Campus: Sonoma State University -- March 07, 2003

New Barter System With "Sonoma County Currency" Emerging From Two-Year Project By SSU Professors

An innovative plan for a "Sonoma County currency" to help ward off the recession in the local economy will be presented by professor Philip Beard at a meeting at 7:30 p.m. at the Sonoma County Peace and Justice Center in Santa Rosa on Thursday.

Beard has been working with psychology professor Art Warmoth on a program that generates "Community Support Dollars" (C$D) as a form of exchange between individuals or companies that barter products and services.

Begun two years ago, the project is surfacing just as the North Bay is hit by a bust cycle that is resulting in layoffs and extreme revenue shortages among local businesses.

"The decline of our local economy and all the services it supports is becoming more devastating every day," Beard says. "Every time a job is lost, a program canceled, a service cut back, we hear the sad refrain: 'The money's not there.' Well, we can put it there. It has never been more urgent for us to implement a realistic, responsible economic self-help program than it is right now."

The C$D currency will be officially launched as soon as 500 individuals/families, 30 businesses, and 10 non-profit organizations have signed on as members, Beard says.

"The most important effect of our Community Support Dollar currency is that it builds community, by bringing us into mutual support relationships with our neighbors and local businesses," Beard says.

"Indirectly it addresses a host of larger problems, ranging from global warming to military sabre-rattling to gang warfare. We need it."

Beard is looking for community expertise to help get the operation of the program underway. Seriously interested parties, especially those with connections to local small businesses, are encouraged to contact him at

Contact: Jean Wasp, Media Relations, (707) 664-2057

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