The,,Soproni Kékfrank : Case Study of a Hungarian Complementary Currency




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Department of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Social Studies,

Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic





The ,,Soproni Kékfrank": Case Study of a Hungarian Complementary Currency


Brno 2012


Bc. Katarína Kohányiová

Supervisor: RNDr. Naďa Johanisová, Ph.D.


CERTIFICATE OF AUTORSHIP

I, Katarína Kohányiová, hereby declare that I fully worked out this thesis by myself with the use of the references cited.


…………………………………………………………………………………

Katarína Kohányiová, Brno, 15th May 2012


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank Jaja, for proofreading the whole thesis and support; my mum, nagyi, atyus, Reni and Ondrík for help with translations; Pirger Károly, Parraghné Melinda Gaál and the respondents for their time and responsiveness; and Janka Zuntychová for designing maps. My thanks also go to my supervisor Nadia Johanisova for valuable advice and patience. Last but not least, I wish to acknowledge the support of my parents during my studies.


WORD COUNT: 24 020

ANOTATION

In the context of economic crises, the topic of complementary currencies is discussed in the academic literature, as well as in the media. In this thesis I have examined various aspects of their operation: context of their development, their classifications, operation and examples. The practical section is focused on a Hungarian initiative of the town of Sopron – Kékfrank complementary currency. It has been set up as a tool to boost the local economy.  I described its operation and consequences of its establishment and identified successes and challenges in order to explore whether it brings expected results.


ANOTÁCIA

V akademickej literatúre, ako aj v médiách, sa v kontexte ekonomickej krízy skloňuje téma komplementárnych mien. V tejto diplomovej práci som preskúmala rozličné stránky ich fungovania: kontext vzniku, klasifikáciu, činnosť a konkrétne príklady zo sveta. V praktickej časti som sa zamerala na maďarskú iniciatívu, ktorá vznikla v meste Šoproň – ide o komplementárnu menu Kékfrank. Založená bola za účelom podpory miestnej ekonomiky. V práci som popísala jej fungovanie, súvislosti vzniku a identifikovala som jej úspechy a výzvy, s cieľom preskúmania, či prináša očakávané výsledky.


KEY WORDS

Kékfrank, complementary currencies, money, alternative money systems, Sopron, LETS, Time banks, demurrage, Kálaka

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

barter is an exchange of one type of good or service for another, without using money

compound interest – the interest on a loan that itself earns interest in later periods, i.e. the interest due each period is added to the amount outstanding

complementary currency – a currency used parallel to the national currency, tied to a specific region, operated democratically, intending to redefine money in a participative process. The civil society implementation and citizen engagement are crucial.

demurrage - a time-related charge on outstanding balances of a currency. Acts similarly to a negative interest rate, and was designed to avoid the situation, when currency is hoarded.

financial capital – financial assets that can be used to provide an income

human capital - skills, abilities and knowledge of an individual gained through education or experience, which can be used to support economic activity

inflation - depreciation of the value of a currency over time

interest – a payment for a loan, which is additional to repayment of the amount borrowed

Kálaka – a Hungarian voluntary mutual aid scheme, in which the local community members work and help each other

Kékfrank – a Hungarian complementary currency, used within the region of Sopron; named after a wine variety Blaufränkisch for which is the region of western Hungary famous, it could at the same time be translated as a blue franc.

LETS - Local Exchange Trading System – a locally organized trading network, using a locally created currency, which allows members to participate in an exchange of goods and services within this network.

liquidity – ability to convert assets to cash quickly

localization – creating a balance between local, regional, national and international markets, where communities have more control over decision making on tasks that affect them

money – a set of assets people use to purchase goods and services from other entities

national currency - the currency or legal tender, which is usually the predominant currency used for most financial transactions in the country

service credit - a system based on a local currency, which eliminates interest and endeavours strengthening the community, aiming to build social capital. (also known as Time bank)

social capital – a network of trust within a community that can support economic activity

CONTENTS

1. INTRODUCTION 8

1. 1. Aims and objectives 8

1. 2. Structure 9

1. 3. Methodology, Information and Data 9

2. MONEY AND ITS ALTERNATIVES 12

2. 1. Money: theoretical anchorage 12

2. 2. The ‘Trouble with Money' 14

2. 3. Ideas for a change 16

2. 4. Alternative Money Systems 17

2. 4. 1. Community exchange networks 17

2. 4. 1. 1. Barter Networks 17

2. 4. 1. 2. Local Exchange Trading Systems 18

2. 4. 2. Service credits 19

2. 4. 3. Interest-free banking 21

2. 4. 4. ‘Interest-free’ money 22

2. 4. 5. Complementary currencies 25

2. 4. 5. 1. Udis Comal 25

2. 4. 5. 2. Chiemgauer 26

2. 4. 5. 3. Toronto dollars 27

3. COMPLEMENTARY CURRENCIES 29

3. 1. Currency types and generations 29

3. 2. Introduction to Complementary Currency Systems 30

3. 3. Types of complementary currency systems 30

3. 3. 1. Purpose 31

3. 3. 2. Support Media 32

3. 3. 3. Valuation 33

3. 3. 4. Cost-recovery mechanism 33

3. 3. 5. Other aspects 35

3. 3. 5. 1. Exchange system framework 35

3. 3. 5. 2. Organization type 36

4. 1. Economic localisation in Hungary 37

4. 1. 1. Green Money Circles 37

4. 1. 2. MagNet Community Bank 41

4. 1. 3. Complementary currencies in Hungary 42

4. 1. 3. 1. Bakonyi CsereKör 44

4. 1. 3. 2. Balaton Korona 45

5. CASE STUDY: THE SOPRONI KÉKFRANK 46

5. 1. Kékfrank introduction 46

5. 1. 1. Historical insight 47

5. 1. 2. Trade vouchers 47

5. 2. EU legislation role 48

5. 3. Ha-Mi Cooperative 49

5. 3. 1. Development of the Cooperative 50

5. 3. 2. Strategic partners 50

5. 3. 3. Organizational structure 51

5. 3. 3. 1 Management Board 52

5. 3. 3. 2. Supervisory Committee 52

5. 3. 4. Ha-Mi cost-recovery mechanism 52

5. 3. 5. Support to the members 53

5. 4. Kékfrank Complementary Currency System 53

5. 4. 1. The currency 53

5. 4. 2. Classification 54

5. 4. 3. Basic principles 55

5. 4. 4. Legal basis 55

5. 4. 5. Information overview 56

6. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS 57

6. 1. Kékfrank: a wider scope 57

6. 1. 1. Philosophy, vision and mission 57

6. 1. 1. 1. Morals 58

6. 1. 1. 2. Environmental dimension 58

6. 1. 1. 3. Educational dimension 58

6. 1. 2. Resources 59

6. 1. 3. External environment and public perception 59

6. 1. 4. Successes and challenges 60

6. 1. 5. Comparison of Kékfrank to other complementary currency systems 61

6. 2. The Main Research Questions 64

6. 3. Look into the future 65

7. SUMMARY 66

LIST OF TABLES, GRAPHS and MAPS 68

REFERENCE LIST 69

Appendix I. The list of questions asked in the interviews 80

Appendix III. The Kékfrank Voucher denominations 83

NAME INDEX 85
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