There about 180 currencies which are considered as legal tender in one or more nations. In addition there some 4,000 alternative or complementary currencies. Since there is a wide variety in different types of complementary currencies, these are of great interest for monetary reform. Here will discuss one of such alternative currency: the Toreke.
The Toreke is a currency used in the Rabot district in the Belgian city of Ghent. This currency is issued by the city to inhabitants who perform certain tasks (such as cleaning the neighborhood) and in return people can use this currency to rent a small allotment garden (150 torekes per 4 m² per year). There are more than a hundred available gardens.
Since the allotment gardens are located at an abandoned plot of land already owned by the city, the authorities can issue Torekes at virtually no cost. Consequently this local currency allows stimulation of the local economy without increasing the debt of the city government.
Torekes were introduced in 2010 and are quite a success, given that the project is still running in 2016. One of the reasons for its popularity is that torekes can be spent in local businesses. We have to point out that torekes can be exchanged for euros, though most are circulating in the local economy.
In 2015 1280 volunteers participated in the projected and earned about 117,000 torekes.
This experiment is important as it combines the two principles of the fiscal and monetary system we endorse for space settlements:
- land rent as the principal source of public revenue;
- debt-free money issued by the government to fund public expenditure.
The toreke-case demonstrates these policies actually work in practice and are not just theoretical concepts.
The value of the toreke is derived from the fact that it can be used to rent a small plot of land. Without this torekes will just be pieces of paper and people would wonder why they should accept those.
Despite the similarities between the toreke and the Mordan talent, there will be a couple of differences:
- there will be no fixed exchange rate ( 1 euro = 10 torekes);
- the land rent will vary from location to location and depend on the local land value.
This experiment shows that governments can successfully introduce debt-free currency to fund public expenditure and avoid to pay interest.