Greeks Flock To Grassroots Alternative Currencies In Affront To Euro Debt Slavery

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

When Christos Papaioannou noticed his car needed new tires, the Greek computer engineer bought them with euros—but used an alternative currency, called TEM, to pay his mechanic for the labor.


His country has avoided a catastrophic exit from the common currency, at least for now. But a small but growing number of cash-strapped Greeks, who are still grappling with strict money-withdrawal limits, have found another route in TEM and other unconventional payment systems like it.


Before then, Ms. Sotiropoulou said she was only aware of two such programs. No official record of the number of alternative currencies and local bartering systems appears to exist in Greece. But according to an Athens-based grass roots organization called Omikron Project, there are now more than 80 such programs, double the number in 2013. They vary in size, from dozens of members to thousands.


– From the Wall Street Journal article: Alternative Currencies Flourish in Greece as Euros Are Harder to Come by

Hundreds of millions of people throughout the Western world are being forced to admit an obvious, yet uncomfortable reality. Democracy is dead. Your vote and your voice doesn’t matter. Not at all.

No group of people understand this as intimately as the Greeks. They voted for one thing, got something else, and in the process were unceremoniously reminded of their political irrelevance. The Greeks are now in a position to show the rest of us how it’s done. Communities need to take matters into their own hands and tackle challenges at the grassroots level. Nowhere is this more impactful and necessary than in the monetary realm, and some Greeks are already leading the charge.

From the Wall Street Journal:

When Christos Papaioannou noticed his car needed new tires, the Greek computer engineer bought them with euros—but used an alternative currency, called TEM, to pay his mechanic for the labor.


His country has avoided a catastrophic exit from the common currency, at least for now. But a small but growing number of cash-strapped Greeks, who are still grappling with strict money-withdrawal limits, have found another route in TEM and other unconventional payment systems like it.


“Money is sparse right now, but people still have the same skills and knowledge they had before the crisis,” said Mr. Papaioannou, part of a cooperative that founded TEM in the port city of Volos and one of nearly 1,000 registered users of the alternate currency there.

“Money is sparse right now, but people still have the same skills and knowledge they had before the crisis.”

Read that line over and over and over again until you realize how simple, elegant and accurate it is.

TEM—a sophisticated form of barter whose name is the Greek acronym for Local Alternative Unit—was founded in 2010 in the early months of Greece’s debt crisis with less than a dozen members. Now it includes dozens of participating local businesses that use the system to sell goods and services, including prepared food, haircuts, doctor visits, or even for renting an apartment.


It is a localized version of what Greece might have to turn to if a tentative bailout agreement reached this week is derailed, or ultimately fails. Before his resignation last month, former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis floated the idea of setting up a parallel-currency system based on IOUs in the event that Greece could no longer stay afloat using euros. Without a rescue, the idea of using IOUs is seen as the country’s most likely alternative.


Before then, Ms. Sotiropoulou said she was only aware of two such programs. No official record of the number of alternative currencies and local bartering systems appears to exist in Greece. But according to an Athens-based grass roots organization called Omikron Project, there are now more than 80 such programs, double the number in 2013. They vary in size, from dozens of members to thousands.


“The problems that existed have only gotten worse, and the new deal is going to create problems of its own that will deepen the crisis in certain areas,” said Mehran Khalili, one of the founders of Omikron. “The logical response is to create groups to react to that and fill those gaps that are going to exist because of the unsustainable situation that Greece has found itself in.


Experts say TEM and other local currencies work best side-by-side with the euro, not as a replacement. 

“Experts” say. Yeah, the same so-called “experts” who destroyed the world economy and turned the planet into a thieving oligarchy. I think I’ve had enough “expert” economic advice for one lifetime.

One notable example of alternative currencies used during a crisis was in the 1930s during the Great Depression, when the Austrian town of Wörgl decided to fight the economic downturn by printing its own money. Economists called the result a miracle: Employment boomed, while inflation remained subdued. During the economic depression that struck Argentina in 1998 and lasted till 2002, people formed barter networks and several provinces introduced their own currencies.


The alternate currencies have their limitations: The use of TEM, for example is restricted to those people and local businesses that choose to accept them, and won’t directly help people struggling to meet their monthly utility bills.


Maria McCarthy, a British woman who lives in Volos with her Greek husband and children, has earned and spent over 10,000 TEMs in four years by offering English and guitar lessons. She also sells secondhand clothes and other material goods in Volos’ biweekly marketplace, where almost everything besides euros are exchanged.


Mr. Papaioannou says he has paid for renovating parts of his home as well as food and clothing with the currency, and an increasingly larger share of his computer-repair work is done through transactions with TEM.


“You’re used to a method of doing things,” he said, “and suddenly, you realize there are other ways too.”

You’ve gotta love the Greek spirit. You can knock them down, you can embarrass them, but you can’t kill their spirit. Everyone else on the planet must recognize that what is being done to Greece will be done to us all in turn. We must show totally solidarity with them against the euro-fascists.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
JC-BI's picture
JC-BI (not verified) Aug 14, 2015 7:12 PM

More power to the Greeks. The people seem to be waking up to the real problem. The fact that the banksters only provide "Monopoly" money that will bring the world to financial catastrophe>>

Publicus's picture

Greekcoin FTW


Print money to fund economic activity, jobs, startups, research and production.


Then cancel the money that pooled at the hands of the few. Rinse and repeat.

Publicus's picture

Oldie but goodie


Economics are dead simple: If Joe wants a new roof made by John, John makes the roof and Joe writes him an IOU (worth of a new roof). So next time John want something done he knows Joe is good at, John can use this IOU to trade for Joe's work.

When it becomes ridiculous is when Joe can't write this IOU, but only James has the power to write IOU's. Now Joe has to lend an IOU (worth of a roof) from James who writes this IOU with his magic pen. So now Joe uses the IOU to pay John.


What happened?


Joe is in debt with James (who has done no work) equal to the worth of a roof + interest

John has a IOU equal to the worth of a roof.

Joe has to work for James to repay the IOU (worth one roof + interest)


So John has worked hard to provide Joe with a new roof, Joe is breaking his back doing work for James.


And James is best of, doing no work at all but getting Joe to work for him with a strike from his magical IOU pen.


One could say 2 slaves and one master were created, with the power of writing IOU's


Now James can control the economy of their little community, since only he can write IOU's. If he wants a economic boom, he will write IOU's easily without questioning. But if he wants to create a crisis, he refuses to write a single IOU, without these IOU's Joe and John can't trade, so all activity stops..

coast's picture

Its not that simple...because joe would be found out and nobody would take his IOU...Joe would have to infiltrate the education system in around 1901 thru the rockefeller foundation...then joe would have to take over the economic system in 1913 thru the rothchilds, has taken them a century to do this thru social engineering, dumbing down the public, making laws obsolete, building a police state, bombing countries around the world thru brainwashed people with the rah rah american flag to set up central banks, poisoning the skies with chemtrails, more dumbing down and sterilization with flouride in the water, kardashian distractions, taking over all forest lands, printing money, etc.  THis has been a plan from centuries ago. But it came to the Republic in 1776 after they lost the war and decided to use other tactics to accomplish thier goal...All wars are banker wars. People got into wooden ships to cross the atlantic to find freedom, with a good chance of them and their family not making it.. Today, people are too scared to even blink an eye to it all.

Macchendra's picture

The smaller the currency base, the more vulnerable to shorting it is.  Only global unity can fight the criminal moneychangers.

TeethVillage88s's picture

"From the entry in his journal of 12 October 1492, in which he wrote of them, "Many of the men I have seen have scars on their bodies, and when I made signs to them to find out how this happened, they indicated that people from other nearby islands come to San Salvador to capture them; they defend themselves the best they can. I believe that people from the mainland come here to take them as slaves. They ought to make good and skilled servants, for they repeat very quickly whatever we say to them. I think they can very easily be made Christians, for they seem to have no religion. If it pleases our Lord, I will take six of them to Your Highnesses when I depart, in order that they may learn our language."[47]

- your writing is very compact
- would guess the talk of the Americas triggered conspiracies relatively quickly after 1493 to take advantage of gold findings, and to extract either taxes or usury

logicalman's picture

The one that really gets you is how the fuck can someone get between Joe and John and skim off a lot of what both or them are producing.


flyingcaveman's picture

To make matters worse, joe has a government job where he gets paid in IOU's that james creates, so really, there's two master's and one slave.  Also, Roofer john better pay his taxes for the priveledge of doing business in this fine 'community'.

CPL's picture

The Greeks doing this type of startup should go find a man of the Lakota nation by the name of Payu Harris.  He has been working with First Nation tribal leaders and elders on something called the BTC Oyate Initiative for a couple of years. 

In a nutshell, a turn key to rebuilding a national economy, in this case the First Nations tribes across tribal regions that adopt MazaCoin.  A crypto economy that is working, transpearent and equal distributed fairly based off the BTC source code to function properly given the requirements he spent years drafting.  MazaCoin has it's challenges but Payu is sharp, driven and has a solid technical grasp of how to use crypto currencies in areas that have been demolished and improvished in terms of working trade systems because of the idea of a central bank.

Urban Redneck's picture

The Greeks need to wrest control of their government from the latest sell outs before they worry about the national ecoomy.  

In terms of a broadly accepted effective and functioning parallel barter currency in an environment where official currency is in short supply they might look to something like the WIR franc which has endured for 80 years (since the Great Depression).

luckylongshot's picture

You are getting close to the dirty little secret the private bankers do want want shared. Ironicly it was revealed by Keynes who said that as long as demand does not exceed supply, adding money is not inflationary. This means if you are careful about how much money you print you can do it and use it to support the poor the sick, the unemployed and the elderly without causing inflation. Money is an essential commodity, much like water and power and the right to create money should be in the hands of the people in the same way that theyy should have control of their water supply.

Publicus's picture

It get's better, you can print money to increase specific supplies. There really is no need for the Capitalist at all. Just print to fund jobs/supplies, and as the people spend their money for their own work, cancel it, and then start printing again, etc.

robertsgt40's picture

All "democracies" need to die. They need to be replaced by what the Greeks used to be...a republic. There is a big difference Tyler.

Totentänzerlied's picture

Let's see how much crude the Sauds are willing to sell Greece for anything except euros. That's right, none.

It ain't over in Greece until half the population dies and the other half has gotten back to the land in a big, big way. Which is a far better future than most of the world can hope for.

Here it is again, the only chart that matters:

Straight off the cliff.

TradingTroll's picture

Ok.  nissan Leaf + a few solar panels will decrease oil demand.  there's alternatives.

Anopheles's picture

How will they PAY for that Nissan Leaf and the solar panels?   Do you expect anyone outside of the country (or even inside) will accept Drachmas?  At their "official" exchange rate? 

mkey's picture

Nobody stated they're off to easy living. Their standard will drop, but there's no reason for people to lose all of their decency.

All currencies represent working hours so it's not a question of whether or not anyone will want to trade using one currency or the other, but will they require Greek services. If yes, they'll be able to trade.

Benjamin123's picture

It isnt over until they lose their dignity.

The market has determined greek services to be valued at far far far less than the collective greek nation would require to pay for everything they import.

Yancey Ward's picture

The Greeks can take matters into their own hands- the option to stop funding all of this was always there.  If they really do want change, they need to to go on tax strike.

Dutti's picture

They have successfuly gone on tax strike for years if not decades. Please remind me, who is going to pay the pensioners?


Yancey Ward's picture

No, they still largely pay their taxes, though maybe not to the levels of other countries.  What I mean is stop paying anything at all.  That is the path to change.  Electing politicians isn't going to work, though dragging them out into the streets and hanging them might.

Kprime's picture

let those who promised the pensioners pay the pensioners 

I am tired of other people promising the moon with the intention of stealing my money to make good on their promises.

BarnacleBill's picture

Some of us offshore tax-havens use currencies that have no value outside our borders - so in that respect they must count as "alternative currencies". As a former Manager and sometime Director of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce (although not an economist by any stretch), I try to keep aware of the virtues of the Cayman Islands Dollar - which for the past 43 years has been tied to the USD at the rate of US$1.20 to CI$1.00, based on the old British and Jamaican ten shillings.

We don't have a Central Bank, only a Monetary Authority; and we are not an independent nation, only a British colony. So we are protected from many of the problems that come with national Central Banks. Ours is a fiat currency, but the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (our colonial master) is diligent on our behalf in keeping our government borrowings and our money supply under control - as best it can in the face of defiance from our irresponsible local politicians.

How safe will we be, in the event of a worldwide crash of currencies? I really don't know. Hopefully, safer than we would be without the Brits to take care of us! It's probably not a bad place to keep our money.

Latitude25's picture

I worked for CUC (with Sacha Tibbets and Richard Hew) for 2 1/2 years so I know your islands.  In a crash of currencies you will be in trouble because you import nearly everything.  The little farmers market you have is nice but just too small.

q99x2's picture

Bitcoin Last Price $267

Anopheles's picture

$650 one year ago

$1200 two years ago

Curiously_Crazy's picture

$38 three years ago

$2 four years ago

$0.01 five years ago.


Picking data points is fun isn't it.

Benjamin123's picture

Meaningless. Bitcoin is a zero sum game theft scoreboard. A bunch of geeks trying to outsteal ech other.

stacking12321's picture

a dumb comment with no basis in reality. i suspect you've never used bitcoin, so you don't know what you're talking about. i use bitcoin, i haven't stolen any, and i haven't had any bitcoins stolen from me.

as far as zero sum game:

one group of people uses the us dollar and the banking system - they lose 3% of every transaction for credit card fees, are restricted by arbitrary bank rules, fees, and hours of operation, and are subject to government capital controls

a second group of people uses bitcoin, which is decentralized - they transfer funds freely in any amount, any time they want, to anywhere in the world without restriction, they pay no fees, are not subject to capital controls, "know your customer" regulations, or other assorted government bullshit.

which group do you think will be better off over time?


TuPhat's picture

Only number three, those with gold will be better off over time.  Bitcoin is fiat without the paper.

stacking12321's picture

gold is not opposed to bitcoin, they are complimentary - gold is a store of wealth, and bitcoin is a useful gateway for transferring wealth. they work well together and they have complimentary functions.

bitcoin is defintitely *not* fiat. fiat is a latin word, it means "let it be so". fiat is that which has value by government decree. no government backs bitcoin. bitcoin is definitely not fiat, people use bitcoin voluntarily, not because government insists that people use it

Mintcoin's picture

Mintcoin Last Price $0.000054


Lyman54's picture

During the depression in Alberta my great grandfather paid his county taxes by renting out a team of horses and a fresnoe to repair county roads.  Other people would trade sawn lumber or do a certain number of days labour to pay taxes.  There was no money in circulation in rural areas.  Federal taxes were simply ignored as there was no income to report.  It got so bad the Alberta provincial government started printing their own money.  It took that measure before the feds in Ottawa finaly forced banks to make loans to the prairie provinces again.

My father remarked that the government had no money for powdered milk to give kids with rickets but once war was declared there was a lot of money for uniforms, tanks, trucks and Bren guns.

NoBillsOfCredit's picture

There still is a LOT less "income" than most people know. Trading labor for money does not derive income.

Ajax_USB_Port_Repair_Service_'s picture

How many TRUMPS does it take to buy a gallon of gas?

(Oh boy, take your best shot.)

discopimp's picture

Ha Ha, guess you can force .gov to take the Euro, but every day citizens have options.  Enjoy and when in Greece go to Bitcoin Meetups such as the two in Athens.  Also use the Airbitz wallet, for secure, zero knowledge bitcoin spending.  

Mr. Frosty's picture

People forget that the original purpose of money was to simplify transactions, not make bankers filthy rich.

stacking12321's picture

original purpose of money? i didn't realize it had an original purpose.

so, what's the original purpose of people?

as far as making bankers rich, it does not - bankers don't deal in money, they deal in debt instruments. being able and willing to take advantage of simple minded dupes is what makes them rich.

nah's picture

you voice matters just not the way you think it does


its better to work hard than work smart

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Thank you for this read.

While the Greeks haven't gone to the lengths they need to in order throw out the pariah that is their own government neither has the rest of the EU members (with the exception of Iceland of course) and most importantly America for it's own government's indiscretions of thievery against it's own peoples -let alone every other place it invades and occupies through theft and murder.

I'd like to think that Americans would have this same level of resolve, organization and solidarity for an alternative monetary system in order to change the abuse and violations to their freedoms and sovereignty which we should have already done after 9/11 and again in 2008 (long before the Greeks did) wiith the banker bailouts, but I'm not confident whatsoever that we will ever rise to that level of ingenuity and creativity simply because we are told every day by the thieves robbing us every day that we are "exceptional" and worst of all because the majority truly believe the lie...  Maybe pockets within the Country will but not collectively where the welfare mentality is alive and well. This is where the idea of civil war becomes a reality in the U.S.

And as long as we buy that self-delusional pipe dream looking in the rear-view mirror that we are the indispensible Nation on the hill without looking at the here and now and where we are being taken willingly we will have no hope for our future.

Peter Pan's picture

If you think that barter is effective, imagine howmuch more  effective it would be if low denomination silver coins were circulated in conjunction with the barter system. Effectively, silver, because it cannot be banked, can act as the barter economy's official unit of exchange and remains in circulation amongst the people thus adding to the sophistication and general acceptability of the  barter system for goods and services.

techpreist's picture

Isn't it wild, but in the USA there are still many people alive today who once transacted in silver daily (silver dimes and quarters). It's really not such a wild stretch.

Anopheles's picture

However the face value of those silver coins must be less than the value of the silver contained in them.   Otherwise they will simply be melted down. 

Or if you have a floating rate and silver coins in fractional weights.   But again, if a merchant is getting greater profit from melting down the coins, that will happen. 

Faeriedust's picture

Nononono.  You really don't understand.  The original purpose of metal money WAS the value of the metal if melted down.  The coining simply provides an official guarantee of weight and purity.  In a metal-based system, the whole point is that if you melt down a 1 oz silver dollar, you have 1 oz of sterling silver suitable for making jewelry, photographic salts, or silver bullets.  Cigarettes have been used as currency in the same way (in prisons and during WWII) -- because almost everyone using them smokes, anyone can either smoke the cigarette, getting immediate use out of it, or pass it along in trade.  The only excess value the currency has is its flexibility -- instead of ONE commodity usage, a commodity currency can potentially trade for ANYTHING.  What you can NOT have, is a "legal value" that is significantly higher than the commodity value of the currency, in which case it will immediately revert to its commodity use like pre-1982 pennies.

Anopheles's picture

Actually the first coins minted were denominated at more than their gold/silver content.   Look up in Roman times, that people would "trim" the edges of coins but the coins still had the same value.  It was the denomination that mattered, not the actual weight of metal. The denomination was more "valuable" than the metal. 

Officially minted coins were never about the full value of the metal.   They were to reassure people that the coins held some value.

It was the beginning of a fractional reserve banking system.  

stacking12321's picture

absolutely right - except, you said 1 oz sterling silver (92.5% pure) from a silver dollar coin.

silver eagles are 1 oz 99.9% pure silver, also referred to as fine silver

old silver dollar coins (morgan, peace, trade) are 90% pure and weigh less than 1 troy ounce in any case (~27 grams)

Baby Eating Dingo22's picture

This is no different than the bank bailouts/greatest heist in history of mankind

People wrote 10:1 against, but Congress knows who butters their biscuit and wrote the check anyway