, I suppose you could given them cow dung or some other "product" manufactured in town but the limit to this is why money was created.

Whiner's picture

These are preliminary underground maneuvers that will soon be replaced by physical goods barter, which will next yeild for bigger transactions to the metals. That's when le garndarme comes for ze gold. Won't work this go round though.

americanspirit's picture

Hi DoChen - I normally agree with your insightful comments but in this case I think that what's going on is not a substitute currency but a method of simplifying barter among chains of people each of whom has something of value to offer but not necessarily something wanted by the person who has what they need. I do understand that this is the original idea behind money, but in this case I think the TEM system is closer to what actual money was/is intended to be rather than a substitute for fiat currency, which has nothing to do with the original intent of money. Of course if everyone had silver or gold to barter with that would be ideal but they don't, so some sort of system that is independent of fiat has to be devised. We should be congratulating the Greeks and getting ready to emulate them, probably sooner than we expect. I have been bartering for years whenever possible, and I also always - always - ask for a discount when I am paying cash. It works 70% or so of the time.

decon's picture

Exactly, unless the Tem is precious metal or script reliably backed by something of value then its "Tem has not come".

Raymond Reason's picture

I'm sure you could buy Tem with your silver, which means the opposite is true. 

Raymond Reason's picture

A local unbacked currency is the perfect compliment to PMs.  It's a sure bet that punishing capital gain tax on PM's will be the next deterrent, but will be impossible to enforce trading in and out of local currencies. 

silverserfer's picture

grecians drop a lot of gyro's as well each year.

Doña K's picture

The Greeks have banned gyro for your information. You can not sell pre-ground meat raw or cooked.

The only way is to buy meat and have it ground in front of you (and have the butcher run the machine empty first) or you ground it yourself.

Gyro is sold in thin layers of meat stacked into the upside down cone shape.

That guarantees no slime or bad meat mixed in. Enjoy your cheese-burgers (Cheese from soy) chopped sirloin and compressed chicken boneless wings in the US.

If you can't trust the goverment that regulates everything, can you trust your butcher?   

HungryPorkChop's picture

And here's the video made by a Greek comedian making these exact same points (contains some adult language):

Muddy1's picture

I'd like to float an idea.  Instead of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and halves we'll go to .22LR, 380 auto, 9mm, .40S&W, and .45ACP.


Ghordius's picture

One currency for trade, on for savings, one for investments

I have two letters on my desk for new currencies to join as investor & shareholder

We have a tradition, after all...

Manthong's picture

How many Tems to a Mercury dime?

Ghordius's picture

Metric, please?
We DO have "rational-cartesian" traditions, after all...

nope-1004's picture

Way too "smooth" for this to be happening on its own?


jayman21's picture

So then what is really happening.  Did IN-Q-TEL start issueing FaceBook bucks and called them TEM?


I hope you are wrong, but it smells like it.


Edit*** Found another story on what a TEM is.


NotApplicable's picture

Are you suggesting this is an example of letting something grow, only to blow it up once it gets big enough to do some damage? Then use it as an example of "why we must save the (dollar/pound/Euro/etc...)?"

Hegel, is that you?

Ghordius's picture

it's a conspiracy... called eurozone
oh. sorry. the proper word is "project"

JPM Hater001's picture

The efficiency of markets on full display.

Salon's picture

This is an example of why I am always an optimist in the long run. Human ingenuity can never be suppressed or controlled permanently

NotApplicable's picture

That's why we now have "total warfare" where the only endgame is unconditional surrender; as there's a certain kind of magical destruction coincident with an endgame with no acceptable ends.

If one can destroy enough, control isn't necessary. They will come crawling to the prison-camps for sustenance, as death is the only alternative.

Gov. 101

Salon's picture

And it might last 50 years. But control is never permanent.

You dont think north korea will be around forever do you?

IvyMike's picture

Agricultural City-Statism (Civilization) has been around for 8,000 years now.

Will it last forever?

If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever. George Orwell

Ghordius's picture

Out of context - GO was talking about his 1984, not ours... And his socialism changed, meanwhile

akak's picture


If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever. George Orwell

Would that be better, or worse, than a dishonest and idiotic troll pounding out malevolent and genocidal anti-human drivel on his keyboard - forever?

Seer's picture

Exactly!  That's why I keep saying that BAD SYSTEMS = FAIL!

Of course, if you're experiencing most of your life during that 50 year reign it's not such a great thing, but...  I think that the more things can be left to run their course people will eventually LEARN what doesn't work and will ensure that they retain these valuable lessons (as it is now it's all so muddled that no one can recognize what's what, and will, therefore, not recognize the same shit in the future).

Tango in the Blight's picture

Unfortunately repression can be around for a long time, for a large part of your life or even your entire life. Had you been born in Russia in 1918 and died there in 1988 you wouldn't have known anything but Soviet repression.

IvyMike's picture

70 years of sweet vodka induces stupor.

pirea's picture

not more than 100 years of fat burgers

dick cheneys ghost's picture

Central Banks and their fake money are so 90's

Salon's picture

Yeah lol. The Tem is so non fake.

unununium's picture

Wait til whoever is printing Tems figures out they have a magic lamp.

Or maybe they will go for the BIG payoff after they build loads of confidence in their unbacked scrip paper. 

This is different from central banks how?  

Hard money = PM's and bitcoin.   Nothing else.

SilverIsKing's picture

I just loaded up on the TEMUSD pair.  I can't lose.

Salon's picture

They have replaced the Euro not because it is being debased to extinction but because it is too valuable and scarce.

Greshams law in action

Bad money drives out good (or at least fills a vacuum)

Ghordius's picture

And so according Gresham's law the EUR is "good money", the category of gold... Just say'n

Salon's picture

Gold is even better and driven out by the euro

Their is a hierarchy of moneys

Ghordius's picture

depending from function

Dr Benway's picture

"They have replaced the Euro not because it is being debased to extinction but because it is too valuable and scarce."


No. They are doing this to not pay tax.