SCEC – Italy
In general complementary currencies are designed to create new wealth, both financial and social. In a nutshell, they are thought of as financial resources to increase social capital while maintaining in the best conditions the natural capital. Therefore, they foster co-operation, because they resemble some of the features a gift economy presents: horizontal and a-centered connection between peer-participants.
Both complementary currencies relationships respectively with scarcity and interest make the dual-currency approach very attractive. Moreover, if correctly designed complementary currencies do not affect inflation rates as it is constitutively the case for national ones: if one puts a complementary currency in the pockets of unemployed people in order to alleviate their critical economic condition, then the political pressure to lower interest rates that would potentially fuel inflation will be also reduced. Hence, it may be implemented as a financial instrument designed to increase the purchasing power of the national currency: this is the case of SCEC in Italy.
SCEC is the acronym in Italian of ‘solidarity which walks‘. It is a complementary currency with an exchange rate of 1:1 against the Euro, but it is not convertible in conventional money. Therefore, SCEC do not impel inflationary pressures on the conventional national system. SCEC are free and can be used to pay up to 20% of the value of goods and services in a network of shops, firms, warehouses, artisans, entrepreneurs and all the galaxy of businesses affiliated to the SCEC network, which is named Archipelago. The 20% of national currency one keeps in his/her pocket is purchasing power that one has at disposal for spending in the conventional monetary circuit. Moreover, SCEC is a discount voucher and therefore taxes are paid on the total value of the good or service that one wants to discount. Thus, SCEC are not problematic at the fiscal level.
In a nutshell, I help you to get what you need while increasing your purchasing power, although this means that I have to pay taxes as if I had sold a good or a service only in exchange for Euros. What do I earn? a A better ethos and, in turn, a higher quality of life.