People nationwide may start hoarding their cash as recession fears grow. But in Riverwest--a progressive enclave of Milwaukee--residents have another answer to their money trouble: they'll print their own. The proposed River Currency would be used like cash at local businesses, keeping the area economy humming whatever the health of the country at large. "We can create our own value," explains Sura Faraj, 48, one of the plan's organizers.
It's an attractive idea when times are tight. Communities print what look like ordinary bills with serial numbers, anti-counterfeiting details and images of local landmarks (the Milwaukee River, for instance) instead of presidential portraits. Residents benefit through an exchange system: 10 traditional dollars, for instance, nets them $20 worth of local currency. And when businesses agree to value the funny money like real greenbacks, they also get a free stack to kick-start spending.